IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

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Marin85
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IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#1 Post by Marin85 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:32 pm

Hi,

I will be getting a second hand IBM Intellistation Z pro delivered in a few days. According to specs, the machine takes DDR II 400 MHz PC2-3200R 240-pin ECC SDRAM DIMMs and supports up to 16 GB RAM. It comes with "only" 4 GB installed and has 6 RAM slots. I would like to upgrade the system memory to 8 GB (or more), but unfortunately I don´t know the exact memory configuration yet. In any case, I looked up the prices of PC-3200 RAM and it is quite expensive actually, so I would rather not be getting that type of memory anyways. Hence I was wondering: is it possible to substitute the old RAM with the less expensive PC-4200 (or even higher) and non-ECC? What would be my least expensive option towards maximizing RAM on that beast?

BTW, the user manual of these machines says 184-pin, which I know for a fact is wrong...

Thanks,
Marin
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#2 Post by ThinkRob » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:14 am

You want ECC RAM.

Yes, you can run the machine without it, but when you get up past a couple gigs or so, memory errors become a virtual certainty. You don't want that. Silent data corruption sucks.

I just checked on NewEgg, and you can get 2 x 2GB Kingston PC2-3200 ECC RAM for 103.99 USD, which isn't bad. You probably won't find much cheaper than that from a retail site, but if you're willing to do a bit of dealing on eBay you could probably shave a few bucks off that, especially if you're buying a couple DIMMs.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#3 Post by Marin85 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:40 pm

ThinkRob, thank you for the great advice (as always)! :) To be honest, with all these laptops with 8 GB and more memory, I would not think that it would be a problem for a desktop. But definitely, silent data corruption is the last thing I want. Indeed, the Kingston RAM appears to be the best offer in Germany, too.

Actually, I cancelled the deal due to some missing slots and stuff and also in favor of an Intellistation Z Pro 9223 :D In a long run, it appears to be the better option for a home server and also comes with some goodies like 146 GB 15000 rpm SAS and maxed out Dual Core Xeon for just a small addition on the price :D I hope the 667 MHz RAM will partly compensate for the performance loss from ECC.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#4 Post by ThinkRob » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:55 pm

The "back of the envelope" number that I heard several years ago was 1 flipped bit per week on a system with 1 GB of RAM. Now obviously the odds of that being a catastrophic error are pretty darn slim -- but it's still something that I wouldn't risk for a few bucks.

As far as performance loss from ECC goes, it's negligible. Don't worry about it. :D

I'm considering replacing my 6221 for Christmas. I'm torn between a second-hand 9228 (the last of the IBM workstations) or a new ThinkStation. The former is more server-like (it's basically a re-badged System x) and (IMO) better-designed, but the latter will give me a bit more power for some of my longer builds. Decisions, decisions...
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#5 Post by Marin85 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:48 am

ThinkRob wrote:I'm considering replacing my 6221 for Christmas. I'm torn between a second-hand 9228 (the last of the IBM workstations) or a new ThinkStation. The former is more server-like (it's basically a re-badged System x) and (IMO) better-designed, but the latter will give me a bit more power for some of my longer builds. Decisions, decisions...
In what way do you think a new Thinkstation will give you more power over a 9228? Just curious :D While we are on that topic, I was looking at the specs of the chipset and it appears that the LGA 771 socket of 9228 would allow for quad-core Xeons, too, specifically 5300 and 5400 series. However, IBM specs list only dual-core Xeons. Do you happen to know whether an Intellistation Z pro type 9228 would support quad-core Xeons?
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#6 Post by ThinkRob » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:59 pm

Marin85 wrote:In what way do you think a new Thinkstation will give you more power over a 9228? Just curious :D While we are on that topic, I was looking at the specs of the chipset and it appears that the LGA 771 socket of 9228 would allow for quad-core Xeons, too, specifically 5300 and 5400 series. However, IBM specs list only dual-core Xeons. Do you happen to know whether an Intellistation Z pro type 9228 would support quad-core Xeons?
I'm wondering that about support of the new-ish Xeons myself... I can't imagine that there'd be any problem, but IBM *does* tend to make their high-end gear be overly-picky about upgrades...

