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Upbeat
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12th December 2012
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RAM issues with 3930k / x79 / LGA2011

Hi all,

I have been researching my new PC for several weeks, making good use of this fantastic forum and had convinced myself to lash out on an i7-3930K system....until I read a number of posts both here and on another forum by the guys at ADK warning about RAM stability issues with this X79 socket LGA2011 platform and how the 3930K is particularly problematic in this area.

They are saying that you cannot assume that what applies to the LGA1155 and other platforms applies to the X79 and that the most stable DDR3 RAM for X79 is low voltage (1.35V) 1600 maximum.... although in one post I seem to remember a hint of some 1.5v RAM around now that is stable on the X79?

So anyway, I need help choosing some stable RAM for the 3930K. At the moment I am favoring the Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 motherboard to put it in (any comments on this board would also be welcome). I do not usually overclock although it is always handy to have that option up your sleeve should the situation require it. I am looking at a 16GB to 32Gb kits.

Apparently ADK have special 1.35v RAM made up for them but I do not have that luxury. So far I have only been able to find a very small number of 1.35v 1600 DDR3 kits and I have no idea of how they perform in a DAW. These are:

KHX16LC9K4/32X Kingston HyperX 32GB (4x8GB) XMP Profile #1: D3-1600 CL9-9-9 @1.35V $249.99

KHX16LC10K2/16X Kingston Hyperx 16gb (2x8GB) XMP Profile #1: D3-1600 CL10-10-10 @1.35V $89

CMZ16GX3M4X1600C9G corsair vengance 16gb (4x4GB) 9-9-9-24 1.35V $119.00

There are also various 8GB kits (2x4GB) 1.35v however 8GB is not enough for my situation.

Any comments on these and other stable types for the 3930k, especially the more common 1.5V versions, from people who have a lot of first hand experience would be welcome.

Alternatively, if the 3930k is too hard to find stable RAM for, I will consider other CPU's and would welcome your input about that:
For me, the 3960X which apparently does run ok on 1.5V RAM is just too expensive for such a small improvement over the 3930K.
Is the Xeon equivalent to the 3930k called E5-1650 able to run ok on 1.5V 1600 RAM?
Is the i7-3820 or Xeon equivalent E5-1620 able to run ok on 1.5V 1600 RAM?

I have no experience with these Xeon's though...can you use them on the desktop boards with Non-ECC desktop memory etc and are there any other considerations? I notice that Vin/Tafkat only uses single Xeon chips in his pro-DAW's....perhaps there are advantages to single CPU Xeon's?

Cheers....
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12th December 2012
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Motherboard Manufacturers verified DIMM lists

And it seems like checking the motherboard manufacturers verified memory list has limited success for a couple of reasons:

1) These days the DIMM manufacturers are changing the chips on the DIMMs from batch to batch so there is guarantee that the one you buy will perform exactly the same as the one tested by the motherboard manufacturer

2) Many motherboard manufacturers post the memory verification lists when the motherboard first comes out but do not update it when new DIMMs are released

3) The DIMMs verfied by motherboard manufacturers are often only guaranteed to work in a very limited number of slots.....something that may only becomes apparent if you query them about it after you have bought it!

I look forward to your replies......
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13th December 2012
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Hi Upbeat,

I emailed G.Skill when I was building my 3930k with 64GB and they guaranteed that their RAM works with my ASUS X79 Sabertooth board. I don't over clock either.

G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 64GB (8 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model.

edit: I'm not sure if this ram is still available. It's been 6 months since my build.
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13th December 2012
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Thanks jetplane666666, I can't currently see that ram on the G.Skill website though.....

Perhaps other 3930k owners could share their successful RAM configurations / brands / types / voltages etc with the rest of us?

Motherboards used for those setups would be valuable info also....

Cheers,
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13th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Upbeat View Post
Is the Xeon equivalent to the 3930k called E5-1650 able to run ok on 1.5V 1600 RAM?
Is the i7-3820 or Xeon equivalent E5-1620 able to run ok on 1.5V 1600 RAM?
We haven't used low voltage RAM on the single Xeons so far, only on dual socket systems, which have the same chipset/architecture. These run fine at 1600MHz. But we always use tried and tested products and notice if components change. A DIMM switch has caused us headaches in the past with 1333 RAM. But usually the trouble is restricted to mixed DIMMs, not a different DIMM in itself.
It is best to contact the RAM vendor with a link to a current RAM offer in an online shop and ask them whether it supports your board & CPU.
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13th December 2012
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Hi Daw Plus,

....can you use the single core Xeons as a direct substitute for the core i7 chips on desktop motherboards? If so, anything to watch out for etc?

