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Question about X58 + Xeon X5660 memory support

SomebodyOdd

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Hello!

I have a system, that has x58 motherboard from aliexpress and Xeon X5660 cpu (yes, this was an experiment to get cheapest home server that can still run some VMs and it came success).
Right now I want to upgrade it from 8 GB ram to 32 GB. As far as I know, this is the generation of Intel CPUs that has it's memory controller moved from motherboard to CPU itself. Does it mean that motherboard doesn't matter regarding memory support and I can grab 32 GB DDR3 ECC REG stick and use it in this system, since it's supported by a CPU?
Anyone who managed to get similar config to work with single 32GB stick?
 
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There are some limitations, and it also varies from board to board.
For UDIMMs most brand-name boards max out at 4GB per stick, with some supporting up to 8GB per stick(giving you 48GB theoretical max). Though, it's been only confirmed on few Gigabyte UD and Asus Rampage boards.
For RDIMMs, it also varies from board to board, but in general most x58 won't do more than 8GB per stick.
There's no info on 16GB modules on the internet (nothing but questions and speculations, so I assume most attempts failed), so just to be on a safe side I'd try cheaper 8GB RDIMM modules.
Most two-slot boards on Aliexpress are advertised with 32GB max, but I wouldn't trust those numbers since they may've just copy-pasted numbers from a 4-slot variant of the same board.
 

SomebodyOdd

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That motherboard only has 2 slots so staying at 16 GB max sounds quite bad for me, as i have some minecraft servers on it that REALLY love ram =)
By the way, if memory controller is in CPU how motherboard can be a part of equation here?
 
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By the way, if memory controller is in CPU how motherboard can be a part of equation here?
BIOS. While memory controller has "support" for large amounts of ECC memory, your system still needs to address it and map it.

If you really want lots of cores and lots of RAM on the lowest possible budget, the sweetest spot is X79. Not the knock-off chinese boards, but used HP/Dell/Lenovo/Supermicro.
I'm currently in a process of building a little workstation for my office, and so far I've only spent around $150 with some remaining spare parts laying around.
For X79 there are many more options. I've only got a 16GB registered RAM kit right now (it was nearly free, 4x4G), but I'm eyeballing a 64GB kit of Samsung DDR3-1600 RDIMM for under $100(8*8G).

I'd sell that crap and move onto LGA2011. Just don't buy chinese boards off aliexpress - look for proper brand-name boards. Something like Lenovo S30 or HP Z420 currently sells for less than $80 in mint condition. May require some tweaking with sensors and power, but the end-result is above and beyond of what's offered by knockoffs (except overclocking, which is still questionable in my view even for a home server).
 

SomebodyOdd

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Well, I should've ask on forums first, I guess, cause I already have chinese board and X5660 CPU, so... A lesson for me =)
What CPU would you recommend for minimum cost "kinda good" performance with support for dense memory (like RDIMM 32gb sticks). I don't really care about core counts (though 4cores+ would be a nice to have) but really do care about RAM amounts.
Also, any advice on motherboard shopping? I don't think i can find that hardware here in Russia (especially during lockdown), so something like eBay or something else?
 
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Anyone who managed to get similar config to work with single 32GB stick?
Sadly, no and it can not work. The single dimm limit is 8GB for the X58 chipset. Even though the memory controller is on CPU, the type and max limits are still controlled by the BIOS and chipset and vary from board to board, but hard limit is 8GB.

So in short you will need 3x8GB or 6x8GB to get maximum performance from your ram. Depending on the motherboard you have, DDR3 1866mhz or 2133mhz is possible but I would highly recommend not buying/using any ram that has a default voltage higher than 1.65v as you will burn up the memory controller if you go any higher. Ideally, 1.35v or 1.5v should be your ram voltage goal.
 
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What CPU would you recommend for minimum cost "kinda good" performance with support for dense memory (like RDIMM 32gb sticks). I don't really care about core counts (though 4cores+ would be a nice to have) but really do care about RAM amounts.
The best one for LGA2011 would be something along the lines of 6-core E5-1650 or E5-1660. Those are still quite cheap, but have much higher base/boost clock than E5-26xx CPUs.
Something like 64GB or 128GB of RAM won't be a problem for those.
If you spend some time hunting for parts, you may find boards with Ivy Bridge EP support, which will give you even more power and more performance benefits.

Some Sandy Bridge boards can be modded to support Ivy Bridge EP, but the process is not always that straightforward. I'm currently in a process of splicing up new firmware for my Z620 v1 board (trying to add new bootloader with NVME boot support and Ivy Bridge EP support at the same time).
 
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