As far as what it would bring: mainly I'd get one for its support of Nehalem and beyond. SMT is pretty useful for some of the work that I do, and up until recently Xeons didn't have it (with the sole exception of a few of the NetBurst-derived ones.) Warranty support is also a perk, but not the main reason I'd consider a new ThinkStation.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#7 Post by Bills86e » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:11 pm

I bought a Z-pro many many years ago, never took it out of the box. Probly a pentium 1. Worth anything today?
I remember pentium-pro duals.

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#8 Post by ThinkRob » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:31 pm

Bills86e wrote:I bought a Z-pro many many years ago, never took it out of the box. Probly a pentium 1. Worth anything today?
A Pentium? Not much.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#9 Post by Bills86e » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:07 am

I'd take a grand for it.

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#10 Post by Marin85 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:15 pm

ThinkRob wrote:I'm wondering that about support of the new-ish Xeons myself... I can't imagine that there'd be any problem, but IBM *does* tend to make their high-end gear be overly-picky about upgrades...
I guess the FSB would be rather somewhat of a limitation than obstacle, or am I too naive now?... :)
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#11 Post by Bills86e » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:04 pm

Mein heir,

vrolijke Goldbear van het bos!

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#12 Post by ThinkRob » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:21 pm

Marin85 wrote:I guess the FSB would be rather somewhat of a limitation than obstacle, or am I too naive now?... :)
Well it'll narrow down the options for CPU upgrades a bit, but IIRC the 9228's got a 1333 Mhz FSB, so you actually wouldn't be *that* limited. Not like the 6221... :D
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#13 Post by Marin85 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:39 am

ThinkRob wrote:Well it'll narrow down the options for CPU upgrades a bit, but IIRC the 9228's got a 1333 Mhz FSB, so you actually wouldn't be *that* limited. Not like the 6221... :D
Ah, true, I was still thinking in 6223 terms, lol.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#14 Post by ThinkRob » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:05 pm

Marin85 wrote:Ah, true, I was still thinking in 6223 terms, lol.
Yeah, the 6223 is a lot more limited. The 9228 is actually a fairly recent machine -- it was discontinued in mid-2008 IIRC -- so it'll be a decent workstation for some time to come. That's part of the reason that I've been considering one for my next dev. workstation. :D
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#15 Post by blackj » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:54 am

ThinkRob wrote:Yeah, the 6223 is a lot more limited. The 9228 is actually a fairly recent machine -- it was discontinued in mid-2008 IIRC -- so it'll be a decent workstation for some time to come. That's part of the reason that I've been considering one for my next dev. workstation. :D
Reviving this thread - apparently the 9228's support quad-core processors even though IBM never intended to do it. See last post in following thread: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/forum ... 0&tstart=0

The only thing I am wondering is which processors would be compatible... I'd go for an upgrade!

(This thread also contains instructions on how to enable VT on these monsters.)

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#16 Post by ThinkRob » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:29 pm

blackj wrote:Reviving this thread - apparently the 9228's support quad-core processors even though IBM never intended to do it. See last post in following thread: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/forum ... 0&tstart=0

The only thing I am wondering is which processors would be compatible... I'd go for an upgrade!

(This thread also contains instructions on how to enable VT on these monsters.)
As far as compatibility, I believe that any LGA771 CPU with an FSB of 1333 MHz should work.

I've asked around since I made the posts above and have talked to the tech from whom I purchased my 9228 from; he too has tested and confirmed that quad-core Xeons will work.

Edit: Only 65nm Xeons work.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#17 Post by blackj » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:19 pm

ThinkRob wrote:As far as compatibility, I believe that any LGA771 CPU with an FSB of 1333 MHz should work.

I've asked around since I made the posts above and have talked to the tech from whom I purchased my 9228 from; he too has tested and confirmed that quad-core Xeons will work.

