An article about the importance of ECC RAM

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by antmo, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. antmo macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2008
    I've mostly read people on here dismissing the importance of ECC RAM in the Mac Pro... I read an article that argues it is actually very worthwhile. I haven't really formed an opinion one way or the other :)

    PS: I have no affiliation with the author or site... just came across it on reddit and thought it would be of interest to most Mac Pro owners.
  2. BillB50 macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2009
    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    Thanks for the lead - I was not aware of the probability being so high!

  3. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    That article uses outdated information, this one is more recent. I'm not sure why people are so anti-ECC, there is a weird mentality when it comes to computer system discussions where not getting the greatest value for money for exactly the hardware you will use somehow is wrong, maybe it is that.

    As far as Mac Pros are concerned:
    It is required on the servers platforms >
    The workstation platforms are based on the server platforms >
    Apple need to offer the workstation platforms.

    It's all about profitability, but as currently the UP and DP Xeon chipsets run with ECC and non-ECC the buyer has the choice. If you are doing anything involving lengthy processing or generating of data, or in a critical service (on any level) it seems silly not to guard against errors that do exist that you can prevent.
  4. Toronto Mike macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2008
    Thanks for the link.

    Here I was in a different forum shooting from the hip saying that, "I don't need ECC ram in a Mac Pro". Maybe I do. Maybe it is worth paying more for this type of memory for normal/business use? What effect do these errors have over time? Do they accumulate - or eventually corrupt certain parts of the operating system, programs, and data?

    Let's say for a graphic designer - what do these findings mean for such users? Apple is including it in the Mac Pro. Is the reason justified? Which users would most likely benefit - or would all?

  5. randyhudson macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2007
    East Coast
    It's strange how cosmic rays can affect your main memory, but the CPUs cache, registers, execution pipeline, and other logic is completely immune to such "bit-flipping".

    ECC is designed to correct errors that occur due to storing/accessing memory, not due to interactions with neutrinos. Seriously?!
  6. antmo thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2008
    I tend to think along those same lines too... which is why I noted that I'm not taking sides :)

    I think the argument isn't that the other sub-systems can't be affected, but rather that the density of RAM is so much higher than the other parts of the system, that the chances of this happening to RAM specifically is much greater. Additionaly, I think that many of the other parts of the system (such as caches and registers) have ECC functionaly built-in already,which makes the RAM the weakest link of reliability.

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