This article was originally written by Dom_TheCru and featured on the CRU blog.
Are your CPU and motherboard fast enough for your memory?
Both the motherboard and the CPU have limits on the DRAM speeds they support, whether natively or overclocked. Whichever of the two has the slower limit dictates how fast the memory can potentially run at.
Trying to run the memory at speeds above these limits will likely result in a BSOD or the system not booting at all.
Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your system cool! Overheating components cause crashes.
If you’re PC is tucked away in a corner with little ventilation or your components are producing more heat than usual, inevitably your system is going to crash sooner or later.
This does not mean a component is faulty, it just means you need to improve the airflow and cooling. Additional fans, improving your cable management, and maintaining a clean, dust-free environment all contribute to reduced heat and better stability.
Manually changing settings in BIOS vs. ‘Easy Overclocking’
Some people have sufficient understanding of the host bus frequencies and memory and CPU multipliers to manually set the required DRAM speed in their BIOS. This is a handy skill if you want to fine tune the performance but also runs the risk of damaging a component if done wrong.
That is why performance memory comes with an XMP profile that stores the faster speeds and tighter timings so the BIOS can pick up on these automatically. You just need to ensure that XMP is enabled in the BIOS and you no longer need to manually overclock.
Don't forget though, your motherboard and CPU have to support the performance DRAM speeds and timings in order for this to work.
Choose your performance memory carefully
Some modules are designed for performance while others are all about appearance. If you want the best performance, make sure you get the modules that support the speeds and timings you want and don’t be fooled by elaborate heat spreaders and fancy names.
Again, make sure the memory is compatible with your system and that your motherboard and CPU support the full memory speed or you could be paying extra for memory that won’t run at its full potential.