Edit: Only 65nm Xeons work.
So this means the E5450 (45nm) wouldn't work? Have you tested it?

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#18 Post by ThinkRob » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:35 pm

blackj wrote: So this means the E5450 (45nm) wouldn't work? Have you tested it?
No, it won't work. And yes, I have.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#19 Post by Alexey Zimarev » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:28 am

Actually the thread was removed from developerWorks, I was the one who tested the method to enable VT on 9228 but the full description is now gone. I guess basic steps would be - upgrade your BIOS, get symcmos utility and change the 0009 token value to 1, power down the system and power up again.

But now my question is about the Quad core, just to be sure before I spend any money on this - this must be a 65nm and 1333 MHz processor like E5335 or X5355?

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#20 Post by ThinkRob » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:43 pm

Alexey Zimarev wrote:Actually the thread was removed from developerWorks, I was the one who tested the method to enable VT on 9228 but the full description is now gone. I guess basic steps would be - upgrade your BIOS, get symcmos utility and change the 0009 token value to 1, power down the system and power up again.

But now my question is about the Quad core, just to be sure before I spend any money on this - this must be a 65nm and 1333 MHz processor like E5335 or X5355?
AFAIK, yes, it 65nm @ 1333 FSB is the requirement. Just make sure the voltages match and you should be golden (IIRC it's the voltages, not the process size, that's the issue here.)
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#21 Post by slpin » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:45 am

I get complaints about not supporting this processors stepping.... g0 x5355
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#22 Post by Lomax » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:05 pm

Which BIOS version do you have? There is a note in the revision history about G0 stepping support being added in v1.41 - though this applies to E51xx Xeons. Latest (and last) BIOS for Z Pro 9228 is v1.45. I would be very interested to know if a BIOS update solves the problem for you as I also have a 9228 and would love to stick a couple of Clovertown quads in it, but I'm unsure if it will work.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#23 Post by Lomax » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:32 pm

As luck would have it I got sent a Xeon E5405 (SLBBP, E0 stepping, 2GHz quad core, 1333MHz FSB, 2x6MB cache, 0.85–1.35V, 80W) by mistake - couldn't resist giving it a go but of course it didn't work at all; machine didn't even get to BIOS screen, it just sat there with all fans spinning at full speed. Ah well, at least now we know for sure that the E54xx Xeons definitely won't work in the Intellistation 9228 with BIOS 1.45.
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#24 Post by Gewehr98 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:54 pm

Confirmed - Clovertowns work. :thumbs-UP:

I've been watching this thread for some time, and decided to buy a pair of Clovertown X5365 3.0Ghz quad-cores to replace the pair of Woodcrest 5160s in my own IntelliStation 9228.

The 1.45 BIOS will complain mightily that it cannot handle the stepping of the Clovertowns, and reports only 4096Mb L2 cache, but once it flashed that error, it continues to boot Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit no problem.

Windows 7 reports the cores are all there, and CPU-Z shows the correct processors, cache, and memory. Benchmarking has been fun, especially considering we're talking 2006 technology here!

It would be nice to bribe somebody to write a BIOS patch to kill the error message, but it's more of an annoyance vs. show-stopper.

I also used my Koolance Exos 2 water-cooling system to keep the 2 Clovertowns happy in their new IBM home. Water temps have been bumped when benchmarking at 100% core utilization, but not too much.

