Question RAM Upgrade Help

Aegis91

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My current PC build is this: https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/list/QXR2fv and I was interested in optimizing my RAM speed.

It's an older build, but I was curious if my BIOS was set up correctly (I think this was the default):
View: https://imgur.com/a/MRQHLEQ


After doing preliminary research, I have read that anything over 2800mHz for 1.2v was bad.

I ran the memtest86 and received no errors. However, admittedly, I don't know how RAM overclock works. Do I simply enable XMP 2.0 profile 1, put the RAM voltage to 3000, incrementally increase the voltage, run memtest86 (get no errors hopefully), try a game (get no errors hopefully) ?
 
Last edited:

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
If you are not trying to manually overclock the memory, you shouldn't need to do anything other than enable XMP unless you encounter problems.

The first thing to do is make SURE you have the latest motherboard BIOS version installed. This is even more critical than on most platforms in your case because 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen platforms had a LOT of memory compatibility and configuration problems.

What is the current motherboard BIOS version?

You may not be able to run it at 3000mhz which is the XMP speed, because 2nd gen Ryzen doesn't really like that speed. For the most part it was difficult to get those systems to run at higher than 2933mhz without running memory that used Samsung B-die equipped memory modules, and for most people who could they had to jump up to 3200mhz. I've seen a few able to run at 3000mhz but not many, especially not until late in the generations cycle when newer BIOS versions improved compatibility somewhat.

For anything higher than 2666 mhz on DDR4 I'd recommend running the memory at 1.35v UNLESS the advertised XMP speed shows higher than that WITH a lower voltage. For most DDR4 kits it will be 1.35v if it is over 2666 mhz. But, you should find what the advertised voltage is for the XMP profile of the specific kit you are working with and use that as your baseline if you are configured at or near the XMP profile speed. For speeds lower than 2933mhz you are USUALLY pretty safe with 1.2v unless the kit's specifications say differently.
 
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Aegis91

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If you are not trying to manually overclock the memory, you shouldn't need to do anything other than enable XMP unless you encounter problems.

The first thing to do is make SURE you have the latest motherboard BIOS version installed. This is even more critical than on most platforms in your case because 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen platforms had a LOT of memory compatibility and configuration problems.

What is the current motherboard BIOS version?

You may not be able to run it at 3000mhz which is the XMP speed, because 2nd gen Ryzen doesn't really like that speed. For the most part it was difficult to get those systems to run at higher than 2933mhz without running memory that used Samsung B-die equipped memory modules, and for most people who could they had to jump up to 3200mhz. I've seen a few able to run at 3000mhz but not many, especially not until late in the generations cycle when newer BIOS versions improved compatibility somewhat.

For anything higher than 2666 mhz on DDR4 I'd recommend running the memory at 1.35v UNLESS the advertised XMP speed shows higher than that WITH a lower voltage. For most DDR4 kits it will be 1.35v if it is over 2666 mhz. But, you should find what the advertised voltage is for the XMP profile of the specific kit you are working with and use that as your baseline if you are configured at or near the XMP profile speed. For speeds lower than 2933mhz you are USUALLY pretty safe with 1.2v unless the kit's specifications say differently.
Thanks for the advice.

I am probably going to upgrade my CPU to a Ryzen 5 5600. But even then, my RAM is running at 2933mhz. So going up to the max of my RAM (3000mhz) is probably not worth it.

Bios version is american megatrends bios inc. P2.20, 3/4/2019.

From your post, are my settings OK? I believe this was the default (is there a way to reset the bios to default settings to make sure this is the default?) Again, after running memtest86, I got no errors.

Edit: looking at my CPU (Ryzen 5 2600), it says it can handle to up 2933mhz as the max memory (I assume this is before overclocking). So I imagine this is the default settings.
 
Last edited:

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
There are 13 newer BIOS versions than what you have installed, available for your motherboard. You do not need to incrementally install each of them, but there are a few steps/hoops you need to jump through on the way to the latest release.

First, you need to make sure you have AMD all in 1 with VGA driver ver:18.50.16.01_WHQL or newer installed first. So, I'd just go to the AMD website and make sure you have the latest AMD all in 1 driver installed which should include both the latest chipset and graphics driver for your AMD motherboard and graphics card.

