Will Intel RAM work with Ryzen?

will-intel-ram-work-with-ryzen

Will Intel RAM work with Ryzen motherboard? Yes it will.

Any computer enthusiast knows that memory is an important part of your system. Usually, people don’t care much about it, because they assume that all RAM units are compatible with each other. If you are building a PC from scratch or simply upgrading your old one, you should know what memory modules are compatible with Ryzen.

Ryzen 7 processors officially support DDR4 3466 MHz memory modules only!

It doesn’t mean that if you buy some less expensive memory modules (for example DDR4 2400), they will not work on your Ryzen processor. You just have to remember that the advertised clock rate must be at least DDR4 2400 and no larger than DDR 3466. Note also that the modules must be dual-channel, such as:

  • DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200)
  • DDR4 2666 (PC4 21300)
  • DDR4 2933 (PC4 23600)
  • DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600)

Most of the time, they will work together and you don’t have to worry about compatibility. However, if you want your new memory modules to work at advertised clock rate, you need to make sure that all the timings are supported by both your processor and motherboard RAM SPD chip. For example:

Ryzen 7 1800X has a T1 stepping and supports up to DDR 3466 at CL14-14-14-34 timings. You cannot install DDR4 3466 memory because it requires CL15 and Ryzen T1 stepping does not support this timing.

Ryzen 5 1600X has a B0 stepping and supports up to DDR 3200 with CL14-14-14-34 or higher timings. You cannot install DDR4 2400 modules because the RAM clock rate is too high for this processor even though its official maximum is 2933 MHz.

For example, if you’re using an AMD Ryzen 1800X processor:

(Ryzen 7 1800X, AMD RD333 DDR4-2933 Unbuffered DIMM 288pin 16GB (8GBx2))

Even though the memory’s maximum clock is 2933 MHz, it supports up to 2400 MHz (OC) with lower timings. You can use this RAM but you need to manually set the memory frequency to 2400 MHz by changing some BIOS settings. The Ryzen processor has an unlocked multiplier so any motherboard should support overclocking this RAM without issue.

You can also check for your CPU model number on google or AMD’s website then look for supported components under “memory”. For instance: Official Memory Support – AMD Processors

amd-ryzen

You should also check your motherboard’s support site for memory recommendations or known issues if there are any problems. As long as you’re using DDR4 2400 MHz or higher your system should boot fine just make sure to set the proper frequency in your UEFI/BIOS utility before loading an OS.

So, if you want to outfit your Ryzen system with the highest possible memory speeds, do not hesitate. The new AMD platform is an excellent choice for overclocking. It might even present more of a challenge than Intel’s Z270 platform for achieving performance-oriented memory frequencies due to looser timings. At this moment in time, only eight DIMMs can be installed on an X370 motherboard (vs four on Z270), but that shouldn’t be an issue considering how infrequently applications benefit from more than 16 GB of RAM (more than 16 GB is mostly only relevant in professional server applications). In this article, we will explore overclocking memory kits for Ryzen.

We looked at scaling performance from 2133 MHz to 3600 MHz with a mainstream memory kit clocked at 2400 MHz. We were able to increase bandwidth by +36% when going from 2133 MHz to 3200 MHz. That’s a substantial improvement, but it doesn’t tell us anything about how much headroom would be left when going beyond 3200 MHz. It is not advisable to operate your memory above its specification, such as running 3400 instead of 3200 or 3600 instead of 3400, but what if I told you that right now you can increase your memory frequency by +33% using the exact same kit of memory?

The secret ingredient is XMP 2.0, Intel’s own version of Ryzen Master that enables unlocked CPU multipliers on its Skylake-X parts. If you are already aware of this feature, it may come as no surprise to hear that there is absolutely nothing new here. Enabling XMP automatically applies all available timings for the selected speed, so simply pick an XMP profile and select 2400 or higher – simple!

Real world results show benchmarks landing at 3666 MHz with just 1.35V on our particular G.Skill Trident Z kit (F4-3200C16D-16GTZKK), compared to the standard voltage of 1.35V at 2133 MHz. Compared to our previous results, which used a -2 divider to reach 3666 MHz, this is an increase in frequency by +33%.

There are two caveats though: one is that default memory performance may or may not improve with XMP enabled, although this has never been proven in practice; the other drawback is that your CPU’s overclocking potential might be limited if you’re pushing the frequency very high. For example, when testing for maximum stable frequency on Ryzen CPUs, we observed that applying 3700+ MHz required more than 1.45V VCore. With XMP enabled, however, CPU-Z reports just 1.34V (which is normal), so XMP might be “tricking” the system into thinking that lower voltage is applied, which could result in severe overvolting (I’m not an expert on this by any means).

For instance, with our current 3700 MHz XMP profile enabled, it’s possible to get up to 4 GHz using about 1.35V-1.37V. However, if we disable XMP and increase VCore all the way up to 1.45V (or even more), then we can go all the way up to 4.1 GHz! But whether or not you want to do so is entirely your decision – it’s quite possibly risky for daily use.

So if you are looking to upgrade your PC, get in touch with us!

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...