Is DDR 1600 MHz RAM compatible with my motherboard and i5-3230M CPU?

Hazem E September 15, 2013

I have a laptop whose specifications say has 2GB of 1333 Mhz and an Intel® Core™ i5-3230M Processor that I  know from Intel web site supports 1600 Mhz RAM. Can I buy more 1600 Mhz RAM or it would conflict with the motherboard? How can I tell what frequencies the motherboard supports? Or it is related only to the processor capabilities and not to the mother board?

  1. Hazem E
    September 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

    the manual doe not refer to the maximum frequency it said it is 2 GB of ram 1333 and can be expanded to 8 GB , so i just wanna upgrade to ensure not to replace my laptop nowadays and exploit the latest technoloies as possible to achieve this , i do know that the processor supports 1800 Mhz , so the question is :only the processor decide matter or the motherboard also , thanks all i do reapect your replies

    • Dalsan M
      September 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      The motherboard governs the maximum speed allowed for memory, though the processor must support the speed as well. This is because many newer processors are built for older socket types, so older motherboards can use the newer processors. Newer processors can allow for higher speeds, but older motherboards would only allow the speed that was available at the time. You can get the newest processor that is accepted for your motherboard, but the memory speed allowed would only be what the motherboard was built for, not the processor.

  2. Dalsan M
    September 16, 2013 at 5:34 am

    I agree with the others that the speed really doesn't matter much. It will clock down to the lowest speed memory installed or the maximum speed allowed by the motherboard (it will not overclock to a higher speed automatically). They are right that higher memory speed will not give much noticeable performance difference, so get the cheaper of the two. If you had an AMD APU, then i would say go with 1600MHz or higher because the integrated GPU would perform better, but Intel processors are more efficient with handling memory that it won't matter in most instances.

  3. Jim C
    September 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Read your motherboard manual's Specs section. Manuals are available for download on manufacturers support pages if you don't have one. What OS are you using? If it is 32 bit, it only supports about 3.4 GB. Get two sticks of 2GB 1600 RAM. If you use 1300 and 1600 sticks together they will run at slower 1300 speed.

  4. Hovsep A
    September 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    you can try crucial system scanner

    some motherboards do support higher frequency ram even though if is not officially supported but the speed will be the one officially supported by the motherboard and sometime BIOS update is required. Be careful you can burn your motherboard. To find out which ram is supported by your motherboard check the official guide.

  5. Oron J
    September 15, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Hazem, you can use the faster (1600) RAM safely. It'll work just fine.

    Getting faster memory will not normally speed up your computer since the memory will run at the speed dictated by the memory controller (which in the case the i5, is built into the CPU), and even if the memory did ran faster (e.g. by overclocking) this would normally would have little impact on overall computer speed.

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