Skip to main content

How to enable XMP to run your RAM at full speed

Pushing your hardware to its full potential ensures that you get the best performance which is crucial for all sorts of heavy tasks including gaming. Memory is one of the key components that can bring a noticeable improvement in performance. Surprisingly, in most cases, your RAM isn’t running at its claimed clock speeds, and that is where you need to implement XMP or Extreme Memory Profiles.

Related Videos




10 minutes

What You Need

  • Memory that can support XMP

  • Chipset and motherboard supporting XMP

  • A CPU that supports memory overclocking

Before you enable XMP though, it is best to check the existing clock speed of your memory. Head over to the Task Manager on Windows by either doing a quick search under Settings or by right-clicking on the bottom taskbar and selecting Task Manager. Once you have opened the Task Manager, click on More details to gain access to additional system information. Next, select the Performance tab and then open the Memory section. On the bottom right you should see your RAM’s current running speed in Megahertz (MHz).

If the existing speeds are lower than the claimed maximum speed of your RAM kit, it means that you need to enable XMP. For instance, we are running a pair of Geil 8GB DDR4 memory that is claimed to run at a maximum clock speed of 3200MHz. However, it is running at 2133MHz by default.

How to enable XMP on your RAM from BIOS

Step 1: XMP can be enabled by heading into your motherboard’s BIOS. To do so, reboot your PC and wait for the splash screen to appear, which is usually a logo or some sort of graphics of your motherboard manufacturer. At the bottom, there should be instructions to enter the BIOS which is usually done by pressing either the delete key, escape key, or one of the function keys.

how to enable xmp 1

Step 2: Once you have entered the BIOS, you need to look for XMP. Certain motherboard BIOS will have an Easy Mode that highlights only the most frequently accessed settings. Thus, you may need to enable Advanced Mode to get access to the XMP settings.

how to enable xmp 1 2

Step 3: In our case, the Gigabyte Z590i Vision motherboard BIOS highlights XMP right on the main screen. We can quickly enable XMP from here, or turn on Advanced Mode of the BIOS to access additional XMP settings. Gigabyte and ASUS motherboards usually have XMP settings under the Tweaker or Extreme Tweaker tab.

how to enable xmp 1 3

Step 4: Select XMP which should give you the option to enable Profile 1 (which is the one we need) or disable XMP. Certain memory kits offer more than one profile, thus giving some more flexibility.

how to enable xmp 1 4

Step 5: Once you have selected the profile you want, preferably with the highest speeds, go back to the main BIOS screen and look for the option to save and exit BIOS. You should now have XMP enabled with the memory running at the desired maximum speed. Make sure you go back into the Task Manager to see if the revised memory clock speeds.

how to enable xmp 1 5

Frequently asked questions about XMP

What is XMP

XMP (Extreme Memory Profiles) are tested and predefined profiles as opposed to manual overclocking memory which requires fiddling with the frequencies, voltages, and timings. An extension to the standard JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) specifications, XMP was developed by Intel to make overclocking easier and more accessible.

Does all memory have XMP

XMP is supported by all modern high-end memory but manufacturers also have lower-grade memory modules that rely exclusively on JEDEC profiles, which is an open industry standard. To manufacture memory with XMP a special certification is required from Intel which in some cases makes little to no sense for some manufacturers. Notably, it is the system integrators that rely on memory with only JEDEC rather than XMP. So in simple words, the answer is, no. Not all memory support XMP, hence it is advised to check the full specifications of your memory and motherboard on the manufacturer’s website before making a new purchase.

Should you enable XMP?

If your motherboard and memory both support XMP, you should enable this feature. It allows for the memory to run at the intended clock speeds, which means you can squeeze out the best performance. Since XMP is advertised by Intel as a safe way to overclock your memory, it should not harm your system in any way. Having said that, running your memory at its factory settings is perfectly fine as enabling XMP is not mandatory.

