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Intel Core i7 CPUs and DDR3 Memories

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MattSlagle View Drop Down
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  Quote MattSlagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Intel Core i7 CPUs and DDR3 Memories
    Posted: 13 Feb 2009 at 3:18pm

Intel Core i7 CPUs and DDR3 Memories


Instead of having the memory controllers on the motherboard via the northbridge, Intel has now put the memory controller directly in the CPU.  This now means that what memory you can use and at what speeds is now controlled by the CPU you select.


The following lists what memory is compatible for each CPU.  Please be aware that we can reach higher speeds by overclocking.

  • Intel 920 - DDR3 memories up to 1066 MHz

  • Intel 940 - DDR3 memories up to 1066 MHz

  • Intel 965 - DDR3 memories up to 1600 MHz

Link for official statement on this http://compare.intel.com/pcc/showchart.aspx?mmID=38497,37586,37582&familyID=1&culture=en-US

Intel also recommends using only a single DIMM per channel when using 1600+ MHz or Intel XMP memories.  Using more than 1 DIMM (6+ GB) can cause the system to be unstable.  This is accordance with the Intel XMP spec documentation found here.

Edited by MattSlagle - 13 Feb 2009 at 5:12pm
Matt Slagle
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David Ellis View Drop Down
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Joined: 20 Feb 2010
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  Quote David Ellis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2010 at 4:06pm
The official Intel processor spec seems to limit the Core i7 965 processor to supporting DDR3 memories up to 1066 MHz, not 1600 MHz.  It also states that the Core i7 860 and 870 processors are compatible with DDR3 memories up to 1333 MHz.  (As stated, DIMMs with higher memory speeds may be used by overclocking, but these configurations are not necessarily supported by Intel.)

The Intel XMP document (http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/whitepaper/319124.pdf) addresses overclocking for specific chipsets.  As of January 2009, when this paper was written, only the X48 Express chipset was listed as validated for Intel XMP memory modules.  Is there any more recent guidance for the P55 and X58 chipsets used by Intel Core i7 processors?
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