Intel: Memory Controller of Core i7 Is Not Broken

Intel Core i7 Extreme Platform Does Support 1600MHz and Faster Memory

by Anton Shilov
05/13/2009 | 03:27 PM

Despite of the reports, Intel Corp.’s Core i7 microprocessor not only has fully-functional memory controller, but, in fact, does support memory clock-speeds well beyond the official specifications.


“We announced certain specs on Intel Core i7 and we meet those specs. […] The way we look at DDR3 1600MHz [PC3-12800] is that it is supported by Intel's Extreme motherboard. The CPU doesn't officially support it, but as we have all seen, it works fine for anyone who seems to try it. Of course, a wide range of third party Core i7 mainboards support DDR3 1600 and beyond as well,” said George Alfs, a spokesperson for Intel.

On Wednesday reports emerged that Intel Core i7 microprocessor powered by Nehalem micro-architecture have “broken” memory controllers that do not support DDR3 memory that works at 1333MHz and beyond. The reports failed to report that triple-channel PC3-8500 (DDR3 1066MHz) provides peak bandwidth of almost 25.6GB/s, well enough for modern central processing units and quite higher than a dual-channel PC3-10600 (DDR3 1333MHz) controller can provide at the peak (21.3GB/s).

In fact, a lot of memory module manufacturers not only offer triple-channel DDR3 memory modules for Intel Core i7 microprocessors that are capable of operating at 1333MHz or 1600MHz, but also at 2000MHz (PC3-16000), which is almost two times higher that Intel’s official specification for the Core i7.

In reality, DDR3 memory specification for 2000MHz (2GHz) has not been defined yet, which is why the official support for such memory speed is unlikely. Nevertheless, Intel’s memory controllers can support memory speeds beyond those officially defined by JEDEC thanks to the eXtreme memory profiles (XMP) technology that forces certain frequencies.