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Core i7 860 - warranty & memory settings

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March 9, 2011 2:22:28 PM

I have/ had an Intel Core i7 860, Gigabyte P55M-UD2, and 4 GB ,2x2, OCZ Obsidian Low Voltage Ram.

I was running the CPU at 3.15 GHZ. I called Gigabyte to consult with them on the memory settings and they walked me through the 9-9-9-24 settings. Shortly there after I ran Prime 95 using the "balanced" test and fried the whole system in about 45 seconds.

The MB was returned to Gigabyte and they found a faulty component. They repaired it and returned the board but the system would not boot to bios. I ordered a second Gigabyte MB and found the same thing. All of the other components had been tested in another system.

I contacted Intel for an RMA on the chip and online chat went as follows.

Intel: What ram were you using?
OCZ Obsidian

That memory is not certified for use with the core i7 because it runs at 1.65 volts. The core i7 has a build in memory controller that requires ram to run at 1.5 volts. You can burn out the processor if you run at higher voltage.

We will test the chip but if it is found that the processor was damaged by high voltage settings we will void the warranty.

Me: But the memory says : Qualifed on Intel P55 Chipsets and Core i3, i5, i7 CPUs. The Gigabyte support people guided me through the setup.

Intel: It may work at lower voltage settings but not at 1.65 volts.

So I am at a loss. I am returning the CPU to Intel for testing. I'm dissapointed in Gigabyte for not recognizing the compatibility issue when I called and I'm frustrated with OCZ for saying their memory is i7 qualified when if you run it at the specified settings you will void your CPU warranty.

Its feels like everyone is playing the " Sorry there is nothing we can do" game.

I'm sure I hold part of the responsibility for not understanding or catching this as I made changes to the bios but if anyone has any suggestions or experience with this I'd love to hear them.

Feedback and insight greatly needed. I'm at a loss for how to pursue the issue.




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a b à CPUs
a b } Memory
March 9, 2011 3:17:52 PM

This is actually a limitation of every Intel processor since Nehalem was introduced. Even the new Sandy Bridge processors can fail with 1.65v memory, and they are not covered under warranty when this happens. Not many of the reviews actually listed this information, but they should have highlighted it so we wouldn't have situations like yours.

Unfortunately, when the memory says "Qualified in Intel P55 chipsets..." it means that OCZ ran some tests and it ran fine for the test run. Nothing more.

Gigabyte didn't say anything because the vast majority of the CPUs can handle RAM at 1.65v. It's only when the memory spikes higher during load or if you actually set the RAM voltage higher in the BIOS that there are problems. However, you may have a slightly weaker CPU that couldn't handle 1.65v or the voltage spikes under load. I suppose it's even possible that the Gigabyte tech you talked to didn't even know about the limitation. You certainly didn't, and there are others that I have had to explain it to on these forums as well. The only reason I know about it is that I pretty much read every single review on the CPUs and some of the more thorough ones mentioned something about the RAM voltage limitation.

Unfortunately, I'm thinking that you may be sh!t outta luck on the warranty issue (assuming they find that the CPU was damaged by excessive voltage). Their warranty clearly states that if the user runs anything out of specification then the warranty is null and void and any failures are the sole responsibility of the user. It probably even states somewhere that the warranty is null and void even if the user didn't know that it was running out of specification.

I'm sorry. I'll be praying to the computer gods that Intel finds that the processor wasn't damaged by the high RAM voltage.
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March 9, 2011 5:46:02 PM

That's sounds like you were very unlucky. I have an 860 that I have ran as high as 4Ghz on my Gigabyte board with RAM at 1.65V without a problem. That is weird that yours burned out like that. I would look into other possibilities. Maybe the faulty motherboard broke the processor? Or maybe the heatsink wasn't on properly and your processor fried from overheating? Or maybe you just got really unlucky...

You should always look at maximum safe voltages and temperatures online before you overclock anything.
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March 9, 2011 6:03:53 PM

I talked to OCZ this morning and the tech said some of the early i7 models had this problem and that it wasnt really there fault. They designed the memory to Intel specs. I imagine I will get the same story from Gigabyte.

Even if it was the motherboard Intel is not likely to replace it. They can claim the MB was the cause of the failure. I'm guessing none of the companies is going to pony up and claim any responsibility.

I'm going to try Intel on the phone then Gigabyte just to put it all on the record.
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March 9, 2011 6:09:26 PM

Quote:
You should always look at maximum safe voltages and temperatures online before you overclock anything.


My memory was at 9-9-9-24..the OCZ specs. My heatsink/fan was an Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 and the heat under the Prime95 test was at 70C for 10-15 seconds. At idle the temp was 28C and while gaming around 35C.

I'm no overclocking pro but none of that seemed unreasonable.

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March 9, 2011 7:28:01 PM

I tested with other memory as well. 1.5 Mushkin 1333 Memory. Same result.

I ran the memory at the board default for many months. I had some stability issues though and thats what led me to call Gigabyte...they were the ones that said I needed to change the voltages for the OCZ memory to what OCZ specified. They walked me through it..little did I know it would lead to frying my CPU.

If you have any contact info that would help in this manner it would be much appreciated.
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a b à CPUs
a b } Memory
March 9, 2011 9:39:55 PM

Quote:
You said the I7 can run on 1.65v but the socket 1156 1.5.
They didn't state the series.
So if a person go buy 1.65v I7 approved ram and go try it on your cpu which is a I7 then it will be the same coz they state 1156 can't use 1.65v ram. But you got a I7?

That would maybe let them think twice otherwise contact that lady can't remember her name but her email is all over the net. Sonja or something is her name. She will help ya

All of Intel's CPUs since the original Nehalem have this limitation. That means 1366 and 1156 and 1155 sockets. Sockets 1356 and 2011 will also have limits on the RAM voltage, but the limit will be lowered to around 1.35v because the CPUIO/VTT/IMC voltage will be 0.85v on at least some of the new CPUs.

If you plan on getting Sandy Bridge "E" make sure to allocate some budget for 1.35v RAM to go along with it.
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March 20, 2011 3:16:29 PM

Best answer selected by bvrettski.
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