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Good MBs for ECC

#1

Hello,
I’m looking to get a consumer MB that supports ECC RAM running with ECC enabled. I’ve heard several small things about the matter and read in some of the MB descriptions that they only support ECC when using a Pro series CPU, but others, such as Wendell, have briefly mentioned getting ECC working without a Pro CPU on some MBs.
I know that X570 is a new platform and you don’t know much about it so take my question as being about X470/X370/B450/B350 unless you have more information on the X570 platform.
Would asking the MB manufacturers directly be a good idea, or are they unreliable?
I’m aware that Zen does not support Registered ECC RAM or Buffered ECC RAM.
I’m not particularly looking for recommendations on what sticks of ECC RAM I should buy, but feel free to comment if you’ve had a good experience so I’d know what sticks/brand have specifically been test and found to work.
For those of you who will, no doubt, want to know why on earth I’d want ECC RAM without getting a server system the reason is simple. I’m a citizen scientist, therefore I am trying to do computing in a cost effective manner. I need to run many calculations that will take many hours/days to complete. If I don’t have ECC RAM then I’ll have to perform each calculation twice. I also need to ensure that my data-sets are correct. That means SW RAID5 or RAID6 which again, unless I hack the kernel to perform these calculations twice and in a randomized place in memory, requires me to use ECC RAM.
Thanks!

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#2

I’m going to break down your post into some smaller chunks.

  • Mobos that support ECC Ram

I’d stick with Asus / ASRock boards that officially list it, though this community seems keep on pushing the limits of “official support”

I found lots of good links with a search term of “(insert brand here) motherboard ecc support”

  • Would asking the MB manufacturers directly be a good idea, or are they unreliable?

If they list it on the packaging, thats what their going to go with. If you want to go outside the lines of “official support”, I wouldn’t put much stock in their “official” communication channels

I am trying to do computing in a cost effective manner. I need to run many calculations that will take many hours/days to complete.

Sounds like you just want to build a server anyway, so why not just do that?

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#3

Asrock Rack has an am4 board. Not sure on what specifically you are looking for.

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#4

Just throwing this from completely left field… but if the data is of critical importance in making sure it is calculated correctly. Wouldn’t it be sensible (or at least not out of the question) to use duplicate machines and compare the output?

If things are going to error due to in memory alteration or input data becoming corrupt after reading from disk, the likely hood of that occurring on two systems at the same time in the same way is pretty damn near 0%.

As an actual answer to the question, I’ve had little problems with ECC (un-buffered) on AMD platforms for a long time (since they moved the memory controller to the CPU). As long as you don’t buy a cheap Mobo, you’re usually fine. (That is just my experience, not guaranteed etc.)

Maybe picking up some older server gear would be a nice cheaper alternative? Like some Xeon E5 v1/2’s era sorta stuff.

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#5

If the system is running full tilt for days power consumption might come into play. So depending on price/kWh you might be better off with the newer and more efficient hardware.

I am running a FreeNAS box with 32GB ECC 2400 on an Asus Prime X370 Pro. I’m also running my router with ECC memory on an Asus A320M-K which at that point was the cheapest AM4 board available. (I think I paid 40,- bucks) But I am not doing tons of computationy things on these machines. Both of these are running basic bitch Ryzen3 1200 CPUs.

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#6

Grokas: If they list it on the packaging, that’s what their going to go with. If you want to go outside the lines of "official support", I wouldn’t put much stock in their "official" communication channels

I actually meant contacting customer support and putting this question to them: “Which of your MBs supports ECC RAM running in ECC mode with a non-Pro Zen processor?”
I’ve done similar before with mixed success.

mutation666: Asrock Rack has an am4 board. Not sure on what specifically you are looking for.

Um, I stated the requirements in my first post, what was unclear? Technically I do have a few desires that go beyond this, but once I know what my options are I can narrow them down myself.

zanginator: Just throwing this from completely left field, but if the data is of critical importance in making sure it is calculated correctly. Wouldn’t it be sensible (or at least not out of the question) to use duplicate machines and compare the output?

Good point! I aught to have addressed this in my original post. That’s an ideal answer if all you need is compute power on the cheap. But:
1: If I got a few old server computers then I’d have to refrigerate the house or have a very warm corner (sorry this place is not wired with Ethernet or satellite cables to any part of the house, I’d have to rip walls open to put them in so that I could have 1 computer per room). I’m living in Florida, its hot here.
2: Power is not cheap here, in fact I’m living in one of the highest cost of electricity places in my state. A pair of servers might pay for themselves, but I’ll have to calculate it out.

