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I want to buy a nice and fast RAM and a motherboard that supports it.

Lets say that I would want to take this RAM (2400MHz), and put it into this board. The board's specification says:

Support for DDR3 2800(OC)/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules

How should I read this? Can I just plug in that RAM without worries or will something have to be overclocked to unlock the full speed of the RAM? Which would be no issue I guess, I'm just confused about the cryptic semantics.

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1  
Why not just get memory off the supported memory list for that board? –  Daniel Beck Mar 4 '13 at 22:00
    
@DanielBeck can you give tips on how to go around obtaining those for this and other boards? Cant find it, would be very helpful –  Dreen Mar 5 '13 at 9:56
1  
They're always provided by the manufacturer. In this case, click the second link you posted, then "Support and Downloads" then "Memory Support List". –  Daniel Beck Mar 5 '13 at 9:59

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

What is meant by "OC" (Overclocked) varies depending on what exactly the vendor means. Yes it is ambiguous, and the only way to know for sure is to contact the manufacturer or vendor and obtain clarification. There is no "standard" way for it to mean one specific thing all of the time.

It could mean:

  • This chip has been tested to support (under certain assumed environmental conditions) an overclock up to this value, but the default clock speed is the stock speed.
    OR
  • This chip will operate at this overclocked frequency out of the box with no user intervention, because we have tested this speed, determined it is safe, and enabled it in the firmware by default. OR
  • This speed is something we came up with out of thin air as what might be attainable as an overclock speed under certain circumstances, e.g. extreme cooling solutions.
    OR
  • This product has been modified specifically by our manufacturer or vendor to contain special thermal characteristics that are not part of the stock OEM model, which allows the product to safely operate (based on our testing, or not) at this rated speed.

It could really mean anything, but syntactically, "OC" expands to "Overclock" or "Overclocked".

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"OC" and the timings are part of the MB specs, not the RAM. –  Daniel Beck Mar 4 '13 at 21:58
    
I was speaking generically for any component that may be overclocked, not just RAM. Mobo, CPU, GPU, etc. –  ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ Mar 4 '13 at 22:01

OC means overclocked.

All currently existing CPUs that are compatible will the Z77 chipset (e.g., the Core i7-3770K) only support DDR3 memory up to 1600 MHz.

You can use faster memory, but this would involve overclocking the CPU's memory bus.

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This. The motherboard supports that speed, but other installed components aren't specified to. –  Ben Voigt Mar 4 '13 at 22:06

OC in supported memory section of motherboard specifications means that JEDEC (the organization making standards for SDRAM industry) does not have an official standard for the speed this motherboard is claiming to support. So this speed is only achievable through overclocking.

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