ECC RAM (Error Correcting Code Random Access Memory) is a special computer memory that detects and corrects memory data corruption. ECC RAM does not rely on other hardware for detecting errors. Because of these reasons, it is used by most businesses to eliminate data corruption.
On the other hand, the non-ECC RAM does not perform data monitoring and error correction. This article will understand the difference between ECC and non-ECC memory or RAM and discuss their other aspects. So, without any delays, let’s start our discussion with the main question.
How Can I Tell If I Have ECC or NON-ECC Memory?
You can only differentiate between an ECC and a non-ECC memory by counting the number of memory chips. Your computer RAMs have black IC chips on them. The non-ECC memory has only eight chips in a row, while the ECC has more chips, usually divisible by 3 or 5. The extra chips are for error correction.
In simple words, if the number of black IC memory chips on your memory is even, it is non-ECC, but if they are odd in number, then it is ECC memory. You can download and install a tool like Speccy to determine whether you have ECC memory modules or non-ECC. There must be some freeware for knowing this, too.
You can also see whether ECC memory or RAM is installed or non-ECC in your computer’s or motherboard’s manual. Most computer systems come with non-ECC DRAM because it is faster than ECC RAM. But to count the memory chips on your modules, you must switch off your PC and open its case.
We advise you to unplug your computer to prevent electric shock. Before opening its case, press the power button for 15 to 20 seconds to discharge residual charges. You should use ESD pads and wrist straps if your computer is ESD-sensitive.
The computer case is a hard metal that can easily cut our skin. So beware when opening the side case of your computer. You can count the number of IC chips on an ECC RAM without removing it from the socket. This way, you will not have to touch any hardware on your computer system.
- Non-ECC RAM
A non-ECC memory or RAM is most commonly used in most computers. Non-ECC is also known as non-parity RAM. It is evident from its name that it does not detect and correct the errors in the data. It makes this memory way faster than the ECC memory. That’s why you’ll find it inside costly gaming rigs.
- ECC RAM
On the other hand, ECC RAM was built for business purposes to detect and correct error mistakes in data. It is crucial because, in banking, the number 3, confused with the number 8, can make a huge difference. But this RAM is slower than the non-ECC memory. Hence, it is not used in fast processes like gaming.
Installing an ECC memory in an ECC system is useless because the ECC computer system will remove its ability to monitor and correct errors. As a result, there will be no purpose in installing this type of RAM on your computer. Hence, ECC memory is for non-ECC computers, and non-ECC RAM is for ECC computers.
What is The Difference between an ECC and a Non-ECC RAM?
There are two different kinds of computer memory: ECC and non-ECC. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at the difference between them so we can have an idea of which one to choose for our computer system:
|ECC Memory / RAM||Non-ECC Memory / RAM|
|ECC RAM or memory has an odd number of IC chips on its PCB (printed circuit board).||Non-ECC RAM or memory has an even number of IC chips on its PCB.|
|ECC memory decreases the performance of your computer by 2% because it uses time in data error detection and correction.||Non-ECC DRAMs are very fast; hence, these are preferred for gaming.|
|ECC memory modules are not common in computers.||These kinds of RAMs are easily available and famous. That is why these are widely used.|
|This kind of memory is more expensive.||Non-ECC memory modules are comparatively cheaper.|
|ECC RAM is good for the non-ECC computer system because an ECC computer disables its error detection and correction.||Non-ECC is suitable for both ECC and non-ECC computer systems.|
|Workstations and servers for business applications use this type of memory.||This type of memory is mostly used in workstation computers used at home by naive users or professionals.|
|You can operate an ECC memory as a non-ECC RAM by changing the memory settings in your BIOS.||You cannot force the non-ECC memory to act like ECC RAM.|
Is ECC RAM Good for Gaming?
Gaming is not about detecting errors and correcting them because it is for entertainment. Even the well-known manufacturers of ECC memory or RAM agree that ECC RAM is 2% slower in performance and efficiency than non-ECC memory. Hence, we will never recommend ECC for gaming.
In competitive and FPS online gaming, speed matters a lot. It is the speed of your CPU, GPU, and internet connection and the speed of the memory modules installed in your high-end computer. Winning and losing are just a matter of time in most games. Hence, non-ECC is perfect for gaming.
The reason behind choosing a non-ECC DRAM RAM over an ECC memory module is simple. The latest non-ECC memory modules have more accuracy for storing data, instructions, and addresses. And no chance of error remains when used in a high-end motherboard with a better CPU. This factor brings them closer to ECC RAMs.
It is not only about the speed but also the cost of the total memory installed in a computer. ECC memory models are very expensive when compared to non-ECC modules. For a gaming computer, you always need more RAM. Hence, ECC will not be feasible. But you can install more non-ECC DRAMs at a lower price.
Does DDR4 Have ECC RAM?
DDR4 for ECC memory modules is available in the market. These RAMs are faster than the DDR3 memory modules and provide you with the facility of data error detection and correction. The DDR4 ECC memory modules are best for businesses where important data is processed more accurately.
Because of this feature, these memory modules are used in server computers and workstations. Typically, business companies use ECC memory modules in their computer systems. This memory is used in computers where data correction is preferred over speed. The investors do not hesitate to buy ECC memory either.
Being DDR does not increase the speed of an ECC memory module. The main factor responsible for this RAM’s speed is its operating frequency. The more the frequency of a RAM, the more speed it has. The frequency of a DDR4 ECC memory module is measured in Mega Hertz, such as 2666 MHz, 3200 MHz, etc.
But if you want a high-performance computer system, we will not recommend installing the ECC memory modules even when they are DDR4. This is because these memory modules are more expensive than the non-ECC DRAMs and also spend some time detecting the errors in the data and correcting them.
What is Unbuffered Non-ECC?
Buffer is a register between the memory module or RAM and the system’s memory controller on the computer motherboard. Buffered RAM is the module with the registry, while the RAM that does not have this register is known as unbuffered RAM or memory module.
The purpose of this buffer is to store the data until it is processed temporarily. Buffers also function when the sender and receiver transfer speed is different. Hence, unbuffered non-ECC is a memory module that neither detects data errors and corrects them nor stores the data in the buffers to speed up the process.
Buffered memory modules are preferred and used in servers only. So, the RAMs in our computer systems are unbuffered and non-ECC (error correcting code). These are called DRAMs (dynamic random access memory) because of capacitors. These are also way cheaper than the buffered memory modules.
Can Any Motherboard Use ECC RAM?
ECC (Error Correction Code) RAM is a special kind of computer memory with the functionality of a simple RAM and can detect data errors. For this, the manufacturers have an extra IC chip installed on it. Server business companies use this type of RAM.
The motherboards that do not have ECC functions in their BIOS can even use ECC RAM. In this case, the ECC memory modules will work like a simple non-ECC RAM. In other words, the ECC memory modules will no longer detect and correct errors in a computer system that does not support them in the first place.
It is also possible that the non-ECC motherboard will not recognize the ECC RAM. However, some motherboards have memory settings available in their BIOS (basic input/output system) for enabling the error correction code feature of an ECC memory module installed.
ECC memory modules are used in servers due to their extra functionalities, whereas non-ECC DRAMs are best for personal computers. The ECC RAMs are more expensive than the non-ECC DRAMs, and they also spend some time detecting and correcting errors, which can be a reason for the slower performance of the computer system. We hope this article helped educate you about the differences between ECC and non-ECC memory modules.
Hey, I’m Hammad. I write for this website to help you with the IT advice about PC, RAM, CPU, Motherboard, PSU, and other PC components.
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