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Motherboard for Intel Xeon E5 2687W Engineering Sample

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March 23, 2012 9:41:23 PM

Hello,
Does anyone have a suggestion for a X79 motherboard that will work with this ES2 CPU? Doesn't have to be an Asus.
Thanks for the help.
a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 23, 2012 10:58:00 PM

Welcome to Tom's Forum! :) 

LGA 2011 MOBOs are:
ASUS P9X79 WS (*) - http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_2011/P9X7...
Supermicro - http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon3000...
ASRock X79 Extreme9 - http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=X79%20Extre...

(*) ASUS P9X79 WS supports a very cool feature 'USB BIOS Flashback' - http://event.asus.com/2012/mb/USB_BIOS_Flashback_GUIDE/ that only requires a USB Flash drive and a PSU (i.e. no CPU, RAM, GPU, etc) is required to update the BIOS

Dual Xeon, one of many:
ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS - http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_2011/Z9PE...
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March 23, 2012 11:20:39 PM

Sadly the Asus p9X79 WS throws a "5A" internal CPU error. I would like to know if anyone has had success with one of these engineering sample Xeon CPUs on a X79 board. Thanks for the help.
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 24, 2012 12:05:13 AM

You need BIOS 0802 (latest) for the E5-2687W to function correctly; 5A is because the BIOS cannot match-up the CPUID to the CPU installed.

When Chris was testing the E5 Xeon or even most all Intel CPUs they're 'engineering samples.' See -> http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xeon-e5-2687w-bench...

BTW - it's illegal for anyone to sell you one!
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 12:08:29 PM

I don't know, without proper BIOS support the Xeon on LGA 2011 typically won't post or at best won't work properly.

Chris attempted to use his Xeon E5 Engineering Sample on several LGA 2011 MOBO's and it wouldn't post.
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March 25, 2012 5:52:58 PM

Hi Jaquith thanks for the information ! Do you know what the stepping code was on the E5 that Chris tested ? Thanks
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 27, 2012 12:02:17 PM

Without proper CPUID the E5 may function but it sure isn't working efficiently or properly on your Sabertooth. It's fine to 'play' but it's nothing that I would use and feel to be reliable.

I have the same MOBO and I wouldn't do it -- play sure why not...
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March 27, 2012 3:26:41 PM

Well Asus must have added the CPUID microcode or it wouldn't be working at all. I haven't had one problem with the CPU not functioning correctly. The bios even shows the CPU an when I installed the chipset it was C600/X79, I guess you could say I'm a bit of a risk taker so I'll keep you updated after I run some benchmarks! Thanks for the info tho Jaquith !
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 27, 2012 6:23:16 PM

I'd look at the power consumption and other features i.e. VT-d, etc to see if they still work. The benchmarks should give you a good indication, and I'd use AIDA64 it's more through. ASUS might have added one of the Xeon CPUID so it would post and boot, but I haven't a clue otherwise; they might be sharing BIOS coding with all of their X79's...I don't know.

Yeah, let me know how the testing goes.
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March 27, 2012 9:20:42 PM

Hey well when I was home for lunch I checked the power consumption an it was very normal, I went ahead an downloaded AIDA64 ran a full benchmark everything passed flying colors ! It did a comparison to other rigs an it was at the top ! It clocked up to 3.5Ghz during benching! Looks good so far maybe tonite I can post some screen shots!
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March 27, 2012 10:38:45 PM

It is >not< the microcode which is causing 5A boot errors with ES2 steppings (B0/B1) on the ASUS Z9PE-D8-WS.

I extracted the microcode data and it contain the proper microcode for the B0/B1 steppings. I also tried replacing the entire microcode block with the data from the P9X79 Pro where ES2 works - and it still won't POST (same error).

I also tried replacing CPU PEI and DXE drivers (because error happens in the CPU DXE initialization phase) - and it does not help either.

So, something else is wrong but I don't have time right now to spend few days digging into this and disassembling the BIOS.
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March 27, 2012 11:05:37 PM

p321p said:
It is >not< the microcode which is causing 5A boot errors with ES2 steppings (B0/B1) on the ASUS Z9PE-D8-WS.

I extracted the microcode data and it contain the proper microcode for the B0/B1 steppings. I also tried replacing the entire microcode block with the data from the P9X79 Pro where ES2 works - and it still won't POST (same error).

I also tried replacing CPU PEI and DXE drivers (because error happens in the CPU DXE initialization phase) - and it does not help either.

So, something else is wrong but I don't have time right now to spend few days digging into this and disassembling the BIOS.



I was just looking online about the 5a error look's like it could be a problem with the PCIe lane, look's like some people swapped video cards an it's working for them !
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March 28, 2012 3:31:21 AM

Here is a SS !













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March 28, 2012 7:20:50 AM

^ This is the QS1 sample (C0 stepping) - they should be much less problematic on any decent board as they should be virtually identical to the final silicon except some very small tweaks (ehm... VT-d)

ES2 is one generation earlier, and it has somewhat more differences.

