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Hardware Hacking Intel Build

Overclocked Memory Breaks Core i7 CPUs 267

Posted by kdawson
from the chip-has-potential dept.
arcticstoat writes "Overclockers looking to bolster their new Nehalem CPUs with overclocked memory may be disappointed. Intel is telling motherboard manufacturers not to encourage people to push the voltage of their DIMMs beyond 1.65V, as anything higher could damage the CPU. This will come as a blow to owners of enthusiast memory, such as Corsair's 2.133MHz DDR3 Dominator RAM, which needs 2V to run at its full speed with 9-9-9-24 timings."
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Overclocked Memory Breaks Core i7 CPUs

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  • by lymond01 (314120) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @04:45PM (#25291597)

    This will come as a blow to owners of enthusiast memory, such as Corsair's 2.133MHz DDR3 Dominator RAM, which needs 2V to run at its full speed with 9-9-9-24 timings."

    I'll just stick to the mathematics of quantum field theory. Kids these days and their crazy machines!

    When we asked Pooh what the opposite of an Introduction was, he said "The what of a what?" which didn't help us as much as we had hoped...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Mathematics of wanton burrito meals?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jarik_Tentsu (1065748)

      [quote]such as Corsair's 2.133MHz DDR3 Dominator RAM, which needs 2V to run at its full speed with 9-9-9-24 timings."[/quote]

      Please forgive me if I'm missing something...but isn't that RAM well, not great?

      Various benchmark tests on the web show that RAM running at anything more than a 1:1 ratio (well, 2:1 if you consider that it's Double Data *Rate*) with the FSB doesn't increase performance at all. At this point, timings become important.

      But 9-9-9-24 is pretty bad right? Lower is better right? For $90AUD I

  • So what? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dynedain (141758)

    Warning, pushing your components beyond their ratings may damage them!

    Wow, never knew that overclocking might be problematic, guess I shouldn't have ignored all those warnings by the manufacturer, the system bios, the warranty pamphlets, the packaging....

  • Not news (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoctorDyna (828525) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @04:47PM (#25291633)
    Since when has a manufacturer said "Yes, over-volt the shit out of our part, it will be fine."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kirys (662749)

      Well the downsizing of the cpu transistors make them "faster" but also more fragile.

      To be more specific overvolting is not a problem for the transistor itself but it is a problem for the interconnections due to the effect of Electromigration http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromigration [wikipedia.org].

      The interconnections of latest CPUS are so thin that +0.15 could mean a lifespan cut of 50% or more. While higher values could mean a lifespan of months instead of years!

      Its true that overclocking was always said to be a dan

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by crbowman (7970)

        Actually if you apply too much voltage to the gate of CMOS transistor you can exceed the breakdown voltage of the gate oxide which, as I recall, scales with oxide thickness which itself scale inversely with process node. So actually "overvolting" can be a problem for the transistors, although I admit I don't know if electromigration or oxide breakdown dominates as a failure mechanism given the minor voltage changes we are talking about here.

  • Overclocking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheFlannelAvenger (870106) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @04:47PM (#25291655)
    I understand the mindset, obligatory car analogy here, but it is not something I've ever done. Shopping for hardware has become a bit of a mine field lately, as most of the top tier motherboard and RAM manufacturers offer a *ton* of options for boosting the juice to various things all over the motherboard. They advertise this as a feature. I'm glad for those folks who like to go faster. It does make things a bit tricky having to check the RAM voltage, against what the motherboard can handle, and the processor will take, and hoping it all works. I'd like it if Asus and Gigabyte could maybe come up with a 'Get off my lawn!' series for us folks who like stock voltages, and wear onions on our belts.
    • ...and wear onions on our belts.

      ...mmm, onions...

    • by Knara (9377)

      I'd like it if Asus and Gigabyte could maybe come up with a 'Get off my lawn!' series for us folks who like stock voltages, and wear onions on our belts

      Well, that was the fashion in those days.

      As an answer to your question, though, I've taken to spending a little more money to get actual Intel boards for their CPUs and then buy RAM as inexpensively as possible along with a dead-midrange graphics card. The retail Intel desktop boards have very little in terms of whizbang features, but manage to be very solid performers.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @04:47PM (#25291659) Homepage Journal
    Have you ever tried booting some of this memory with the default timings on a motherboard to find it will not boot with overvolting? I bought 8gb of OCZ memory this summer and could not get my system to boot till I took out some other memory from a Dell my company gave me and overvolted that memory in BIOS to 1.7 and than swapped in the 8gb OCZ. I should not have to do that, doesn't the memory specify what voltage it needs to run at; and if not, why not?
    • by Piranhaa (672441) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @05:02PM (#25291889)

      Yes and No. The JEDEC specifications say that DDR2 must be able to handle UP TO 2.3 volts before incurring any PERMANENT damage. However, 1.9v is considered the max when stability is of concern and anything over that is not guaranteed to work (properly).

      DDR3 is specified to work at 1.575v, but able to withstand up to 1.975v .. Again, no guarantees it will function properly, but (according to the standard) shouldn't fry it. Now, other factors do come into play such as less life, more heat generated, more power used, etc.

      The JEDEC specification is for memory modules. What Intel is saying is their processor will (likely) get damaged any more than 1.65v.

  • Out of Spec (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @04:50PM (#25291677)

    Considering that so many memory modules require running out of spec voltages to operate properly, while the Intel CPU requires voltages within spec, it would appear to me that the memory makers are turning out bad memory.