Also I had an offer from a local computer shop to take my system in when I put it together and they would test the RAM before I buy it...however they only have 1.5v . Before I even commit to this platform I need to assess chances are of everything working with 1.5v RAM (or take a chance with the 1.35v RAM I have discovered so far)

Good info on your website by the way....
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13th December 2012
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The CPU has to be supported by the motherboard, which usually is done in the BIOS.
There is no real advantage using a Xeon in a consumer board IMO, other than probably slightly less heat.
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13th December 2012
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Thanks DAW PLUS,

So you use your single Xeon's on server boards then?

I noticed that some other DAW manufacturers use single Xeon's also.....is it for some particular reason?
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13th December 2012
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Single Xeon give you access to 8 cores 16 threads CPU. Doesn't have to be a sever board, the high end Asus works well with the top Xeon CPU

Anything lower then that Xeon model though and go with the i7 3930K option
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try to find 1.35v with samsung chips. 8 gig sticks are pretty much impossible to find but we have seen them for sale.

just calling out a name brand does not help. there are multiple grades of chips thus multiple grades from the manufacturer.

in order to get 1.35V with decent timings the ram we buy uses top grade (and binned) chips.
this is even more important when filling all 8 slots

you might get away with using 1.5v but chances are it will have to be run @ 1333 or even 1066 speed, particularly when filling all 8 slots.

we are 1 yr out now since the launch of socket 2011, it has been and still is the most difficult platform we have ever had to build on when using any processor other than the 3960x. and i am not even talking about OCing.

even with our custom ram we have had to send back entire batches (several 100)
due to them changing chips on us or not programing the Eeprom right.
over night shipping from Tawain aint cheap.

the issues come from the memory controller that is ondie.
the 3960x has a different controller than the 3930 and 3820.
i would assume the Xeons can and will vary as well.

in our initial testing intel sent out only 3960x processors to all (board manufacturers, Oems etc) and those were not near as problematic as the 3930/3820.

so a lot of the "official" QV lists for ram are based on that.. making them wrong for 393-k/3820..
also i need to comment on OEM testing. the majority if not all never used to test with all slots populated.. i wont name names but to date i only found 1 manufacturer that has finally taken to doing so and only in light of this issue with 2011.

Scott
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13th December 2012
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The Xeons have been the most temperamental with fully populated dimm slots for us, if building your own I wouldn't go for one the CPU itself is over £1300 if spending that sort of money you really want someone else able to back up that install with parts and support, it's not a setup that many people are going to do so as an individual your experience with the tech support of the different manufacturers should you have problems could well resemble a game of hot potato
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13th December 2012
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Thanks for the feedback guys....yes for a DYI project cost is an issue and you really need to do your research well before you commit to any purchases. Socket 1155 and the Ivybridge seems to be a much easier platform for DYI but of course the 3930k is a big step up in performance for DAW's so that is very attractive.... I will continue to research it a bit longer....

I do notice that DAW manufacturers Reyniers Audio are using Corsair Vengance 1.5v RAM in their configurations which include the 3930k....not sure if they are knocking it back to 1333 or slower.

I also notice that Corsair are advertizing some of these DIMMs as be designed for socket 2011 in particular.....
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14th December 2012
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Can anyone advise how much impact on DAW performance cutting the RAM speed from 1600 back to 1333 or even 1066 actually has on a 3930k system?
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14th December 2012
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Is it better to have the RAM spread over all slots or as few slots as possible?

And also has anyone had success on x79 with say buying a 16GB kit then upgrading to 32GB later or is it essential to buy the matched 32GB kit from the start?
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14th December 2012
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Also, am I correct in thinking that there is no memory issue with a 3960x? So basically, it's possible to use any DDR3 1600 1.5v memory that's recommended by Asus?
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i wont say "ANY" but the 3960X has far less compatibility issues than the others yes.
i have a 3970 on my desk i have not played with yet to check its controller.

Upbeat. technically doing 4 x 4 now and adding 4x4 later should work.. the issue will be if the manufacturer changes chips (and they will).

the ram market is grueling to say the least and if say Corsair can pay $0.25 less for module X over module Z then they will buy module X when the last batch you bought was Z.
no one makes their own ram (other than samsung original and Micron (crucial) and i have seen non micron on crucial but rare ) then there is some oem stuff you generally wont find on newegg,tiger etc. like elpida which is one of the chip manufacturers
all the name brands just buy others memory modules and rename them

so whilst the brand and SKU may not change the chips onboard will vary thru numerous manufacturers.
so you buy one batch corsair and cool it works. then the next batch of the same sku you buy only a week later wont work..

we started seeing this issue once the onboard memory controller was moved to ondie with X58, and the controller would be different from one processor to another (920 vs 980)

with socket 2011 the issues became crazy bad. whilst 1155 is far less problematic.

we used to get our ram made by Muskin, but they would change chips on us to save $0.5 even when we specified a certain chip only. so we had to move to another company who will actually do what we ask.. on the other hand we pay a lot more for it than normal..

