Forum Thread

"server" RAM vs desktop RAM?

11,029 1,929 November 22, 2019 at 01:29 PM
I was looking on eBay for some cheap RAM and see some listings for "server" RAM. In the description they specify that these sticks do not work with desktop computers and I'm trying to figure out why.

If my motherboard (Asus M4A87TD EVO [asus.com]) says:
4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
*DDR3 Memory Ultra Low Voltage support

wouldn't it be able to support such RAM?

Also, is the "Max 16GB" listed above the total maximum RAM for the motherboard? Or the max per slot meaning I'm limited to four 4GB sticks or two 8GB sticks?

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#2
Server memory is typically ECC. Sometimes systems won't like it if half your memory is ECC and half is non-ECC. Your motherboard might handle it, but is it cheap enough to make it worth the hassle.
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#3
Quote from TeeDub
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Server memory is typically ECC. Sometimes systems won't like it if half your memory is ECC and half is non-ECC. Your motherboard might handle it, but is it cheap enough to make it worth the hassle.
I personally haven't seen a system that can run mixed mode like that, but your spot on server ram is typically ECC. ECC is typically more expensive too.
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#4
Quote from TeeDub
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Server memory is typically ECC. Sometimes systems won't like it if half your memory is ECC and half is non-ECC. Your motherboard might handle it, but is it cheap enough to make it worth the hassle.
Quote from LiquidRetro
:
I personally haven't seen a system that can run mixed mode like that, but your spot on server ram is typically ECC. ECC is typically more expensive too.
I sent a message to one of the sellers. He pointed out that his RAM is buffered (designated by it being 10600R instead of 10600E or something) and that it looked like my motherboard can only handle un-buffered RAM so it probably wouldn't work.

Then when looking at all of the other RAM, they all seem to show 12800R or whatever so if that's the case it doesn't seem like any of it will work that I've looked at so far.
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Last edited by RUsum1 November 22, 2019 at 03:05 PM.
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#5
Best thing is to go to crucial site and see what they show as compatible. That will let you know for sure but 16 is your max from what you said.
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#6
If it states that it only works for certain servers, if it says "Registered" I would stay away unless you verify that it works with your motherboard.

I rolled the dice before and lost (I could either spend $20 to ship my $30 purchase back, or just keep it). Bought some cheapo PC3-10600R (r being registered) and didn't work in my setup.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registered_memory
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#7
Quote from LiquidRetro
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I personally haven't seen a system that can run mixed mode like that, but your spot on server ram is typically ECC. ECC is typically more expensive too.
I'm not sure that I have either.

I want to say I had a Dell slickdeal server from (15?) years ago and I pulled it off (by having desktop memory handy and just trying it) but I won't swear to it. I have had too much sleep and too many beers since then.

Keep in mind though.... If you already have 8GB of ECC, another 8GB of ECC may be cheaper than 16GB of non-ECC. If you are starting from scratch, ECC has n̶o̶ little if any practical benefit to a desktop machine.
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Last edited by TeeDub November 22, 2019 at 04:07 PM.
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#8
This is what you need for 22 bucks no real reason to buy used?

Configuration ID: CT2346904
DDR3 PC3-12800 • CL=11 • UNBUFFERED • NON-ECC • DDR3-1600 • 1.35V • 512MEG X 64 •

https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/co...4a87td-evo
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#9
Quote from komondor
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This is what you need for 22 bucks no real reason to buy used?

Configuration ID: CT2346904
DDR3 PC3-12800 • CL=11 • UNBUFFERED • NON-ECC • DDR3-1600 • 1.35V • 512MEG X 64 •

https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/co...4a87td-evo
I would need at least two of those though which makes it $44. Was hoping to spend less since it's old tech.

Anyone here happen to have working desktop DDR3 RAM that they no longer use?
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#10
i can look to see what i have when i get home. Thurs or Fri I'll let you know.
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#11
I'm fairly sure you can't use ECC registered (buffered) DDR3 memory in that motherboard because the registers slow the access to the RAM chips, despite the fact the mechanical fit is compatible. Maybe it will work if you slow the BIOS timings enough, but I don't know. On the other hand, server motherboards that use ECC registered DDR3 may not let unbuffered non-ECC memory be plugged in because the server board memory sockets may require a 3rd notch on each side of the DIMM to let the latches completely close.

I don't know if that motherboard is limited to each memory stick being 4GB or smaller, but Corsair says an 8GB will work.


If you don't need memory rated super-fast, one way to be almost guaranteed of getting top quality memory is by specifying a manufacturer like Nanya, Samsung, Hynix/SK Hynix, or Micron for the whole memory module, not just for the chips on it, because such modules are made with quality chips and they won't be overclocked by their SPDs.
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#12
Quote from larrymoencurly
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I'm fairly sure you can't use ECC registered (buffered) DDR3 memory in that motherboard because the registers slow the access to the RAM chips, despite the fact the mechanical fit is compatible. Maybe it will work if you slow the BIOS timings enough, but I don't know. On the other hand, server motherboards that use ECC registered DDR3 may not let unbuffered non-ECC memory be plugged in because the server board memory sockets may require a 3rd notch on each side of the DIMM to let the latches completely close.

I don't know if that motherboard is limited to each memory stick being 4GB or smaller, but Corsair says an 8GB will work.


If you don't need memory rated super-fast, one way to be almost guaranteed of getting top quality memory is by specifying a manufacturer like Nanya, Samsung, Hynix/SK Hynix, or Micron for the whole memory module, not just for the chips on it, because such modules are made with quality chips and they won't be overclocked by their SPDs.
That was another thing I was wondering. If it's 16gb max I would think that each slot would only read 4GB max. Or is that spec a per-slot specification? 16gb per slot with all of those other qualifications?

That brought up another question. Do motherboard slots have a restriction on the amount of memory they could read somehow? Like it could read a 4gb stick but not an 8gb for some reason?
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Last edited by RUsum1 November 24, 2019 at 07:21 PM.
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#13
PNY might be coming through for me and replacing my non-working RAM for me which would be great news. They said they no longer make 4GB modules of DDR3 desktop RAM so to replace my four malfunctioning sticks, I'll get two 8GB sticks of RAM instead. This is to replace RAM I bought 8.5 years ago. Looks like they truly do have a lifetime warranty
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#14
Quote from RUsum1
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That was another thing I was wondering. If it's 16gb max I would think that each slot would only read 4GB max. Or is that spec a per-slot specification? 16gb per slot with all of those other qualifications?

That brought up another question. Do motherboard slots have a restriction on the amount of memory they could read somehow? Like it could read a 4gb stick but not an 8gb for some reason?
I would assume that a motherboard with a 16GB total maximum and 4 slots would be restricted to each stick being 4GB or smaller, but I've seen exceptions, like my Toshiba A205 Satellite that could use only 2GB of memory total and had 2 slots, yet a 2GB stick was recognized to its full capacity, despite memory companies like Kingston and Crucial saying that this computer required a pair of 1GB sticks was necessary to get 2GB total memory.

Motherboard slots are restricted to the maximum size each one can handle, and I think it's due to the number of address bits the motherboard can handle and how a stick is organized -- apparently some sticks seem like 2 separate sticks to the motherboard, each for half the capacity.
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