first 16GB DDR3 UDIMM & SO-DIMM modules

TommyVolt

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I just found that the first 16 Gigabyte "unbuffered" DDR3 DIMMs and also SO-DIMMs are now available from I'M Intelligent Memory, website: www.intelligentmemory.com
They are made of just 16 pieces of 8 Gigabit DDR3 chips, so the modules are dual-rank and have total 16GByte.

Theoretically those modules should work on all boards. When I look at the JEDEC DDR3 documentation, a 8 Gigabit DDR3 chip uses the same amount of address lines as a 4 Gigabit chip (address A0 to A15). As a logical consequence, such 16GB modules should be working everywhere, as long as the BIOS is able to read the modules SPD and set the right values into the memory controller.
 

jalaj

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Cool news, but they've arrived late to the party.
DDR4 RAM is right around the corner, so manufacturers most likely will invest more heavily in producing those units and slow down on DDR3 production.
As such, these 16GB sodimms might have low production runs and be more expensive dollar per GB ratio compared to smaller GB DDR3 sticks.
Love to have 32GB on small systems using DDR3 sodimms though, NUCs, itx, nano-itx, etc.
 

geostation

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ddr4 is still a year and half away. 16gb ecc single module have been out for a while now and is compatible with Z/H87 boards
The only news here is that 16gb sodimms .
 

drescherjm

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16gb ecc single module have been out for a while now and is compatible with Z/H87 boards

Are you sure? All I see for 16GB DDR3 modules is REG ECC (which also has 32 and 64GB dimms as well). REG ECC will not work on lga1155/lga1150 since these platforms require unbuffered dimms.
 
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DejaWiz

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Damn it, would have loved to see these arrive to market when 16GB 2 DIMM kits were $80...I would have paid $200 for a pair of these.
 

cannondale06

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ddr4 is still a year and half away. 16gb ecc single module have been out for a while now and is compatible with Z/H87 boards
The only news here is that 16gb sodimms .
a year and a half away? haswell e will be out in probably 9 months or so and ddr4 will be available before it obviously.
 

lutjens

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Looked on their website and they show as sampling. Given the recent alacrity (or lack thereof) with which new products bleeding edge products such as these are made available to the channel to purchase, we may be able to buy them in summer 2014 if we're lucky, fall or winter if we're unlucky, or if there are issues with the product that require resolution.
 

TommyVolt

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seems they are targeting microservers based on Intel Atom C2000 (Codename Avoton) CPUs which can only take DDR3 ECC DIMMs and SO-DIMMs, unbuffered only.

ASRock, Supermicro and others also build boards based on those processors. But from what I found on Google the C2000 is going to be used a lot for cloud computing/cold storage systems. Multiple processor cards - with one or two SO-DIMMs each - go into one big enclosure. I assume these require a lot of memory.
 

geostation

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Are you sure? All I see for 16GB DDR3 modules is REG ECC (which also has 32 and 64GB dimms as well). REG ECC will not work on lga1155/lga1150 since these platforms require unbuffered dimms.
ECC wouldn't obviously be enabled but it works.
 

chx

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I wonder whether this would make my mobile Sandy (i5-2520m) laptop go 32GB. One can dream, yeah?
 

TommyVolt

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Yes, unfortunately the 16GB DIMMs and SO-DIMMs do not work with most Intel based systems, except for the Atom C2xxx series Avoton.

The i3, i5, i7 Sandybridge, Ivybridge, Haswell processors all can take only 8GB UDIMMs or SO-DIMMs, so all the PCs and laptops won't accept 16GB.
And it seems not fixable by a BIOS update, as these processors have a hardware limitation.
But the next generation of Intel processors should have this issue fixed.

It is a very unsatisfying situation.

On AMD platforms, the Intelligent Memory 16GB modules are said to work fine.
Regards,
Tommy
 

TommyVolt

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Were you able to obtain a pair of these to test?
Not I tested, but I'M tested on a number of platforms. Just send them an email and ask your question. They reply fairly quickly. It seems any AMD CPU works with the 16GB modules, but none of the Intels...
 

drescherjm

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Not I tested, but I'M tested on a number of platforms. Just send them an email and ask your question. They reply fairly quickly. It seems any AMD CPU works with the 16GB modules, but none of the Intels...