Scott
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14th December 2012
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So it turns out I was possibly lucky after all,as I'm using super elcheapo Kingmax RAM-probably an ok brand[?],but it was very cheap![16GB 4x4]in my i7 2600k @ 4.6GHz,with NO issues at all,so 1155 is definitely less problematic here.

Cool info as always Scott!
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I guess I'm also lucky....

ASUS X79 Sabertooth motherboard, i7 3820, and all the RAM slots are filled with Mushkin DDR3 1866 4GB x 8 sticks. So far, I'm running them at 1600, and very stable. I haven't pushed beyond 1600 but I will try it soon with OC.
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14th December 2012
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Our 2011 Xeon systems have been pretty easy, but we did require our own BIOS - however not for RAM.
All our 2011 systems run at 1600MHz even with all slots populated, including 128GB (16x8GB) in a dual socket configuration.
It indeed depends on the CPU used whether its specifications are met.
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15th December 2012
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It would be interesting to see if the 3970x is as stable as the 3960x.
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16th December 2012
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It would also be helpful to know what proportion of people who have built 2011 systems have actually had trouble with RAM ......is it 1 in 1000, 1 in 5 or what? If any readers have had trouble it would help us all if you could leave a short post about it.....what CPU, what RAM, what motherboard?
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16th December 2012
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So according to Scott it appears that the root cause of RAM issues with the 3930k and 3820 may come from their on-die memory controller. (which can vary between LGA2011 CPU's)

Does anyone know for sure if the E5-1650 and E5-1620 Xeon's have different memory controllers to the 3930k and 3820?

Or are there any revisions planned for the 3930k and 3820 that may possibly clear the problem up?
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18th December 2012
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Some great info here. I am looking at a new build in the new year.

So, my question. Should I steer clear of 2011 platform and 3930 cpu?

I wanted more cores for video and audio, but stability is paramount.

Is 1155 and Sandy i7 still the goto machine?

I don't want to wait or suffer compatability issues.....so which mobo and cpu still giving best bang for the buck? Thanks for any answers.
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19th December 2012
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Yes I am currently considering settling for a 3770k or possibly an overclocked 3770K myself however I have no experience with overclocking for DAWs......is it possible to achieve a totally stable system with an overclocked 3770k? What cooling would you need?

The only thing that I am not sure of is will the 3770K be good enough for my needs.
I compose making heavy use of virtual instrument samples but so far its NOT full on orchestral stuff and in fact I am more into Jazz and electronic at the moment. Using Kontakt, Halion, the grand....may get some heavier East West etc in future perhaps.
I do like recording at 88.2k occasionally for guitar overdrive plugins which takes more CPU power. Anyone know if the 3770k will handle stuff like this with plenty of tracks and plugins?

Cheers.....
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19th December 2012
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Hi...about the overclock...Asus new bios on asus x79 boards are really ez to do.
i own a 3960 x and have overclocked it automatically to 4.3 Gh in one single click mouse. It's stable since one year now.
I can't help about the cpu you're talking about...but if you can...go for the 3960x...overclockable til death, less compatibilty issue with ram notably and so on...
I know it can be expensive for a lot o people...

Post your X79 (2011 LGA) experiences here.
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21st December 2012
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Thanks Sensorychaos. The LGA2011 platform is indeed a good one if you can get it working.

One thing I am finding a bit difficult is translating the DAW benchmarks on the ADK site into a real world situation. My DAW PC died and I can't even experiment at the moment. If anyone can give me some idea of what typical realistic situations would push the limits of the 3770k, 3930k and 3960x it would be greatly appreciated.
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27th December 2012
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OK, so I sent an email to Intel about these RAM issues and here is an exact copy of their reply:

"Greetings from Intel Customer Support!

Regarding your inquiry with the memory compatibility of i7-3930k and i7-3820. The Intel® Core™ i7-3930K processor supports 4 channels of DDR3 with supported speeds of 1066 MHz / 1333 MHz / 1600 MHz. Intel® Core™ i7 desktop processors only support non-ECC DDR3 memory on the X79 chipset.The JEDEC memory specification uses 1.5 volts, plus or minus 5%, as a default. This is the Intel® recommendation for memory. The Integrated memory controller is more sensitive to voltage constraints since it is located on the processor and should not be paired with memory that requires and / or uses voltage over the Jedec specification since this will damage the processor and significantly reduce the processor life span.

