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Setting SDRAM speed and a great utility program (1 Viewer)

Dennis Nicholls

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I discovered that the memory in the used Dell 3060 I bought was a lower speed than specified: 2400 Mhz versus the specified 2666 Mhz. I discovered it was quite difficult to search out the determination of whether this was an issue or not. I finally discovered this article on a "gamer" forum which discusses how RAM speed is set by the BIOS at power on.

www.pcgamer.com/what-are-xmp-profiles-and-how-do-i-use-them/

When you power on your computer, it conducts a power-on self-test. Part of this process includes automatically configuring installed hardware, including your memory. Your computer needs to know the model of your RAM as well as which timings and frequency to set. Your BIOS will use a small chip on your RAM modules called an SPD (serial presence detect) chip to set memory timing and frequencies properly.

So the answer is simple: the slower RAM merely affects overall system performance, but won't cause BSOD system crashes. That article also steered me to a very useful utility program called CPU-Z that reads and displays many normally hidden parameters of your PC. It is available for free download here: https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
 

Clinton McClure

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I was a regular user of CPU-Z when I had Windows machines at home. No need anymore since I switched to Mac.
 

John Dirk

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DRAM timing is a tricky matter best left at defaults for the vast majority of users. Adjusting memory speed is referred to as "overclocking" and can cause serious issues. Many higher end PC's [especially ASUS-based systems] offer extensive overclocking options, usually of interest to gamers. In this particular case, I think the MAC platform has it right in locking this level of configuration down.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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Actually I was going the other way from overclocking. I just was concerned that the 2400 MHz RAM would be clocked at the motherboard's specified 2666 MHz speeds (1333 MHz). This would cause reliability issues if it worked at all. But the POST test sets the correct clocking speed.
 

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