Anyway, it could be PCIe - the EFI boot sequence goes as follows: 67 --> 69 --> 5A

69 is System Agent DXE initialization - system agent in SB-e holds PCIe controller as well... but I can't be really sure at this point what is the problem actually.

In normal circumstances, after 69, the board should progress to 6A -> system agent SMM initialization, and this happens in the, say, ASUS P9X79 Pro board without problems. But with Z9PE-D8-WS, it is just stuck before that.
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 28, 2012 3:57:51 PM

@Branen - Sweet, can I see the Mainboard tab.
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March 29, 2012 5:05:59 AM

p321p said:
^ This is the QS1 sample (C0 stepping) - they should be much less problematic on any decent board as they should be virtually identical to the final silicon except some very small tweaks (ehm... VT-d)

ES2 is one generation earlier, and it has somewhat more differences.

Anyway, it could be PCIe - the EFI boot sequence goes as follows: 67 --> 69 --> 5A

69 is System Agent DXE initialization - system agent in SB-e holds PCIe controller as well... but I can't be really sure at this point what is the problem actually.

In normal circumstances, after 69, the board should progress to 6A -> system agent SMM initialization, and this happens in the, say, ASUS P9X79 Pro board without problems. But with Z9PE-D8-WS, it is just stuck before that.


This chip is pretty sweet ! Yah that's what i thought i did a little research on it before an found out that it was a QS (C0) ! Yah the ES2 (B0/B1) are clocked @ 3.0Ghz i did see a few people running these ! If you have another video card laying around give it a try just to see ! I wish i knew more about the bios but im a newb to bios code & how it all works lol ! I know just enought to get me in trouble haha, yah alot of people have been running these chips on the Asus P9X79 from what i've seen !
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March 29, 2012 5:06:15 AM

jaquith said:
@Branen - Sweet, can I see the Mainboard tab.





@ Jaquith here is the mainboard SS !


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March 29, 2012 11:55:46 AM

branen said:
This chip is pretty sweet ! Yah that's what i thought i did a little research on it before an found out that it was a QS (C0) ! Yah the ES2 (B0/B1) are clocked @ 3.0Ghz i did see a few people running these ! If you have another video card laying around give it a try just to see ! I wish i knew more about the bios but im a newb to bios code & how it all works lol ! I know just enought to get me in trouble haha, yah alot of people have been running these chips on the Asus P9X79 from what i've seen !


The problem is that QS1 (C0) and QS2 (C1) samples of 2687W are very hard to find on the "open market" (ebay and such) - I suppose people having them are just keeping them as they are almost as good as final (VT-d problem notwithstanding). I guess more of these will start appearing in the next couple of months. Presumably, there are also lots of QS1/QS2 samples that are actually used in HPC production environment as indicated in the press some time ago (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/19/intel_xeon_e5_f...) - I doubt those will be surfacing on ebay anytime soon...

Btw, with ES2 (B1) - 5A error appears even without any GPU present, so I doubt it has something to do with the graphics card in this case.

Also, another interesting curiosity is that it appears that VT-d is actually working on B1 samples and that the problem was introduced in C0, lived in C1 and fixed in C2 steppings... so VT-d problem is probably a result of fixing something else in between B1 and C0 :) 
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 29, 2012 2:54:49 PM

branen said:
@ Jaquith here is the mainboard SS !
Cool, good to know. As I mentioned Chris had a tough time and his other ASUS X79 failed with his (ES) E5.

p321p said:
Also, another interesting curiosity is that it appears that VT-d is actually working on B1 samples and that the problem was introduced in C0, lived in C1 and fixed in C2 steppings... so VT-d problem is probably a result of fixing something else in between B1 and C0 :) 
This was part of a 'fix' from the latest BIOS. Intel knowingly shipped i7's (3930K & 3960K) with this issue before fixing it with the later versions of the chips, and shipping versions of the LGA 2011 Xeon are all supposed to include this fix on the chip.
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March 29, 2012 6:18:48 PM

Yep - the problem is, it appears that the VT-d issue probably appeared in C0 stepping, and by the time it was discovered it was already late for the consumer SB-E launch (C1 stepping).

For Xeons, Intel had more time so they fixed the VT-d in C2... they would probably delay the entire Xeon launch if VT-d was not fixed anyway, as this feature is most needed in the server market.

Coming back to Z9PE-D8 WS and ES2 silicon - I obtained i7 3820, and the boards boots with it. Then, I disabled literally every single CPU and PCH feature, swapped the CPUs... and, no luck - 5A error all over again with the ES2 :( 

So, I think there are only two ways this board can be made to work with ES2 steppings:

a) Someone leaks beta BIOS from ASUS which used to work with ES2

or

b) ASUS actually fixes the issue, which I think is extremely unlikely
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 29, 2012 6:33:07 PM

Trust me I know, I have the older i7-3930K.

