Specific board/module ECC Ram compatibility

Jamie Joe asked:

I purchased a bunch of hardware for two different file servers. Previously I had never bought any server equipment, and therefore had not known that motherboards accept only certain types of ECC Ram. I bought 16GB of ECC RAM only to get the motherboard beeping to tell me that the RAM is not compatible. Therefore, I want to buy ECC ram that is compatible with my motherboards.

I currently have the two motherboards:

  • ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0
  • ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The two motherboards say they support “DDR3 1866/1600/1333/1066 Hz ECC, Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory”. Going by this, the only modules that I think are compatible, in stock, and can be found nationally are:

  • Crucial DDR3 PC10600/1333MHz ECC CL9 8GB (CT102472BD1339)
  • Crucial DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz ECC 8GB (CT102472BD160B)

These are not listed under the hardware compatibility lists that I’ve found, but if I understand correctly, most hardware compatibility lists are not 100% complete of every single part that would be able to be used for each board.

Will these modules work with these two motherboards? Sorry for such a newbie question. I just don’t fully understand the specs of ECC Ram (unbuffered/registered etc), so I have to ask very specific question that I can’t find elsewhere online to avoid being burned by buying an expensive set of RAM that isn’t compatible with the boards.

I answered:

As far as I can see, you haven’t actually bought any server motherboards!

The two motherboards you list are desktop motherboards which do not support ECC RAM at all. They are completely inappropriate for the use you say you intend for them.

You burned yourself, so to speak, by buying the wrong motherboards. If possible, you will have to try to get a refund for them, or put them to some other use.

View the full question and answer on Server Fault.

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