ECC for the value-oriented

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ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:10 am

Hey guys, new to the forum- wasn't sure which was more taboo, starting a new thread or resurrecting one from 2010.
I'm curious what the prevailing sentiment is on ECC DDR.

I'm a hardcore bargain hunter (I only go for the cheap stuff) and over the past year or so I've noticed a surplus of cheap ECC RAM on ebay, considerably less than its non-ECC equivalent. This makes sense, since the enterprise market is more likely to buy new stuff and end up with old DIMMs on their hands. Also as cloud computing providers like Amazon Web Services and Google App Engine get cheaper, the need for in-house servers might be diminishing.
Whatever the cause, I have seen large ECC DIMMs going for sometimes half the price their non-ECC equivalent. Some of it is high frequency too, which suggests there's a smart buy to be made somewhere.

Before anyone says that ECC is slow (I don't have the experience to argue) I have a link which suggests that ECC is almost exactly as fast as non-ECC, and only in one worst-case scenario makes around 90% of the performance.
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articl ... Conclusion

To anyone who might say "More than 8GB is pointless" I would disagree- uncompressed video and Adobe software eats it up quickly, and someone could make a pretty insane RAM Disk with 64+GB.

What do you guys think? Smart buy or not worth the headaches?
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:19 am

Keep in mind that most consumer motherboards don't support ECC DIMMs, and the ones that do typically work only with the non-registered type. Of current offerings I think pretty much your only option for ECC is Socket AM3/AM3+ unless you want to step up to workstation/server class hardware (e.g. Xeon).

Regarding performance, I'm not surprised that they're all very close. At a given clock speed the streaming bandwidth should be the same across all three types; I would only expect a significant hit when using registered ECC in a scenario that does a lot of small random memory accesses (due to the additional cycle of latency from loading the control registers).

I don't think very many people are saying "more than 8GB is pointless" any more. FWIW, these days I consider 16GB to be the right amount of RAM for a power user desktop.
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:57 am

just brew it! wrote:I don't think very many people are saying "more than 8GB is pointless" any more. FWIW, these days I consider 16GB to be the right amount of RAM for a power user desktop.

Exactly. My numerous Chrome tabs are now busting my memory wall all the time. :o

FWIW I have just built a file server with ECC myself. It is my first system with that setup.
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:28 am

just brew it! wrote:I don't think very many people are saying "more than 8GB is pointless" any more. FWIW, these days I consider 16GB to be the right amount of RAM for a power user desktop.


I agree, but 16gb is too expensive these days. It would definitely be the amount to get just because you could for ~$90 in December 2012.
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:51 am

Not to turn this into a discussion about memory prices, but the premium to go from 8GB to 16GB is under $100, which I think is still completely reasonable if it's something you would benefit from.
Last edited by absurdity on Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:53 am

There is the whole used/new factor in browsing eBay and that eBay itself tends to deflate prices.

As for the prices of ECC DIMMs, back in early 2013 I picked up eight 16 GB of 1.35v registered ECC 1600 Mhz DIMMs for $125 a piece. To may surprise, this was cheaper than many of the two 8 GB 2133 Mhz enthusiast kits. I recently had two of those DIMMs develope ECC errors that my system disabled them and brought my total down to 96 GB. Unfortunately Samsung has no warranty on their server memory claiming that they're all OEM parts and thus I'm out of luck. So yeah, avoid Samsung memory due to the lack of warrant. Sites that list them are lying when they claim it has a life time warranty.
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:33 am

just brew it! wrote:Keep in mind that most consumer motherboards don't support ECC DIMMs, and the ones that do typically work only with the non-registered type. Of current offerings I think pretty much your only option for ECC is Socket AM3/AM3+ unless you want to step up to workstation/server class hardware (e.g. Xeon).

AM3 would provide a nice long upgrade path, with some good value on the low end and some fast current-gen chips awaiting price drops. Myself I'd be looking toward LGA2011 - the price/performance of some used Xeons is fantastic. Unfortunately the power consumption of server hardware isn't great, driver support is probably terrible, and the additional price of server mobos could nullify any savings on memory.

Flying Fox wrote:My numerous Chrome tabs are now busting my memory wall all the time. :o

Last time I used Chrome it was definitely a hog, "world's fastest browser" at a high price (forget about running a serious game at the same time). However... I'm thinking there's no way chrome alone is too much for 8GB, unless you run with 40+ tabs and a dozen add-ons, in which case I salute you.
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:35 am

Spats wrote:AM3 would provide a nice long upgrade path, with some good value on the low end and some fast current-gen chips awaiting price drops.

I'm going to have to disagree with the "long upgrade path" part of this statement. AM3+ is basically a dead-end platform. The chipset is dated; and other than a small incremental speed bump rumored to be coming in a couple of weeks, and a couple of insanely power-hungry "bragging rights" CPUs (which still don't reach the performance levels of Intel's fastest), AMD has not updated its AM3+ product line in nearly 2 years. Their attention is focused elsewhere now.

Yes, AMD is still a decent value, especially if you want to build a system with ECC on the cheap, or run applications that scale well to lots of cores. But don't buy into the AM3+ platform today expecting a long upgrade path!
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Re: ECC for the value-oriented

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:36 am

Yeah sadly, 99% of the "good value" DIMMs you see cheap on eBay are going to be Registered ECC, which limits you to server chipsets only. Been bitten by that once, never again :)
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