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12th Gen Intel DDR5 Issues. DDR5 XMP still plagues new builds with various Q codes, the most common of which is 55. Is it time to complain about your motherboard?

Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs were released almost a year ago and with them came some DDR5 related issues. This was to be expected since DDR5 was a brand new RAM standard at the time. And we expected some teething problems.

However, problems with DDR5 still persist, with users (including ourselves) experiencing fatal errors with DDR5 on new 12th Gen CPUs and motherboards.

Now read: Best 12th Gen Intel CPU

Mobo and CPU

Don’t panic we’re here to give you some friendly advice as this issue was plaguing one of our internal PCs for about a week and definitely left us scratching our heads for a while. Was it RAM? The CPU? The motherboard? let’s find out

12th Gen Intel DDR5 Issues

The problem only occurs with DDR5. We haven’t seen or experienced any issues with DDR4 on the 12th Gen platform. Not only that, we haven’t seen any reported issues from the 11th Gen platform on LGA1200.

For reference, the original RAM kit was 16GB Corsair Dominator DDR5 at 5600MHz 40-40-40-77.

What is the problem?

As far as we know, the motherboard BIOS (Basic Input Output System) automatically sets incompatible RAM timings. However, this happens not only once, but also after erasing the CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor).

This is the battery-powered component of the motherboard that allows things like system time and BIOS configurations to be saved.

This results in the BIOS being unable to read the RAM or even detect its presence. All our ASUS Maximus Hero Z690 did all day was throw Q-Code 55 all day. Q-code 55 means the motherboard doesn’t recognize installed RAM, here’s a list of fixes we’ve tried.

  • Clear the CMOS
  • Updating the BIOS
  • Downgrade the BIOS
  • Try different RAMs with different speeds and timings
  • Different RAM DIMM slots on the motherboard
  • Manually changing RAM timings
  • Other CPU
  • Enable / Disable XMP

The interesting thing is that we had no problems trying to boot with a stick of DDR5 RAM, this was with and without XMP enabled. However, this was not the case in every motherboard RAM slot.

Corsair Dominator DDR5 RAM 1

When we inserted any stick of RAM into the A2 RAM slot, the error persisted. So that’s it, right? Just a dead DIMM slot? Well no. The A2 DIMM slot works fine when XMP is disabled. This suggests there is more at play here than just the BIOS, which defaults to incompatible timings.

After all our testing, we just assumed our ASUS ROG Maximus Hero Z690 was dead or something was wrong with a memory controller and ended up sending it in for an RMA. But after some internet searching he found a forum that suggested turning on gear ratios or increasing the voltage of your RAM by about 100mV.

Please note: We don’t blame anyone, especially Corsair. This is only the RAM brand we found the problem with, the problem existed with XPG RAM as well.

What is equipment?

Simply put, Gear mode is the relationship between memory and the processor’s memory controller. Intel Gear is exactly what it sounds like, it’s about ratios. Gear 1 runs the RAM and memory controller at the same speed in a 1:1 ratio. Gear 2 runs the RAM at twice the speed of the memory controller in a 2:1 ratio. However, Gear 2 comes at the cost of increased latency but increases the memory speed supported by the CPU.

Increasing the DRAM voltage

If you want you can try adding more stability to your DDR5 kit, which means you’ll need to adjust the voltages, and this isn’t an easy process – it’s more of a mix of art and trial and error. Here’s the difference between DDR4 and DDR5 if you’ve just made the switch.

  • The DRAM voltage is gone (at least on this ASUS Maximus Hero z690 motherboard anyway).
  • DDR5 introduces power management on the module. Each memory stick has its own Power Management IC (PMIS) that is responsible for reducing the 5V input from the motherboard to the required DIMM voltages.
  • All available PMIC regulation parameters are available under “Ai Tweaker\Advanced Memory Voltages”. but the two main rails of interest are DRAM VDD and DRAM VDDQ as these are the only helpful settings for overclocking. The recommended voltage for each is 1.25V, so try not to exceed that if you can.
  • Each RAM bar requires different voltages depending on the performance. Some are rated for much higher voltages than others, but in general we would never recommend going above 1.5V.
  • The recommended voltage bases for different brands of memory modules are as follows: 1.25V VDD and VDDQ for Hynix, 1.25VDD 1.35VDDQ for Micron, 1.35VDD 1.35VDD for Samsung.

If you want to try to overload your RAM, you need to find the “Memory VDD Voltages” and “VDDQ Memory Voltages” headings under “Extreme Tweaker / Advanced Memory Voltages” in the Advanced tab of the BIOS. Do not exceed the recommended voltage baselines given above.

Is it time for an RMA?: ASUS Z690s recalled

12th Gen Intel DDR5 Issues

As we said earlier, we have RMAed our motherboard. If it’s under warranty, you might want to consider that. This is especially true if you have an ASUS ROG Z690 motherboard, as all were recalled in December 2021 due to a serious design flaw in the memory slot. It just might be possible that you have one of those bad boards that somehow got left in the bin.

However, if you bring this problem to the attention of ASUS, we are sure that they will not turn you down. You will have a full list of serial numbers representing affected products and it is worth asking if you have an ASUS Z690 motherboard.

Last word

You’re free to try any of the fixes we’ve done to repair your motherboard, but we’ve shared our experience with you to save you time and money in the long run. We fear that an RMA is probably the way to go this time. We know they’re frustrating and believe me, quite a few of us have wanted to make our Z690 the world’s most expensive frisbee, but it’s best to let the manufacturer do it.

The warranty should not have expired yet, the circuit boards are not old enough. But if you are, comment below and hopefully we can find a solution for you. We hope you enjoyed this article on Intel 12th gen DDR5 issues and that it was of some help to you.

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