How to Enable XMP to Improve RAM Speed
Intel Extreme Memory Profile, also known as XMP, is a feature that users must enable in order to use their RAM at advertised speeds. XMP was also used in AMD motherboards before, but it is now referred to as DOCP/EXPO in AM5 socket motherboards that support the newest Ryzen 7000-series CPUs. Not running your RAM in XMP mode means you are not using the memory at its full speed. To enable it, the user must head into their BIOS and find the setting to turn it on. In this guide, we will help you do exactly that. That being said, let’s look at how you can enable XMP on your PC to increase RAM speed.
Enable XMP For Your PC’s RAM (2023)
The method to enable XMP and use your RAM at higher clock speeds is the same for AMD and Intel, with modern AMD boards calling the setting “DOCP” instead. That said, let’s first understand what is XMP, and then move to the step-by-step guide. To know more about what is RAM and how it has evolved over the years, read this explainer.
What Is XMP? Is AMD’s EXPO Different?
Firstly, you must be wondering — why doesn’t RAM run at full speeds by default? It’s because not every motherboard and processor can support overclocked RAM frequencies. When you buy your memory kit and install it in your computer, it does not run at the maximum speeds by default. Instead, the RAM runs in the JEDEC profile, which is the default memory profile unless you change it.
You can change the profile by turning on features like XMP, DOCP, EOCP, or EXPO. They all essentially do the same thing. XMP refers to Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile. On AMD motherboards, it is called EXPO (EXtended Profiles for Overclocking), but some other boards also call it DOCP (Direct Overclocking Profile) or EOCP (Extended Overclock Profiles).
For example, a DDR4 RAM kit with 3200MHz speed would be running at 2666MHz or lower after you first boot the system. By turning on XMP or DOCP/EXPO, you will be running the RAM in the overclocked profile — achieving the full advertised speeds, as mentioned on the box. The timings and frequencies of the RAM are changed after turning on this feature.
So, in a nutshell, XMP is a feature that lets you run your RAM at full speed. It’s basically the ‘overclocked’ profile for your RAM. RAM runs in the JEDEC profile at lower speeds by default. Manufacturers set the XMP profile at different speeds and timings based on the RAM. So, the user has to enable XMP in their BIOS to run their RAM at full speeds.
How to Enable XMP Profile for Your RAM
Before you proceed to try and turn on XMP, refer to our guide on how to install RAM in your PC and ensure that you have installed all the modules correctly. While this may seem trivial, you must install RAM in the correct slots, as mentioned in your motherboard manual, to ensure support for dual-channel memory and XMP.
Boot Into BIOS Mode
Now, boot up your PC by pressing the power button. Press the key to enter the BIOS mode, which is usually “F2” or “Delete” on most PCs. You will see the key to enter BIOS when your computer first boots up. If not, you can refer to the motherboard manual or find your BIOS key on your motherboard manufacturer’s website.
Access the RAM XMP Settings
When you are inside your BIOS, navigate the different menus to find the XMP feature. To remind you, it can be called EXPO/DOCP/EOCP on AMD motherboards. The name is based on your motherboard manufacturer, so refer to its manual if needed. Generally, the XMP setting is present under the “Overclocking” section.
For the ASUS Z790-E Strix motherboard at the Beebom office, XMP was found under “AI Tweaker.” The XMP setting was also available on the BIOS main page. Here, we need to navigate to the “AI Overclock Tuner” and selected XMP II, as the description mentioned that XMP II would load the profile as the manufacturer implemented instead of any additional adjustments. Thus, you have enabled XMP on your PC’s RAM.
Once you have enabled the XMP feature, you might also see “XMP” profiles for your RAM, which mention an MHz frequency along with memory timings. Select one of them with your arrow keys and press Enter to select.
If you have verified that the highest RAM speed will run perfectly on your motherboard, select it. But if you are unsure, test the lower-speed profile first and change the RAM profile later if you want to.
Save Changes & Exit BIOS Mode
Next, navigate to the exit menu in the BIOS. Then, navigate down to the “Save Changes and Reboot” option and press Enter. Your PC will then reboot, and your new XMP profile (with full speed) has been applied. In the next section, we will guide you on how to verify your RAM is running at full speed.
Verify RAM Is Running at Full Speed
Let’s verify that XMP is turned on and your RAM is running at its full speed. For this, right-click on the taskbar on your Windows 11/10 PC. Then, open the Task Manager. You can also use the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+Shift+Esc” to open Task Manager.
2. Then, navigate to Performance -> Memory. Here, as shown below, you will see the speed at which your RAM is operating.
Enable XMP on RAM: FAQs
Intel and AMD’s terms AND conditions state that any type of overclocking, including turning on XMP, can void your warranty. But, most people still use XMP because the policy is not usually enforced unless some direct damage has been caused to your PC’s parts caused by overclocking.
In a way, DOCP, EOCP, and AMD EXPO are the same thing as XMP. EXPO is basically built by AMD for its own memory controller. But XMP does the same thing as DOCP, ECOP or EXPO does.
No, XMP profiles are set by the manufacturer and will run fine as long as your PC can support the overclocked RAM frequency.
Yes, XMP is considered to be ‘overclocking’ RAM by manufacturers.
If you can’t enable XMP, check if your motherboard supports the feature. If it does not, you have no way of overclocking your RAM unless the BIOS supports setting manual frequencies and timings.
Use XMP Profiles to Use RAM at Full Speed
Running the RAM at sub-par speeds is a major problem that several users face. But after following the steps above, you will have enabled XMP on your system, running your RAM at its maximum frequency. It isn’t so hard, right? Now, you can enjoy running your RAM at full speeds, as it was meant to. To speed up your system further, read our guide on how to speed up Windows 11. It even includes a method to debloat your Windows OS, which can speed up things quite a lot. If you have any doubts about how to enable XMP on your system, let us know in the comments below.