Memory Overclocking on Z390 Coffee Lake: What RAM Speed Do You Need?

Test System and Setup

We updated the MEG Z390 Ace's firmware to the latest public revision and disabled the MultiCore Enhancement / Enhanced Turbo option so that the processor abides by Intel's turbo policy. Nevertheless, MSI's motherboard runs with a 100.8 MHz base clock out of the box, which slightly overclocks the processor and memory. While this might seem like an unfair advantage in a processor review, it makes no difference in our scenario as each memory speed is overclocked by the same amount.

On the software end, we used a fresh 64-bit installation of Windows 10 Professional and installed all the available updates. We updated our test system's drivers, benchmarking programs, and game clients to the latest versions as well.

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Test System
ProcessorCore i9-9900K
MotherboardMSI MEG Z390 Ace ($269 On B&H Photo Video)
MemoryG.Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4-4400 C18 16GB ($329.99 On Newegg) x 2
StorageCT2000 MX500 2TB
CPU CoolerHydro H115i
Graphics CardMSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio ($1,349.99 On Newegg)
Power SupplySeasonic X-1250 (SS-1250XM2) 1250W
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro with October 2018 Update
Display DriverNvidia GeForce Graphics Driver 417.35 WHQL
DisplayAsus ROG Swift PG27AQ

For this article, we tested 11 different memory frequencies in total that span from the standard JEDEC DDR4-2133 all the way up to DDR4-4400. Instead of applying the XMP profile, we configured the settings manually inside the BIOS. Subsequently, we verified the frequency inside the operating system with the help of CPU-Z. To ensure an acceptable level of consistency amongst the tests, we ran each benchmark three times and used the median value as the final result. 

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Memory FrequencyMemory Timings

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Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.