SOVLED! Does overclocking RAM reduce its lifespan?

In an age full of competitive gaming and the most innovative technologies capturing the masses each day, there is a dire need to improve your system’s capability. Not only the gamers, but regular users want to enjoy an uninterrupted and fast performance. With that said, overclocking is one way of achieving this. But what makes us hesitant to overclock the RAM is the doubt that it might affect its lifespan.

Using XMP to increase your RAM’s performance is completely safe. This feature is enabled by the memory manufacturer and you can freely use it. However, increasing the RAM voltage to unrealistic levels can result in damage. This will firstly increase the temperature and can result in a reduced lifespan. If we talk about the DDR4 RAM, it will generally require 1.2 volts to run adequately. You can increase this voltage a little but going above 1.4 volts is considered unsafe.

Well, I am here to break it down for you. Let’s dive deeper and see it for ourselves, shall we?

But first,

What is overclocking?

To put it simply, overclocking is a simple way of improving your system’s performance by increasing its clock speed. For starters, the clock speed is the number of calculations that the processor completes per second. Overclocking largely enhances performance but also produces a lot of heat in the process. So, you need to proceed with caution.

Can you overclock RAM?

The simple answer to this question is YES. You can easily overclock RAM just like you can overclock any other peripherals of your system such as the processor or the graphics card. Nowadays it is very common for users to overclock their RAM to enjoy the greater advantages it offers. 

With that said, of course, there are a few disadvantages as well, but the improved speed and performance are worth taking the risk for! 

Is overclocking RAM safe?

Right off the bat, overclocking can be a concern for your components like the CPU and GPU if not done right. When overclocking such components, you must take critical care to ensure that the cooling capacity can cope with the processing speed of your components. 

Thankfully, this is not the case with RAM. It is extremely safe compared to overclocking other components of your system. The only thing you should note is to not increase the voltage excessively. As per my tests, I conclude that 1.5V is a decent limit for increasing RAM voltage.

Why is overclocking worth it?

As already discussed, there is a certain boost in performance when you overclock your system. Apart from that, let’s have a look at some of the other advantages of overclocking RAM-

  1. It leads to excellent performance.
  2. Video games work faster.
  3. It is worth the money to get a cheap component home and overclock it to enjoy it with a better speed.
  4. You can get better desktop performance. 

Disadvantages of overclocking

On the flip side, there are a few disadvantages of overclocking your RAM as well, which you must keep in mind. The drawbacks are as follows:

  1. It increases power consumption.
  2. There are chances of damage to components or an effect on their lifespan.
  3. Overclocking a component improperly might void your system’s warranty in some cases. 

Tools for overclocking your RAM

First things first, overclocking your RAM without having complete information about certain things might create unpredictable issues later. So, it is essential to take the help of a few tools to understand your RAM before you go all in to overclock it. 

With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the best tools that ease the process of overclocking your RAM- 

1. CPU-Z

This is a free tool that can help you to access all the necessary information about your system’s DRAM. Once installed, you can straightaway head over to the memory tab to find all the necessary RAM-related info. Also, the SPD tab has the XMP settings which can be used by the BIOS of your system. 

2. XMP

XMP, better understood as eXtreme Memory Profiles, is a virtual platform that Intel uses to check the settings for overclocking. XMP can automate some crucial settings such as monitoring the latencies and voltages of your DRAM. 

3. Memtest86+

The presence of an efficient stress-testing tool is important before overclocking a component. This is one such tool for conducting fast-paced stress tests on your system. 

How to overclock RAM?

There are two broad methods you can choose to overclock the CPU. One is via XMP and the other is through manual configuration. Well, I have tested both of these and you may choose anyone according to your convenience.

Check out the processes for both below: 

1. Overclocking using XMP

Intel allows the user to overclock RAM via XMP. Consider the step-by-step guide below:

Step 1: Install CPU-Z on your system and launch it.

Step 2: Go to the SPD tab and check the frequency, timing, and timing tables from there and make a note of them.

Step 3: Restart the system.

Step 4: Initiate the BIOS mode.

Step 5: Based on whichever option is available for your system, choose either AI Tweaker or Extreme Tweaker, else D.O.C.P. 

Step 6: Select an XMP profile that is compatible with the specifications of your RAM.

Step 7: Save the changes in the BIOS. Finally, restart your system.

Step 8: Start performing stress tests and see how the system works. If it is working well, nothing like it. But if it isn’t, make the necessary tweaks in the BIOS mode and then conduct stress tests to be double sure.

2. Overclocking using manual settings 

If the idea of using XMP sounds complicated to you, then the manual configuration can be another option. Yes, you can use the manual settings to overclock your RAM easily. For that, consider the steps below-

Step 1: Restart your system.

Step 2: Enter into the BIOS mode.

Step 3: Depending on the motherboard, go to either AI Tweaker, Extreme Tweaker, or D.O.C.P. 

Step 4: Select the Manual settings. You will find some additional options that will get unlocked for you to explore.

Step 5: Raise the voltage by increments of 0.015V. Simultaneously increase the CPU System Agent and CPU VCCIO voltages by increments of 0.05V. But keep in mind not to overdo anything as there is a great chance that the components might be harmed.

Step 6: You can check the DRAM timings you noted in case of overclocking via XMP. 

Step 7: Save the BIOS changes and restart the system. 

Step 8: Start performing stress tests once you have rebooted your computer. If everything is working perfectly, you are done with your overclocking. If not, make the necessary BIOS changes and conduct stress tests after that. 

Can overclocking RAM damage it?

To be honest, overclocking is a completely safe thing to do if you are keeping everything within limits. However, if you are overdoing it beyond the recommended limits, your system might be in danger. So, the best way is to overclock it but well within the decent limits to avoid any damage or reduction in its lifespan.

As we discussed earlier, if you are overclocking a DDR4 RAM, do not increase the input voltage above 1.4 volts.

Final Thoughts

This was my take on whether overclocking will damage your RAM or not. Do your research before overclocking and do it well within the limits. Overclocking is good but only if you don’t overdo it to the extent of some damage. That’s all for the day…. thanks for sticking around!