ECC vs Non ECC Memory

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mac.head.high, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. mac.head.high macrumors regular


    Dec 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I would love some opinions on whether I need to run ECC memory or not. I am a Pro-Tools Editor/Musican/Sound Designer/Audio Maniac and a new Mac gamer. I'm intend to drop like 4 gigs or more of RAM depending on the best price I can find, but I don't know if ECC is needed for my applications, or if it's even hindering my performance on some level(for gaming and Pro-Tools specifically). I currently have 1 gig of factory ECC RAM.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. RGunner macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2002
    Midnight Sun
    I personally do not think ECC is needed..

    Need CanadaRam's input on this.. but I would not spend my money (or anyone elses) on ECC memory. That said, if you already have ECC then you MUST continue to use ECC (unless you pull it all out).

    ECC is for severe number crunching... something that 99.99 percent of users do not need (and from the looks of it.. this applies to you as well).

    Thats my 2 cents, for whatever its worth :).
  3. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    ECC is mainly used on servers and workstations.

    Non-ECC is for the rest of us.

    ECC ram is very slow, however very accurate. ;)

    You require ECC ram. :)
  4. mac.head.high thread starter macrumors regular


    Dec 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    What of the things I've heard that running ECC RAM with Non-ECC RAM will work, but it will shutdown the ECC function?
  5. tweakers_suck macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just checked a powermac manual. It says not to mix ECC and NECC in a pair. So, technically you could use NECC which I think is fine for your applications. From Apple website "For users in mission-critical and compute-intensive environments, there's also the option of ECC (Error Correction Code) main memory, which allows automatic correction of single-bit errors and detection of multiple-bit errors."

    If you save your files to disk periodically you will be fine. ECC is great for correcting for cosmic radiation alterations of single-bits in RAM. That's why ECC is used for space critical missions. Unless you plan on going to the moon to make music, buy NECC.
  6. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    Non ECC is cheaper, and your music won't care if a few bits get swapped here and there.
  7. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Yes and no. You decide.

    One bit of error is roughly equivalent to distortion level of 1/24 which is like 4% per sample (sounds like a lot), but then again, to be able to compare digital off-bit distortion to harmonic distortion of analog world for example, you cannot do comparison for one sample only (because analog is not discrete); one off-bit in one second is 1/(24*44100) distortion, which is practically nothing. One per million. And it is even less than that if you use higher sampling rates (which IMHO you shouldn't if you make music for human ear and not for dogs and bats).

    So... Sell that ECC gig and buy as much regular ram as you need. By the way, if you do audio only, you would be fine with that gig -- you'll only need more if you rely heavily on softsynths and samplers. Audio processing only benefits from CPU, and having a gig is enough for now.
  8. Sundance Kid macrumors regular

    Sundance Kid

    Feb 16, 2005
    I don't think you need ECC. My friend makes music for a living, and he faced the same question. He decided against it after talking to many people.... He said that only people who need intense computer work (ie. Rendering huge animation files). Anyways, he went with the quad powermac with 8 gigs normal ram. Damn, i want that computer :)

    know how to make you crazy,


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