4 Differences Between ECC and Non ECC RAM

Differences Between ECC and Non ECC RAM

You can choose between an ECC RAM and a non ECC RAM to use in your computer but which of them will be more useful to you will depend on your choice. In order to make the right choice you will need to know the differences between them in the first place.

This is an article that will help you to do so. Read on to know the major differences and a few additional facts that will help you further in making the right choice.

KEY TAKEAWAYS           

  • The ECC memory modules detect and rectify the errors and prevent data corruption and system crashes but a non ECC memory module cannot offer such benefits.
  • The non ECC memory modules usually have 8 memory chips in them but the ECC memory modules have one extra chip in them that detects errors and stores the parity bits.
  • The non ECC memory modules are faster in comparison to the ECC memory modules.

The 4 Differences Between ECC and Non ECC RAM

Differences Between ECC and Non ECC RAM

1. Physical Difference

The basic difference that can be observed between the two is the number of memory chips present in each module. A standard non ECC RAM module usually has 8 memory chips, while an ECC memory module has 9 or more than that.

This 9th chip is responsible for error detection and stores parity bits for its correction. Now there may be a difference in the number of chips, and usually, an odd number of chips would indicate that the module is capable of error-correcting.

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2. Error Correction

The main point where the ECC and non-ECC RAMs differ is that the first one corrects the errors in code at the smallest level, while the other offers no such features.

Both the purpose of these are the same, that is providing the CPU with the essential data at hand so that it can process them easily without having to procure them from the slower storage drives.

But ECC RAM checks for any corruption that may have taken place in any part of the code so that system crashes are minimized, and servers keep running continuously.

3. Price

Non-ECC RAM even though with more speed and performance comes at a cheaper price and with lots of variations. ECC RAM, on the other hand, comes at a steeper price than the other type.

This difference is worth it for workstation users and such, but on a consumer level, there is no point in choosing the expensive RAM when you won’t be able to use the extra features.

4. Performance

In terms of working speed, the ECC RAM is slower than the non-ECC type. Any other RAM stick can dedicate all its potential towards storage and in most cases even though you might be able to detect errors, those cannot be corrected.

On the other hand, ECC RAM has extra processing to do while checking for errors, and when such an error is found every individual bit of data is examined.

This is why those are so reliable, even though it takes up time for these actions and the working speed of the RAM is reduced. ECC RAM generally has a lower clockspeed than non ECC RAM.

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Which is Better – ECC or Non ECC RAM?

See this depends entirely upon your uses and what kind of a PC you have.

Both are necessary for their advantages, or the other would have never been invented.

ECC RAM is the type that suits workstations, servers, and any other such computing scenario where the loss of data is a concern.

In places like these there is a requirement for absolute consistency and reliability, which is provided by ECC RAMs even though they are slightly slower.

Here the expensiveness of such RAM is justified.

However, any gaming or productivity desktop that uses a mid-range or semi high-end CPU like an AMD Ryzen 9 or Intel Core i9 wouldn’t find many uses of the ECC RAM.

Data is still of value here, but is mostly personal and not as much as those present in the servers.

Thus, non-ECC RAMs which are cheap and faster than ECC modules would be better here.


The choice of ECC or non ECC RAM is defined by other specs of your PC since you cannot just install a RAM module in your desktop and expect it to correct code like a workstation PC does.

ECC RAM has its utilities, but only in specific environments that are not like we have at our homes or small scale offices.

So the decision is somewhat simple here.

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