What is ECC memory?

by Ruchira on April 28, 2013




If you are building a computer, server or going to buy a new dedicated server, you might know that there are different types of RAM cards. ECC Registered , ECC , non ECC  and Buffered RAM are some words that you might have heard. So what is the difference between all these memory models? 

ECC Memory

ECC stands for Error Correcting Code, memory. As the name suggests it can detect and correct bit errors when the computer is writing or reading data from the memory module. Typically on modern systems RAM bit errors are minimal but if you are using large amount of RAM, possibility of errors will increase, So sometimes it might crash the system because of corrupt data. This is why people choose ECC RAM for  use on high availability and non fault tolerable systems. Using ECC RAM decreases system performance a little because of error checking but its mostly unnoticeable. Easiest way to identify  ECC RAM is that, ECC sticks have odd number of memory chips on them.

Note : You can use ECC RAM and regular RAM together but its not recommended and, error checking and correcting ( ECC part ) will be disabled when you use that way and ECC memory will act as regular RAM.

Do you need ECC RAM? Well it mostly depends, Technology has improved a lot. Unless you have really specific reason or if you can get it for relatively cheap comparing with non ECC RAM, you don’t really need it.

Registered Memory / Buffered Memory

Registered/Buffered memory is the other popular word coming up when you talking about RAM. These type of memory places a hardware register between the memory controller and chip. This is done to ensure that chips get consistent electronic signals without distortion. When the system has many RAM sticks, the controller might struggle to send clean signals because of the length on PCB traces etc. These RAM’s ensure that chips gets a boosted and clean control signals resulting in stability of the system.

Note : All the Registered RAM modules aren’t ECC. There are non ECC but registered modules.


I'm Ruchira Sahan and all posts on this blog are completely my thoughts and writings. I love DIY and Technology. So feel free to contact me for anything about this blog and don't forget to add a comment if this blog helped you! Thanks
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