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Old 17th June 2010
jony jony is offline
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Default Low power board supporting ECC memory

I'm looking into building a low power system to use as file server. I also want the system to support ECC memory, which makes finding a suitable motherboard difficult. The only low power board I've found which supports ECC memory according to its specs, is the MSI Fuzzy CX700/CX700D board. This board supports however only 1 GB of RAM and has a VIA C7 cpu. As I would prefer to use a more modern board, I would like to ask if anyone is aware of other low power boards supporting ECC memory.

My point is not to start a discussion whether ECC memory is important or not.
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Old 19th June 2010
DrJ DrJ is offline
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I'd suggest one of the ASUS AMD boards. Most of them support ECC memory, and for a server you could use a low-power, inexpensive dual core processor. I'd suggest further one that uses a 785G chipset, since they are inexpensive and have acceptable on-board graphics.
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Old 21st June 2010
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What kind of performance do you want? Intel has the Xeon L3426 which is a 45W TDP quad core. There's also the L5215. which is a 20W TDP dual core.

These are not the cheapest CPU's, and the mainboards that go with them are not the cheapest either. But there a very good in the performance/watt department.
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Old 21st June 2010
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Thanks for your suggestions! Unfortunately I didn't mention in my first post that I don't want to spend too much money on the hardware. If I would be willing to do that, I suppose I would just order the system I wanted.

When it comes to AMD, I believe the only processor that supports ECC, is Opteron. Building a system around a low power Opteron would cost more than I'm willing to spend. I'm afraid the same also goes for Xenon.

Performance wise my requirements are very low, an Atom based system would be quite sufficient. Even the old Via Eden system I mentioned (MSI Fuzzy CX700/CX700D), would probably be sufficient, but I need a system that supports more memory. The reason for this is that I plan to use big disks under OpenBSD, which requires one to have at least 1 GB of memory, in order to be able to run fsck smoothly when something goes wrong. The MSI board does support 1 GB of memory, but the video adapter grabs some of it.

While writing the previous paragraph, I came across this site according to which the MSI board actually would support 2 GB of memory (I can't post the full URL as I haven't got enough posts):
en.kioskea.net/guide/952659-msi-ms-9802
As it however isn't the board's or cpu/chipset's manufacturer's site, I'm not totally convinced of the information’s accuracy.

Not that it gives any value to this conversation, but I did find another cheap low power board that supports ECC memory, which is VIA’s IVP-7500. It’s however a segment board, so finding a case for it could be difficult. Its cpu/memory specs aren’t any better than the MSI board’s either.
While searching for a suitable board, I’ve also got the feeling that VIA’s VB8002 board might support ECC memory, as it uses a chipset (CX700) that supports it and the VIA Nano also supports ECC memory as far as I know. Sadly, this feature isn’t mentioned in the board’s documentation, so I don’t know if it’s enabled or would work properly.
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Old 21st June 2010
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The question then is: Do you need ECC memory? Cheap and ECC memory is sort of a conflict in terms

I have two Supermicro X7SLA-H Atom 330 boards, one running as a fileserver at home, and the other running this website (Among other things).
I have the latter running with 2x2.5" disks in RAID-1 and it uses 30W average. The fileserver at home uses about 60-65W avg. since it has 4 large powerhungry 3.5" disks.

I just use 2GB Kingston valueRAM (2x1GB).
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Old 21st June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
The question then is: Do you need ECC memory? Cheap and ECC memory is sort of a conflict in terms
Not wanting to spend big amount of money on a system, doesn’t make it less important to me to have a system with ECC memory – this is actually the reason why I started this thread.

True, cheap and ecc memory are nowadays a contradiction. It hasn’t always been this way...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
I have two Supermicro X7SLA-H Atom 330 boards, one running as a fileserver at home, and the other running this website (Among other things).
I have the latter running with 2x2.5" disks in RAID-1 and it uses 30W average. The fileserver at home uses about 60-65W avg. since it has 4 large powerhungry 3.5" disks.
Thanks for spending the resources to run this site!
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Old 21st June 2010
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I believe the only processor that supports ECC, is Opteron

That's wrong. Flat out wrong. All the AMD processors support ECC memory, but the motherboards often do not, which is why I suggested ASUS. Yes, I have a dual dual-core Opteron and a 6-core Phenom, both of which use ECC memory.
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Old 21st June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
I believe the only processor that supports ECC, is Opteron