That's probably why no one else makes these.
 

octoberasian

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More from Anandtech:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7742/im-intelligent-memory-to-release-16gb-unregistered-ddr3-modules

DRAM stacking is unlike NAND stacking. We have seen manufacturers stick 16 NAND diesonto a single package, but DRAM requires precise (picosecond level) timing to allow the two 4 Gb dies to act as a single 8 Gb package. This is the new IP to the table, which can apply to both unregistered and registered memory, as well as ECC memory.

The JEDEC specifications for DDR3 do account for the use of 8 Gbit packages (either one 8 Gbit die or two 4 Gbit dies per package), should these be available. However I am told that currently there is a fundamental non-fixable issue on all Intel processors (except Avoton and Rangeley, other Silvermont (BayTrail) is affected) that means that these dies are not recognised.

Typically the access of a memory chip requires a column and a row, both of which are multiplexed across a set of 16 connects. With a 4 Gbit package, to access the row, all 16 are used (A0 to A15), whereas a column uses 10 (A0 to A9). In the 8 Gbit package, the column also requires A11, all part of the JEDEC spec. This works on Avoton/Rangeley, but not on any other Intel processor, according to Intelligent Memory, and the exact nature of the issue is down to Intel’s implementation of the specification. I suspect that Intel did not predict 8 Gbit packages coming to market at this time, and have found an efficiency improvement somewhere along the line. Perhaps needless to say, Intel should be supporting the larger dies going forward.
Mass production is set to begin in March and April, with initial pricing per 16GB module in the $320-$350 range for both DIMM and SO-DIMM, ECC being on the higher end of that range. To put that into perspective, most DRAM modules on sale today for end-users are in the $8-$14/GB range, making the modules have a small premium which is understandable to get the higher density.

If this IP holds up to the standard, I would not be surprised if it is purchased (or at the very least observed) by the big DRAM manufacturers. I expect these modules will first see the light of day in servers (Avoton based most likely), and I will keep an eye out if any end-user manufacturers get a hold of some. I’M have verified the modules on AMD FX processors (FX-6300 and FX-8320 on 990FX/AM3+) as well as AMD's 760G and A75 (FM2 socket) chipsets.
 

Josh_B

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Dang. I got a hard on just thinking about my Asus G73SW with 64GB RAM. :(
 

PornoSatan

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With the size of ram these days and the obvious trend towards ram drives as a way to use excess memory, ECC is becoming more and more attractive IMO.
 

drescherjm

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With the size of ram these days and the obvious trend towards ram drives as a way to use excess memory, ECC is becoming more and more attractive IMO.

I would prefer REG ECC to unbuffered ECC so that I could add much larger dimms if I want ( 32GB and 64GB DDR3 REG ECC dimms exist - although very expensive) however neither AMD nor Intel support this on their desktop platforms.
 
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schizrade

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Yes, unfortunately the 16GB DIMMs and SO-DIMMs do not work with most Intel based systems, except for the Atom C2xxx series Avoton.

The i3, i5, i7 Sandybridge, Ivybridge, Haswell processors all can take only 8GB UDIMMs or SO-DIMMs, so all the PCs and laptops won't accept 16GB.
And it seems not fixable by a BIOS update, as these processors have a hardware limitation.
But the next generation of Intel processors should have this issue fixed.

It is a very unsatisfying situation.

On AMD platforms, the Intelligent Memory 16GB modules are said to work fine.
Regards,
Tommy

Bios updates don't work because they moved the memory controller onto the CPU years ago. AMD did it a decade ago. The memory is no longer limited to BIOS/OEM whims.
 

schizrade

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I would prefer REG ECC to unbuffered ECC so that I could add much larger dimms if I want ( 32GB and 64GB DDR3 REG ECC dimms exist - although very expensive) however neither AMD nor Intel support this on their desktop platforms.

