With the release of Sandy Bridge-E today, budding overclockers will once again need to familiarize themselves with a new architecture and platform – starting with official safe operating voltages to run the chips, Quad Channel XMP 1.3 memory kits, bundled air/water thermal solutions for the new LGA 2011 socket and optimum LN2 temperatures clocking potential.

Processor Operating Voltages (from Intel SB-E Technical Datasheet)

Memory overclockers will rejoice that the operating voltage for DDR3 memory have now been raised to a maximum of 1.85v (up from the miserable 1.65v since the days of Nehalem), which should help attain high bandwidth 2400+Mhz on tight memory timings, without causing long term CPU degradation.

The Vcore voltage listed is rather conservative (we dare go 1.5V+ with good cooling), but from prior experience Intel have always revised their ratings upwards with new document revisions and core steppings.



Quad Channel XMP 1.3 Memory Kits


Officially, Intel claims support for 1600MHz DDR3 memory only, and usually the AUTO setting on most motherboards will default to that.

Thankfully with the new base clock ratios and vastly improved quad channel memory controller on the CPU, we have seen memory frequencies scale as high as 2800MHz+, fueling the need for specially hand-picked and certified kits to achieve such levels with stability. The new Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) 1.3 standard extends the SPD profiles to support more extreme settings, and we see vendors like Corsair, GSkill, Kingston and Patroit offering new memory SKUs to sell to demanding enthusiasts.