Screenshot:

http://mauser98.com/dualclovertowns.jpg

9228 w/Koolance unit chugging along:

http://mauser98.com/acropolisscopesmall.jpg

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#25 Post by Lomax » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:16 pm

Gewehr98 wrote:Confirmed - Clovertowns work. :thumbs-UP:
Sweet! I see they are 150/120W TDP though - good thing you've got watercooling :)
Gewehr98 wrote:The 1.45 BIOS will complain mightily that it cannot handle the stepping of the Clovertowns
It may be possible to update the microcodes included in the 1.45 update by unpacking the BIOS image and replacing one of the microcode files with the one for your SLAED CPUS - I've done this on a ThinkCentre M51 and it worked very well. You just need to find the right microcode file (hint: your CPUID string is 06FBh), preferably from another Phoenix BIOS IBM machine. This is a pretty safe procedure since you're only changing microcodes - and you might want to enable Vt-x while you're at it...
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#26 Post by Gewehr98 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Lomax,

I'd be tickled pink to modify my 1.45 BIOS with the correct microcode for my Clovertown CPUs. The POST beep is indeed annoying, and someday I may run a virtual machine via tunneling protocol from a remote location.

Unfortunately, the BIOS update stuff is all greek to me unless it's done on a boot CD/DVD or bootable USB thumb drive, like IBM's update to 1.45.

Is there a tutorial somewhere that can point me to the technique? The 06FBh CPUID string is wonderful, assuming one knows what the heck that is... :(

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#27 Post by blackj » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:34 pm

This is great news - time to find some quad-core processors for my 9228 :)

Out of curiosity, if I wanted to retain the stock cooling architecture of my 9228, I'd have to stick to a 80W CPU, am I right? (80W being the same TDP as the Xeon 5160) - thinking about a pair of E5345s...

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#28 Post by Lomax » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:37 pm

blackj wrote:if I wanted to retain the stock cooling architecture of my 9228, I'd have to stick to a 80W CPU, am I right?
I think you'll be just fine with stock cooling even at 120W TDP, though the machine will definitely run hotter under load. Clean off your heatsinks, hoover your fans and use a very small amount of good quality thermal paste, evenly spread on the CPUs - and keep an eye on temps. I use RMClock on my Intellistation to undervolt my 5160s and they run very cool indeed!
blackj wrote:thinking about a pair of E5345s...
Could be a good choice if you really need the extra cores (virtualisation, 3D modeling, earthquake simulation...), but if you mainly need the grunt for games or low threaded apps then two 5160s @ 3GHz will beat them easily. The X5365 is a more interesting chip, especially in the lower power G0 stepping (SLAED) - but a pair of them will cost you a bomb...
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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#29 Post by blackj » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:18 am

Lomax wrote:Could be a good choice if you really need the extra cores (virtualisation, 3D modeling, earthquake simulation...), but if you mainly need the grunt for games or low threaded apps then two 5160s @ 3GHz will beat them easily. The X5365 is a more interesting chip, especially in the lower power G0 stepping (SLAED) - but a pair of them will cost you a bomb...
Well I want to convert this machine into a VMWare ESXi server, for VoIP simulations (mainly Cisco). It currently has a Xeon 5150 & 10 GB RAM, but I think I'm going to need more CPU cores if I want to do anything productive with that machine... that's why I was looking at bigger processors.

If I want to add a 2nd processor, do I only need the heatsink fan or do I need a VRM or anything else? Once I have the 2nd heatsink/fan assy, all I have to do is add the processor? Which proc should I look at? I want something that's not more expensive than buying another machine, but I want something that'll handle a few VM's without glitching.

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Re: IBM Intellistation maximizing RAM

#30 Post by Lomax » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:58 pm

blackj wrote:I want to convert this machine into a VMWare ESXi server, for VoIP simulations (mainly Cisco).
If you are planning to run more than one VM then the extra cores will definitely help.
blackj wrote:If I want to add a 2nd processor, do I only need the heatsink fan or do I need a VRM or anything else?
Unfortunately you will need a VRM as well - these can be expensive but shop around (on eBay for example) and you should be able to get one for < $50. Some compatible FRUs are 39Y7298, 24R2692 and 24r2694 (I use a 39Y7298 myself). Any VRM that is compatible with the IBM xSeries X3500 servers should work.
blackj wrote:Which proc should I look at?
Well the cheapest option will of course be to just get another one of what you already have, then you only need to buy a single chip. You could start with that and then pick up a pair of quads later (this is what I decided to do).

HTH,

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