Then, update to version 3.1 here: https://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/B450M-HDV R4.0/index.asp#BIOS


Do NOT update to a version newer than 3.1 while you are using that Pinnacle ridge CPU. IF and WHEN you update to the newer Ryzen 5 5600 you will need to THEN at that time update to version 7.4 but be aware that when you do you will need to update to that version and then immediately afterwards shut down and install your new CPU because otherwise you are going to get nothing since your Pinnacle ridge CPU will no longer be supported. There is no BIOS version for that motherboard that supports both the Ryzen 5600 and your Ryzen 2600. It is one or the other.

So for now though, I would recommend you do as I listed above, to update to 3.1. Then, when you have updated, go back into the BIOS, switch to Advanced Mode, enable XMP, reconfigure any other custom settings you need to like fan profile presets or custom curves etc., then save settings on the exit tab and exit the BIOS. Upon restart go back into the BIOS and verify that XMP is enabled.

If in the end you are unable to enable XMP, then at the very least if it is running at 2933mhz I would manually set the DRAM voltage to 1.35v, save settings and exit BIOS.

As far as what the "CPU can handle", generally that is not the qualifying factor. It is usually the motherboard that defines what speed the memory can run at HOWEVER, on some platforms even a given motherboard may only support certain memory speeds based on which CPU is installed but it will be the motherboard's product specifications that will tell you that, not the CPUs.

If you update to a newer BIOS version it will automatically reset your settings in most cases, but it can't hurt to load the default or optimal default settings on the Exit tab in the BIOS to be sure you are starting from scratch after you update. Then restart, then go back in and enable XMP and custom settings, then restart and go back in and verify it is showing XMP enabled. Then double check in Windows using HWinfo or CPU-Z.
 

Aegis91

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Feb 7, 2015
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There are 13 newer BIOS versions than what you have installed, available for your motherboard. You do not need to incrementally install each of them, but there are a few steps/hoops you need to jump through on the way to the latest release.

First, you need to make sure you have AMD all in 1 with VGA driver ver:18.50.16.01_WHQL or newer installed first. So, I'd just go to the AMD website and make sure you have the latest AMD all in 1 driver installed which should include both the latest chipset and graphics driver for your AMD motherboard and graphics card.

Then, update to version 3.1 here: https://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/B450M-HDV R4.0/index.asp#BIOS


Do NOT update to a version newer than 3.1 while you are using that Pinnacle ridge CPU. IF and WHEN you update to the newer Ryzen 5 5600 you will need to THEN at that time update to version 7.4 but be aware that when you do you will need to update to that version and then immediately afterwards shut down and install your new CPU because otherwise you are going to get nothing since your Pinnacle ridge CPU will no longer be supported. There is no BIOS version for that motherboard that supports both the Ryzen 5600 and your Ryzen 2600. It is one or the other.

So for now though, I would recommend you do as I listed above, to update to 3.1. Then, when you have updated, go back into the BIOS, switch to Advanced Mode, enable XMP, reconfigure any other custom settings you need to like fan profile presets or custom curves etc., then save settings on the exit tab and exit the BIOS. Upon restart go back into the BIOS and verify that XMP is enabled.

If in the end you are unable to enable XMP, then at the very least if it is running at 2933mhz I would manually set the DRAM voltage to 1.35v, save settings and exit BIOS.

As far as what the "CPU can handle", generally that is not the qualifying factor. It is usually the motherboard that defines what speed the memory can run at HOWEVER, on some platforms even a given motherboard may only support certain memory speeds based on which CPU is installed but it will be the motherboard's product specifications that will tell you that, not the CPUs.

If you update to a newer BIOS version it will automatically reset your settings in most cases, but it can't hurt to load the default or optimal default settings on the Exit tab in the BIOS to be sure you are starting from scratch after you update. Then restart, then go back in and enable XMP and custom settings, then restart and go back in and verify it is showing XMP enabled. Then double check in Windows using HWinfo or CPU-Z.
Thanks for the detailed reply. Sorry, I am bit of a noob...

