Monthly Archives: September 2016

  • Intel C200 Series Chipset Quirks

    Compatibility can be a bear. Especially when you are just scrapping together server and desktop parts and trying to get a good deal while also getting good performance. Many people are drawn in by cheaper ECC memory or Xeon processor that are cheaper than their desktop counterparts. This is a very interesting option for people looking just to set up a home lab or a high-performance gaming rig. As of writing, the 8 Core E5-2670 can be had for around $70. There aren't even any options with 8 cores on the desktop side under $500 dollars, let alone $100. The biggest hurdle though is if it will work in your motherboard. If you would like a general guide showing which desktop chipset might have a chance of running a Xeon processor or vice versa you can check out my General Motherboard Compatibility Guide, but in this article, I am going to focus on some bizarre quirks with Intel's C200 series of motherboards.

    The first thing I am going to talk about is what has changed. It used to be that the memory controller was a component on the motherboard inside of the chipset, but in recent years, starting with Nehalem, the first generation with the i7 naming scheme, moved the memory controller onto the processor itself. Previously you used to have to look at the chipset of the  motherboard to see if it could handle a certain memory capacity or speed and when they moved the memory controller onto the processor you would think that then you would have to look at the processor's compatibility with the memory. This is true, but there is a catch. You still need to look at the motherboard's chipset because it still plays a part in compatibility. The most major thing to note is that while the C200 series chipsets all have desktop equivalents that seem like they should be the same, they are actually slightly different in the memory category. As you would expect they support ECC memory. Since the chipset is only designed for workstations and not servers they use Unbuffered ECC memory(If you are confused about memory type then check out my post on memory compatibility) instead of Registered ECC memory.

    Generally, people think that in order to run ECC memory you need a Xeon processor, but things get confusing when you have HP releasing products like their Proliant MicroServer which comes with a Celeron a C200 Series Chipset and Unbufffered ECC memory.

    Proliant MicroServer

    So what gives? How is it that they put a Celeron with ECC memory? Well, It turns out that Intel left the ECC functionality on on their lower end parts like the Celerons, Pentiums and i3's for some unknown reason. This is interesting because it allows OEM's to make really cheap server systems because they do not have to use the more expensive Xeon processors. The downfall of this is that it make it very confusing to upgrade. You are capped at best with an i3. That is probably plenty fine for many tasks but you need to be aware that if you put an i5 or i7 in it isn't going to work.

    One thing you might be thinking now is, Hey, the memory controller is on the i5 and i7 now so if I put those in there then I just need to use non-ECC memory. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, the compatibility is still linked to the chipset in some way so even though your i5 or i7 you want to put in there can support non-ECC memory, the C200 series chipsets cannot.

    ...Or can it? There is one exception to this rule. It seems that Intel has added non-ECC support to any C200 series chipset ending in 6. e.g. c206, c216, c226. This is quite peculiar because it seems like all of the chipsets are mostly the same, give or take a couple I/O options and PCIe lanes. What this means though is that if you have a C2X6 series chipset then you can use an i5 or i7, but since they do not have ECC support you will need to switch over to non-ECC memory. Theis makes the  C206, C216, C226 chipset motherboards turn out to be some of the most versatile motherboards that have ever been released. Check out all of the possible CPU's that you can use for a C206 based motherboard like the Asus P8B WS . You can use Celerons, Pentiums, i3's, i5's, i7's and Xeon E3's From both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge generations given that you have the correct memory for your processor. You could start with a system featuring a measly Celeron with ECC memory and then decide you want more Compute power and switch to an i7 with non-ECC memory and then if you determine that you need the ECC memory again you can switch over to a Xeon for the high computing power and ECC memory.

    The C200 series is definitely confusing, but I believe that it is a very good deal either way because the variants ending in 6 have immense compatibility potential while the non-6 variants give great value and leave the possibility of Xeon upgrades down the road. You just have to remember that the chipset as well as the processor both must support the kind of memory that you are looking to run.

  • General Motherboard Compatibility Guide

    Here is a chart I have created that will function as a quick cheat sheet for people to look through and determine processors that may be compatible with their motherboard based on which chipset it uses. Just click on your motherboard's chipset and it will drop down with the associated Code Name, which processors are potentially supported and which type of memory it uses.  Note that this is not an absolute guarantee that a certain processor will be compatible. There are simply too many variations to guarantee compatibility for anything but it is a good place to start. Please check your manufacturer's website to confirm any compatibility issues if you are uncertain. If you find any errors or think I should add anything to the chart you can leave a comment below or email me at [email protected] I will be looking to add more individualized looks at each chipset in the near future.

