Upgrading Memory on Dell PERC 5/i RAID controller.

Posted on 2012-09-14
Last Modified: 2012-09-25
I have a Poweredge 1900 server that uses a PERC 5/i card with its original cache memory module :256-MB DDRII 400MHz ECC-registered DIMM with x16 DRAM components.

Now, the memory module is removable and looks like a standard module. I would like to switch it for a higher density module, say, 512 MB or 1 GB.

After a few searches, I found the following information : Installing unsupported memory causes the system to hang at POST. You have to buy x8 or x16 Memory Modules (for the PERC 5/i).

After harassing a Dell rep for 2 weeks, they came up with the following suggestion :

Now, I have no idea if these are x8 or x16 memory modules. Are they? Also, is there a difference between ECC-Registered and what they are proposing to me?

Thank you for your help.
Question by:controlgmc
    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    They are not off-the-shelf DRAMS.  This isn't even a dell product. The product you marked won't work on it.  The firmware won't address that much RAM, nor will the hardware be able to talk to it, even if you got a DIMM that had the proper RAS/CAS/ECC parameters and topology.

    Just forget upgrading it. Sorry.
    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    PERC 5 Controller memory is not upgradable from 256 MB
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    "After harassing a Dell rep for 2 weeks" ... at some point, they have to give you the only possible answer:  'Try it and see'.  As dlethe said, they are not usually the same as normal system memory ... RAID controllers are very picky about memory specs - speed, layout, etc.  I think I read somewhere that someone found a 512MB DIMM to work, but that the controller continued using only 256MB for cache.  Unless you are the adventurous type, this will probably be a waste of time.  Dell's H700 has the option of 512MB or 1GB, and while it is not officially supported in 9th generation Dell servers, many have said it works in their 9G systems.
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    If you really want to try that enhancement, you should:
    -Look at the installed DIMM module and note all model numbers and figures available
    -Search for the exact DIMM characteristics (Example for Micron DIMMs)
    -Search for a 512MB or 1GB DIMM with the same characteristics
    -Buy 1 from an online vendor that you can return parts to
    -Test it

    All posts above explain that you are loosing your time but your only risking the shipment fees plus time...
    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    BigSchmuh - I have the developer libraries for the controller. The API doesn't even define a bit mask for sticks that big, but it does for the smaller sticks.   So ignoring everything else, like it won't work because the extra address bits aren't run to the controller chip so you wouldn't even be able to access the extra storage.

    The firmware was never tested with higher capacity.  
    Give up. It won't work. It can't work. It must not even be tried.
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    >> It must not even be tried
    Well, IMHO, that is our author's choice... p.49

    It looks like your Perc 5i DIMM is an old 256MB DDR2 PC3200 1 rank single sided one.

    Author Comment

    I gave the points to dlethe because he came up with a bit more information as why it won't work.

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