Gaming RAM sticks have gone from being skinny sticks of PCB attached to your motherboard to a whole new level these days. These days, the DDR4 gaming memory modules pack beefy heatsinks, RGB, and flashy colors. In addition to these improvements manufacturers have put into making these RAM sticks, companies like Intel and AMD have worked a lot to enhance their performance. These include technologies like XMP, which is a pre-determined overclock profile that works excellently for your RAM sticks. It increases their frequency beyond the frequency DDR4 was poised to run at.
For those living under the rock, XMP stands for Extreme Memory Profile. Now, you might ask why is it called XMP and not EMP. Well, as you know, in the technology and PC space, the ‘X’ just makes things sound a little more extreme and gives it a bit of an ‘X’ factor. Well, that’s what XMP is—more eXtreme!
Now, the basic purpose of XMP is simple: it increases the performance of your memory. Not your brain’s, to be fair—your computer’s memory. Important to note, DDR4 memory runs at 2133MHz by default. That is, if you buy 3200MHz DDR4 memory, and throw it in your build, it will run at 2133MHz only. Anything above 2133MHz is exceeding industry speeds. Therefore, to let memories run at higher speeds, Intel developed a new technology called XMP.
Technologies Equivalent to XMP
Now, the equivalent to this technology that AMD developed was AMP or AMD Memory Profile, but you will hardly find that these days. Another alternative is DOCP or Direct OverClock Profile, which works on all Intel and AMD boards. Also, because all the AMD motherboard makers also manufacture Intel motherboards, they have access to Intel’s proprietary XMP profiles that come installed in most computer RAM. Therefore, if you were to check AMD motherboards released in the last few years (with an AM4 socket) you’ll see a familiar term. To clarify, they will all have an XMP option for overclocking, despite the fact Intel, their biggest competitor, developed XMP.
Is XMP Safe?
But is it safe? Well, XMP includes overclocking. Any kind of overclocking might cause instability. But XMP is safer than another sort of overclocking, as a particular XMP-enabled stick is tested thoroughly and rated for stable speeds by the manufacturer. But, problems always find their way, so always remain on guard.
How to Enable XMP?
Enabling XMP is pretty simple. You need to get in your computer’s BIOS. The easiest way to get into your BIOS is to restart your computer, then spam the BIOS key—likely Delete, F1, F2, F10, or Esc. The process is pretty much the same for any board. Next, you would want to get into the Advanced Memory Settings of your BIOS. Now, some boards have a separate section for memory, like EVGA boards.
Once inside the Advanced Memory Settings, you will see the Extreme Memory Profile option. It’s simple from here, just double click, and a dialogue box will pop up. Now you will find two different profiles here.
These profiles have different uses. The first profile contains enthusiast settings; these allow your memory to run at the rated speed advertised on the box. These settings enable only a modest overclock and are also the most stable. The second profile contains more extreme settings that offer a much higher level of performance. Therefore, you might have to entertain some instability here and there. Now, having two profiles allows you to easily switch between them, based on your needs, and that is great.
If your board supports RAM overclocking, you will find a lot of extra options. You can always manually adjust them if you have the experience, and change to get more performance out of your memory. Now, after you are done playing around with the prospects, simply hit save and exit setup, and your computer will restart for you.
If you decide to double-check it worked, open up your Task Manager. Then, head over to the Performance tab. Now head over to the memory section, and here you will see the speeds the memory is currently running at. In my case, I am already running RAM at 2400 MHz, which is the highest my sticks can do—mission accomplished!
XMP and Intel
But wait, wait. Hold on a second. You might get bamboozled to know that Intel voids the warranty of your processor if you enable XMP. That is a bit out of the blue, especially when XMP is a technology developed by Intel themselves. It doesn’t make sense, right? But, you can always bypass this and just not reveal to Intel or AMD that you overclocked your memory. That was and will always be an option. Anyway, that’s it! This is a small little trick that can help you get more out of your current setup amidst this shortage.