RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

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RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:51 am

I was hoping someone here could lend some insight on my situation. I'm interested in upgrading my motherboard (and CPU) and have been looking at the ASUS Z97-A. I have some RAM from a previous build that I couldn't find on this new board's QVL but was wondering if any of you who knew more than I about such things -- probably most of you -- could tell me (1) if this RAM might work with the board although it's not on the list and (2) if not, would it fry/brick the board if I gave it a shot anyway? The RAM in question is G.Skill model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ (I have four 2GB sticks of DDR3-1600 total). Any info would be much appreciated; thanks in advance!
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:39 am

Your memory should be okay.

Note that the Asus Z97-A ATX motherboard wastes two of its seven slots on obsolete PCI slots. I suggest buying a motherboard that has PCIe slots, instead. You could even get by with a micro-ATX motherboard with four PCIe slots. I linked to some all-PCIe ATX and micro-ATX motherboards in another thread.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:01 am

The rule of thumb with all DDR3 RAM is that if it's the correct voltage (1.5V or 1.35V for DDR3L) and has JEDEC timings (PC3-XXXXX) then it's pretty much guaranteed to work.

Even fancy 1866Mhz, low latency, high-voltage RAM will have a JEDEC-spec SPD so that you can boot it up in any old board before you tweak the timings. The common one is 1333MHz, 1.5v, 9-9-9-24 timings.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:10 am

@JAE -

While I agree that PCIe slots are generally more desirable than PCI these days, with pretty much all of the commonly needed peripherals being integrated onto the motherboard the type of PCI slots are just not that important to most people. All else being equal, yeah... go for the board with more PCIe slots. But I wouldn't sacrifice other features or pay more just to get them unless you really need the extra PCIe expansion capability and know that you won't be using the legacy PCI.

Also worth noting that the Z97-A has the PCI slots right next to the PCIe x16 slots, so one (or both in the case of SLI) of them will probably be covered up anyway. Asus seems to have made the assumption that people who want to run capable discrete GPUs (or SLI) are less likely to care about legacy PCI devices, and that people who do care about legacy PCI devices are more likely to be using the IGP. Seems like a pretty reasonable design/marketing decision to me.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:21 am

There has been no reason to have PCI on most motherboards since mid-2008. We should not waste space and resources on the obsolete slots and the traces to support them.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:45 am

Awesome; thanks for the input, everyone.

JustAnEngineer wrote:There has been no reason to have PCI on most motherboards since mid-2008. We should not waste space and resources on the obsolete slots and the traces to support them.


My sound card has a PCI interface so I've been looking at boards that include the obsolete slot(s). ;) However, I'll definitely check out the boards you listed and see if I can make adjustments.

Thanks again!
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:50 am

The reason they use them is the limited amount of PCIe lanes the boards have. Easier to plug a few PCI slots just in case rather than have empty spaces on the board. Plus I am sure there are still people out there that still use them so its not completely obsolete yet. Better to have them and not need them, then need them and not have them.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:52 pm

Percussionist wrote:I was hoping someone here could lend some insight on my situation. I'm interested in upgrading my motherboard (and CPU) and have been looking at the ASUS Z97-A. I have some RAM from a previous build that I couldn't find on this new board's QVL but was wondering if any of you who knew more than I about such things -- probably most of you -- could tell me (1) if this RAM might work with the board although it's not on the list and (2) if not, would it fry/brick the board if I gave it a shot anyway? The RAM in question is G.Skill model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ (I have four 2GB sticks of DDR3-1600 total). Any info would be much appreciated; thanks in advance!



Easiest way to know for sure is to go to the Asus support site, and download the manual for that mobo. It'll have a multi-page list of fully tested memory modules in there, from all the usual vendors.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:41 pm

Hz so good wrote:
Percussionist wrote: I have been looking at the ASUS Z97-A. I have some RAM from a previous build that I couldn't find on this new board's QVL. It's not on the list. The RAM is G.Skill model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ (I have four 2GB sticks of DDR3-1600 total).
Easiest way to know for sure is to go to the Asus support site, and download the manual for that mobo. It'll have a multi-page list of fully tested memory modules in there, from all the usual vendors.
The QVL was last updated on May 21, 2014. Percussionist started this thread on June 25.
http://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/Z97A/HelpDesk_QVL/


Percussionist wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:There has been no reason to have PCI on most motherboards since mid-2008.
My sound card has a PCI interface so I've been looking at boards that include the obsolete slot(s).
Mid-2008 was when Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium arrived with native PCIe support. However, if you own a kilobuck professional sound card that requires a PCI slot, then you should definitely look for that legacy feature.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:14 pm

http://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/ ... d~PEX1PCI1
http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Expr ... B0024CV3SA

A PCI Express to PCI adapter seems like a better idea than limiting one self/hunting for boards with legacy PCI slots or wasting expansion slots on PCI.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:16 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:There has been no reason to have PCI on most motherboards since mid-2008. We should not waste space and resources on the obsolete slots and the traces to support them.


That's got to be the most absurd thing I've read on the internet all day. (Granted, I've just begun to surf. :) )
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:35 am

I think the key thing here is that you are running ancient hardware. It has been hard to buy PCI devices for the last 6-7 years and even as far back as 2008 it was rare to find a board with more than one legacy PCI slot, included to appeal to the fringe cases where people stubbornly refused to update one old card.

