​How to set up new computer RAM memory after installing it 2017

A simple guide on installing memory ram using SPD, JEDEC and XMP when performing a ram upgrade using ram sticks and upgrading pcram and ram for computer.

Most people can figure out how to install RAM sticks into their computer. If you don’t there’s a tutorial here. In short, make sure everything is off and then install the sticks to take advantage of the multiple channels on offer. Your motherboard manual will tell you which slots to put the sticks in to do this. The reason is simply that two sticks operating along two channels is faster than two sticks operating along the same channel. That’s all.

But once it’s plugged in, then what?

SDP, JEDEC, XMP and WTF?

Well you can just leave it and it should work thanks to complex-sounding acronyms provided by JEDEC called SDP. But all this means is that memory association, JEDEC, designed a standard called Serial Presence Detect (SPD), which tells every modern computer which settings freshly-installed memory should use by default.

But if you’ve spent money on some fancy, fast memory then you need to activate one setting to get it running at its optimum levels – not default levels. We’re not talking about complex overclocking here but there’s no point buying a Ferrari and only driving it around in second gear. The setting is called XMP and it stands for Xtreme Memory Profile. It offers more-sophisticated memory tuning than the general, default SPD values. Every RAM stick has its own timing and voltage values and you can see them on the side of each stick (memory kits should have the same settings which is why it’s not a great idea to install different kits – they’ll likely have different settings - although you can set the timings to match, manually.

You can see the recommended timings and voltage of a memory kit on the side of these Corsair Dominator RAM sticks. You could enter all this manually or simply select XMP Profile 1 on the motherboard BIOS/UEFI settings.
You can see the recommended timings and voltage of a memory kit on the side of these Corsair Dominator RAM sticks. You could enter all this manually or simply select XMP Profile 1 on the motherboard BIOS/UEFI settings.

Of course you could enter them all manually, but there’s no need to do that…

With XMP disabled our Corsair Vengeance RAM runs at a default 2133MHz.
With XMP disabled our Corsair Vengeance RAM runs at a default 2133MHz.
With XMP enabled the Corsair Vengeance RAM now runs at the 2400MHz that is on the label.
With XMP enabled the Corsair Vengeance RAM now runs at the 2400MHz that is on the label.

How to set up computer memory

If you’ve a recent motherboard and fancy new RAM then it will come with an XMP profile. This is different to the older SPD standard JEDEC profile which assigns default speeds to certain types of RAM. An XMP profile will get it running at higher speeds than default.

First, enter your motherboard’s BIOS and look for XMP - it is usually set to off or disabled by default. Simply change this setting to Profile 1. That’s all you need to do.

XMP is usually disabled by default. Turn it on to get the best out of your RAM sticks.
XMP is usually disabled by default. Turn it on to get the best out of your RAM sticks.

If you’re a curious type, you can look at the memory settings, timings and voltages in the BIOS and see that they now match the labels on the side of the RAM sticks. You can also see these settings listed in the program called CPU-z under the Memory tab.

Some people manually tinker with these settings to get even more speed appearing – a process called overclocking - but do not do this if you don’t know what you’re doing as you could break your computer. Manual tweaks like this only show up in specialist, synthetic benchmarks anyway (there’s rarely any real world difference) and overclockers only do this to compete with each other.

The results

Here's a screen from the MaxxMem benchmark which shows the performance boost gained from switching between SPD timings and XMP settings:-

While you won't see big differences in the real world, simply switching from default (SPD) memory settings (left) to optimised (XMP) settings (right) will bring you some gains as you can see with this Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM.
While you won't see big differences in the real world, simply switching from default (SPD) memory settings (left) to optimised (XMP) settings (right) will bring you some gains as you can see with this Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM.

[Related: AMD Ryzen review: Which CPU is best: Intel or AMD?]
[Related: Ryzen works with XMP memory profiles]
[Related:
Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen motherboard review]

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags corsairtutorialPCCrucialTutorialsDDRHow toGSkillmemorymemory upgraderamDDR4 memory

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Nick Ross
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?