NO and why would they. How many users, including gamers and power users, would actually be able to afford 32 and 64GB Dimms for their desktops, let alone use them? I have 2 workstations on my desktop, a T5600 with 128GB ram and a T1650 with 32GB. Work bought the T5600. I bought the 1650 and dropped $400 on ECC Ram, and that is just 4 8gb dimms. The certified ram for the t5600 cost an ungodly amount. How many power users or gamers are gonna drop $1200+ on a single 32GB Dimm? Buy a workstation with a Xeon for that kind of memory.
 

TommyVolt

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Bios updates don't work because they moved the memory controller onto the CPU years ago. AMD did it a decade ago. The memory is no longer limited to BIOS/OEM whims.
Yes and No.
The memory controller is part of the CPU -> YES
BIOS updates don't work -> NO

I love memory ;-) and I am happy about this long thread here. Let me make it a bit longer :)

Sorry if this is getting technical now, but I have to explain it:
The memory controller is the hardware-part inside the CPU that addresses and accesses the memory modules.
For a 8GB module, which is made of 16/18 pcs of 4Gbit chips, it requires 16 Row-lines (A0 to A15) and 10 Column lines (A0 to A9) plus 3 Bank lines (BA0 to BA2)
Rows and Columns are multiplexed. That means: The same physical wires are used to transfer the Row and the Column. When the Row-address is transferred, all 16 lines are used, but for the column-address, it requires only 10 of the total 16 lines are used to address a 4Gbit chip.

A 16GB module is made of 8Gbit Chips. These are addressed also with 16 Row-lines, but needs 11 Column lines and the same 3 Bank lines.
This means: Any CPU that has 16 physical address-lines and 3 bank lines can address not only 8GB modules, but also 16GB modules.
In other words: ANY of the over 1 billion PCs, laptops, servers, industrial computers and whatever else on the market uses Intel CPUs with DDR3 memory could "theoretically" be upgraded with memory modules that are made of 8Gbit DDR3 chips. There is no issue from the addressing point of view.

The only eventual limitation might be that on some processors there is an "intentional limitation" by the CPU manufacturer that limits the lower-end customers to upgrade to high memory capacities. Processor manufacturers can use so-called "e-fuses" to activate and deactivate functionalities for their CPUs to sell to different markets at different prices. For example the ECC-ability is typically such a fusing-option.


Now comes the software part:
The BIOS consists of a lot of different parts that initialize the keyboard, mouse, disk-drives, etc, and also the memory. The part of the BIOS which initializes the memory is called the Memory Reference Code, short called MRC.

The MRC is a piece of software code which reads out the SPD-Eeprom on the memory modules. There are 128 Bytes of data in the SPD-Eeprom which contain all kinds of details about the memory, for example the addressing as explained above, but also the chip-size, the number of ranks, timing-values, etc. The MRC takes these 128 Bytes of data from the SPD and takes them to program the memory-controller on the CPU accordingly. Now the CPU "knows how to drive the memory".

And now we get to the problem, why this does not work on Intel CPUs (yet):
Byte number 4 of the SPD defines the devices density and banks used on the memory modules. If Byte 4 is set to 4, it means the memory module uses 4Gbit chips. If Byte 4 is set to 5, it is a 8Gbit chip.
The MRC code in the BIOS of Intel CPUs contains a command called "ASSERT" which limits the maximum value of Byte 4 to 4.
If Byte 4 = 5 (for 8Gbit), the MRC will stop -> the system does not boot!
And this is exactly what is happening here on the majority of Intel CPUs.

Now it becomes even more interesting:
A famous motherboard manufacturer (I just talked to them, you all know them, but I may not name them) has taken a X79 board together with an Ivybridge E CPU and let his engineers modify the MRC code on their own to allow 8Gbit DDR3 chips.
And voila, the 16GB modules work! This proves what I just said above, it is fixable by software. It requires a MRC / BIOS update.

Intel could change the MRC for all their CPUs and we would all be happy. Maybe for some of Intels lower-end CPUs there is some intentional hardware-limitation, but the majority should work after a BIOS update.