I updated to this "AMD Adrenalin Edition 22.5.1" yesterday, which I think updated the graphics software. When I try to install the WQHL driver, the 22.5.1 shows up as installed already. Is this the same (or contains) this "VGA driver ver:18.50.16.01_WHQL"?

I might hold off on updating to 3.1 just because I am probably going to get the new CPU soon (within two weeks). Looking at the site, to update to BIOS 7.4 doesn't need this WHQL driver.

I was able to reset my bios to default settings. It defaulted to this:

View: https://imgur.com/a/2nJyn3r


Seems only 1 stick of RAM is being ulitized. I guess I must've hit something when I first built it a few years ago (to the 2933mhz at 1.2v, without enabling the XMP profile). Is there a risk to increasing the DRAM frequency without enabling the XMP profile and without increasing the voltage? It seemed to have been OK given the amount of years it has been, but I hope I didn't mess up my mobo.

Lastly, how do I use CPU-Z? Just to see if it is detecting the RAM?
 
Last edited:

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
If you are not willing to go through an extensive stability testing process then you do not want to manually configure the DRAM frequency, and should (Should anyhow unless you are interested in pursuing memory overclocking as a hobby or enthusiast endeavor) simply use XMP.

Just change the load XMP setting from Auto to Enabled, then save settings, exit bios, restart and back into BIOS to verify.

Regarding the BIOS update, version 7.4 might not specify the need for the WHQL driver BUT required versions that you must update to before updating to that version DO, but since you already have a newer version, or should, then you should be fine. To be sure, I'd simply install the latest graphics driver and the latest chipset driver from the AMD website, for your specific hardware. Then forget about it until you get the newer processor BUT as I said, do NOT update to any version newer than 3.1 until you do. If you are able to enable XMP and it works without issue, then you don't necessarily NEED to update to 3.1 at this time since you will be upgrading the CPU soon.

And if you don't update the BIOS before you get the new CPU, then simply update straight to 7.4, no other versions necessary in between.

For CPU-Z, just install it, run it, then click on the memory tab and take a screenshot. Click on the SPD tab, then click on the slots on the left where memory is installed so that it populates the fields to the right of that drop down menu and for each slot take a screenshot. Then post the screenshots here to look at.
 

Aegis91

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If you are not willing to go through an extensive stability testing process then you do not want to manually configure the DRAM frequency, and should (Should anyhow unless you are interested in pursuing memory overclocking as a hobby or enthusiast endeavor) simply use XMP.

Just change the load XMP setting from Auto to Enabled, then save settings, exit bios, restart and back into BIOS to verify.

Regarding the BIOS update, version 7.4 might not specify the need for the WHQL driver BUT required versions that you must update to before updating to that version DO, but since you already have a newer version, or should, then you should be fine. To be sure, I'd simply install the latest graphics driver and the latest chipset driver from the AMD website, for your specific hardware. Then forget about it until you get the newer processor BUT as I said, do NOT update to any version newer than 3.1 until you do. If you are able to enable XMP and it works without issue, then you don't necessarily NEED to update to 3.1 at this time since you will be upgrading the CPU soon.

And if you don't update the BIOS before you get the new CPU, then simply update straight to 7.4, no other versions necessary in between.

For CPU-Z, just install it, run it, then click on the memory tab and take a screenshot. Click on the SPD tab, then click on the slots on the left where memory is installed so that it populates the fields to the right of that drop down menu and for each slot take a screenshot. Then post the screenshots here to look at.
I decided to upgrade the BIOS to 3.10. I just enabled the xmp profile and that was it. Here are the screens:

View: https://imgur.com/a/g1d7vT9
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Perfect. Should be good now. It's at the right speed, in dual channel as well.

