Will Current Performance Memory Kill New Intel Core i7 CPUs?

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What The Memory Companies Say

I contacted Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, Mushkin, OCZ and Super Talent to see if they would anwer this one question:

Intel says this about memory on Core i7 platforms:

The Core i7 processor supports memory rated up to 1.6 V.  Memory rated above 1.6 V can damage the processor.  As always, work closely with your preferred memory partners on your testing and their BKMs on testing/overclocking.  And as always, our official position on overclocking is that “running products out of spec is always at the risk of the end user.”

What is your stance on Core i7 and DDR3 voltages as most high performance DDR3 memory kits require voltages of more than 1.6V?

This is what the memory companies said on the record for us.

Corsair Memory:Our Nehalem parts are designed to run at 1.65V or below, except perhaps for ultra-overclocked parts. We have run parts at higher voltages without issue and have contacted Intel for further guidance on this. 

Crucial Memory: We really can’t comment on Intel’s unreleased specifications. We have a long standing history of working closely with Intel, as well as having early availability of memory products that support new and emerging platforms. To ensure that a system can run at standard voltages and timings, our Ballistix DDR3 modules also include a JEDEC memory profile, and our Crucial branded DDR3 have always conformed to the JEDEC standards.

Kingston Technology: Kingston will be supporting a number of DDR3 triple channel kits for the launch. Our ValueRAM modules have already passed validation at Intel. We will release triple channel HyperX kits soon to support the suggested voltage limit. We expect our K3 (kits of three) to be popular for both mainstream and gaming customers.

Mushkin Memory:  Unfortunately I can’t comment on this until release. I can tell you that our support staff will be available after launch to assist customers with information on how to safely setup and extract maximum performance from our existing memory products.

OCZ Memory: Basically instead of binning chips for speed now…we bin for voltage.  Obviously this means the x58 triple channel kits we release won’t be high speed. Our first releases will be 1333MHz.

Super Talent: 1.6V won’t be a problem for standard DDR3-1600 modules. But it will be difficult or impossible to reach top clock speeds (1800+) without increasing the memory voltage. We don’t currently offer any DDR3 kits that can reach DDR3-1800 with less than 1.8V

Corsair Triple Channel Memory Kit

All of the memory companies we talked to informed me that they will have triple channel memory kits ready when the platform would launch, but none would give a specific date when this would happen.  I also didn’t find one company that hurt or ruined a processor by running higher than 1.65V on the memory kits, and a good number of the above memory companies said they are testing at voltages above 1.65V. What does this mean to enthusiasts and gamers around the world?  It means that everything is fine and that these new triple channel memory kits are going to be the right choice for an Intel X58 Express platform.  If triple channel memory is going to give you 38Gbps of throughput, who is going to want to run a dual channel kit anyway! Memory voltage settings will need to be monitored more closely since the memory controller is integrated in the processor, but that is something AMD enthusiasts have been working with for years.  Nothing to see here folks, move on and wait till these platforms launch!

Legit Bottom Line:  Increasing the voltages higher on any motherboard beyond the suggest ratings will put your hardware at risk, but I have yet to find a memory company who has lost a processor when developing high performance triple channel memory kits.

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