That's wrong. Flat out wrong. All the AMD processors support ECC memory, but the motherboards often do not, which is why I suggested ASUS. Yes, I have a dual dual-core Opteron and a 6-core Phenom, both of which use ECC memory.
Is that really so? I thought, based on apparently incorrect information, that Opteron was AMD’s only cpu which supported ECC memory. I still find it a bit hard to believe that all of AMD’s cpus would support ECC memory and is therefore wondering if you could back up your statement with a suitable reference.
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Old 21st June 2010
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Quote:
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I still find it a bit hard to believe that all of AMD’s cpus would support ECC memory and is therefore wondering if you could back up your statement with a suitable reference.
The lowest-end ones don't but most do. My Phenom II certainly does.

Poke around 2cpu a bit. Here's one link. While not definitive, search for uOpt's experience with ECC on AMD and Intel platforms.

http://forums.2cpu.com/showthread.php?t=96691
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Old 21st June 2010
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Here's another link:

http://forums.amd.com/forum/messagev...hreadid=123883

Beyond these you will have to look for yourself.

Just remember that the consumer CPUs (namely, those that are not Opterons) use unbuffered ECC. You are stuck with four memory slots/16G .
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Old 22nd June 2010
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Also see this thread:

http://forums.2cpu.com/showthread.php?t=95560
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Old 23rd June 2010
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I provided proof; a single response would be appeciated.
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Old 24th June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
I provided proof; a single response would be appeciated.
I don’t spend all of my days at the computer, surprising as it may seem, especially not if the weather is nice. That’s why I haven’t replied earlier.

The threads you provided, some of which I’ve seen before, contained valuable pointers. Maybe I wasn’t reading them carefully enough, but I didn’t however find any part where it was stated that all of AMD’s CPUs would support ECC memory, but you did torpedo that statement in your next post. Personally I don’t consider forums and message boards to very reliable sources of information, as they most of the time are open to anyone (e.g. people like me). The threads you provided, do however give valuable pointers to information which could be worth checking if one is looking for a specific option.

Regarding my original post I haven’t made up my mind on what to do. I think I’ll either get an ASUS board + AMD cpu as you recommended, or wait until the VIA Nano dual core hits the market and see what boards starts showing up then.
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Old 24th June 2010
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Phenom:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...5xO9e-ITn18ETA
direct link: http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/cont...S_3.04_PUB.pdf

But that doesn't work ATM (Which is why I posted the google cache).

And for Athlon:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...M5hPanJfAAxmdA
http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/cont...docs/33425.pdf

Sempron:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...H_WahbdDv763pg
http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/cont...docs/31805.pdf

I could not find the info "directly" on the AMD site, but a google search turned up these docs: phenom ecc site:amd.com.

It would seem the sempron and Athlon specs are for older series ... More searching might reveal more recent data, but it would sort of follow that if the older CPU's supported ECC, then the newer models would too.
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Old 24th June 2010
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Here is another interesting document I found, which provides a nice overview, google docs doesn't allow me to copy the data, but look at page 3.

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...7YlVoQkRDAWS6Q
http://www.amd.com/us/Documents/47644A_ecc_embedded.pdf
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Old 29th June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Phenom:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...5xO9e-ITn18ETA
direct link: http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/cont...S_3.04_PUB.pdf

But that doesn't work ATM (Which is why I posted the google cache).

And for Athlon:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...M5hPanJfAAxmdA
http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/cont...docs/33425.pdf

Sempron:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...H_WahbdDv763pg
http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/cont...docs/31805.pdf

I could not find the info "directly" on the AMD site, but a google search turned up these docs: phenom ecc site:amd.com.

It would seem the sempron and Athlon specs are for older series ... More searching might reveal more recent data, but it would sort of follow that if the older CPU's supported ECC, then the newer models would too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Here is another interesting document I found, which provides a nice overview, google docs doesn't allow me to copy the data, but look at page 3.

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...7YlVoQkRDAWS6Q
http://www.amd.com/us/Documents/47644A_ecc_embedded.pdf
Thanks! These documents I would consider reliable, as long as one pays attention to the processor series, just like you said.
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