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QVL conflict between ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming motherboard and G.skill RAM

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anandtechreader

Senior member
Apr 12, 2018
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Hello, I am considering to build a high-end workstation using i7-8700K and ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming motherboard. The main reason to choose this MB is that support from ASUS thinks that it could be compatible with Ubuntu Linux, my main OS for work. Some users on the net also have some successes.

The problem is that two support guys from ASUS told me that G.Skill's 32GB and 64GB Kits are not compatible with this motherboard because they are not on the QVL list:

https://www.asus.com/ca-en/Motherboards/ROG-STRIX-Z370-E-GAMING/HelpDesk_QVL/

They mentioned "Please be advise that you must utilize the components that are listed on the QVL list so that you can assure that it will work properly when you installed it." They also said that the list is up to date when I questioned about the list does not list any RAM kit more than 16GB despite they advertise that the MB supports up to 64GB. They also suggested buying the RAM modules together as a kit. If I listen to them, it means that I can only install 16GB in this motherboard. Could you please have a look?

https://www.asus.com/ca-en/Motherboards/ROG-STRIX-Z370-E-GAMING/HelpDesk_QVL/

From G.Skill's QVL, the two kits should work with this motherboard.

http://www.gskill.com/en/configurator?manu=29&chip=3094&model=3099

What suggestion do you have?
 

LTC8K6

Lifer
Mar 10, 2004
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Gskill is saying that the ram will work with the board. I would trust them.

Q:
Why is G.SKILL’s Qualified Motherboard List different from my motherboard manufacturer’s QVL?

A:
G.SKILL’s Qualified Motherboard List is the result of our compatibility tests. This list is not comprehensive because new motherboards are constantly released.
Each motherboard manufacturer’s QVL is limited to the G.SKILL memory kit they own and are able to test. This QVL list also will not be comprehensive, because G.SKILL is constantly releasing memory kits.

If your motherboard and G.SKILL memory kit is not listed, please contact our tech support to confirm compatibility. (techsupport@gskill.com or ustech@gskillusa.com)
 

richaron

Golden Member
Mar 27, 2012
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QVL is more like a suggestion than a rule. It's just a list of what's been tested enough to allow the manufacturer to put their ass on the line to support it. And who knows if money has changed hands to get on the list.

I've been building PCs for 20 years and never bothered following the RAM QVL. But if I was building for a commercial client the situation would be different. My personal Ubuntu workstation at the moment is running 4x16GB ECC dual ranked RAM which has nothing even close to it on the QVL. But it worked out of the box on a Ryzen system (known for being picky with RAM) and even overclocks well above the claimed max speed supported by the CPU & mobo.

Your mileage may vary, but I've never had much of a problem ignoring the QVL.

Edit: Reading your OP again, the gist of my post goes for choosing that motherboard for Linux also. If there's another motherboard you would prefer it might be worth taking a chance with it. Of course researching Linux support helps, but don't just take direction unless you understand the reasoning.
 
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anandtechreader

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Apr 12, 2018
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Thanks. Which motherboard do you use in your Ubuntu workstation? I recall that there were some PCIe related issues between Ubuntu and Threadripper few months ago. Have they been fixed?

At first I planned to build a Threadripper system for CUDA computations using GPU. After I read about such PCIe related issues with the Thripper and possible lack of AVX support, I decided to go with the 7900X. Then a colleague warned me that the Meltdown and Spectre patches could affect performance. The hit could be up to 20-40% depending on what I do. I decided not to spend too much money on such buggy system. Since Cascade Lake should have most of these issues removed at hardware level by this Fall, I decided to build an inexpensive system to get some work done during this transition period. After choosing between 8400 and 8700K, I chose the latter and searched for a motherboard that is compatible with Ubuntu Linux and Hackintosh. After some hard work, I settled for the ASUS ROG Strike-E Gaming board. Then, ASUS told me to follow their QVL list that does not list any 32GB-64GB RAM. Now, I figure out that if I build a 8700K system with 64GB RAM (don't know if I could re-use the RAM in a Cascade Lake system to get top performance as this up-coming system will use 6-channel memory. It means that I may need to buy a new 6-channel RAM kit for the new system), I may perhaps use it longer until Cascade Lake or even PCIe 4.0/5.0 components come out in 2019-2020. Then, rather than throwing out the 8700K and motherboard, I build a high-end system and get an extra computer by paying for an extra case and PSU. Then, I figured out that for this 8700K system with 64GB RAM, if I add about $300 more, I can get a Threadripper 1900X system. What suggestion do you have?

