Monday, January 19, 2009

Running 12GB of Memory on Intel Core i7 Motherboards

By: Nathan Kirsch

Over the weekend I was looking around at various forums and some readers on Corsair's House of Help Forum were asking Corsair if running 12GB of DDR3 memory on an Intel Core i7 platform was possible. The answer from the staff over there was it is possible and a couple people have shown it done. With many enthusiasts getting into photo editing using CS4 and more people starting to edit HD movie content this subject that will come up more as time goes on. Since I have some matching Corsair 6GB triple channel memory kits I figured why not give it a shot this weekend to see what would happen, if anything, and answer some questions about running 12GB of memory. The results from tinkering around with 12GB of memory on a Core i7 platform was more than impressive, so sit back and read along about my journey of going to 12GB of system memory.

Armed with two Corsair DOMINATOR 6GB 1866MHz CL9 memory kits with the AIRFLOW fan I set out to see how easy it would be to run 12GB of memory on an Intel Core i7 desktop system. These TR3X6G1866C9DF memory kits retail for $449 each and are fastest Core i7 triple channel memory kit that Corsair has to offer. Since these kits go through the tightest screening and binning at Corsair I figured that a pair of these kits should provide not only the best chance at getting 12GB of memory running, but also the best performance should overclocking be in order.

The ASUS P6T Deluxe motherboard with BIOS version 1102 was used since the boards price point is in the middle of those LGA 1366 boards available today ($285 new and $229 open box at Newegg) and has proven itself to be very stable.

When I fired up the system with X.M.P. settings the system immeditally hung at 1866MHz with 1.6 Volts, so I turned off/on the power supply and restarted the system. I went back into the BIOS and lowered the memory speed to 1600MHz and tried again. The system posted and was fully Prime 95 stable as you can see in the video clip above. If you think that is impressive you better sit down and go on to the next page to see how things went when I manually set the BIOS settings on the next page.

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