Johan’s awesome overview of the Haswell-EP ecosystem showed that the server processor line from Intel is firmly in the track for DDR4 memory along with the associated benefits of lower power consumption, higher absolute frequencies and higher capacity modules. At that point, we all assumed that all Haswell-EP Xeons using the LGA2011-3 socket were DDR4 only, requiring each new CPU to be used with the newer generation modules. However thanks to ASRock’s server team, ASRock Rack, it would seem that there will be some Xeons for sale from Intel with both DDR3 and DDR4 support.

Caught by Patrick at ServeTheHome, ASRock Rack had released their motherboard line without much of a fuss. There is nothing strange about that in itself; however the following four models were the subject of interest:

A quick email to our contacts at ASRock provided the solution: Intel is going to launch several SKUs with a dual DDR3/DDR4 controller. These processors are available in eight, ten and twelve core flavors, ranging from 85W to 120W:

QVL CPUs for ASRock Rack EPC612D8T
  E5-2629 v3 E5-2649 v3 E5-2669 v3
Cores / Threads 8 / 16 10 / 20 12 / 24
Base Frequency (GHz) 2.4 2.3 2.3
L3 Cache (MB) 20 25 30
TDP (W) 85 105 120

At the current time there is no release date or pricing for these DDR3 Haswell-EP processors, however it would seem that ASRock Rack is shipping these motherboards to distributors already, meaning that Intel cannot be far behind. It does offer a server team the ability to reuse the expensive DDR3 memory they already have, especially given the DDR4 premium, although the processor counts are limited.

CPU-World suggested that these processors have dual memory controllers, and we recieved confirmation that this is true. This could suggest that all Xeons have dual memory controllers but with DDR3 disabled. Note that these motherboards would reject a DDR4-only CPU as a result of their layout. It does potentially pave the way for combination DDR3/DDR4 based LGA2011-3 motherboards in the future. We have also been told that the minimum order quantity for these CPUs might be higher than average, and thus server admins will have to contact their Intel distribution network for exact numbers. This might put a halt on smaller configurations keeping their DDR3.

Source: ServeTheHome, ASRock Rack

Additional (9/25): We have been asked to make clear that these CPUs will not be on general sale for end-users. Only those companies with large minimum-order-quantities will be able to obtain the CPUs, and as a result these motherboards might find their way into complete servers only, rather than be up for sale individually. These are off-roadmap processors, not intended for general release.

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  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    This was already known before and pointed out in the comments on September 9 to the original Anandtech Haswell-EP article .
  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    That's the link:
  • Ian Cutress - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    I spoke to ASRock and they're still preparing the general press release, hence the DDR3 HSW-EP is still not relatively well known at this point. I had not seen the comment on the main review, though I was able to get further information direct from ASRock however on exactly what is supported. It might afford a better opportunity for DDR3 vs DDR4 comparisons.
  • Ian Cutress - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    The fact that it seems the CPUs have dual memory controllers for DDR3 and DDR4 is in itself interesting nonetheless.
  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    Yes, indeed, because it seems pretty unusual, especially for Intel. As I wrote in the reply comment to the comment in the original article I mentioned above, this reminds of Phenom II with DDR2/DDR3 dual memory controller. Besides Phenom II, I don't recall any other past CPUs with dual DDRn/DDR(n+1) memory capability; maybe there are none.
  • creed3020 - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    My ASRock 775 DUAL-VSTA motherboard supported both DDR and DDR2. It had four DIMMs with two split per DDR standard. This board was an oddity in that it also supported AGP and PIC-E slots for graphics card. I used this mobo for a period when I knew I could only to afford a few components at a time.
  • creed3020 - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    Forgot to mention that this was with a Intel Pentium D 920. That CPU overlocked so nicely :)
  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    Same DDR2/DDR3 support situation took place for some other LGA775, supporting Core 2 also (not only Pentium 4/Pentium D).
  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    Yes and no, because LGA775 was a different thing technically, because memory controller was in the chipset north bridge (VIA PT880 Pro/Ultra in your case), and not in the CPU there (I silently assumed CPUs with the integrated memory controller, but did not mention it in the post).

    Since Nehalem memory controller of Intel CPUs is in the CPU itself, so Haswell-EP with DDR3/DDR4 seems to be the first time Intel releases CPU with dual memory support, provided by the integrated memory controller of the CPU itself (not the chipset north bridge).
  • Kevin G - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    Ivy Bridge-EX actually has dual memory support as well: one for DDR3 and the other for SMI. The DDR3 versions were sold as Xeon E5's and went into the EP socket as the 12 core models.

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