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XMP, or Extreme Memory Profiles, is an Intel technology that allows you to change multiple memory settings simply by selecting a different profile to use higher than standard memory speeds. If you’ve always wanted to overclock your memory but don’t want to play with frequency, voltage and timing, this is the solution for you.
This option is not available on all motherboard BIOSes, and not all RAM sticks have an XMP profile – some RAM sticks are only designed to run at standard speeds. However, if you have built your own gaming computer and purchased RAM that is advertised as high speed, you should definitely have XMP as an option.
What is Intel XMP?
RAM must meet the standard speeds set by JEDEC, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council. Even if you buy RAM advertised with special timings that make it faster than the standard, and put it in a motherboard designed for gamers and other enthusiasts, it will not immediately work at the specified speeds. Instead, it will run at standard speeds.
However, you no longer need to go into your BIOS and manually set the RAM timings. Instead, the RAM you purchased has a small amount of memory that is provided by one or two Intel “Extreme Memory Profiles”. Your BIOS can read these profiles and automatically set the optimal timings selected by the manufacturer of your RAM memory. These are the times specified by the RAM manufacturer.
If you have an AMD processor, you can enable the AMD “AMP” memory profiles. This is the AMD version of Intel’s XMP.
How to Enable Intel XMP?
XMP mode is a firmware setting (UEFI) for compatible cards, which generally means that users must enter the UEFI or BIOS of their firmware and either click on an icon or select XMP from a menu. Each brand of motherboard develops its own UEFI interface, and users often have to enter an overclocking menu. Entering UEFI is usually as easy (or as difficult) as pressing the “delete” key during system initialization before the operating system starts loading. Some motherboards use different keys, such as F2, and some users are forced to press the correct key in quick succession after power-up, just to fill the short window between firmware and operating system initialization. If necessary, consult your motherboard or the system manual for details on accessing the EFU/BIOS.
For example, ASRock motherboards often include both simple and advanced graphical user interface (GUI). XMP, a relatively simple overclocking process, is available on the main screen of the simple GUI and also in the DRAM Configuration sub-menu of the OC Tweaker menu in advanced mode.
Asus also offers XMP in its simple user interface, but this is the default setting for CPU overclocking in the Extreme Tweaker menu in Advanced mode.
Biostar’s XMP selection can be found in the Overclocking Navigator Engine (O.N.E.) menu and the EVGA selection in the Memory menu.
Gigabyte’s “Easy” mode offers XMP with a single click. This setting is also available in the Advanced Frequency Settings and Advanced Memory Settings submenus of the M.I.T. menu. (Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker) menu in Advanced mode.
MSI’s Easy XMP button (the circled icon in the images above) is retained by the basic and advanced user interface, with a secondary setting available for overclockers in advanced mode.
Supermicro’s consumer cards offer an XMP setting in the one-page EZ Mode menu and the memory overclocking sub-menu of its overclocking menu in advanced mode.
It’s not a difficult procedure to follow. It does not require any manual adjustment of the memory maintenance settings. Often, however, those who have never heard of Intel’s XMP profiles don’t know this and miss out on the potential that their memory modules can offer. Technology enthusiasts who know how to manually overclock their memory modules save a lot of time and push their modules to their advertised capacities. For those who don’t know how to deal with this type of hardware manipulation, Intel makes it easy with just a few clicks. Overall, overclocking your memory module couldn’t be easier with pre-configured Intel Extreme Memory Profiles, no matter who you are or what your experience is.
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