Activate the DDR4 XMP Profile in UEFI

Nowadays, DDR4 memory modules use an Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) in order to achieve higher data transfers (and frequencies) than those specified in the original DDR4 standard. Nevertheless, these XMP profiles are often not activated by default when new memory modules are installed in a system and the computer will therefore use the DDR4 modules with a default speed setting.

ADATA XPG DDR4-5000 Memory Modules
ADATA XPG DDR4-5000 Memory Modules


The following screenshot shows for example the UEFI configuration screen (what was previously called the BIOS) of a computer which recognized two 16 GB RAM modules as DDR4-2666 MT/s memory (with a frequency of 1333 MHz) instead of DDR4-3200 MT/s as stated in the XMP profile:

Two 16GB modules identified as DDR4-2666
Two 16GB modules identified as DDR4-2666

This will not prevent the computer from functioning normally, but it mean that the computer will not use the memory to its full potential. Some programs or the iGPU of the processor will perform better if the computer has fast memory modules.

Enter the UEFI Setup

The solution therefore consists in activating the XMP profile for these memory modules. To do so, we will have to restart the computer and enter the UEFI Setup (known as the BIOS previously). This is done by using a key such as F2, F10, F12, DEL before starting the operating system. The key to use will depend on the motherboard and this information usually appears on the computer boot screen (or otherwise in the motherboard documentation). The following screenshot shows for example that we can use the F2 or DEL keys to enter the UEFI Setup of an ASRock A320M-HDV motherboard:

F2 or DEL key to enter UEFI Setup
F2 or DEL key to enter UEFI Setup

Once we have entered in the UEFI Setup, we will have to select the menu that will allow us to activate the XMP profile. The menu will be different depending on the motherboard model, it can be named “advanced parameters”, “overclocking” or something else. We can find it in the motherboard documentation or we could simply explore the different UEFI Setup menus until we found it. In the following screenshot it is called the “OC Tweaker” menu:

OC Tweaker menu
OC Tweaker menu

As you can see, the motherboard uses by default an automatic configuration which does not take into account the memory modules XMP profile. Again, the way this information is presented depends on the motherboard model but it should be similar to what is seen in this example. The parameter we are looking for is the one called “Load XMP Settings”.

Activate the memory module XMP profile

If we click on “Auto”, a small additional menu will be displayed in order to choose the XMP profile. As you can see in the screenshot below, these memory modules have an XMP 2.0 profile that allows them to be used as DDR4-3200 with a 1.35V voltage. An XMP profile is a way to increase (to overclock) the memory modules frequency that has been validated by the manufacturer.

Choose the XMP profile
Choose the XMP profile

Save the UEFI configuration and restart

After having selected the XMP profile, the next step is to save these changes so that they can be used when the computer is restarted. This is often done using the F10 key (the key itself depends on the UEFI program) or otherwise by using the “Exit” menu to save the changes:

Save changes and exit
Save changes and exit

The UEFI Setup program will usually ask for a confirmation before exiting and restarting the computer:

Save configuration and restart
Save configuration and restart

Check that the XMP profile is activated

If all went well (both the CPU and motherboard support the XMP profile), the new memory configuration will be used after restarting the computer. You can check it by entering the UEFI Setup:

DDR4-3200 XMP enabled
DDR4-3200 XMP activated

If the CPU or the motherboard do not support the selected XMP profile, it will be necessary to enter the UEFI Setup to reset the memory parameters and to return to a stable configuration.

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