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Can higher than specified volts cause RAM instability?

post #1 of 6
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I have 4x4 Gb 1333 MHz CL9 "valueRAM" sticks rated at 1.5V - but it seems my system is a bit unstable running at the sticks at the 6.66x (that should result in 1333 MHz). It's fairly stable running at x4 (the lowest multi possible on my mobo).

Now I'm running my RAM at 1.575 V which is practically neglible overvolt. Just wondering if anyone know or has some experience if giving RAM more volts than they are specced can cause instability ? Or should I look elsewhere for culprit of the mild instability. I have plenty of these around, mild OC on GFX card, mild OC on CPU, a bit OC on northbridge, possible driver issues or even just a bit shaky RAM stick perhaps even if they pass the windows RAM test without problems.

What do you guys usually use for testing the RAM stability ?
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post #2 of 6
i think you can use prime95 for memory stability.
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post #3 of 6
If you're running higher than 1.5V on your generic memory, you should proceed to RMA.
Generic memory is never specced to run more than 1.5V unless you have a kit with really bad binning.

It is likely, however, that the problem would be solved not by increasing DRAM voltage but slightly increasing CPU-NB voltage to account for 4 DIMM operation.

Plus using generic memory will basically make it impossible for you to reach 4Ghz. At 286-300 bus clock for 4Ghz, you need DDR3-1600.

SuperPi @ 32M is a good measurement for RAM stability.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanx, I'll give it a try with increased CPU-NB volts instead.

4 GHz was doable even with generic RAM (had 4x 2 Gb PC3-8500 CL7 before these sticks), just had to go manual timings and play around with these. Switching to lower multi and loosing up the timings helped with stability.

I have tuned down to 3,5 GHz for now though as I switched to smaller cooler and this one cant take 4GHz on all cores.
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post #5 of 6
Higher voltage can cause instability in some cases. Some ICs do not like more voltage. Even for those that normally respond well, sometimes the heat the voltage produces makes stability worse.

With a large amount of memory, more voltage is sometimes needed to counter droop, or to avoid having to loosen certain timings. Other times, more voltage just exacerbates heat issues.

I use Prime95 blend (custom memory amount), LinX, and HCI Memtest for Windows (one instance per logical CPU core), to test my memory.
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post #6 of 6
I might note that if you have your bus clock higher than normal, the memory would not be running 1333Mhz at x6.66.
There are actually some kits that have voltage sweet spots, i.e. G.Skill ECO. Above 1.55-1.6V usually results in no gain or worse stability.
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