I purchased 4 Intel Xeon E5506 processors and a couple of SuperMicro barebones servers from Newegg. Based on everything I saw on Newegg, I thought that I could purchase 1333 Mhz DDR3 RAM.

I was surprised to find when the processors arrived that it says Max. Memory: 800 MHz on them. This page on Intel's site says the same (DDR-800):


Unfortunately all the RAM I purchased was 1333 Mhz, so I figured I'd have to return it and purchase more. This is where the fun begins. I cannot find, for the life of me, 800 MHz DDR3 RAM on ANY site, including newegg. I've found mentions of it in Wikipedia, and my server manual says the motherboard supports it, but it doesn't seem to exist!

The only thing I can think of, and I am not knowleadgeable, is perhaps I can use the faster memory at a lower speed? Or will my server hate that.

  • For the record, it boots fine and recognizes all the RAM, although at what I presume is a lower speed. Is there any danger running it this way? – Evil Trout Oct 13 '09 at 16:28
  • All of the specifications are maximum supported speeds. You can run RAM at a lower speed than its maximum. – David Schwartz Sep 27 '11 at 7:20

Faster DDR memory should always work in a system that only supports slower clocked memory - it's part of the spec. However you do have to stick with the stated type (ie DDR3\DDR2\DDR). I would generally advise someone to buy the correctly rated memory but if all the parts are built to spec then there should be no issue using faster rated memory in an environment that underclocks it.

The server CPU's you mention are part of the entry level Nehalem Xeon 5500 series, along with the L5506, L5508, E5502 and E5504 they are specified to support a maximum memory speed of 800Mhz. The next bump up in the Nehalem range (the E5520, E5530, E5540,L5518,L5520 & L5530) support 1066Mhz & 800Mhz DDR3. The two higher end ranges (the X5550,X5560,X5570 & the W5580 and W5590) support 1333Mhz/10666 & 800Mhz.

The higher speeds generally impose limits on the maximum amount of memory you can add to the system - in general for the Xeon 5500 range at 1333Mhz you are limited to 1 DIMM per memory channel, and at 1066 you are limited to 2 for most systems. Some Server vendors (IBM & Cisco) have motherboards that can exceed those limits. There are some further limits imposed depending on whether the DIMM's are Quad\Dual or single ranked.

The Xeon 5500's don't absolutely need ECC memory, the CPU's on chip memory controller does support unbufferred DDR3 aswell as both registered and unregistered ECC DDR3 but it's always a good idea to use ECC memory in Servers. For a specific system you need to check that the motherboard also supports the memory type that you wish to use. The choice of Registered\?Unregistered\Unbuffered memory also affects the maximum DIMM per channel limit - you can only support the maximum RAM configs with the Registered ECC memory @ 800Mhz for example.

There is a very good overview of the memory types supported by the Xeon 5500 series on this Intel site.

As far as availability goes - the various Server vendors all supply parts rated at these speeds for their platforms but they could well be supplying higher speed parts and running them at lower clock speeds. For reference Crucial's memory config utility only lists 1066 & 1333Mhz options for the Dell R610 which can be configured with the full range of Xeon E\L & X variants of the 5500 Xeon series CPU's.

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It definitely won't be labeled as DDR-800.

Try searching for DDR3-800 or (more likely) PC3-6400.

Take a look at this Wikipedia page for more details on the naming standard.

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I found these:

Kingston, Micron (and Crucial) and Corsair start at 1066.

According to the table on page 11 of this PDF, the memory rating of 800 is correct (not a typo).

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It looks like there is a type-o There is DDR2-800 (PC2-6400) or DDR3-1800(PC3-14400)

Since it was launched Q1-09 i'd lean towards PC3-14400. You could ask whoever you are buying it from to verify this.

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Newegg specializes in PC and Gaming components. Your servers probably require ECC memory. Newegg's inventory of ECC memory has always been incomplete.

Also you never stated whether you need DDR2 or DDR3. The Intel site says DDR3-800 not DDR-800. There is a difference. Anyway, it is what the motherboard manufacturer says that matters, not Intel, because it is possible to make a DDR2 motherboard for an otherwise DDR3 spec'ed processor.

The best course of action is to find out what the motherboard manufacturer recommends, or has qualified, as correct memory for the motherboard. Most manufacturers list actual part numbers for qualified memory, and will provide better support if that is what you are using if you have problems.

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Although JEDEC does specify DDR3-800 (PC3-6400) as being a standard part, I've never seen them "in the wild".


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I bought a ZOTAC mini PC ZBOXSD-ID12-PLUS, and it states it uses DDR3-800. Tried looking for the ram as well, and had no luck. luckily it came with 1 GB ram, so I opened the PC up, and surprise they are using a DDR3-1066 (8500). So that's what DDR3-800 is.

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    Per Helvick's answer DDR3-1066 isn't the same as DDR3-800, just that the machine can underclock the 1066 down to 800. Probably why someone gave a downvote =/ – Windle Jun 14 '12 at 18:40
  • The Shuttle XS35GT V2 also lists "1 x DDR3 SO-DIMM slot supports up to 4GB DDR3 800MHz" for its memory support. I guess it is using the same memory as the Zotac box. – sandos Nov 23 '16 at 8:03

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