Splave’s DDR4 Memory Maintenance Guide
Memory of late has been gaining a real cult following with members of the overclocking community being more knowledgeable on IC (“integrated circuit”) types and binning than ever. This is because increasingly tighter timings and higher frequencies can making a noticeable difference to your system’s performance. Proper memory maintenance plays a vital role in ensuring your DRAM remains in top-notch condition.
To push memory we need to have a nice clean, short trace with a strong signal. Motherboard manufacturers have even started making these great, small edition, two-DIMM slot motherboards with the DIMM slots right next to the socket to take advantage of this. Also, companies like HyperX are now pushing the boundaries of performance with their memory sticks. The key is not to interfere with their hard work by creating issues from poor contact of the memory module’s “gold fingers”.
Why Memory Maintenance Is Important
Let’s start with a few common reasons why the DIMM fingers are being soiled. Memory slots use floating metal fingers encased in the plastic slot housings which are attached to the lanes on the motherboard, essentially connecting your memory to the motherboard. The process of inserting a DIMM into a motherboard is in fact a necessity that causes metal on metal rubbing. Repeated insertion and removal will cause fine metal fillings over time. You will notice that your memory modules will acquire small wear lines over the fingers. This is not a real issue but these scratches are in fact the home of your missing material. Additionally, if you are a Vaseline user, it’s inevitable that some will creep into your slots and inadvertently end up on your memory.
So what affect does all this have? Is it possible that I have had these issues in the past and not even known about it? Did I accidentally sell golden memory that was actually just an average kit? It’s my theory that a lot of “degradation” claims are in fact just the result of poor memory maintenance. If this happening there are a few tell-tale signs to watch out for. You may notice that your memory just won’t be able to bench to the level that it used to be capable of. You may experience issues such as random instability in SuperPi 32M, loss of voltage scaling, loss of speed – and if it gets very bad, even failure to POST is possible.
Here are a couple basic techniques you can employ to keep your memory running at its full potential.
Memory Maintenance Method 1: Eraser!
We are literally going to erase the problems of your memory fingers! Here we have a HyperX AFR memory module and an everyday rubber kneaded eraser. Rub gently across the fingers, being careful not to interrupt any of the resistors or other components that are near them.
You will notice some buildup on your eraser, so make sure you are kneading it to get a fresh area every once in a while.
Memory Maintenance Method 2: Quick Drying Contact Cleaner and trusty Blue Shop Towels
With this method we are going to start with our blue towel, applying some contact cleaner (alcohol is also OK) and we are going to start by making a wedge in your towel.
We then gently pull the memory DIMM back and forth like a hot dog in a bun.
Check out the grime off these DIMMs which I’ve used only a handful of times! You can imagine what will come off your favorite set that you use all the time. Now you’re ready to go. Hopefully this guide has helped you bring some memory back to life and or helped to get your frequency back.
(Disclaimer: Allen Golibersuch is part of the HWBOT Pro OC Program, a cooperative platform for the promotion of overclocking, its community, and its partners.)