Back when I first posted my SuperMicro Whitebox build for my Wahl Network home lab I was limited to using 4 GB SDRAM sticks. The availability of 8 GB sticks was rather new and incredibly expensive, coming in at no less than $200 per stick. This equates to over $800 just for RAM, which is a bit ridiculous. Part of that secret sauce is that the RAM must be both ECC (Error Correcting Code) and Unregistered (which basically has to do with electrical load).
For those new to those terms, Unregistered and Unbuffered both refer to the same technology. Vendors have annoyingly decided to use one or the other in their RAM descriptions, which makes it confusing. Also, both are different from ECC – the two are mutually exclusive. You can have ECC RAM that is Registered or Unregistered / Unbuffered. Welcome to the fun world of word games.
32 GB of RAM – Now Budget Friendly?
Today it’s much easier to find more budget friendly 8 GB SDRAM sticks that don’t put your wallet into the hospital with sad cartoon X’s over its eyes. I recently bumped up all of my Lab whitebox servers to 32 GB of RAM using sets of boxed sticks (4 x 8 GB).
For those curious, I can verify that these sticks do indeed work out of the box with the SuperMicro X9SCM-F boards that I use (Intel C204). The model of the RAM is:
- 32 GB Boxed Set: Kingston KVR16E11K4/32I (Amazon ~302)
- 8 GB Single Stick: Kingston KVR16E11/8 (Amazon ~$72)
Both the price and availability of the SDRAM vary wildly. Sometimes the box set is only in the mid $250s, making it cheaper than single sticks, and other times it is higher. Also, I often find that they are sold out, discontinued, or out of stock (such as on Newegg). If you need a set and see them in stock, snag them quickly!
Whitebox Upgrade – End Results
Here’s a proof shot of the end results. I might have added the Kool-Aid guy. Maybe.