By Mike Clements posted Aug 24th 2010
Upgrading the memory inside a PC is not a difficult task. However, for some the plethora of BIOS settings related to the memory can be daunting. This is especially true for users that do not have the requisite experience to make these settings with confidence. And, quite frankly, many users simply do not want to spend a great deal of time tuning and tweaking their system when they could instead be fragging their buddies.
Enter, Intel® XMP or Extreme Memory Profiles. From the Intel XMP product page:
Intel XMP is a performance-packed expansion of the standard DDR3 memory specification, enabling a robust, overclocking solution designed to take advantage of the mega-gaming features built into Intel® technology-based PCs. If you like to overclock and squeeze every possible ounce of performance from your PC, then memory based on Intel XMP is the solution you need to destroy your enemies and save the universe without breaking a sweat. Designed for ultimate flexibility, Intel XMP-based platforms offer major advantages for pro gamers, novices, and everyone in between. With predefined and certified memory optimizations built into Intel XMP, overclocking on Intel technology-based PCs is easy right out of the box. Expert users still have the option of manually changing specific parameters for personalized fine-tuning.
Corsair DDR3 memory compatible with XMP specifications can be found here for Intel® Core™ i7 processors, and here for Core™ i5. Corsair has worked very closely with Intel to develop and certify high performance memory kits with XMP profiles. The benefit to the end-user is that they can enter their BIOS and with one step enable the Intel XMP profile. This one simple step allows the user to specify the appropriate frequency, latency timings, and voltages needed to run their memory at it's rated specifications without the need for time consuming BIOS tweaking and testing.
Into the BIOS
We've outlined a how-to using a popular ASUS motherboard. The method is essentially the same across other boards although the BIOS may appear slightly different from brand to brand:
The first step is to enter the BIOS and select the BIOS mode that allows the user to make manual BIOS adjustments. In this example, the user enters the AI Overclock Tuner and selects the XMP option. That's all there is to it. Just be sure to save your settings upon exiting the BIOS.
The XMP profile will improve the memory frequency and timings above the default or JEDEC timings set by the conventional SPD. These settings provide much greater memory bandwidth than JEDEC compliant modules and provide greater overhead for CPU overclocking.
The XMP profile will also automatically set the correct voltages required for stable operation at the profile settings. These settings have been validated by both Corsair and Intel.
Using XMP is extremely simple. Users can now have extreme performance from their system in seconds which of course leaves more time for fragging! Additional information on Intel XMP can be found @ http://www.intel.com/Consumer/Game/extreme-memory.htm