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DRAM Data Integrity Mode

Common Options : ECC, Non-ECC

Quick Review

This BIOS feature controls the ECC feature of the memory controller.

ECC, which stands for Error Checking and Correction, enables the memory controller to detect and correct single-bit soft memory errors. The memory controller will also be able to detect double-bit errors although it will not be able to correct them. This provides increased data integrity and system stability. However, this feature can only be enabled if you are using special ECC memory modules.

Because present day processors use 64-bit wide data paths, 72-bit (64-bit data + 8-bit ECC) ECC memory modules are required to implement ECC. Please note that the maximum data transfer rate of the 72-bit ECC memory module is the same as the 64-bit memory module. The extra 8-bits are only for the ECC code and do not carry any data. So, using 72-bit memory modules will not give you any boost in performance.

In fact, because the memory controller has to calculate the ECC code for every data word that is read or written, there will be some performance degradation, roughly in the region of 3-5%. This is one of the reasons why ECC memory modules are not popular among desktop users. Throw in the fact that ECC memory modules are both expensive and hard to come by; and you have the top three reasons why ECC memory modules will never be mainstream solutions.

If you are using standard 64-bit memory modules, you must select the Non-ECC option.

But if you have already forked out the the money for 72-bit ECC memory modules, you should enable the ECC feature, no matter what people say about losing some memory performance. It doesn't make sense to buy expensive ECC memory modules and then disable ECC! Remember, you are not really losing performance. You are just trading it for greater stability and data integrity.

 

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