I am going to upgrade my girlfriend's desktop. I will replace the motherboard(which is burnt), the CPU and the RAM.

I have decided to use the Intel Pentium G3220 CPU, the MSI H81M-E33 motherboard and the Kindston HyperX blu RAM.

The thing is I don't know which speed to chose: 1333MHz or 1600MHz. A guy told me that this cpu doesn't support 1600MHz speed, but I think that this has to do with the motherboard.

Is it possible that this cpu cannot work with 1600MHz?

  • 1
    Short answer: No, the RAM speeds a CPU supports are limited. – Der Hochstapler Sep 19 '13 at 8:51
  • @OliverSalzburg: Thank you very much for your comment! They are limited? That means, that I cannot use any speed with my CPU. Do you know if the intel pentium g3220 supports 1600MHz? – Thanos Sep 19 '13 at 9:05
  • @Thanos - Check the specifications on what speeds your motherboard supports. Memory that is faster then what is supports will be down clocked, if the system boots, what exactly happens depends on the system itself. Since you have the specifications and the manual for all your products I would do some research. You gain nothing by buying memory faster then your system can support. – Ramhound Sep 19 '13 at 11:35

Yes, that CPU can work with a memory module rated at 1600 MHz.

The CPU does not choose what the memory is recognized, the motherboard does. The CPUs will run at whatever the motherboard tells them too. They just don't officially support more than 1333MHz because when they first came out, that was really the best that was commonly available and Intel didn't care to change the specs. The Intel CPUs will support pretty much any frequency that you throw at them, albeit you need to keep the voltages in check.

Always go for the least expensive and lower-rated modules, as you'll only see very minimal improvements when you go otherwise (unless you run specialty apps that require serious hardware).


  • Thank you very much for your answer. The thing is that I found a store that sells both 1333 and 1666 at the same price. That's why I need to know if it will be OK to chose the faster one. – Thanos Sep 19 '13 at 9:11
  • It should work. You may find that once you've got it set up, the system lists the memory rating different (lower) from the one than originally described. In this case, you'll have to do some tweaking within the BIOS. However, this is entirely optional and shouldn't result in any drop in performance whatsoever. – happy_soil Sep 19 '13 at 9:16
  • How certain you are about that? I am asking because the desktop isn't mine; it's my girlfriend's and I don't want to cause any trouble or anxiety... – Thanos Sep 19 '13 at 9:30
  • I'm not saying that it will happen. I'm just pointing out the possibilities and what you should do if in case it does happen. For what it's worth, this normally occurs on top-of-the-line memory modules. For typical desktop usage scenarios, memory speeds aren't anything to be concerned of really. – happy_soil Sep 19 '13 at 9:40

If Intel ARK lists the memory support as "DDR3-1333" then that's the maximum supported.

You can get 1600 RAM, but it won't work unless you set it to run at 1333.

  • I have an i7-2600K which is also listed as DDR3-1333. I bought 1600 RAM because I didn't pay attention to this fact. It does not work. I manually set my board to run at 1333. That's the only way to get it to work. – Der Hochstapler Sep 19 '13 at 9:48
  • The motherboard's BIOS probably needed updating. People who overclock their systems often go past the CPU's officially supported maximum memory speed. Review sites also do the same thing. For example, on AnandTech's review of the 2600K, they used modules as high as 1600 Mhz (exceeding the CPU's specs). Bit-tech's review of the 4770K showed that they used a higher spec'ed module. – happy_soil Sep 19 '13 at 11:08

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