Why is it important: RAM performance enhancements are usually associated with Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) set by the manufacturer or by enthusiasts with enough understanding to manually adjust voltages, timings, and frequencies. Earlier this week, AMD successfully filed a patent for an automatic RAM overclocking tool that appears to take the guesswork, trial and error out of the tuning process. The tool will give users the ability to tweak and test overclocked memory settings with the click of a button, without headaches.

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Memory overclocking is not a new practice in the computing community. For years, enthusiasts have been pushing the limits of their RAM beyond the nominal JEDEC standard squeeze every drop of performance out of their modules. Tuning your RAM can make a big difference in terms of performance, but requires understanding a wide range of settings, voltages, and frequencies. This understanding is usually followed by prolonged bouts of stability testing.

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Implementation XMP technology (also known as DOCF on most AMD platforms) provided the average user with the ability to overclock modules by changing bios settings to a pre-configured profile designed to work with a range of hardware configurations. But even this preconfigured overclocking is not guaranteed and may require manual intervention to achieve system stability. new from AMD memory tuning technology seems to automate the process of testing and tweaking settings to ensure profile stability.

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According to the patent, the new technology will change the frequency and certain timings of the RAM for the set of RAM and hardware used, and then test and adjust the settings to ensure stability. Automatic stability tests include Error Correction Code (ECC) and other tests designed to detect bit errors. After completing the tests based on frequency and time, the tool creates a new RAM profile using sub-timings and settings specific to the hardware of this PC.

RAM timings usually fall into one of several categories defined as primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary timings are parameters that are usually listed on the packaging of a RAM kit and usually include CAS latency (CL), RAS-CAS latency (tRCD), row precharge time (tRP), and row active time (tRAS). Secondary timings are generally not listed in vendor marketing documentation, but can still have a huge impact on the performance of your RAM. Tertiary timings, which are even further in the weeds, can also affect performance, but vary greatly depending on the combination of hardware.

Overclocking enthusiasts sometimes shy away from automated tools due to the wide scope of tools and often risk aversion. As a result, manual tuning usually produces better performance results. These results, however, require a certain level of knowledge, time and effort that many are unwilling to invest. The ability to automatically tune any RAM, regardless of price or quality, to a specific hardware configuration certainly sounds appealing.

We will probably have to wait for the new family of AMD processors. CPU and chipsets to see how far their automated solution has come.

Image credit: AMD Wraith Prism and RAM Timothy Dykes