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Moving to 16Gb - trials and tribulations


GeekGit
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Hi Folks

 

I've had my N40L for a couple of weeks - bought if for an absolute bargain - AUD 189 and then spent another AUD 160 on a couple of WD Green 1TB drives, which I'm running standardly - i.e. no RAID.

 

The main purpose is to run a dev and test environment for a IIS/SQL Server project I'm doing. The demo/prod environments are hosted elsewhere. I was hoping to do these 4 environments on 8GB of RAM - 1.5GB for both of the IIS VMs and then 3Gb for either of the SQL Server VMs. The plan was to put a SQL Server instance and the opposingIIS instance on one drive and the other instances on the other drive.

 

Then I started reading about the server being able to handle 16GB of RAM, at which case I started scheming of bigger things. Look, I'm a realist when it comes to the processing capability of these boxes, but I'd been running an instance quite happily on a venerable Pentium 4 box with 2GB of RAM. We tend to forget that 10 years ago we ran major production systems on this type of hardware quite happily. And my dev team is quite small at present - myself (for all things SQL) and the front end bloke. (But watch us in 5 years time)

 

So I bought a couple of 8Gb GSkill non-ECC RAM chips - I'd asked for the Patriot RAM, but that would mean another couple of days and I'm quite impatient.

 

On booting up with both 8GB it only saw 8Gb. Bugger! So I swapped them around and reseated. No joy. Then, having read a post somewhere, but full of scepticism, I tried a ECC 4Gb RAM chip with one of the 8GB non-ECC chips. Hello - 12 Gb. Now that's not too shabby - not as good as 16Gb, but not to bad at all, when I bought it thinking 8Gb was the limit. And who'd have thought that mixing ECC and non-ECC RAM would work? Well, it does - just another possibility that I've seen only once elsewhere.

 

But having spent much of the last 25 years as a developer, I wasn't giving up without a try. So I found and loaded the hacked ROM - lots of settings to play with. My theories quickly turned to the Video. There's a setting on UMB (from my memory) that I switched, only to completely lose video. And of course I couldn't remember the keystrokes to set the optimum bios settings. So I reflashed the bios back blind. Still no joy - although through the whole thing the server was still booting and loading VMs. (I'd loaded just the one at that stage). So I could remote in and verify that all was well.

 

Then I tried resetting the CMOS. Not a lot of places that give the info on the net - but I found a manual (eventually) that shows putting the jumper on the front of the board from pins 2-3 to 1-2 resets. You then need to replace to 2-3. Eventually I decided to switch the monitor off and on and there was the video. I'd had it back, probably since the first ROM reset. Oh well.

 

So now I'm back to 12Gb, but a lot happier with it than I was - frankly, I'm relieved just to have my server back without an embarresing trip to HP. It's stable and quiet.

 

The plan now is to have the dev/test environment and then a windows 8 partition for some testing. Fortunately I have a Bizspark license so all the licenses are legit. I might also try an Ubuntu or Mint VM at some stage. Oh, by the way, servers are Windows Server 2012 Standard - the one with the GUI. It'll take a while to get used to Powershell.

 

I hope this story may help somebody who tried the same things...

 

Now - a question. I'm still convinced that there is a way to recognise the full 16Gb. I have an unemployed 8Gb chip lying around now. I note that the RAM is only running at 400Mhz - i.e. at less than 1/3 of max. Can we tweak the RAM settings on the hacked BIOS that makes it more conservative still, so that the RAM is recognised at start time? Any overclokers around that have some advice on settings? I'm willing to give this a bash now, but later the up time of the server will be more important than anything else, so it must happen now.

 

Love this little box. It's quiet and very well built - much more so than my other PCs that I put together. I'll probably even run a webcam with yawcam on it for security.

 

Cheers

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Hi Folks

 

I've had my N40L for a couple of weeks - bought if for an absolute bargain - AUD 189 and then spent another AUD 160 on a couple of WD Green 1TB drives, which I'm running standardly - i.e. no RAID.

 

The main purpose is to run a dev and test environment for a IIS/SQL Server project I'm doing. The demo/prod environments are hosted elsewhere. I was hoping to do these 4 environments on 8GB of RAM - 1.5GB for both of the IIS VMs and then 3Gb for either of the SQL Server VMs. The plan was to put a SQL Server instance and the opposingIIS instance on one drive and the other instances on the other drive.