Unfortunately, "politics" is the key....
Years ago, Intel showed in lots of their CPU documentations (available at ark.intel.com) that 8Gbit DDR3 chips were supported. It was "POR" (Plan Of Record) for Intel.
But the parts did not become available in time and then they decided to "remove it from POR". If the parts became available in time, they would have enabled the support by doing the required modifications on the MRC and released a new BIOS.
But as it did not happen in time, they instead began removing the 8Gbit DDR3 support from their documentations. It is no longer "POR" for Intel.

Even today, you can find documentations on the web that still show 8Gbit support. For example here for the Ivybridge E CPU: http://www.intel.co.uk/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/datasheets/4th-gen-core-i7-lga2011-datasheet-vol-1.pdf Look at chapter 1.2.1 System Memory Support and you will see 1Gb, 2Gb, 4Gb and 8Gb DRAM technologies are supported. And with 8Gb DRAMs a 16GB SO-DIMM or UDIMM can be built which then should work (if the MRC code in the BIOS does not limit it)

The big question now is: WHY does Intel not change POR again and add the support now? The first 8Gbit devices / 16GB modules are ready, customers want to use them. And the famous manufacturer Micron Technology will also release such devices early next year. The market will clearly trend to offer such modules as a standard upgrade for everybody. It is Intels turn now to show that they are able to work with those modules as well!

Intel needs to see the customers demand, otherwise they will not move off their current plans. If Apple, IBM, HP, MSI, Asus, Dell, Lenovo or any other of the big customers go to Intel and request "Please change your POR to support those DRAMs", Intel will maybe listen and do it.
Well, not everybody requires such big amount of memory, but at least nobody likes to be limited, especially when the number of memory module sockets is already limited.
As a fact, I have four Mac Minis that need more memory...I'd love to upgrade them!
 
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TommyVolt

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NO and why would they. How many users, including gamers and power users, would actually be able to afford 32 and 64GB Dimms for their desktops, let alone use them? I have 2 workstations on my desktop, a T5600 with 128GB ram and a T1650 with 32GB. Work bought the T5600. I bought the 1650 and dropped $400 on ECC Ram, and that is just 4 8gb dimms. The certified ram for the t5600 cost an ungodly amount. How many power users or gamers are gonna drop $1200+ on a single 32GB Dimm? Buy a workstation with a Xeon for that kind of memory.
Per my information, the 16GB modules (UDIMM and SO-DIMM) will be priced around $300, maybe $20-30 more with ECC. Is a 32GB RDIMM really at $1200 ?
 

drescherjm

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schizrade

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Per my information, the 16GB modules (UDIMM and SO-DIMM) will be priced around $300, maybe $20-30 more with ECC. Is a 32GB RDIMM really at $1200 ?

Yes. Many servers require certified ram. Dell, HP etc. Reason being is support. The dims are guaranteed fully vetted to run in the given system at stated performance and fully tested.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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This may just have saved my ass from my RAM constriction on my FX-8350 based VMWare server!

It's relatively pricey, but cheaper than buying a server board and Opteron/Xeon in order to crack the 32GB barrier!
 

drescherjm

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I have yet to see these for sale even googling the part #s IMM2G72D3DUD8AG or IMM2G72D3LDUD8AG does not return anyone selling this.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I have yet to see these for sale even googling the part #s IMM2G72D3DUD8AG or IMM2G72D3LDUD8AG does not return anyone selling this.

Ditto. Has anyone seen them anywhere?

I'm looking for the unbuffered ECC variety.

I emailed the U.S. distributor on their webpage and have not heard back.
 

TommyVolt

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The modules will be sold over Amazon in a month or so.
Also they can be ordered through Asrock and maybe also Supermicro (need to ask if they are ready to take orders already)
The Intelligent Memory distributors only sell to dealers/importers who can buy a bit more than just 1-4 modules.
The 16GB modules have been approved by Asrock for the Avoton C2000 based board C2750D4I motherboard and also for some AMD based boards. Also Supermicro shows them as tested and approved for their Avoton C2000 CPU based boards.
Generally speaking the 16GB modules work on almost any AMD CPU based system, but for Intel the official support is limited to the Atom C2000 'Avoton' processor. Intel is still of the opinion that there would be "not enough market demand" to add support for these new memories on standard Sandybridge, Ivybridge, Haswell based platforms. Thus Intel says it is "not POR" (plan of record) for them to change the Memory reference code in the BIOS to add the support.
And in fact any system with such standard Intel CPU does not boot when 16GB modules are installed.
Interesting enough ASUS changed the MRC/BIOS on their own for their X79 intel boards and it works beautifully with LGA2011 socket CPUs (Ivybridge E and others)! The Asus X79 Deluxe board has 8 sockets and can now be upgraded to 128GB. If anybody is interested, get in touch with Asus!
 