Sure, your PCI cards may still work, but I have a dot-matrix printer that still works - it doesn't mean its a good idea to still use it. In your case I'm sure you can pickup a PCIe SCSI card for $5 on fleabay.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:02 am

Chrispy_ wrote:I think the key thing here is that you are running ancient hardware. It has been hard to buy PCI devices for the last 6-7 years

This is simply untrue.

Newegg *still* lists twice as many PCI sound cards (43) as PCIe ones (21), 37 different PCI-based USB add-in cards, and 13 different PCI-based hard drive controllers. Heck, they even still list 36 different PCI-based video cards (though nothing with a current-generation GPU, obviously).

Chrispy_ wrote:and even as far back as 2008 it was rare to find a board with more than one legacy PCI slot, included to appeal to the fringe cases where people stubbornly refused to update one old card.

Also untrue. I own a dozen or more motherboards from after 2008, and *all* of them have at least 2 PCI slots. Asus M3A78-CM (2009), Asus M5A97 (2011), Asus M5A97 R2.0 (2012), M5A78L-M/USB3 (2013), and many more. None of them were selected specifically for the presence of 2+ PCI slots, as the only PCI card I own that I might potentially want to use is an old Turtle Beach soundcard (great ADCs on that thing...)

Now, don't get me wrong; I agree that except for a few unusual corner cases, it makes no sense to buy new PCI-based peripherals these days. But a lot of people still have 'em, and replacing a working card just because it has an "old school" PCI interface doesn't make much sense either, unless it is doing something which would benefit from the extra bandwidth.

Chrispy_ wrote:Sure, your PCI cards may still work, but I have a dot-matrix printer that still works - it doesn't mean its a good idea to still use it.

Apples and oranges. Dot matrix printers suck unless you need to print multi-part forms (which require an impact printer) or do a lot of printing where output quality doesn't matter (dot matrix will save you a lot of money on consumables in this case). They have a narrow set of things they do well, and if you don't happen to fall into one of those use cases they make no sense.

On the other hand, a PCI-based soundcard or SCSI scanner adapter still works just as well as a PCIe one (assuming you can get drivers for it that work with your current OS).
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:13 am

Hmm, interesting, Must be a US thing. If I go to a couple of my usual etailers over here, the vast majority of the listings are PCIe or USB and apart from a couple of Xonar PCI cards the most recent PCI sound card is from 2008 (X-Fi or Audigy, mostly).
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:20 am

There's even a D-Link 10mbps NIC on Amazon for an ISA slot:

http://www.amazon.com/D-Link-Ethernet-M ... B00004XRD1

And PCI-X SCSI or RAID cards:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... =BESTMATCH
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:32 pm

It's fine, I believe you!

Regional variation, YMMV etc :)
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:33 pm

just brew it! wrote:On the other hand, a PCI-based soundcard or SCSI scanner adapter still works just as well as a PCIe one (assuming you can get drivers for it that work with your current OS).


Those represent really the true bottom of the barrel of objects that do work. The 133MB/s limitation of consumer class PCI is a serious bottleneck in this day and age.

Pretty much every other peripheral is limited under the bus.

GigE links run the ragged edge of the PCI bus and bus overhead might even cut off their full potential.
Any sort of 3D work through a PCI video card is going to be bandwidth starved.
PATA 100 or 133 was already pushing the edge of the bus under burst conditions.
SATA controller would exceed the bus with STR of a modern spinning disk. An SSD would make the whole thing a joke. Even legacy HDD drives would be limited via burst conditions.
eSATA would be equally screwed.
SAS would be in the same boat as SATA.
SATA or SAS RAID controllers regardless of full hardware or software based would be a joke.
Classic parallel SCSI controllers would be bottlenecked even with the last generation of their drives as well. SCSI HDD users were hitting those limits long before PCIe even debuted.
USB3 Controller are a complete no go.
Firewire 800 controllers would be at the ragged edge.

I suspect there are yet more devices I'm forgetting that would be totally jammed up on PCI.

This feels a bit like the same argument from a decade ago when people argued the real world throughput of 2MB/s of ISA would good enough. Amusingly enough sound cards were in that debate too! It's really not. PCI did some great things for us in 1992. Twenty two years later it is bandwidth starved and the few things it can do are better served by USB or even onboard connectivity.
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Re: RAM/Mobo compatibility question(s)

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:47 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Hz so good wrote:
Percussionist wrote: I have been looking at the ASUS Z97-A. I have some RAM from a previous build that I couldn't find on this new board's QVL. It's not on the list. The RAM is G.Skill model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ (I have four 2GB sticks of DDR3-1600 total).
Easiest way to know for sure is to go to the Asus support site, and download the manual for that mobo. It'll have a multi-page list of fully tested memory modules in there, from all the usual vendors.
The QVL was last updated on May 21, 2014. Percussionist started this thread on June 25.
http://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/Z97A/HelpDesk_QVL/


I'll be the first to admit I have no idea how often Asus updates the DRAM QVL List after teh board's been RTM. I think his RAM will work, like you guys do, but I was just speaking in general terms. If you are looking at motherboards, spend a second or two checking the QVL. That way, if something does go FUBAR (hopefully before warranty runs out), they can't try to blame it on DRAM not found on their QVL. More ammo in the consumers pocket.



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