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Ready for my last build (in my 50's) and last 3 were ASUS boards but...

Level 8

Going back 21 years to my first ever build and two since then, I've used only ASUS mobo's. 

I guess it's sticking with what works and that you have good luck with, so I'm looking at using an ASUS board again.

I've been targeting the Asus ROG STRIX Z790-E GAMING WIFI board.  Unfortunately it doesn't feel like a slam dunk this time around.

In reading purchase reviews, there are a fair number of complaints saying quality isn't what it used to be, memory issues, etc. but I'm sticking with it.  I can't find a Z790 board (MSI, Gigabyte, etc.) that doesn't have some complaints, so it's largely luck of the draw it seems - assuming the narrative that quality has gone down is not correct.  😕 

Despite a few builds, I swear this all seems so new to me suddenly.  I have two main questions if anyone can provide some guidance:

1)  The most popularly paired memory I've seen on PC Parts Picker is G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR5-6400 CL32 Memory [for those that want 64 GB like myself] or the same speed 2x16 GB version.  

If I've read enough posts correctly, out of the box this won't run higher than 5600 (?) which is the base / maximum frequency supported by the memory management of Intel's CPU?  I might have this wrong, so apologies.  I'm ok with that to start, but what I can't tell is will it post just fine out of the box and then I can choose to turn on XMP, etc?  I'm not one to OC and I'm ok if these run less than stated speeds, I just don't want to go into BIOS to tweak settings for stability, etc. 

2)  Is there a good resource for what this board should have done in terms of best practices after a fresh install?  e.g., first flash the bios with this method, update these Window drivers, etc?  Sometimes that's a big black hole of time without a good roadmap (for someone like me).  Basically something that I could read or watch where otherwise I'd say "oy, I sure wish I knew that ahead of time"

Thanks in advance!


Level 17

Hi Sag, getting DDR5 memory to work correctly seems to be the hardest issue. It seem to me that 80% of the posts here are memory related. Try and find a couple of examples of people with your board and chosen memory kit, but I think you'll be OK at those speeds. Also check the QVL list for your motherboard if you haven't already. You should be able able to get speeds 200MHz below the QVL even in a worst case scenario, let's say your CPU happens to have a weak memory controller. 

If you want to go faster, then take a look at the 790 Apex Encore, that will run memory at 8,000+ with tweaking, so in my opinion it is probably the safest bet for a pain free memory experience. It's all money vs. being a little more future proof really, but all systems go out of date pretty fast nowadays. 

I'm still using the 690 Hero and 12900K with slower memory, but I've had virtually no issues, nothing hardware related. It all runs as solid as a rock and it's been on 16 hours every day for over 18 months. Very reliable, so my Asus experience has been excellent. It's still plenty fast enough for me as well, even for gaming. If you wanted to save some money, maybe my spec could also be an option. I'm planning on using it for at least another 2 years and I suspect it will remain useful for many more. 

In terms of setup, good idea to update the BIOS to start and make sure that ME Firmware is also up to date. You can check on the 'main' page of your BIOS. It should be updated with the BIOS automatically. Then install Windows and get the chipset drivers installed first. After that, work your way through all the other drivers and note that MoKiChU offers all the latest drivers for every motherboard in these forums, so use those if you want to be as up to date as possible.   

Good luck with whatever you choose. 

Z690 Hero, BIOS 3101, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

I forgot to add I plan to use a 13700k air cooled with a U12A.

So it's not timings or mobo compatability but issues with DDR5 memory in general?  I've not read that yet, or I'm likely misinterpreting.  If I recall, at least at the time of my last build ~7 years ago, there was also memory available rated higher than Intel CPU / mobo would support out of the box.  That said, there were really no issues on the boards, other than with people who were deep into OCing.  

G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR5-6400 CL32 memory or 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) in same speed is definitely what I've seen paired many times on PC Parts Picker with this board, so I assume it will work, even if I don't turn on XMP and it will run at lower speeds, just get a baseline of stability.  Not sure why people use those the most other than maybe RBG bling?  I don't care for that.

BTW, that memory isn't on the QVL but people wrote that it works fine once XMP is applied if you want the rated speed.  Speaking of which, I went to go see what the fastest memory was on the QVL in 2x16 GB and even though the link below had content when checked multiple times in the past, now it's missing the data on the memory.  Wonder if it's a bug or ASUS took it down.

I didn't know there were more problems with 64 GB vs. just 32 GB.  Thanks for that, I'll read up on it.  I'm also using the box for game development so I wanted a ton of memory since it's not that much more, but it sounds like it's better to just stick with 32 GB.

Thanks for the firmware/drivers info.  It's all so rusty, but I happened to watch a video doing each piece in order for the board I wanted back then so it was easy.  I'll Google more on what you mentioned.

Appreciate it.

You're welcome, yes, that's the right link to MoKiChU's drivers. He uses a code so that drivers for z690 and z790 would be listed as 6xx/7xx for example. Just make sure you pick the right drivers, but his listing system is really good when you get used to it. 

I'm no memory expert, but there does seem to be a lot of hassle with DDR5 for many people. If other people are using your board and that memory combination, you should be good, but the memory controller is on the CPU now, and the quality of those controllers can vary. 64GB does place more demand on the memory controller vs 32GB, so unless you really need 64GB, I'd say just go with 32GB which should be ample for normal use and gaming. You'll save some money too and you should just be able to enable XMP without any issues. When I'm using the PC, memory demand rarely goes much above 40%, even with 32GB. 

By the way, my memory will overclock from 5200 (with XMP on) to 5400 no problem at all even at the same voltages, although I am operating at the lower end of the speed spectrum by today's standards. So, I've had no problems at all with DDR5 memory. 

Z690 Hero, BIOS 3101, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.


Hello Sag

99% of the time, memory issues fall on the cpu's memory controller.

If you're just gaming, go with a 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit, this is more than enough for games. The less capacity will ease up on the cpu's memory controller and have a better chance at running with no tweaking.

32GB 6400MT/s should be doable with X.M.P., if it so happens that it's not stable, raising a few voltages will get you there.