    Maybe instead of requiring users ramp voltages up to CPU damaging levels, they should fix their chips? Now that Intel has brought the memory controller into the CPU, that they have tighter tolerances for the voltages does not surprise me.

  • Granted, I do a bit of overclocking of my video card, and the processor, but I never screw with voltages. NEVER screw with voltages. That silicon has a tolerance range, but I've learned over the years that playing with voltage (Cyrix M-II processor, anyone?) is generally a bad idea.

    • by PitaBred (632671)

      Undervolting is nice in some cases. That's the only way I'll skew voltages. It keeps your fans from coming on as often because it doesn't get as hot, uses less power which is REALLY nice when running on battery in a laptop...

      But I agree, upping voltages to get things to go faster is just asking for trouble.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @04:52PM (#25291713) Journal
    I suppose this is a downside(although not a terribly upsetting one) of Intel's move to an on-die memory controller. Typically, CPUs are moved onto smaller and lower voltage processes more aggressively than are the northbridge and southbridge. It looks as though, in this case, that means that the CPU will impose substantially lower voltage limits on RAM than the northbridge used to.

    Given the boost that on-die memory controllers gave to AMD, back when they adopted them, I suspect that the tradeoff will still be worth it. On the other hand, I strongly suspect that there are going to be some very unhappy cries of "WTF! How could RAM voltage kill my CPU?" from adventuresome kiddies unfamiliar with the implications of this change. Warning stickers aren't going to deter them.
  • by Straterra (1045994) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @04:55PM (#25291771)
    "This will come as a blow to owners of enthusiast memory, such as Corsair's 2.133MHz DDR3 Dominator RAM, which needs 2V to run at its full speed with 9-9-9-24 timings." I think some one forgot to proof read. Either that or manufacturers are REALLY pushing the data width technology as opposed to clock speed...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Wow, that'll really pick up the processing power of my 2.0MHz i8080 processor! At that speed I probably won't even be able to see the data and address bus lights blinking on the front panel anymore!
  • by EEthan (1353209) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @05:08PM (#25291943)
    ... until somebody solders a crapload of diodes to their motherboard to drop each ram output line voltage by .7v.

    Bonus points if they're LEDs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zero__Kelvin (151819)
      I think you overclocked your cognitive processor!

      Armed with the knowledge that the PN junction voltage drop of a Diode is 0.7v, and either no forethought, or no knowledge beyond that at all in the hardware domain, you have managed to make a very absurd statement (no offense.)

      I'm not going to get into the myriad ways that this is absurd and impossible, but lets start (and end) with the fact that you can't just start soldering things on a board when things are clocked in the Gigahertz range from a theoretic
      • I'm not going to get into the myriad ways that this is absurd and impossible

        Ehm, and since when has that stopped the casemodder and overclocker crowd? Note that he never said that such a setup would actually work. He only said that somebody will be stupid enough to try it...

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @05:15PM (#25292019)

    Intel can't do split volts on the cpu and ram like amd boards and older Intel boards can do??

    Will any other stuff like this show up in QPI 2+ systems with the QPI bus?

  • 9-9-9-24 timings are "dominator" good? I thought 2-2-2-6 was good, with 5s being average and common. 9-9-9-24 sounds horrible in comparison.

    Not that I care, I'm just confused.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DavidKlemke (1048264)

      Back in the day of DDR1 you'd be right, but these days the timings on the RAM are much larger but this isn't necessairly a bad thing. DDR3 runs much faster then it's older brothers and so the actual latency times are quite comparable.

      The bigger numbers in timings mean a whole lot less when the clock is ticking that much faster :)

    • by Fweeky (41046)

      Like DDR2, DDR3 increases latencies to allow for higher clockrates:

      While the typical latencies for a JEDEC DDR2 device were 5-5-5-15, the standard latencies for the newer JEDEC DDR3 devices are 7-7-7-20 for DDR3-1066 and 7-7-7-24 for DDR3-1333.

      But remember these latencies are measured in clock cycles, so timing wise, these latencies are shorter; they just happen to have more clock ticks between them.

    • You're comparing DDR timings to DDR2/3 timings. I don't completely understand what changed (I run an older Opteron on DDR), but I do know that enough has changed that the two sets of numbers aren't comparable anymore.
  • DDR3 specs

    DDR3 modules can transfer data at the effective clock rate of 800â"1600 MHz (see here) [wikipedia.org]

    That means DDR3-1600 is the max speed as a standard.
    Anything faster than DDR3-1600 is already an overclocked memory by the memory manafacture.


    However, Nehalem supports up to DDR3-1333 only.

    Other features discussed include support for DDR3-800, 1066, and 1333 memory. (see here) [intel.com]

    As a hardware enthusiast (but not an overclocker), I would rather be using a DDR3-1600 memory.
    Understandably, the over

  • ... I forget what happened next.

  • That should be 2,133MHz by the way, not 2.133MHz. I don't think they've made 2MHz RAM for a long time!
  • Just wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Snook (872473) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:17AM (#25296687)

    A few months after the initial release of desktop i7 chips, they'll release a chip that can handle up to 2.0V DDR3 running at up to 2.4 GHz. The CPU will cost $1500, have an unlocked multiplier, and require a $300 motherboard, a $200 power supply, and a $100 cooling device to function with the out-of-spec enthusiast RAM. Gamers with more money than sense will eagerly shell out for it, and blame Nvidia's drivers when they only get an extra 1.3 FPS over JEDEC-compliant mainstream CPU/RAM configurations.

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