Can XMP damage the CPU

XMP is a simple way to overclock your memory which is done by typically increasing the voltage beyond the standard ratings, typically going up from 1.35V to 1.5V. Since the memory controller is a part of the CPU increasing voltage on the memory also has an effect on the CPU. Changes in voltages can cause system instability, which can easily be fixed by going back to the original settings in the BIOS. If you do end up damaging your system, especially the CPU due to an overclock, it is not something that is covered under warranty. Intel had mentioned during a press briefing of its Rocket Lake chipsets that, “XMP is classified as overclocking, so memory overclocking would fall under that same umbrella.”

You don’t have to worry all that much though, as the risks involved are very low when moving from stock clock speeds to XMP.

Editors' Recommendations

Overclocker smashes RAM speed record, hits 5GHz with G.Skill memory and MSI motherboard
msi gskill hits 5ghz memory overclock g skill trident z

G.Skill and MSI are currently boasting that the 5GHz DDR4 memory clock speed is no longer an unbreakable barrier, as Taiwanese overclocking expert Toppc managed to smash through the limit by using MSI’s Z170I Gaming Pro AC motherboard and a Trident Z Series DDR4 memory chip supplied by G.Skill. Thanks to this combination, Toppc not only achieved the world’s first DDR4-5000 record, but the highest clock speed for memory ever thus far.

"We are extremely excited to achieve this great milestone together with Samsung components and MSI motherboard,” says Tequila Huang, Corporate Vice President and Director of R&D, G.SKILL International.  “We will continually push hardware performance to the limits and provide enthusiasts with even more advanced products."

Read more
How much RAM does your gaming PC need? Maybe just 4GB, according to new test
1110383 autosave v1 2 ram

One of the more controversial pieces of advice I’ve published in guides at Digital Trends is the notion that you need less RAM than you think. We’ve written that 8GB is the sweet spot, and that even a gaming PC will have no issue with that amount. I said the same during a recent Computer America appearance, where the hosts wondered what their listeners should focus on when buying a PC.

This view is based on years of experience testing computers and computer hardware. After benchmarking a few PCs, it becomes quite obvious that RAM has far less impact than most people think. Yet it’s always nice to see another bit of evidence pop up to support this view, and that’s exactly what TechSpot has published.

Read more
Better, faster, smaller: How Resistive RAM could change storage forever
resistive ram how it could change storage forever crossbar rram design

What if we told you that a terabyte of data can fit on something the size of a postage stamp? You'd think we're crazy, right? Well, California-based startup Crossbar has done just that. The company revealed plans for storage chips that will be able to pack in a terabyte worth of data in a tiny space thanks to resistive RAM (RRAM). It would essentially replace NAND flash memory, which is the current standard in the gadget industry, and pretty much all smartphones and tablets use it. However, not very many people know about RRAM and how it works, and in order to understand Crossbar's intentions to replace NAND, we should know the differences between the two different types of memory.
What is RRAM?
Crossbar boasts that its RRAM storage solution is capable of storing up to 1TB of data on a single chip, thanks to the ability of "3D-stacking" multiple cells in different configurations in order to save space while still upping the storage limits. All of this can fit into a tight, tiny space, which could then fit into mobile devices. The company also says that the new chip technology consumes less energy (approximately 20 times less), extending battery life in devices “to weeks, months, or years.”
Speed wise, Crossbar claims that RRAM has a write speed that’s 20 times faster than NAND memory (around 140MB/s, compared to 7MB/s with NAND), and is 10 times more reliable as well, noting that it “approaches DRAM reliability” levels. Read speeds are said to be around 17MB/s.

What's so special about RRAM?
For starters, unlike other types of RAM, RRAM is non-volatile, meaning that it can keep and store data even if the power is cut off to it. Volatile memory (like the DDR RAM in your computer) can only store data up until a certain point, like when the power is cut off. This is why you lose information when your computer suddenly shuts down. Of course, NAND memory is also non-volatile, and both of them are able to store data permanently. 
However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. RRAM uses a different method to store data, by creating different levels of electrical resistance using ions (charged atoms), rather than electrons that create electrical charges in order to store bits of data (hence the name “resistive RAM”). This means that RRAM requires less energy to operate and leaves room for a greater number of write cycles for a longer lifespan, depending on the components being used. With the ability for high and low levels of resistance, this allows RRAM to store different values on the chip to make up bits of data.

Read more