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Paper Tape
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎01-20-2011
Location: Spain
Views: 4,611
Message 1 of 4

Does the S20 4157 support non-ECC RAM? And SATA3?



I've got an S20 4157-45G. Originally it came with an X5550 2,66 Xeon, and a Quadro FX4800.

In the year I've had it, I've upgraded it to a W3580 at 3,33Ghz, cooled with an Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 (so I didn't have to touch the backplate), bumped the memory from 4 to 12GB ECC and recently swapped the Quadro FX4800 for a Gainward GTX 570.

So far, everything works perfect: fast, cool, trouble-free and silent.


I do mostly work with 3ds Max, simulations with FumeFX, and After Effects, to a point where I long for more RAM. The problem is, of course, the price of 4GB ECC modules (I want to put 6x4GB=24GB)


I know officially it requires ECC UDIMM, but has anyone tried to make it work with non-ECC RAM? I tried it once, and it booted alright, but I couldn't test it for more than 20 minutes. Stability is of course important, so I'd like to have some input from people who are running their on regular RAM or have tried it...


Also, I think the answer is no, but does it support SATA3 6Gb? I'm thinking about getting an SSD drive from OWC, for instance, and want to know which one to choose... 


Any input is welcome, and if you're curious about the Freezer 13 installation, or anything else, just ask.





Posts: 5,698
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: US
Views: 4,602
Message 2 of 4

Re: Does the S20 4157 support non-ECC RAM? And SATA3?

juan - welcome to the forum!


non-ECC memory isn't supported in the S20 or with the W3580.   even though non-ECC is slightly less expensive, ECC modules are worth having in any system running more than 8GB running complex tasks.


regarding SATA 6Gb/sec, the S20 can use 6Gb/sec SSDs with no problem (update: see psuturle's note below) but will be limited in maximum sequential transfers in synthetic benchmarks.   in real-world use, this is an absolute non-issue.   most internal file transfers are limited to speeds much lower than 3Gb/sec anyway.   if you're using this as a boot drive then the gain you find will be in random 4k and 4k threaded transfers—each of which are far faster than a hard drive yet far slower than 3Gb/sec or 6Gb/sec theoretical maximums anyway.


so, buy the SSD and enjoy it, disregarding all the hype surrounding max sequential transfer benchmarks.   there's much more to it than numbers. Smiley Wink

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Paper Tape
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎01-20-2011
Location: Spain
Views: 4,589
Message 3 of 4

Re: Does the S20 4157 support non-ECC RAM? And SATA3?

Okay, thanks for the fast answer!


So I'm gonna get an SSD now and wait to save a bit more for the ECC RAM, which around here, is twice the price of regular memory.

Any recommendations on the RAM? Does the Mushkin Proline work alright in S20 workstations?

Lenovo Staff
Lenovo Staff
Posts: 3,833
Registered: ‎02-22-2010
Location: NC
Views: 4,568
Message 4 of 4

Re: Does the S20 4157 support non-ECC RAM? And SATA3?

I'm actually going to caution against attempting to use 6Gb/s (SATA3 drives) in a S20 system.  There is a very well documented issue with Intel controllers where they sometimes fail to auto-negotiate 6Gb/s drives that are connected to 3Gb/s controllers.  This can result in drives dropping off the bus, BSODs, etc.  All not good things.


As I said, this is an industry wide (silicon) issue with the Intel controllers.  Generally, the first path to resolving this (since 3Gb/s drives are starting to be replaced with 6Gb/s) is to software strap physical 6Gb/s drives down to 3Gb/s.  This resolves the issue, but creates havoc for drive suppliers as they now have two unique parts to deal with.  I've been hearing rumblings that many suppliers are now implementing firmware fixes that will help resolve this auto-negotiation issue.  So if you're buying a new drive, there's a chance it might have a FW fix to resolve this.  But unless you've checked to be sure, I'd be a little weary of using 6Gb/s drives on a S20 unless you understand and are willing to accept the potential risks.

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