    H81

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    B85

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    Q85

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    Q87

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    H87

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    Z87

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    Z97

    Code Name

    Wildcat Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Broadwell, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) and Broadwell WS(E3-1200 V4) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard DDR3

    H97

    Code Name

    Wildcat Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Broadwell, Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) and Broadwell WS(E3-1200 V4) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard DDR3

    X58

    Code Name

    Tylersburg

    Processors Supported

    Bloomfield, Gulftown and Westmere-EP Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    X79

    Code Name

    Patsburg

    Processors Supported

    Sandy Bridge E, Ivy Bridge E, Sandy Bridge EP(E5-2600) and Ivy Bridge EP(E5-2600 V2) may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    X99

    Code Name

    Wellsburg

    Processors Supported

    Haswell E, Broadwell, Haswell-EP(E5-2600 v3) and Broadwell-EP(E5-2600 v4) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    H110

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake, Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    B150

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake, Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    Q150

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake, Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    H170

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake, Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    Q170

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake, Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    Z170

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake, Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons may be supported

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    C232

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons, may support Desktop Skylake (i3, celeron, pentium)

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    C236

    Code Name

    Sunrise Point

    Processors Supported

    Skylake WS(E3-1200 v5) Xeons, may support Desktop Skylake (i7, i5,i3, celeron, pentium)

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

    C202

    Code Name

    Cougar Point

    Processors Supported

    Sandy Bridge EP(E3-1200) and Ivy Bridge EP(E3-1200 V2)  Xeons, may support Desktop Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge (i3, pentium, celeron)

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    C204

    Code Name

    Cougar Point

    Processors Supported

    Sandy Bridge EP(E3-1200) and Ivy Bridge EP(E3-1200 V2)  Xeons, may support Desktop Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge (i3, pentium, celeron)

    Memory Standard

    DDR3

    C206

    Code Name

    Cougar Point

    Processors Supported

    Sandy Bridge EP(E3-1200) and Ivy Bridge EP(E3-1200 V2)  Xeons, may support Desktop Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge (i7, i5, i3, pentium, celeron)

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs

    C602

    Code Name

    Patsburg

    Processors Supported

    Ivy Bridge EP and Sandy Bridge EP Xeons (E5-24XX compatible with LGA1356 motherboards) May work with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge I7's

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC LRDIMMs, RDIMMs, UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs

    C602J

    Code Name

    Patsburg

    Processors Supported

    Ivy Bridge EP and Sandy Bridge EP Xeons (E5-24XX compatible with LGA1356 motherboards) May work with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge I7's

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC LRDIMMs, RDIMMs, UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs, DDR4*

    C604

    Code Name

    Patsburg

    Processors Supported

    Ivy Bridge EP and Sandy Bridge EP Xeons (E5-24XX compatible with LGA1356 motherboards) May work with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge I7's

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC LRDIMMs, RDIMMs, UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs

    C606

    Code Name

    Patsburg

    Processors Supported

    Ivy Bridge EP and Sandy Bridge EP Xeons (E5-24XX compatible with LGA1356 motherboards) May work with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge I7's

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC LRDIMMs, RDIMMs, UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs

    C608

    Code Name

    Patsburg

    Processors Supported

    Ivy Bridge EP and Sandy Bridge EP Xeons (E5-24XX compatible with LGA1356 motherboards) May work with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge I7's

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC LRDIMMs, RDIMMs, UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs

    C216

    Code Name

    Panther Point

    Processors Supported

    Sandy Bridge EP(E3-1200) and Ivy Bridge EP(E3-1200 V2)  Xeons, may support Desktop Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge (i7, i5, i3, pentium, celeron)

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs

    C222

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) and Broadwell WS(E3-1200 V4), Broadwell or Skylake i3, Pentium, Celerons may be compatible

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC UDIMMs

    C224

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) and Broadwell WS(E3-1200 V4), Broadwell or Skylake i3, Pentium, Celerons may be compatible

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC UDIMMs

    C226

    Code Name

    Lynx Point

    Processors Supported

    Haswell WS(E3-1200 V3) and Broadwell WS(E3-1200 V4), Broadwell or Skylake i3/i5/i7, Pentium, Celerons may be compatible

