Enabling your XMP 2.0 profile
Enabling XMP 2.0 performance profiles
At default, your PC will always revert to 'safe' settings. On a Z270 /Z370 / Z390 / X99 / X299 DDR4 platform, your memory will be configured at what is called an SPD JEDEC setting, the safe setting that will always boot your PC. For DDR4 on this platform, this is 2133 MHz with a JEDEC timing in the 15 to CL 19 range. This is done so that during, say, a new PC setup, your memory will always run stable and steady. However, if you purchase a Ferrari, that doesn't mean you can't pass 120 KPH right? This is why both AMD and Intel created memory profiles aka XMP (other names for AMD) which is short for Xtreme Memory Profile. So while 2133 MHz is standard for the processor and chipset combo, the motherboard manufacturers offer way higher memory configurations and performance as long as your DDR4 memory allows it. How do we get XMP profiles enabled? Simple... go into your BIOS:
Above an example of enabling the XMP profile
You simply enable the XMP profile, save the BIOS and reboot. One word of advice though, use a proper brand motherboard. Corsair has a QVL list on their website for each type of memory, showing supported vendors and motherboards.
Overall if you go with MSI, ASUS, ASRock on Z270/Z370/Z390, you're good to go. XMP is an Intel abbreviation, for AMD it's XMP-A / BEMP or whatever it is called in the BIOS, same thing, different name. Some manufacturers do name it XMP on AMD platforms as well. Once we enabled the XMP profile we can see that the memory frequency, voltages, and timings have updated to what the XMP SPD on the memory is configured for.
This is all that it takes, we now see a memory clock of 1800 MHz. Don't let the number confuse you - that needs to be doubled (DDR is short for double data rate) hence effectively we have the memory controllers and memory running at 3600 MHz (effective data rate) with a CAS latency of 16. So again, if you activate the XMP 2.0 profile in the BIOS, your memory will be automatically configured for you at its maximum supported clock speed and recommended voltage (if supported by processor and motherboard).