I’ll think about it though. But keep the MB recommendations coming.

@noenken Are they using the ECC capability, or just running with ECC memory in the DIMM slots and treating it like regular RAM?

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#7

It is running with error correction active. At least that is what EDAC, dmidecode and lshw are telling me.

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#8

Thanks, that’s very helpful!

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#9

I’m in the same boat as you, @Ballsystemlord. I used to run ECC ram in my home server but had an emergency hardware replacement that took me off of it temporarily.

I make it a habit to run ECC ram with any software-based disk RAID/ Redundancy (aka ZFS) because of the rate of undetected flipped bits is really unacceptable for data that is going to be written permanently.

I was hoping that the Ryzen Pro’s would go to retail packaging but that doesn’t look like it is going to happen. So I’m looking to wait for the 3000 E-class chips.

As for low-cost recommendations: ASRock Fatal1ty B450 GAMING K4. I’ve been using this with my Ryzen 2600X just fine for 9 months now. It doesn’t have any server features, like IPMI, but you’re also not paying server MOBO costs either.

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#10

@zanginator I have now investigated the cost of old server equipment thoroughly. The price of the CPUs is unbelievably low, but the cost of the motherboards is so high I could buy one of the expensive X570 MBs for the same price. The DDR3 ECC RAM is cheap enough, but the average capacity is rather low compared to today’s sticks.
My options in the server space are 3 fold. I could buy AMD, I could by Intel, and I could buy a system that already has most of the pieces.
1: AMD has many cores, but no hyper threading and the clock speeds are literally 1/2 that of zen 2. Thus, I’d have to buy 250% of the cores compared to a zen 2 purchase. That’s not economical.
2: Intel has hyper threading, and slightly higher clocks, but the cores are fewer than AMD, with the typical number being 4, with 10 cores being the last price point you could get before cost goes through the roof. So, I’d have to buy extra motherboards which are even more expensive then the AMD variety.
3: There are server blades that are at a most economical price, but they are designed for server chassis with dedicated I/O. They have only one port that you can hook to without the chassis (For your curiosity, here’s the ebay number for the part 173556575773). It has USB 2.0, VGA, and Serial output. Without a dedicated Ethernet port, or a fast port to hook an adapter to, the blades are practically useless as they hold too few HDDs and I’d need too many CPUs to just use one of them.

For buying old PCs, the situation is almost the same. Most PC’s that are being sold have no Hyper threading. I’d be spending $1280 for just the machines. Then I’d need a new router with 18 ports (which are expensive), I could just buy another machine and stock it with lots of Ethernet cards. Also, all of the PC’s seem to have 4GB of RAM which is rather low so I’d have to add more.

All of the above does not take into account the need for ECC for the RAID array (which I guess I could hack the kernel and double the parity calculations and place them across the PC’s, but then I open up a can of worms on the security front), and the loss of IPC as the CPU generation gets older.

@hydrian , I’ve been eyeing the ASRock Fatal1ty series for some time, is ECC RAM running in ECC mode (sorry, but I have to be specific)?

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#11

@Ballsystemlord, No I get it. I’m not running ECC now since I am running this in a desktop now but I plan to put it in my home server when X570 comes down in price or B550 comes out and I can get a new mobo and CPU for my desktop. That’s why I specifically bought this mobo for the ECC support.

This board is certified to run Ryzen Pro which does requires ECC support to be be allowed to run a Ryzen Pro CPU. I’ve also seen ECC support on non-pro Ryzen (Non-APU) CPUs.

My gut thinks the biggest issue is people not buying RAM that’s verified with ECC support from that mobo’s QVL that has ECC support. Mobos that need ECC support seem to be much more selective with what works and has ECC enabled and works without ECC support even thought the RAM may have ECC support .

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#12

I’m also eyeing the ASRock Rack X470D4U. Right now it is having some throddling and underclocking because of a too hot sensor falsely going off. I’m going to wait till the smoke clears on that one before I decide if I’m going to use my Fatal1ty B450 Gaming K4 for the home server or the X470D4U.

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#13

Thank you @hydrian , that’s much clearer.

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