 

Then I started reading about the server being able to handle 16GB of RAM, at which case I started scheming of bigger things. Look, I'm a realist when it comes to the processing capability of these boxes, but I'd been running an instance quite happily on a venerable Pentium 4 box with 2GB of RAM. We tend to forget that 10 years ago we ran major production systems on this type of hardware quite happily. And my dev team is quite small at present - myself (for all things SQL) and the front end bloke. (But watch us in 5 years time)

 

So I bought a couple of 8Gb GSkill non-ECC RAM chips - I'd asked for the Patriot RAM, but that would mean another couple of days and I'm quite impatient.

 

On booting up with both 8GB it only saw 8Gb. Bugger! So I swapped them around and reseated. No joy. Then, having read a post somewhere, but full of scepticism, I tried a ECC 4Gb RAM chip with one of the 8GB non-ECC chips. Hello - 12 Gb. Now that's not too shabby - not as good as 16Gb, but not to bad at all, when I bought it thinking 8Gb was the limit. And who'd have thought that mixing ECC and non-ECC RAM would work? Well, it does - just another possibility that I've seen only once elsewhere.

 

But having spent much of the last 25 years as a developer, I wasn't giving up without a try. So I found and loaded the hacked ROM - lots of settings to play with. My theories quickly turned to the Video. There's a setting on UMB (from my memory) that I switched, only to completely lose video. And of course I couldn't remember the keystrokes to set the optimum bios settings. So I reflashed the bios back blind. Still no joy - although through the whole thing the server was still booting and loading VMs. (I'd loaded just the one at that stage). So I could remote in and verify that all was well.

 

Then I tried resetting the CMOS. Not a lot of places that give the info on the net - but I found a manual (eventually) that shows putting the jumper on the front of the board from pins 2-3 to 1-2 resets. You then need to replace to 2-3. Eventually I decided to switch the monitor off and on and there was the video. I'd had it back, probably since the first ROM reset. Oh well.

 

So now I'm back to 12Gb, but a lot happier with it than I was - frankly, I'm relieved just to have my server back without an embarresing trip to HP. It's stable and quiet.

 

The plan now is to have the dev/test environment and then a windows 8 partition for some testing. Fortunately I have a Bizspark license so all the licenses are legit. I might also try an Ubuntu or Mint VM at some stage. Oh, by the way, servers are Windows Server 2012 Standard - the one with the GUI. It'll take a while to get used to Powershell.

 

I hope this story may help somebody who tried the same things...

 

Now - a question. I'm still convinced that there is a way to recognise the full 16Gb. I have an unemployed 8Gb chip lying around now. I note that the RAM is only running at 400Mhz - i.e. at less than 1/3 of max. Can we tweak the RAM settings on the hacked BIOS that makes it more conservative still, so that the RAM is recognised at start time? Any overclokers around that have some advice on settings? I'm willing to give this a bash now, but later the up time of the server will be more important than anything else, so it must happen now.

 

Love this little box. It's quiet and very well built - much more so than my other PCs that I put together. I'll probably even run a webcam with yawcam on it for security.

 

Cheers

 

Welcome to the Forums GeekGit. Thank you for sharing your experiences with installing 16GB RAM in the N40L. Many others here on this Forum are looking for the same tweak you are so if it's possible it will eventually be found. So keep coming back and checking on our progress :) and sharing what you've learned/discovered.

 

I'm interested in how your webcam project turns out!

 

These are great little boxes that we can do so much on................

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Thanks Joe.

 

My thoughts are still with the video settings if it's doable. There is a setting to do with a hole in the 15 - 16 GB space. Then again if this was a problem, people that have successfully implemented 16Gb would have mentioned it.

 

As mentioned elsewhere the 16Gb is probably at the limit of the electronic possibilities and some PC's just don't make it - which is perhaps why HP with their known conservative attitude are steering well clear. It could be quality of power, slight tolerances in the RAM specification or the specific chipset or whatever.

 

The server is running stable presently with it's 12Gb of non-standard RAM. I'm running two Windows Server 2012 (one with Hyper-V and one a VM)and a Windows 8 VM. I've set my router up to enable port forwarding so I can remote in to various instances, mapping the ports to 3389 on the various IP addresses. There's also a webserver (running IIS8) on one and that one also has a FTP server. Handles it all well with no performance issues, although I'm not exactly taxing it (yet).

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