Most PC users must have felt the need of a performance boost while doing some critical memory-intensive work on their PC. It is actually possible to unlock such an improvement in performance by overclocking RAM. As you might be aware, RAM often comes with a performance speed that is set lower than what it is actually capable of. With the help of a few tricks, it is possible to run the memory at a faster speed than what the manufacturer has specified. This process of freeing your memory from the manufacturer-specified number is called overclocking, and in this article, we will tell you how to overclock your PC’s RAM.
Meaning and benefits of overclocking
In simple words, overclocking refers to boosting a component to make it perform better than the factory defaults. Overclocking in itself is a little difficult, and overclocking RAM is comparatively more difficult than CPU or GPU overclocking as plenty of factors are involved with the former. These factors are the motherboard, your PC and RAM modules.
Talking of the benefits of overclocking RAM, the biggest of course is better performance. Due to improved performance, the response time of the apps is reduced, leading to smoother systems. Working data of every program is stored in RAM before it loads into the CPU’s internal cache. So, overclocking RAM can make these programs run faster.
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Overclocking may also help save some money if you are able to get more performance from a cheaper product. For those who use their PC for multitasking and tasks that are memory intensive, overclocking will be of great help. It must be noted that overclocking RAM is more suited for desktop use and file operations than gaming. So, if you want to improve your gaming experience, then you must also consider CPU or GPU overclocking along with RAM overclocking.
Presently, there are many popular RAMs available in the market, such as DDR3, DDR4 and more. However, the general process to overclock is the same irrespective of the RAM you use. Now that you know the benefits and other relevant details, let’s talk about how to overclock your PC’s RAM.
How to overclock your PC’s RAM
Before you start to overclock, you must ensure that the PC’s memory is stable. You can check this with the help of software such as Memtest86+. The same software will also be helpful to check for stability after the overclocking is done.
Coming to how to overclock your PC’s RAM, there are a few options in the BIOS (basic input/output system) to overclock RAM. You can use all these options together, but you will have to choose the best combination that works for you.
The following are the options:
Dram Frequency – your computer memory is currently set to a particular DRAM frequency; DDR3 usually runs at 1,333 MHz. In the BIOS, there will either be a volting or overclocking options screen. You can use these options to up the DRAM frequency. It is recommended that you should not raise the frequency in one go, rather in internals. This means raising the frequency, and then checking for stability. If everything is okay, you can raise it further. There is a limit to which you can raise the DRAM frequency.
BCLK (Base Clock Speed) – BCLK is for RAM and CPU both, which means when you are tweaking BCLK, you are doing it for RAM and CPU both. You can raise BCLK from the BIOS menu. You can increase the BCLK for RAM up to the current BCLK for CPU, or to your system’s maximum BCLK. The second option is more popular than the first.
Latency – you can also reduce CAS latency (from the BIOS settings) to overclock RAM. To put it simply, the CAS latency is the time lapse between the CPU making a request for information and RAM providing it. Thus, reducing the CAS latency leads to lower the response time and in turn, more efficient memory.
Software to overclock RAM
In most cases, the BIOS settings mentioned above will help users to overclock RAM. In rare cases, when the BIOS settings do not work as intended or to get some extra performance, you may also use third-party software. There are several popular software programs in the market for overclocking RAM, the most used ones are detailed below:
CPU-Z – this is free software that has two tabs. The memory tab allows you to adjust DRAM frequency and timings, while the SPD tab helps you with the timing tables and XMP settings.
XMP (Extreme Memory Profiles) – this is Intel’s preset overclocking settings, and can be enabled by utility or the motherboard’s firmware. This tool automatically sets the best possible latency and dram frequency.
These tools and processes discussed above will help you to overclock your PC’s RAM. When you are doing overclocking, do remember to stress test after every change as having a high clock speed will be of no use if the memory is unstable.