What is Non ECC RAM? Works, Pros & Cons

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What is Non ECC RAM?

Non ECC or non-parity RAM refers to those memory modules that do not come with any error correction ability. Technically, any memory in which the chip count is not divisible by 3 or 5 signifies a non ECC memory module.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The working process of the non ECC RAM is pretty much the same as a regular DDR3 or DDR4 memory module.
  • The non ECC memory modules are cheaper than the ECC memory but the price difference will depend on the capacity, speed and other factors.
  • In normal working conditions the operational speed of a non ECC memory will be 3% to 5% faster than an ECC memory module.
  • The non ECC memory is widely available and supports a wide range of motherboard types but there is a chance of memory loss and data corruption which is why it is not favored in specific sectors such as MNCs and finance.

Understanding Non ECC RAM

What is Non ECC RAM

A non-ECC RAM does not come with error detecting ability.

Typically, any memory module with a chip count that is not divisible by three or five is considered to be a non-ECC memory, which is also referred to as a non-parity memory module.

Non ECC RAM is typically used in home computers but it is also used in offices and small businesses that do not deal with a large amount of data.

This memory module can store the data required by the programs to use constantly and being volatile in nature can hold them as long as the power of the system is not turned off.

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These memory modules usually do not guarantee error free memory because they do not come with that additional chip that stores the parity bits and detects and rectifies errors automatically. This specific chip stores the parity bits.

Since these RAMs do not have error correction ability, the data in the memory may be corrupted and may even cause a system crash.

In most cases, regular RAMs are all non-ECC type and cannot handle complex algorithms as an ECC memory module would.

These are used extensively in a wide range of desktop and laptop computers, tablets, notebooks and other mobile devices.

However, the non-ECC memory is faster than the ECC memory modules typically due to the lack of the additional parity bit and also due to the reason that the entire area in it can be read or written in the same amount of time.

Still, it is slower than the cache memory of the CPU, any level of it.

How Does It Work?

A non-ECC RAM works just like any other average Random Access Memory whether it belongs to a DDR3 or a DDR4 variant.

As you may know, RAM is not the place where the data is processed actually.

It simply stores it so that the programs that need it do not need to look for it in the hard drives that are usually located far away.

In general, a non-ECC RAM holds the bits as a 0 or a 1 in a memory cell with a unique address.

When a capacitor has a charge that is over a specified voltage level, this is represented by a binary value of 1.

On the other hand, when the capacitor has a charge that is less than the specified level it is represented by a binary value of 0.

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The memory controller usually sends electrical charge through the lines engraved into the chip to the addresses.

When the data is read, right or wrong, it flows back on a distinct data line.

Every cell in the memory either has a charge or lacks a charge when they hold data. It is this charge that moves in or out of the cell.

Here the transistor performs as the gateway and also determines whether the data held in the cell or capacitor is to be read or written.

The entire working process is organized by the RAM controller to ensure that every request is sent down via the correct address lines so that the appropriate transistors corresponding to it open the cells up to help the capacitor read the value held in it.

The Pros

1. Cheaper

While there isn’t error checking, non ECC RAM comes very cheaply. Most of the RAMs that you may have bought, or will buy shortly would be of this kind and although prices depend on speed, capacity, brand preference, and so on, non ECC RAM comes cheaper than the ECC RAM modules.

2. Works Faster

ECC RAM shows signs of sluggishness, and in normal working conditions, a non-ECC RAM module should be 3-5% faster than an ECC one. This is because the environment in which it is employed demands more performance rather than reliability.

3. Wide range of motherboard support

Every motherboard should support non ECC RAM when the DDR criteria are met (DDR4 RAM would not fit in a DDR3 motherboard). There isn’t a special motherboard that you need to choose so that the system supports non ECC RAM.

The Cons

4. Memory Loss

Non-ECC RAM has no sorts of error detection found in ECC modules, which would not be preferred when the data is sensitive or servers are in question.

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Financial sectors, MNCs, and so on cannot rely on non ECC RAM because it is vulnerable to data loss. Also, ECC RAM makes sure that data is available at all times.

5. No Error Correction

When you as an average programmer create a code, even if a mistake creeps in it can either be managed or wouldn’t be very harmful to you.

But large-scale businesses cannot afford any such mishaps and hence the only way is to with ECC RAM that makes sure any unwanted error isn’t kept. The most you can get on a non ECC RAM module is error detection, but it won’t be corrected.

6. Frequent System Crashes

Another problem with non ECC RAM is that it doesn’t give much protection against system crashes.

There have been many times we have encountered a system crash because of memory failure, simply because our RAM modules aren’t equipped to handle such possibilities.

Conclusion 

Now that you know both about the ECC and non ECC RAM types, make sure to look at their differences as well. We would have that ready for the viewers very soon.