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What is ECC? What is the advantage over non-ECC memory?

ECC stands for “Error Correction Code” or “Error Checking and Correction”. Memory modules with ECC are incorporated with an additional chip that detects if data is accurately passed in and out of the memory. In older designs of memory modules, ECC is referred to as the parity check. In general, an easy way to find out if a module has ECC function is to simply count the number of RAM chips. If the total number is divisible by 3 then it has parity or ECC.

ECC is not really required if you are only using typical office applications on your machine, and for short periods of time. The advantage of using ECC over non-ECC memory can be much realized when running servers or workstations with high utilization time. Because of its capability to correct a memory error, it can easily prevent a system from crashing and can save you a lot of trouble and money.

Some systems are designed to accept both ECC and non-ECC memory. Although, in general concepts these modules may be mixed, it is always better to match the one that is already installed in your system. In addition, mixing ECC and non-ECC modules will void the ECC function.