For the longest time, AMD had to rely on manufacturer-based memory overclocking profile systems to provide an alternative to Intel’s XMP. With the advent of DDR5 support on the Zen 4 platform, AMD has introduced EXPO, the optimized extended memory overclocking profile system for Ryzen CPUs that many previously thought was called RAMP.
What is AMD EXPO?
EXPO stands for Extended Profiles for Overclocking. It is the built-in overclocking profile system provided by approved memory kits, which can fully optimize memory performance compatibility for modern AMD CPUs. It is AMD’s newest direct counterpart for Intel’s XMP (Extreme Memory Profiles), supplanting older versions such as DOCP and EOCP, which are restricted to motherboard manufacturer’s specifications.
Specifically, EXPO is designed for newer DDR5 memory modules, so it is focused on support for Zen 4 CPUs and later generations. It also strategically makes the most out of newer clock frequency synchronization systems of the AM5 platform, which makes its profiles theoretically tuned better for AMD builds than XMP’s more generic frequency and timing tweaks.
Using EXPO is as simple as turning on the feature and selecting the available profiles saved on the memory modules. Because the profiles are already tested and validated, users are guaranteed to get the most out of the memory kits out of the box. Small headrooms outside the profile can be made here and there, but the approved tunings usually perform best when paired with Ryzen 7000’s new Infinity Fabric ratios.
How AMD EXPO Works (Extending Memory Overlocking Support)
EXPO mainly works by creating an optimized memory tuning setting around a designated Zen 4 (and later) Infinity Fabric setting. The first few timings are then tuned down to the lowest possible values and are then validated when it is successfully tested for stability.
AMD claims that turning on the correct EXPO setting can boost the performance of the system by up to 11% when it comes to gaming. In practice, this is more like a 5% or so across the entire lineup, so nothing too noticeable in real-life scenarios. Still, the theoretical stability it provides for such specific tuning already makes it quite attractive as an alternative option. Especially since XMP profiles are built more for getting maximized values than optimized ones.
On the manufacturer’s side, the implementation of EXPO for released memory kits also becomes more streamlined. For one thing, it is an open standard, so validating the tunings would not have to bounce back and forth from AMD and its partners. Royalty fees are also not required, hugely incentivizing memory kit distributors and manufacturers alike to test and tinker at their discretion.
Overall, AMD aims to make EXPO a default standard for AMD systems, in a way that exceeds the optimization levels XMP can provide for a system. The settings may get very specific to certain builds. But if the gains are worth every bit of performance to adopt the newest supported platforms, then AMD deems it worth providing without any hassles.
AMD EXPO vs Intel XMP (3.0)
Implementation-wise, EXPO, and XMP are very similar. Both can be turned on quite easily and intuitively by just going over the BIOS settings and selecting the desired profiles. However, there are quite a number of stark differences between each other, namely:
- XMP is more generalized. It is a boosted memory profile made to work across all platforms, whereas EXPO is exclusive to AMD only (and only DDR5 at the moment).
- EXPO is an open standard. As mentioned, EXPO does not require validation first from AMD. Manufacturers are free to create their own profiles, show them to the world, and implement them on fresh new kits as soon as possible.
- EXPO doesn’t require licensing. Another element that speeds up the implementation of EXPO is that distributors and manufacturers don’t need to pay upfront to AMD before getting an approved profile.
- EXPO is built for newer Infinity Fabric implementations. No longer is Infinity Fabric centered around a static value to keep CPU and memory in sync. As such EXPO being exclusively used for AMD systems must account for the newer Auto:1:1 scheme.
- For XMP 3.0 in particular, there is no word about EXPO allowing custom profiles. EXPO is mainly advertised as an easy, one-button solution for optimizing DDR5 memory on Ryzen. So there is no detail on whether EXPO would have the same extra profile slot that XMP 3.0-approved kits have.
Available AMD EXPO Memory Kits:
Here are AMD’s officially known EXPO launch partners, and their specific ram kits that would support EXPO:
- ADATA Caster RGB: Up to 7,000 MT/s (XMP/EXPO)
- ADATA Lancer RGB: Up to 6,000 MT/s (XMP/EXPO)
- ADATA Lancer: Up to 6,000 MT/s (XMP/EXPO)
- Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB: Up to 5,600 MT/s (EXPO)
- Corsair Vengeance RGB: Up to 5,200 MT/s (EXPO)
- Corsair Vengeance: Up to 5,600 MT/s (EXPO)
- G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB: Up to 6,000 MT/s (EXPO)
- G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo: Up to 6,000 MT/s (EXPO)
- G.Skill Flare X5: Up to 6,000 MT/s (EXPO)
- Geil Evo V: Up to 6,400 MT/s (EXPO)
- Kingston Fury Beast RGB: Up to 6,000 MT/s (XMP/EXPO)
- Kingston Fury Beast: Up to 6,000 MT/s (XMP/EXPO)
EXPO isn’t particularly an exciting concept for people already used to tuning memory, or even setting XMP. But AMD considers it a step in the right direction since Ryzen processors deal with memory quite differently than Intel CPUs. As for how prevalent its application can be, the decision ultimately boils down to availability and price.
If AMD’s partners provide the right competitive price, then selling exclusive EXPO profiles to consumers could be economically viable. Otherwise, we still recommend the more flexible option of building kits that support both EXPO and XMP.