/dev/null

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if these are cost effective (say, such as 2 * 8G price + $50), I may be interested in an ECC UNUBUFF version. Anyone know of any plans on this? Would love to expand my vm server past 32GB.
 

TommyVolt

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well, the price will be high. Per my latest information (I work for a distributor) we talk about 5 times the price of 8GB -> around $400 for a 16GB module
It might not be a price that makes end users consider to upgrade unless they really need the memory, but compared to manufacturer-memory (i.e HP/IBM selling RDIMMs at $1200) it is alright. It is a high end product, not a consumer memory upgrade.
 

/dev/null

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well, the price will be high. Per my latest information (I work for a distributor) we talk about 5 times the price of 8GB -> around $400 for a 16GB module
It might not be a price that makes end users consider to upgrade unless they really need the memory, but compared to manufacturer-memory (i.e HP/IBM selling RDIMMs at $1200) it is alright. It is a high end product, not a consumer memory upgrade.

ECC REG is a high end product. Not sure why people would pay $400 for 16G when you can go to cdw (a RETAILER) and pay less than half that for ecc reg...
 

drescherjm

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ECC REG is a high end product. Not sure why people would pay $400 for 16G when you can go to cdw (a RETAILER) and pay less than half that for ecc reg...

But that does not work in boards/processors that support only unbuffered ram. And I would expect 1 16GB UDIMM to be more expensive than an 16GB REC ECC because the UDIMM has to use chips that are 2 times as dense.
 

Wizzard

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Not to bash either platform, but AMD has always had better memory support, since the demise of the 440BX - Almost everything supports whatever memory you throw at it, be it bigger than spec, faster than spec, and with/without ECC.

I've run into far more Intel systems which won't boot with PC3200 when the support PC2100, won't use ECC because it's not an X-series chipset (And don't get me started with x38/x48), and 4GB DDRII DIMMs... AMD just seemed to work with everything I threw at it.

Also, I've been eyeballing those 8C Avaton boards on Ebay - Those 2 boards (Supermicro, and the other one).... I want them much more than I need them.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Just bumping this in case anyone has come across anywhere to get these.

I found that OWC (a Mac Retailer, apparently) does sell a dual 16GB ECC UDIMM kit, but it's only DDR3-1333, (I would prefer 1600) and it comes with the predictable Apple tax...

Being a Mac part I'd also have a lot less confidence that it would actually work in my AMD-FX server than I'M Memory's parts which have been tested with them...
 

/dev/null

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But that does not work in boards/processors that support only unbuffered ram. And I would expect 1 16GB UDIMM to be more expensive than an 16GB REC ECC because the UDIMM has to use chips that are 2 times as dense.

If you need a lot of ram in your say "Xeon E3" server that only takes ecc unbuff, instead of spending $1600 or more, you'd be better off and buying a $1000 server that takes ecc/reg.

Just IMHO of course. In either case Ecc/unbuff isn't for high end platforms.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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If you need a lot of ram in your say "Xeon E3" server that only takes ecc unbuff, instead of spending $1600 or more, you'd be better off and buying a $1000 server that takes ecc/reg.

Just IMHO of course. In either case Ecc/unbuff isn't for high end platforms.

I would love to buy high end server components. Part of the problem for me though is that all the AMD 3000 series motherboards I can find have very few expansion slots, and the corresponding server CPU's are clocked a lot lower than the FX-8350 I use.

While my server is a home server, it has a relatively atypical load, and as such, I need the higher clocked desktop parts, and gobs and gobs of PCIe slots.

If I had my druthers I'd have 8 PCIe slots.
 
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