I'd download and install HWinfo, which is a good idea anyhow for monitoring EVERYTHING that might need to be monitored at some point including CPU, motherboard, PSU, graphics card, memory, storage devices, then run it and select "sensors only" and uncheck "summary" then scroll down to the memory sensors and verify that it's actually running at 1.35v as well. Post a screenshot of the memory sensor values here and then you should be good. I mean, probably already are and you can verify in the BIOS as well that it's at 2933mhz and 1.35v as well but sometimes things might change between BIOS and Windows if any problems are encountered.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
So long as you enabled XMP and all the settings were automatically changed, specifically the timings that are manufacturer tested for those DIMMs, then there no reason to need to test anything unless you have problems. Only when you manually configure the memory speed or voltage do you need to test, but IF you wish to test the memory configuration, which is never a terrible idea with a new configuration, you can do so as follows. Be aware that it is going to take a Looooong time to run though, so plan to not use the system like, overnight, or while you are gone for a few hours. And if you can't be bothered to run through the FULL four passes it will run automatically, then don't even bother to run it because it's pointless if you don't run through all four passes. Often memory errors or problems won't show up until the memory is nice and warm from running the tests and getting hammered for a while.

Memtest86


Go to the Passmark software website and download the USB Memtest86 free version. You can do the optical disk version too if for some reason you cannot use a bootable USB flash drive.


Create bootable media using the downloaded Memtest86. Once you have done that, go into your BIOS and configure the system to boot to the USB drive that contains the Memtest86 USB media or the optical drive if using that option.


You CAN use Memtest86+, as they've recently updated the program after MANY years of no updates, but for the purpose of this guide I recommend using the Passmark version as this is a tried and true utility while I've not had the opportunity to investigate the reliability of the latest 86+ release as compared to Memtest86. Possibly, consider using Memtest86+ as simply a secondary test to Memtest86, much as Windows memory diagnostic utility and Prime95 Blend or custom modes can be used for a second opinion utility.


Create a bootable USB Flash drive:

1. Download the Windows MemTest86 USB image.

2. Right click on the downloaded file and select the "Extract to Here" option. This places the USB image and imaging tool into the current folder.

3. Run the included imageUSB tool, it should already have the image file selected and you just need to choose which connected USB drive to turn into a bootable drive. Note that this will erase all data on the drive.



No memory should ever fail to pass Memtest86 when it is at the default configuration that the system sets it at when you start out or do a clear CMOS by removing the CMOS battery for five minutes.

Best method for testing memory is to first run four passes of Memtest86, all 11 tests, WITH the memory at the default configuration. This should be done BEFORE setting the memory to the XMP profile settings. The paid version has 13 tests but the free version only has tests 1-10 and test 13. So run full passes of all 11 tests. Be sure to download the latest version of Memtest86. Memtest86+ has not been updated in MANY years. It is NO-WISE as good as regular Memtest86 from Passmark software.

If there are ANY errors, at all, then the memory configuration is not stable. Bumping the DRAM voltage up slightly may resolve that OR you may need to make adjustments to the primary timings. There are very few secondary or tertiary timings that should be altered. I can tell you about those if you are trying to tighten your memory timings.

If you cannot pass Memtest86 with the memory at the XMP configuration settings then I would recommend restoring the memory to the default JEDEC SPD of 1333/2133mhz (Depending on your platform and memory type) with everything left on the auto/default configuration and running Memtest86 over again. If it completes the four full passes without error you can try again with the XMP settings but first try bumping the DRAM voltage up once again by whatever small increment the motherboard will allow you to increase it by. If it passes, great, move on to the Prime95 testing.

If it still fails, try once again bumping the voltage if you are still within the maximum allowable voltage for your memory type and test again. If it still fails, you are likely going to need more advanced help with configuring your primary timings and should return the memory to the default configuration until you can sort it out.

If the memory will not pass Memtest86 for four passes when it IS at the stock default non-XMP configuration, even after a minor bump in voltage, then there is likely something physically wrong with one or more of the memory modules and I'd recommend running Memtest on each individual module, separately, to determine which module is causing the issue. If you find a single module that is faulty you should contact the seller or the memory manufacturer and have them replace the memory as a SET. Memory comes matched for a reason as I made clear earlier and if you let them replace only one module rather than the entire set you are back to using unmatched memory which is an open door for problems with incompatible memory.

Be aware that you SHOULD run Memtest86 to test the memory at the default, non-XMP, non-custom profile settings BEFORE ever making any changes to the memory configuration so that you will know if the problem is a setting or is a physical problem with the memory.
 

