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Do Intel Skylake Processors Support DDR3 RAM?

Are you wondering if Intel’s Skylake Processors support DDR3 RAM? The straight answer to that question is Yes and No.

Why Yes?

According to Intel, Skylake processors do support the use of DDR3 RAM that’s why there are 1151 motherboards on the market that use DDR3 RAM.

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Why No?

It does not support all kinds of DDR3 RAM. First and foremost, Skylake processors are intendedly designed to work with DDR4 RAM or simply, RAM with low voltages. So when it comes to DDR3 RAM, Skylake processors only supports DDR3L types of RAM. Those are DDR3 RAMS with low voltages. For example, the i7-6700k supports DDR3L with 1.35V.

Why can’t I use DDR3 RAM with higher voltages?

In full honesty, Skylake processors paired with 1.5V DDR3 RAM may still work… that’s why the motherboard brand like Gigabyte still manufactures 1151 motherboard that supports 1.5V DDR3 RAMs BUT do keep in mind that this is considerably like overclocking the integrated memory controller that is specifically designed to work with RAMs that has low voltages like the DDR4 or DDR3L. So to make things simple, prolonged use of DDR3 RAMs with high voltages of more than 1.35V will definitely cause permanent damages to these Skylake processors.

So all and all, if you plan to upgrade to SkyLake processors, you better grab a DDR4 RAM and stop reasoning out that you should still be able to use your DDR3 RAM. This is to simply avoid and prevent headaches.

BossMac’s Notes: We have a couple of DDR3 motherboards in the labs that have been using higher-specced DDR3-2400 RAM running 1.65v and so far no detrimental effects have been observed. While these systems have only been used sporadically, they have been exposed to the same workload as our other systems. That said, that final statement above can be treated as theoretical as of this moment as we’ve yet to hear report of damage Skylake chips by using DDR3 DIMMs.


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Daniel Moises Magulado

Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway

6 Comments

  1. Well if you already shelled out for high speed ddr3 rams its nice that you have a choice to still use them.

    1. Truth. And given that I personally haven’t experienced long-term degradation, I’d say its fine but ultimately you need to step up to DDR4. 😀

    2. The damage hysteria over using DDR3 on Skylake seems mostly nonsense anyway. The only article that posted anything about it initially was a Tom’s Hardware news post and if you read the other posts of the author of that particular original article, you will see that he does not seem to know what he is talking about especially when it comes to CPUs and motherboards (that Tom’s Hardware news writer for example did not know that audio jacks could be retasked in one of his news post complaining about motherboard design). It would make more sense if flooding VCCSA and VCCIO voltages caused IMC damage but DRAM voltage controller is on the motherboard not the CPU.

    3. I haven’t explored it much but I’ve read the Intel Skylake technical sheet and it doesn’t really say anywhere about it so yeah I totally agree with you that its just an overblown myth from Toms. I remember speaking with Biostar and ECS reps back in Computex about DDR3 DIMMs on Skylake boards and it wasn’t really a concern for them.

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