Is a TR 1900X system "much better" than a 8700K system? I heard that Intel system has better memory sub-system than AMD's.
 

richaron

Golden Member
Mar 27, 2012
1,351
329
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Thanks. Which motherboard do you use in your Ubuntu workstation? I recall that there were some PCIe related issues between Ubuntu and Threadripper few months ago. Have they been fixed?

At first I planned to build a Threadripper system for CUDA computations using GPU. After I read about such PCIe related issues with the Thripper and possible lack of AVX support, I decided to go with the 7900X. Then a colleague warned me that the Meltdown and Spectre patches could affect performance. The hit could be up to 20-40% depending on what I do. I decided not to spend too much money on such buggy system. Since Cascade Lake should have most of these issues removed at hardware level by this Fall, I decided to build an inexpensive system to get some work done during this transition period. After choosing between 8400 and 8700K, I chose the latter and searched for a motherboard that is compatible with Ubuntu Linux and Hackintosh. After some hard work, I settled for the ASUS ROG Strike-E Gaming board. Then, ASUS told me to follow their QVL list that does not list any 32GB-64GB RAM. Now, I figure out that if I build a 8700K system with 64GB RAM (don't know if I could re-use the RAM in a Cascade Lake system to get top performance as this up-coming system will use 6-channel memory. It means that I may need to buy a new 6-channel RAM kit for the new system), I may perhaps use it longer until Cascade Lake or even PCIe 4.0/5.0 components come out in 2019-2020. Then, rather than throwing out the 8700K and motherboard, I build a high-end system and get an extra computer by paying for an extra case and PSU. Then, I figured out that for this 8700K system with 64GB RAM, if I add about $300 more, I can get a Threadripper 1900X system. What suggestion do you have?

Is a TR 1900X system "much better" than a 8700K system? I heard that Intel system has better memory sub-system than AMD's.
I call it a "workstation" but the term is pretty broad ;)

I'm using an ASUS Strix X370-F, which I guess is the Ryzen AM4 (not Threadripper) version of the motherboard you mention. I partially chose it because it's newer than the release day Ryzen boards, and as you mentioned there were a few support problems with Ryzen and Threadripper at release. It's less of an issue with intel systems, but I thought it was necessary to wait until the Ryzen platform had matured enough to be stable. And I'm sure Ryzen and Threadripper are plenty stable now, even though I still believe future BIOS updates will bring meaningful improvements.

And this concept of waiting for support to evolve is important when considering a Linux system also, since cutting edge hardware may not be supported in the kernel (or at all). But I assume you'd be fine with any 8700K system by now.

As far as the Meltdown/Spectre impact goes it really depends on your workload. As does the choice of CPUs and which one is faster or "worth it". I would love to play around with a Threadripper system, but I honestly didn't need the extra cores or PCIe lanes. I did want the ability to run ECC RAM even though it's not necessary for my needs right now, but I intend this system to switch to a server role hosting my primary storage. So I ended up with a Ryzen 1700 which is plenty for me to tinker with. And if I decide I actually need more performance then I can consider spending big money on an uber system. But I think it's a bad idea to spend big money unless you are completely sure you'll make use of a powerful system right now.

As far as advice goes, I don't even know exactly what I'll need down the line with my projects, so I really can't comment on yours... If you know exactly what software you'll be using then maybe someone who knows can help you out. You mentioned using CUDA so it might even be worth blowing your budget on a pro video card rather than worrying about which CPU you use. If you provide more information, or even start specific threads in the relevant sub-forums, hopefully you can get some more advice.
 

anandtechreader

Senior member
Apr 12, 2018
292
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Workstation = computer for scientific research rather than for gaming or mining.

Ideally Intel CPU. I don't mind paying the expensive cost for a bug-free system but knowing that it has issues, I gave up on 7900X. Next in line is 8700K which has 1 GPU at x16 only but for about $300 more, I get a Threadripper with 2 GPUs running concurrently at x16x16. I think the memory bandwidth might be better. So, it is more future proof. The problem is to find a X399 motherboard that is compatible with Ubuntu linux.

Am I correct that compared with Intel CPUs, the Threadripper is less affected by the Meltdown and Spectre patches?
 

richaron

Golden Member
Mar 27, 2012
1,351
329
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Workstation = computer for scientific research rather than for gaming or mining.

