Yes! Intel NUC 8i5BEH accepts 64 GB RAM!

So my 4-year old Intel NUC 5I5MYHE which I have been using as an ESXi server finally decided to give up the ghost. While on the lookout for a replacement, I came across William Lam’s excellent post at https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2019/03/64gb-memory-on-the-intel-nucs.html where he tested 2x 32GB SODIMMs on his Hades Canyon NUC (supported), and found that it was also possible to run 64GB of RAM on his older 6th Gen NUC (not technically supported). He speculated that later generations of NUCs would be capable of running 64GB RAM too.

After a bit more research, I wound up choosing the NUC 8i5BEH because it had 4 physical cores, and with hyper-threading could present up to 8 vCPUs on ESXi. God knows I’ve been needing at least 6 vCPUs for the longest time to run some lab VMs. The only unknown was whether the NUC 8i5 would support the Samsung DDR4 32GB DIMMs (P/N M471A4G43MB1), and whether it could finally support 2x 32GB for 64GB RAM. More RAM is always a good thing, right?

I bought the NUC locally in Singapore, but had to get the RAM module from Amazon US. It simply wasn’t available anywhere else here. Finally, when everything arrived, it was time to unbox and start assembling.

Fresh from the store
Unboxed NUC
Post install: The single 32GB DIMM is installed together with an mSATA SSD, which was recovered from the late NUC5I5.

Assembly done, I tried booting up the NUC and immediately ran into issues. I didn’t manage to capture a screenshot, but booting ESXi 6.7u1 would always fail when it was loading some drivers. With nothing left to lose, I thought a BIOS upgrade might help. I downloaded version 0066 for NUC8i5, and proceeded to run the upgrade.

Flashing the BIOS from 0051 to 0066

After that, ESXi booted up without issues, and went straight to work with 32GB RAM installed. No fuss!

NUC8i5 running ESXi with 32GB of RAM

In any case, the first gamble of using the 32GB DIMM paid off. I immediately ordered another 32GB DIMM off Amazon, which took an agonizing 9 days to arrive. It was somewhat my fault, I wasn’t around for the first few delivery attempts.

Ta-da! NUC shown with second 32GB SODIMM before installation
Both 32GB DDR4 SODIMMs installed

So, the moment of truth: Does the Intel NUC8i5BEH support 64GB of RAM? Happily, the answer was “Yes”.

That’s 64 JeeBees of goodness right there, folks.

I’ve been running this for a few days with multiple VMs powered on, and this baby has been rock solid so far. Definitely a very viable home lab solution!

4 thoughts on “Yes! Intel NUC 8i5BEH accepts 64 GB RAM!

  1. Brett

    Hi there – I’m looking at installing 64GB in my 8i7beh. I’m curious to hear if you have had any issues since you installed the memory? Where I’m from RAM is super expensive, so I want to hear of as many success stories as possible before I make the leap.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Wei Chiang Post author

      My NUC8i5 has been running almost 24/7 since the upgrade to 64 GB. I’ve only rebooted for some software updates and to add more storage. Haven’t seen any issues related to the RAM, yet.

      Reply
  2. Martin

    Hi,

    thanks for nice writeup. Do you think you could provide detailed description about workload you are running on this NUC? I would like to know what this NUC is capable of, especially from Nested ESXi lab point of view before going into it.

    M.

    Reply
    1. Wei Chiang Post author

      I run a small MySQL DB, a VM with Grafana & Graphite, vCenter, and some work related lab VMs that I can’t really get into. In any case, I don’t ever recommend nested ESXi. It has never worked well, even on top of the enterprise class servers which I had access to at work. I’ve gotten the ESXi VMs to power on, but hosting VMs on those nested ESXis were mostly hit and miss; Often they’d just hang at boot.

      Reply

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