Did I Miss the Bus?


The maximum supported bus speed on an Intel P55 motherboard is 1,333MHz, right? So I figured it would not be necessary to buy RAM that clocks beyond 1,333MHz. However, if I plan to overclock my memory, is it best to buy RAM rated for higher clock speeds, or does it not matter?

—Dany Nelson

Actually, the Core i7/i5/i3 CPUs do not have a traditional front-side bus like the older Core 2 and Pentium 4 CPUs. Rather, they feature a base clock that is somewhat similar to the front-side bus, and which is used to overclock the CPU. On the P55 chipset and Core ix CPUs, you can overclock the RAM to higher levels without having to bump up the 133MHz base clock—thus, not overclocking the CPU. So you could actually run DDR3/1600 or higher if you wanted to. If you do plan to overclock your RAM, you probably should buy RAM that has been qualified to run at higher clocks, so DDR3/1600 instead of DDR3/1333. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t get much real-world performance by pushing the RAM to very high clocks, so you might not even want to bother.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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