    Memory Standard

    DDR3 ECC UDIMMs and Non-ECC DIMMs

    C612

    Code Name

    Wellsburg

    Processors Supported

    Haswell-EP(E5-1600 v3, E5-2600 V3, E5-4600 V3) and Broadwell-EP(E5-1600 V4, E5-2600 V4, E5-4800 V4)  Desktop Haswell and Broadwell may be possible in single socket configuration

    Memory Standard

    DDR4

  • Dell PowerEdge T620

    RAM Type: DDR3 RDIMMs, LRDIMMs

    Max Ram Capacity: RDIMMs: 768TB(32GB dual rank DIMMs), LRDIMMs: 1536GB (64GB quad rank DIMMs)

    Processor Socket Count: 2

    Compatible Processor Series: E5-2600 v1, v2 or E5-1600 v1, v2

    Number of Ram Slots: 24

    Hard Drive Bays: 12 3.5" drives or 32 2.5" drives

    BIOS Notes: Requires BIOS revision 2.0.19 or newer to E5-2600 v2 or E5-1600 v2 processors

    64GB LRDIMM's require BIOS Revision 2.1.2 and E5-2600 v2 processors

    Dell PowerEdge T620 Server Dell PowerEdge T620 Server

    The Dell PowerEdge T620 is a Tower based server that has the ability to be converted into a rackmount server when a mounting bracket and rails are installed. It features a proprietary Dell motherboard which is run by an Intel C602 series chipset  (Desktop Similar is the X79 Chipset). This allows for dual Sandy Bridge-EP (E5-2600 v1 series) processors or Ivy Bridge EP (E5-2600 v2 series) processors (If BIOS revision 2.0.19 or newer is installed) and 24 slots for DDR3 RDIMMs or LRDIMMs

    When running BIOS revision 2.1.2 or newer the maximum addressable memory for a single socket configuration is 768GB with Quad or Octo Rank Load-Reduced DIMMs. With a dual processor configuration, this figure is doubled to 1536GB. This is using 24 of the recently released 64GB LRDIMMs. If using a revision older than 2.1.2 then the maximum addressable will be 384GB in a single socket configuration or 768GB in a dual socket configuration. This is achieved using 24 32GB LRDIMMs. Of note, you cannot utilize 64GB DIMMs until the BIOS is updated and you may not use the memory slots assigned to a non-populated processor. An E5-2600 V2 processor is required to utilize 64GB LRDIMMs. To explain further, you cannot achieve the 768GB single processor maximum by using 24 32GB DIMMs because 12 of the slots are associated with the empty processor socket. The memory can operate at 1333MT/s in all configurations and ranks except for triple channel configurations. With RDIMMs the maximum then becomes 800MT/s in triple channel and LRDIMMs can still operate at 1066MT/s in triple channel

    There are many storage configurations for the Dell PowerEdge T630. One option is 32 2.5" drives without the flexbay or 18 2.5" with the flexbay.  Another option is 18 3.5" drives without the flexbay or 8 with the flexbay. The flexbay is essentially a riser card that allows the install of PCIe SSD cards in the front or additional hard drives or solid state drives.

    A few major BIOS updates have been released since launch:

    Revision 2.5.2

      • Updated Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 V2 product family microcode to 428.
      • Corrected an issue where VMware ESXi 5.1.x, QLE24xx cards stop responding during disk I/O when Intel Xeon E5-2600 V2 family of processors is used.
      • Corrected a system crash issue while performing the change security key operation under 'Integrated RAID Controller PERC 710' Configuration Utility by using mouse.

    Revision 2.1.2

      • Added support for Windows 2012 R2.
      • Added 64 GB LRDIMM memory support for Intel Xeon E5-2600 V2 family of processors.

    Revision 2.0.19

      • Adds support for E5-2600 V2 processors
      • Added 1866MHz memory DIMM support for Intel Xeon E5-2600 V2 processor

    Revision 1.4.8

      • Updated the maximum supported frequency to 1600Mhz for RDIMMs and UDIMMs in both 1 DIMM per channel and 2 DIMMs per channel configurations, when operating at either 1.35V or 1.5V
      • Updated the default maximum supported frequency to 1333Mhz for RDIMMs and LRDIMMs in a 3 DIMM per channel configuration
      • Added updates for future GP-GPU support

    Revision 1.1.3

      • Fixed a potential hang issue in POST after "Initialization complete"

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