I'd say you have a bad MOBO. :( 

Lessons learned about ASUS's RMA, only Cross-Ship and if they say we don't have one in stock then wait until they do and/or place you on a waiting list. Otherwise, my last X79 RMA took a wapping 30 days total turnaround time - not a happy camper so don't get sucked-in the Que.
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March 29, 2012 7:30:38 PM

I wish I had a bad mobo, but this is the second Z9PE-D8 WS I tried.

Furthermore, it has been confirmed by several people that Z9PE-D8 WS does not work with the ES2 steppings of the Xeon E5.

Which is a pity and quite strange, since ASUS X79 boards do work (at least P9X79 WS)
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March 31, 2012 12:23:59 PM

OK, after one long night I think I know at least where the problem is:

- QPI and MRC driver (most likely)
- SB driver (maybe)

The first driver's responsibility is so-called "QPI and Memory Reference Code". OEMs use the reference source code provided by Intel and then subsequently change it to fit their motherboard design. The second one is, I suppose, related to the southbridge.

Why I suspect that it is the QPIandMrc driver? Well, this is the code where you implement various errata handling strategies related to the various silicon steppings. It could very well be that ASUS just removed older code paths handling specific behaviors of A1/B0/B1 silicon.

Thing is - you cannot just swap this driver from a board that works... If you try to do it, you will immediately be hit with 55 error during boot (CPU cannot see the memory), which suggests that this code is most likely customized to the specific board layout.

Funny thing is, swapping QpiAndMrc from Z9PE-D16 will work, but you will not solve the 5A issue. Swapping QpiAndMrc from P9X79 Pro or Supermicro x9dai will end up with error #55.

Another interesting thing I noticed when looking into those EFI drivers - it appears Supermicro QpiAndMrc driver is almost the same as Intel's W2600CR, including the debug symbols that are still in. ASUS drivers are much smaller in size, and do not have debug symbols. I suppose ASUS changed/extended this code heavily as they allow memory voltage tweaking unlike Intel or Supermicro.

So, all in all... this means that the only way ES1/ES2 silicon could work is that ASUS fixes this issue, or leaks some older BIOS image. Unfortunately I do not have the tooling necessary to debug this as this would require at least AMI DebugRx dongle and probably also JTAG connection to the board itself.
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April 5, 2012 9:40:22 PM

JFYI - it appears that the problem is limited to B1 samples only (e.g. QAMS/QAMT) - B0 (e.g. QA91/QA92) samples work with Z9PE-D8 WS.

B1 samples are almost identical to B0 with very few changes/fixes, so I suppose it is just handling bug in the MRC code which possibly does not cover B1 stepping at all.
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April 11, 2012 8:58:26 PM

I can confirm that B0 samples (QA91/QA92) work on Z9PE D8

Interesting enough, if the boot CPU (#1) is B0, and the CPU #2 is B1 (QAMT/QAMS) the board still boots...
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May 18, 2012 2:49:15 AM

I got 2 qa92 CPUs and they boot, however the eventually kill the copy of windows. No idea what the go is. Tried the new bios... Same deal. The weird thing is cinebench and windows internal benchmark fail. The windows one causes bsod and the cinebench locks at the start. Anyone run a qa92 in cinebench with success on this board? If so what bios version? Any setting suggestions?
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May 18, 2012 2:54:33 AM

jumanous said:
I got 2 qa92 CPUs and they boot, however the eventually kill the copy of windows. No idea what the go is. Tried the new bios... Same deal. The weird thing is cinebench and windows internal benchmark fail. The windows one causes bsod and the cinebench locks at the start. Anyone run a qa92 in cinebench with success on this board? If so what bios version? Any setting suggestions?


That was with the Asus z9pe-d8 ws btw
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May 20, 2012 1:37:54 PM

p321p said:
I can confirm that B0 samples (QA91/QA92) work on Z9PE D8

Interesting enough, if the boot CPU (#1) is B0, and the CPU #2 is B1 (QAMT/QAMS) the board still boots...

Hi I am new to the forum
I also have two qa92 with the z9pe d8 motherboard and haven't received them yet so I would like to know if possible how your system is doing any problems so far ?
I will mainly use that system for video renderings so I am a bit anxious to know if you had any bsod or crashes etc etc and also have you tested the CPU's overnight using some sort of benchmark that will use the 100% of both CPU's for a significant amount of time because if you have and no problems ,errors , crashes, then maybe I don,t have to worry so much Thank you
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May 21, 2012 6:35:44 PM

Still no answer ,,, I was hopping my worries would go away if I had an answer from someone that already has the same hardware oh well maybe I have to wait and see I will post when I setup my new hardware and share my thoughts :-)
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December 8, 2012 4:37:55 PM

Try putting the video card, in the 3rd pci-x slot.
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July 21, 2013 1:10:10 AM

herculezz said:
Try putting the video card, in the 3rd pci-x slot.

I try that after flash bios to 5004 card wil not boot an no light in control led but when i put card in 3rd slot boot up at once no problem so far run better than ever.
Thanks for a real good help :) 
Use 2 x 2687w es stepping C0

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