Look at the voltage needs for DIMMS, the likely cause is it's running at 1.5V and may need 1.6V to run at 1600Mhz. From our side we don’t validate memory beyond 1.5V because the Memory Controller Hub (MCH) was not designed to support more than that. The policy says that the customers can overclock their systems by their own risk, because it is not supported by Intel and besides in case the processor fails due overclocking the warranty will not cover it.

About the questions:

1) Is this memory compatibility issue in fact related to the on-die
memory controller?
Processors i7-3930k,i7-3820 and i7-3960x uses the same Integrated memory controller. It usually depends on the Motherboard if it will support the Memory that you are using and If Memory comply with the Jedec Standards. Some memory running at 1.5V and may need 1.6V to run at 1600Mhz.

2) Are there any other Intel CPU's such as Xeons that have the same
performance as the 3930k (or possibly 3820) which work well with 1.5V
DDR3 at 1600 speed? (I want to use it in a desktop single CPU board).

It depends on the Motherboard that you will be using if it supports Xeon processors. Xeon processors also uses the same memory specification 1.5 volts, plus or minus 5%, as a default.

3) Are there any revisions planned for the 3930k and 3820 that may
possibly clear the problem up for those CPU's?

As of now we dont have any reported issues regarding the memory compatibility for i7-3930k and i7-3820.

If you have any other concern, please feel free to contact us."
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27th December 2012
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LMAO.... as i would expect from them..

let me see if i can get Eric to dig up some emails from Intel engineers..

whilst i love intel sometimes they make me go "HUH" and i amy be about to over-step a bit here but with that answer above...

going back to the X58 platform. and us digging into the ram issues with ondie memory controllers. (which is far more forgiving)
what we noticed was the memory bandwidth was say 25Meg/s on most but when they released the next extreme chip (first was i7-965 so i must be thinking of the 980x) it dropped to like 19meg/s
it took weeks to get an answer from them and we have access to 3rd level engineers
turns out NO ONE knew the memory controllers were different.. (there is little to no communication between US teams and Tawain teams. or US to US within different teams)

case in point when Intel first released thier X58 board that hadnt even tested it with thier own raid cards. imagine our shock when if adding an intel raid card it would cause the board not to boot.. (that board had issues with most PCI/PCie cards)
sad, hilarious but sad, needless to say the Raid team was non too happen with the Mobo team..

fast forward to Sandy -E we ran into the same issue of no one having a clue @ intel.

as i first said Intel shipped everyone 3960X engineering samples and it worked with 1.5v and a decent amount of different ram.
once the actual release came (us thinking we had the new platform dialed in)
and the poo hit the fan with 3820 and 3930k and memory compatibility back to intel we went.. this time a little faster confirmation that the ondie controllers ARE different.
FYI Intel does not make these..

all this to say who ever emailed you doesnt have a stinking clue either..

Scott
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27th December 2012
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this from intels own motherboard

Intel

1.35V DDR3 SDRAM DIMMs (JEDEC Specification)
Four independent memory channels with interleaved mode support
Unbuffered, single-sided, or double-sided DIMMs with the following restriction: Double-sided DIMMs with x16 organization are not supported.
64 GB maximum total system memory (using 4 Gb memory technology).
Minimum total system memory: 1 GB using 512 MB x16 module
Non-ECC and ECC DIMMs
Serial presence detect
DDR3 2400 MHz, 2133 MHz, 1866 MHz, 1600 MHz, 1333 MHz, and 1066 MHz SDRAM DIMMs
XMP performance profile support for memory speeds above 1600 MHz
Full support for overclocking memory
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28th December 2012
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Thanks for your valuable input again Scott.....it sure is a complicated situation.

I did phone some local PC suppliers and apparently none of them have had any memory issues with the 3930k in Australia at least....however I hear what you are saying and understand that you are in a very good position to know what is going on.

Some thoughts in mind are:

- We are on to the 2nd stepping for the 3930k which I think was brought about due to another issue (still 1st stepping for 3820)...do your tests relate to the new stepping for 3930k?

- Could the problem be limited to a small batch of 3930k/3820 and perhaps you have only tested CPUs from that batch?

- For the purpose of your pro DAW PCs are you needing to test/burn in the systems using more thorough tests with higher pass requirement than most other situations such as gaming and general business use?

- Could at least part of the problem be the type of motherboard used?

Cheers
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