Ideally Intel CPU. I don't mind paying the expensive cost for a bug-free system but knowing that it has issues, I gave up on 7900X. Next in line is 8700K which has 1 GPU at x16 only but for about $300 more, I get a Threadripper with 2 GPUs running concurrently at x16x16. I think the memory bandwidth might be better. So, it is more future proof. The problem is to find a X399 motherboard that is compatible with Ubuntu linux.

Am I correct that compared with Intel CPUs, the Threadripper is less affected by the Meltdown and Spectre patches?
A large group of people consider a workstation must be built with enterprise level hardware. I, like you, consider the usage the defining factor. But software development or graphics rendering are still worthy tasks for a "workstation".

And are you asking whether an Intel CPU is ideal? Since you haven't provided a specific workload that's up for debate, I have seen scientific workloads where AMD CPUs spank much more expensive intel competition. As I stated above, AMD CPUs are more than "bug free" enough at the moment. It's at the point where that argument between intel and AMD is moot when talking about consumer level hardware.

I also considered dual full speed GPUs as being an advantage with running scientific code on them. But since I have yet to fully develop the code I wasn't sure if true. Same goes for whether extra CPU cores or quad channel memory would help. The idea of "future proofing" comes up often in this forum, and the response is generally that it's a bad idea. Unless you know you'll make use of the extra hardware now, it's a much better idea to buy what you need now and save money to buy better hardware in the future.

I also hinted that you may be overly worried about Linux compatability. At this stage I would not be concerned about any Threadripper systems running Linux (although admittedly I haven't looked into this too hard, I might be wrong). There are however small annoyances in Linux, like how I still can't monitor the Ryzan CPU temp probe from within ubuntu.

Again, if you state your exact workloads and goals someone may have more specific advice for you. And this advice may be as yet unexpected. For example in the molecular dynamics field ECC memory is considered necessary by some, and if you want GPU and system memory running ECC you might have to rearrange your budget priorities...

Lastly, yes. Threadripper and Ryzen systems basically have zero performance penalties from any of those bugs. But again, depending on your workload an intel system may also have negligible performance penalty. The biggest intel performance problems come from workloads with high IO, and if you can really max out bandwidth from 2 PCIe x16 GPUs then this may be a big problem.
 
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richaron

Golden Member
Mar 27, 2012
1,351
329
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Thanks. Workload is scientific computations using CUDA and multi-GPUs.
Cool but that's not particularly specific. Are you using a specific software package?

There's a good chance if you can offload everything to the GPU(s) then you can make do with a mid-range consumer CPU and maxing out your budget on GPUs is the best idea.

Or depending on the code you might need good CPU performance also, and the higher IPC or AVX performance of intel CPUs is better.

Or more cores of an AMD product might be faster.

Also depending on the code you might be able to max out multiple GPU's PCIe x16 bandwidth and a TR system is better with multiple GPUs.

Or maybe you can max out two GPUs processing power but PCIe x8 is enough for each GPU. So you don't need TR, you can use a lower end system with 2 GPUs.

And depending on the size of the data set you may be storing/accessing a lot in system RAM, in which case quad channel memory might be faster.

But maybe quad channel memory is unnecessary because the bottleneck is on the PCIe lanes.

Also, as you mentioned a few times the intel Spectre/Meldown fixes might cause up to 40% hit on performance... Which might or might not help make a decision about hardware. But you are talking about a workload which sounds like it has high IO so I suspect there will be a noticeable affect. Although I could be wrong.

I hope someone else can be more helpful, because I obviously don't have the answers. But these are honestly the type of things I considered when buying my hardware to run custom scientific GPU accelerated code. In the end I accepted I don't know exactly what I need yet and I got a mid-range system to tinker with. Good luck :)
 
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DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
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I never overclock work PCs, so I'd consider the 8700 non-K for the lower cost and lower stock TDP watts.

For my December 2017 build I used an ASRock Extreme4 motherboard and 2 x 16 GB of Crucial DD4, ordered directly from Crucial.com. They guarantee compatibility with your motherboard if you use their memory selector. The motherboard might be wrong for you if it doesn't support enough graphics cards, but you might still check out Crucial.com

I use Windows 10 Pro as the host OS, but I do have a Mint VM running under VirtualBox.
 
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