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Can I use 32GB 2400MHz (XMP) RAM with an i7-4790K on an Asus Z97-P board?

FoxGemini
Novice
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Hello!

I hope someone can help/advise/reassure me with regard to upgrading the RAM in my pc, which is getting on a bit now but is in excellent working order.

I want to add more RAM to take it up to its maximum capacity of 32GB, but due to the age of my motherboard and processor, I'm unable to get the same or equivalent Kingston RAM that I already have: 1 x 8GB of Kingston Hyper X Beast Dual channel DDR3 2133MHz XMP (KHX2133C11D3/8GX).

 

I can get a kit of 4 x 8GB Kingston HyperX Beast Dual channel DDR3 2400MHz XMP (KHX24C11T3K4/32X), but Asus told me that the RAM isn't compatible (it's not on the QVL for the motherboard) and the higher frequency could make my system unstable.

 

According to my motherboard manual, it will accept up to 3200MHz OC RAM and I know the i7-4790K is able to handle higher memory speeds than the defaults of 1333MHz and 1600MHz, so as I understand it, I should be able to use 2400Mz through enabling XMP, but I am concerned that the RAM won't actually run at 2400MHz or, as Asus suggested, I could end up making my machine have a meltdown.

 

According to the RAM spec sheet, the second XMP profile will use the following timing parameter: D3-2133 CL11-13-13 @1.60V, so would I be right in thinking that this would be pretty much the same if I had 32GB  of 2133MHz instead of the 2400MHz?

 

The software I use is AutoCAD Lt, SketchUp Pro, V-Ray for SketchUp, Affinity Creative Suite which includes Photo, Publishing and Graphic Design; and MS Office.

I do not game but I do 3D modelling of interiors so upgrading the RAM will improve the overall performance of my machine and speed up my workflow.

 

I am not in a position to upgrade my machine yet so if I can extend its life for another year or two and bring it up to the recommended specs for the software, that would be the ideal outcome.

None of my hardware is supported any more so I'm not worried about voiding warranties, I'm just out of my comfort zone when it comes to overclocking so I would very grateful for any feedback to help me decide whether or not to buy the 32GB 2400MHz.

 

System info and RAM spec sheet attached.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
1,272 Views

Everything that you have been told is true. You are not going to have much luck installing 2400GHz memory in this system. If it does work initially, there is no guarantee that it will continue to work. I personally haven't seen anything beyond 1866GHz being supported reliably. Whether your motherboard can support these DIMMs - and how it will support these DIMMs if they can be used - depends upon the capabilities of the BIOS on your motherboard. Only the board manufacturer can answer any questions regarding what their BIOS can support reliably.

Hope this helps,

...S

P.S. Just a reminder, using XMP protocols that take the processor beyond is maximum rated memory bus clock speed is considered a form of overclocking and could void your warranty... Wait, you don't have a warranty; it is long expired anyway. Well, you are on your own here.

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
1,273 Views

Everything that you have been told is true. You are not going to have much luck installing 2400GHz memory in this system. If it does work initially, there is no guarantee that it will continue to work. I personally haven't seen anything beyond 1866GHz being supported reliably. Whether your motherboard can support these DIMMs - and how it will support these DIMMs if they can be used - depends upon the capabilities of the BIOS on your motherboard. Only the board manufacturer can answer any questions regarding what their BIOS can support reliably.

Hope this helps,

...S

P.S. Just a reminder, using XMP protocols that take the processor beyond is maximum rated memory bus clock speed is considered a form of overclocking and could void your warranty... Wait, you don't have a warranty; it is long expired anyway. Well, you are on your own here.

FoxGemini
Novice
1,260 Views

Thanks for your answer.

 

This is what Asus support told me in response to my asking them about RAM compatibility with my motherboard:

Regarding RAM, if it is not on the QVL this means it is not compatible. It may still work, but I wouldn't have confidence in it to last. XMP profiles are pre-determined by the RAM company as a should be safe to use overclock to use. However overclocks in general can cause instability issues and degrade the component at a faster rate over time.

 

So you are spot on there. 

I didn’t ask Asus support about the BIOS but I have found a whole section in the motherboard manual that relates to BIOS management which I have attached.  I've also added a couple of pages from the manual that gives details of the memory the board will accept.

 

On page 2-21, I've hi-lighted an item that relates to DRAM frequency. As I'm out of my depth here, is this the information that will tell me whether the motherboard supports the DIMMs I'm considering getting?

Unfortunately, I don't understand what you mean when you say "how it will support these DIMMs", so I would be grateful if you can dumb this down a bit for me.

 

Every day is a school day and I've been learning quite a bit in the last few weeks about hardware components and how they work.

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FoxGemini
Novice
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I've just been looking at Asus' support website for my board and CPU combo and I may not have the latest version of the BIOS. 

It says "if your BIOS version is smaller than the version listed above, then you will need to select and download the latest BIOS to update your system."

My BIOS is version 2803 but the latest BIOS for my board is 2907. 

I've downloaded the file but it's a CAP file so I haven't a clue what to do now.

How important is it that I have the latest version of the BIOS?

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
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That's a BIOS Update CAPsule file. To install a CAP file, first copy the file onto a formatted USB flash drive. You can then, in your case, use the ASUS EZ Flash utility (built into the ASUS BIOS firmware) to load the BIOS update. For other board manufacturers, there should be a similar capability in the BIOS firmware for loading the BIOS update.

Hope this helps,

...S

FoxGemini
Novice
1,199 Views

Thanks for confirming.  I read the manual and have copied the BIOS file onto a usb stick. It helps to know I’m on the right track.

I’ve been backing up my files as a precaution and will create a system restore point before I do the update but am wondering whether that’ll make any difference in this situation, should I have a problem.

Is it possible to make a backup of the current BIOS in case it goes wrong?

How likely is it to go wrong?

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
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I have no idea whether Asus offers a way to backup the firmware hub. Go into BIOS Setup and see if they offer this capability in the EZ Flash utility.

...S

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FoxGemini
Novice
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In Advanced Settings, there's a Tools Menu which allows you to save up to 8 overclocking profiles so I called one "Original Bios" and saved it. I tried to save it to a USB stick but I don't think it worked, however I have definitely saved the current BIOS settings. 

 

I took your advice and went back to Asus with regard to whether or not the motherboard and BIOS can support the DIMMS I'm looking at getting and it comes down to the fact that the 2400MHz Kingston RAM I was looking at buying isn't on the QVL, so it isn't supported as such.

There is no guarantee that it will work anyway, and not necessarily at 2400MHz either. The only way I'll know is to try it and experiment with the frequency and voltage and see what happens.

 

I have managed to hunt down a kit of 4 x 8GB 2133MHz XMP Kingston RAM, which is on the QVL and is the same part number as the 1 stick of 8GB I currently have in my machine. I know that this memory works well and is supported in the BIOS so once it's delivered, I'll see how my pc runs with all 4 modules populated.

 

Asus said if I have any problems or my pc doesn't work as it should, to update the BIOS.  

The BIOS version I downloaded from Asus yesterday is for "improved system compatibility" and is the 3rd BIOS update released since the one I have. 

I'm taking the optimistic view that once the new RAM is installed, the BIOS will detect and use the correct speed without me having to fiddle with anything.

 

Thanks for your advice so far; it's helped me to grips (more or less) with matters that are less intimidating now than they were when I first posted my question.

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