Up until recently I always thought memory compatibility was completely dependent on the motherboard and the processor didn't make a difference when it came to memory compatibility. However, I was reading that the Sandy Bridge line of Intel Core processors "support up to DDR3-1333 memory". So, my question is what if I use a Sandy Bridge processor with DDR3-1600 memory? Will the system simply not work, run at DDR3-1333 speeds, or will it run at DDR3-1600 speeds?

More specifically, this is the board, memory and processor I was looking at:

Both the processor and the memory are listed on the motherboard's CPU and memory support list.

  • Why do you have new everything else? If you got a huge truck with a small electric motor, how well would it run? Mar 3, 2013 at 10:23
  • Already have the processor, trying to build a budget system that will last along time. I can upgrade the processor later when I get more money. Mar 3, 2013 at 11:03
  • Alrighty, just checking... cause it sounds like over kill otherwise Mar 3, 2013 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


On modern PCs, the memory controller is part of the CPU. So the CPU can impose limits on the memory speed. If you use a Sandy Bridge processor with DDR3-1600 memory, it will run at DDR3-1333 speeds (though with improved latency) unless you overclock the memory controller.

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