DDR4 Haswell-E Scaling Review: 2133 to 3200 with G.Skill, Corsair, ADATA and Crucialby Ian Cutress on February 5, 2015 10:10 AM EST
By default, memory should adhere to specifications set by JEDEC (formerly known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council). These specifications state what information should be stored in the memory EEPROM, such as manufacturer information, serial number, and other useful information. Part of this is the memory specifications for standard memory speedswhich a system will adhere to in the event of other information not being available. For DDR4, this means DDR4-2133 15-15-15 at 1.20 volts.
An XMP, or (Intel-developed) Extreme Memory Profile, is an additional set of values stored in the EEPROM which can be detected by SPD in the BIOS. Most DRAM has space for two additional SPD profiles, sometimes referred to as an ‘enthusiast’ and an ‘extreme’ profile; however most consumer oriented modules may only have one XMP profile. The XMP profile is typically the one advertised on the memory kit – if the capability of the memory deviates in any way from specified JEDEC timings, a manufacturer must use an XMP profile.
Thus it is important that the user enables such a profile! It is not plug and play!
As I have stated since reviewing memory, at big computing events and gaming LANs there are plenty of enthusiasts who boast about buying the best hardware for their system. If you ask what memory they are running, then actually probe the system (by using CPU-Z), more often than not the user after buying this expensive memory has not enabled XMP. It sounds like a joke story, but this happened several times at my last iSeries LAN in the UK – people boasting about high performance memory, but because they did not enable it in the BIOS, were still running at DDR3-1333 MHz C9.
So enable XMP with your memory!
Here is how for most motherboards except the ASUS X99-Deluxe, which uses an onboard XMP switch:
Step 1: Enter the BIOS
This is typically done by pressing DEL or F2 during POST/startup. Users who have enabled fast booting under Windows 8 will have to use motherboard vendor software to enable ‘Go2BIOS’ or a similar feature.
Step 2: Enable XMP
Depending on your motherboard manufacturer, this will be different. I have taken images from the major four motherboard manufacturers to show where the setting is on some of the latest X99 motherboard models.
On any ASUS X99 board, the setting is on the EZ-Mode screen. Where it says ‘XMP’ on the left, click on this button and navigate to ‘Profile 1’:
If you do not get an EZ mode (some ROG boards go straight to advanced mode), then the option is under the AI Tweaker tab, in the AI Overclock Tuner option, or you can navigate back to EZ mode.
For ASRock motherboards, depending on which model you have, navigate to OC Tweaker and scroll down to the DRAM Timing Configuration. Adjust the ‘Load XMP Setting’ option to Profile 1.
For GIGABYTE motherboards, press F2 to switch to classic mode and navigate to the MIT tab. From here, select Advanced Frequency Settings.
In this menu will be an option to enable XMP where this arrow is pointing:
Finally on MSI motherboards, we get a button right next to the OC Genie in the BIOS to enable XMP:
I understand that setting XMP may seem trivial to most of AnandTech’s regular readers, however for completeness (and the lack of XMP being enabled at events it seems) I wanted to include this mini-guide. Of course different BIOS versions on different motherboards may have moved the options around a little – either head to enthusiast forums, or if it is a motherboard I have reviewed, I tend to post up all the screenshots of the BIOS I tested with as a guide.