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Performance RAM will damage your Nehalem

Updated Time for a DDR3 re-design, innit?
Fri Oct 03 2008, 12:58

WE GOT WORD that Intel is adivising mobo-makers and memory vendors alike about their new X58+Core i7 combo and to abide to a strict 1.65V limit on memory voltages, beyond which there is the risk of burning out the CPU.

The info first tipped up on the XFastest forums where the admin posted several photos of an Asus P6T Deluxe (retail-packed) mobo including one of a big sticker over the DIMM slots motherboard warning that anything over 1.65V will fry the CPU.

The DDR3 JEDEC specification is well within limits of this, however, starting off at 1.5V, but as Intel’s CPUs have made for such great overclockers, memory vendors have ever so happily catered to the enthusiast crowd with faster, higher-powered memory kit. You’ve got plenty of examples, OCZ Reaper PC3-14400 operates at 1.9V, Mushkin’s XP Series uses 1.9-1.95V, Corsair’s Dominator high-end takes you all the way up to 2.1V…

Asus' staff has been busy in meetings so we rang up several memory vendors here in €uroland, and considering it’s a public holiday in Germany, they were more than helpful.

Mushkin’s VP Steffen Eisenstein said that they are re-designing specifically for the X58/Core i7 combo, and that their kit should be out some time next month… in Tri-Channel packs. Other memory vendors across the globe are claiming their kits are still undergoing certification with motherboard vendors so they still don’t know whether they qualify or not.

We’re still waiting for Intel to explain why the memory voltage will burn the CPU, but pressing F9 in Outlook and constantly checking our phones isn’t making things any faster.

It looks like the DDR3 IC and memory vendors will have to go back to the drawing board if they are to create enthusiast-grade performance levels for Nehalem. If you want to get a Core i7 as soon as it hits the market, make sure you have the memory kit to go with it. You’ll have to underclock your kit to more reasonable (power compliant) settings in the meantime. µ

Update: Asus called us back and confirmed the limitation on the RAM voltages. They are currently running a 1.7V kit in their UK office, but beyond that, you're on your own.


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