Aegis91

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So long as you enabled XMP and all the settings were automatically changed, specifically the timings that are manufacturer tested for those DIMMs, then there no reason to need to test anything unless you have problems. Only when you manually configure the memory speed or voltage do you need to test, but IF you wish to test the memory configuration, which is never a terrible idea with a new configuration, you can do so as follows. Be aware that it is going to take a Looooong time to run though, so plan to not use the system like, overnight, or while you are gone for a few hours. And if you can't be bothered to run through the FULL four passes it will run automatically, then don't even bother to run it because it's pointless if you don't run through all four passes. Often memory errors or problems won't show up until the memory is nice and warm from running the tests and getting hammered for a while.

Memtest86


Go to the Passmark software website and download the USB Memtest86 free version. You can do the optical disk version too if for some reason you cannot use a bootable USB flash drive.


Create bootable media using the downloaded Memtest86. Once you have done that, go into your BIOS and configure the system to boot to the USB drive that contains the Memtest86 USB media or the optical drive if using that option.


You CAN use Memtest86+, as they've recently updated the program after MANY years of no updates, but for the purpose of this guide I recommend using the Passmark version as this is a tried and true utility while I've not had the opportunity to investigate the reliability of the latest 86+ release as compared to Memtest86. Possibly, consider using Memtest86+ as simply a secondary test to Memtest86, much as Windows memory diagnostic utility and Prime95 Blend or custom modes can be used for a second opinion utility.


Create a bootable USB Flash drive:

1. Download the Windows MemTest86 USB image.

2. Right click on the downloaded file and select the "Extract to Here" option. This places the USB image and imaging tool into the current folder.

3. Run the included imageUSB tool, it should already have the image file selected and you just need to choose which connected USB drive to turn into a bootable drive. Note that this will erase all data on the drive.



No memory should ever fail to pass Memtest86 when it is at the default configuration that the system sets it at when you start out or do a clear CMOS by removing the CMOS battery for five minutes.

Best method for testing memory is to first run four passes of Memtest86, all 11 tests, WITH the memory at the default configuration. This should be done BEFORE setting the memory to the XMP profile settings. The paid version has 13 tests but the free version only has tests 1-10 and test 13. So run full passes of all 11 tests. Be sure to download the latest version of Memtest86. Memtest86+ has not been updated in MANY years. It is NO-WISE as good as regular Memtest86 from Passmark software.

If there are ANY errors, at all, then the memory configuration is not stable. Bumping the DRAM voltage up slightly may resolve that OR you may need to make adjustments to the primary timings. There are very few secondary or tertiary timings that should be altered. I can tell you about those if you are trying to tighten your memory timings.

If you cannot pass Memtest86 with the memory at the XMP configuration settings then I would recommend restoring the memory to the default JEDEC SPD of 1333/2133mhz (Depending on your platform and memory type) with everything left on the auto/default configuration and running Memtest86 over again. If it completes the four full passes without error you can try again with the XMP settings but first try bumping the DRAM voltage up once again by whatever small increment the motherboard will allow you to increase it by. If it passes, great, move on to the Prime95 testing.

If it still fails, try once again bumping the voltage if you are still within the maximum allowable voltage for your memory type and test again. If it still fails, you are likely going to need more advanced help with configuring your primary timings and should return the memory to the default configuration until you can sort it out.

If the memory will not pass Memtest86 for four passes when it IS at the stock default non-XMP configuration, even after a minor bump in voltage, then there is likely something physically wrong with one or more of the memory modules and I'd recommend running Memtest on each individual module, separately, to determine which module is causing the issue. If you find a single module that is faulty you should contact the seller or the memory manufacturer and have them replace the memory as a SET. Memory comes matched for a reason as I made clear earlier and if you let them replace only one module rather than the entire set you are back to using unmatched memory which is an open door for problems with incompatible memory.

Be aware that you SHOULD run Memtest86 to test the memory at the default, non-XMP, non-custom profile settings BEFORE ever making any changes to the memory configuration so that you will know if the problem is a setting or is a physical problem with the memory.
Thanks for the details!

Other than the settings for the DRAM and voltage, I didn't check to see if the detailed settings changed from enabling the XMP profile. I assume they did.

In terms of the latest screenshots, did everything look ok from HWinfo?
P.s. When I enabled XMP, it went to the max that my RAM has (3000mhz, not 2933mhz).
 

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