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PowerEdge T20, New ECC Ram causing crash

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Aug 3, 2019
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#1
I recently upgraded the ram in my PowerEdge T20 32 GB of ECC RAM.

With the stick that the server came with (4GB) the system is completely stable, but after installing the ram, I see frequent system reboots. The reboots happen with FreeNAS as well as a few other linux distros that I have tried.

I tried each ram stick individually in the hopes to isolate one and the reboots happen with all of the new sticks. With the old stick, the system is completely stable.

The reboots can happen when I am doing anything, but happen very frequently when performing any sort of sustained disk IO (I can't copy more than 20GB of data on the internal drives without the system rebooting).

The ram seems compatible as everything is detected as expected. I also ram memtest for 10+ hours multiple times and everytime no error is reported.

Thoughts on what to try next? I suspect that the ram is bad or not compatible with my old version of bios firmware (A6).

Could the timings of the new ram be the cause? I am not mixing old and new ram, it is all new so they all have the same timings. I can't see any differences other than timings and capacity between the new old sticks. Both old and new are UnBuffered ECC 12800 ram.

What can I do to fix the issue?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
 
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#2
What are all of the hardware specs? Exact models etc of the ram, board, cpu, version of FreeNAS, boot devices, chassis, power cables, wall outlet, etc. ;) In all seriousness though, the ram model and exact cpu and board would help. Do either the board manufacturer or memory manufacturer list the other as tested and confirmed to work?
 
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#3
Thanks for your help,

In short, when the system is stable everything is stock from Dell including mobo, cpu, ram, power supply and hard drive.
When the system is unstable and I see reboots, I have swapped out the original ram (4GB ECC UDIMM) for a supposedly compatible 32GB kit which was bought new. No other components change out side of the USB drive which loads the OS as I have one USB with FreeNAS and others with other OSes.

Dell does have approved ram for this server, but I don't know how to go about finding the approved ram.

Dell PowerEdge T20
CPU - Xeon E3-1225 v3
Ram - Old (4GB PCL3 12800 1Rx8) New (32GB Kit(4x8GB) DDR3L 1600MHz PC3-12800 Unbuffered ECC 1.35V CL11 2Rx8 Dual Rank 240 Pin UDIMM)
Chassis is original from Dell
Power supply is a 270 watt original power supply with 1TB hard drive and boot usb plugged in
Not sure what I need to put for mother board, it is the stock mother board that came with the Dell.

FreeNAS version 11-2.U5 (reboots happen in Ubuntu server as well as ElementaryOS)
8GB boot usb drive
1 TB hard drive in a pool
 
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#4
Ram - Old (4GB PCL3 12800 1Rx8) New (32GB Kit(4x8GB) DDR3L 1600MHz PC3-12800 Unbuffered ECC 1.35V CL11 2Rx8 Dual Rank 240 Pin UDIMM)
Can you please provide the model number of the new memory? Depending on the memory some manufacturers will list systems it has been tested to work with. I was just going to double-check that list to see if your board is on three. If it is, great! If not, it doesn't necessarily mean the memory shouldn't work.

1 TB hard drive in a pool
I feel inclined to ask why you're using only a single data drive? To me, FreeNAS is most useful not because it allows shares of storage across a network but because it uses ZFS to keep data safe when you utilize redundant vdevs via mirror or RAIDZ1|2|3 vdevs. If you've already been over this and decided FreeNAS was the best option for you for a single-drive nas feel free to ignore me. :) I ask half out of curiosity because I think single-drive FreeNAS systems are fairly uncommon.

FreeNAS version 11-2.U5 (reboots happen in Ubuntu server as well as ElementaryOS)
If you're using USB drives to boot perhaps you may find it worth keeping each boot drive to its own OS. I doubt it is causing your problems now but it could make it easier for you to accidentally harm your data drives. What you'll really want to avoid is letting any other OS other than FreeNAS touch your data disks.

Right after I wrote the above I see from your post history that you originally planned to go with a RAIDZ2 with more drives. Is that still the plan? Thanks for tolerating my somewhat unrelated questions. :)
 
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#5
I really appreciate your help.

Can you please provide the model number of the new memory? Depending on the memory some manufacturers will list systems it has been tested to work with. I was just going to double-check that list to see if your board is on three. If it is, great! If not, it doesn't necessarily mean the memory shouldn't work.
Here is the link for the exact memory. In the comments one buyer claims it worked in his/her T20 so I was really hoping this would work.

I feel inclined to ask why you're using only a single data drive? To me, FreeNAS is most useful not because it allows shares of storage across a network but because it uses ZFS to keep data safe when you utilize redundant vdevs via mirror or RAIDZ1|2|3 vdevs. If you've already been over this and decided FreeNAS was the best option for you for a single-drive nas feel free to ignore me. :) I ask half out of curiosity because I think single-drive FreeNAS systems are fairly uncommon.
:) I am using a single drive just to play with and familiarize myself with ZFS and FreeNAS before moving over data that is valuable to me. I am very new to both ZFS and FreeNAS.

If you're using USB drives to boot perhaps you may find it worth keeping each boot drive to its own OS. I doubt it is causing your problems now but it could make it easier for you to accidentally harm your data drives. What you'll really want to avoid is letting any other OS other than FreeNAS touch your data disks.
Yes, agreed I have multiple usb drives one OS per drive.

Right after I wrote the above I see from your post history that you originally planned to go with a RAIDZ2 with more drives. Is that still the plan? Thanks for tolerating my somewhat unrelated questions. :)
I am wondering if it is my BIOS version. Since I haven't been using this system I have never updated its BIOS which is at version A6. I believe that the most up to date version of the BIOS is A19. I partly bought the Dell PowerEdge T20 because I read it was common and recommended as an entry level server. I figured since it was popular it would be easy to find components for it....I guess not. I have tested each stick of the new RAM individually and the system reboots regardless of which new stick I use.

Thanks again
 

Linkman

FreeNAS Experienced
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#6
I am using a PowerEdge T20 (E3-1225 v3 Xeon, 32GB ECC) as my desktop box, with the addition of a sound card (processor graphics).

I pulled the 4GB stick it came from Dell with, and added 4x8GB sticks of ECC RAM, Crucial brand. The T20 should not be that difficult to expand, so maybe the BIOS is suspect if you have a very early version.
 
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#7
I am using a PowerEdge T20 (E3-1225 v3 Xeon, 32GB ECC) as my desktop box, with the addition of a sound card (processor graphics).

I pulled the 4GB stick it came from Dell with, and added 4x8GB sticks of ECC RAM, Crucial brand. The T20 should not be that difficult to expand, so maybe the BIOS is suspect if you have a very early version.
Hi Linkman,

Thanks for your response. Could you please tell me the version of the BIOS? That is the only thing that I can think of that would be causing the issue.
 

Linkman

FreeNAS Experienced
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#8
Hi Linkman,

Thanks for your response. Could you please tell me the version of the BIOS? That is the only thing that I can think of that would be causing the issue.
My BIOS is at A09.
 
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#9
Just checked my T20 and it is running A06 BIOS and I have never had problems. I'm running mostly stock except for the RAM which it has 32GB but not sure what brand. I'll open it up later and find out.


Have you checked the logs to see if there is anything about the cause of the reboots?
 
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#10
Linkman and Alan Kelly,

Thanks for all your help. I am clueless as to what the issue is. My BIOS's version was A06 and then I upgraded to A14 the reboots happened with both versions.

@Alan Kelly - Yes, I checked the logs in linux and it showed a kernel error related to memory.

I'm going to return the RAM and try with another brand.
 
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