[Beowulf] cheap PCs this christmas

V. B. Hunt shoalcreek5 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 14 11:10:47 PST 2005

Tony Travis wrote:
> I'm interested to know about other people's views and experiences of 
> the reliability of COTS (i.e. non-ECC) memory?
My experience is that high-quality (non-generic) non-ECC memory doesn't 
cost much less than same-brand ECC memory.  Also, high-quality non-ECC 
seems to perform slightly faster than ECC while getting few, if any, 
errors.  Furthermore, I use Asus motherboards almost exclusively--most 
of which will accept either ECC or non-ECC memory--and these 
motherboards usually won't even complete POST if the memory (any kind) 
is faulty.  At the same time, using /GENERIC/ non-ECC memory is like 
gambling--there is a small chance it will work well.  Overall, for 
smaller systems, there is little advantage to buying ECC over non-ECC.  
At the same time, there is no real disadvantage, either.  I do, however, 
see a HUGE advantage of buying more expensive, high-quality memory over 
generic memory.  Of course, this is just my limited experience and is 
not intended to be gospel truth.  It's not like I run any serious 
applications on large clusters--I am just a Beowulf hobbyist that 
repairs other people's desktop computers for a living.


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