English Community

ThinkPad NotebooksThinkPad: P and W Series Mobile Workstations
All Forum Topics
Options

107 Posts

02-01-2016

US

512 Signins

3389 Page Views

  • Posts: 107
  • Registered: ‎02-01-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 3389
  • Message 1 of 27

What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-16, 16:43 PM

I ordered a P50 with 64G non-ECC RAM. Simply because I was out of enough budget for ECC RAM. Time to time I ask myself why ECC RAM is so expensive and how it can change my Thinkpad P50 experience and why there is such option for P50


I might not have a need for ECC RAM now Or maybe I am not aware of such need. I appreciate if someone explain what is actual need of ECC RAM and when I need that.


I plan to use P50 for web development using several VMs that may fill whole 64G memory. Do you think my system could be more stable with ECC RAM? Can none-ECC RAM cause blue screen or losing my VM data because of not correcting the memory? I never had any corrupted VM or file due to not having ECC RAM but I also never had a system with such huge memory. How I should know  corruption is happened and it is because of having none ECC RAM?

 


It appear ECC ram is useful for servers if that is true what is benefit of having ECC ram at a desktop computer? Can you show me a real usage of ECC ram that I can not do it with none-ECC RAM? Do you know any software that dont work with none-ECC RAM?


Happy ThinkPading!

Solved! See the solution
Reply
Options

10396 Posts

01-02-2010

US

39211 Signins

404877 Page Views

  • Posts: 10396
  • Registered: ‎01-02-2010
  • Location: US
  • Views: 404877
  • Message 2 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-16, 17:26 PM

There is nothing I can think of or can imagine that will not work with non-ECC RAM.  If you had a server or computer that needed 7-24 availability or where you would suffer serious losses if there were a system crash, then ECC might make sense.  I have used a lot of computers and I have had very few memory chips go bad, and on the rare occasions where it happened, I diagnose and repair just as I would diagnose any other error.  I would not consider the benefits to be worth the cost, for my use.  I also do not use something like RAID-6 to handle 2 drives failing at the same time on my desktop.  I simply keep good backups and deal with any errors when they occur.  For me, using redundant drives would just mean I would have more too-small drives to throw away when data growth renders them obsolete. 

 

Wikipedia has a decent description of ECC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECC_memory


Rich


I do not respond to requests for private, one-on-one help. Your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where they may help others as well.

If a response answers your question, please mark it as the accepted solution.

I am not an employee or agent of Lenovo.

0 person found this solution to be helpful.

This helped me too

Reply
Options

107 Posts

02-01-2016

US

512 Signins

3389 Page Views

  • Posts: 107
  • Registered: ‎02-01-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 3389
  • Message 3 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-16, 18:04 PM

Thank you for detailed comment.  It appear continuous backup is best solution.  

Reply
Options

116 Posts

01-30-2016

Denmark

235 Signins

2142 Page Views

  • Posts: 116
  • Registered: ‎01-30-2016
  • Location: Denmark
  • Views: 2142
  • Message 4 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-16, 18:24 PM

In my own case, I chose ECC memory because the simulations I do are lengthy, data-intensive and having some way of detecting and correcting a read word from memory would be preferable. Wrong results based on an accumulated bit error would be bad.

Do bit-errors happen with non-ECC memory? Most likely never.

For some reason, Lenovo charges a bit more in the US for ECC compared to the EU.

 

ECC is usually a server thing, since more people are usually affected if the server BSODs or performs bad data calculations compared to a desktop that one normally wouldn't use for simulations.

 

If you need ECC in your case, I don't know - depends of how critical your data processing is and how much one should believe in statistics. As ECC memory was not much more when I ordered my P50, I just went with it.

 

BTW: There's no proof that ECC currently works on the P50.

Reply
Options

61 Posts

01-04-2016

US

132 Signins

889 Page Views

  • Posts: 61
  • Registered: ‎01-04-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 889
  • Message 5 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-16, 19:03 PM

By "solved" hopefully Lenovo isn't washing their hands of ever having offered ECC! If you have to ask if you need ECC, then you probably don't need it. But there are situations where "corruption is unacceptable."

 

At least RichK is consistent with the attitude toward Raid also seeming like more of a convenience than a critical redundancy.

 

Meantime, we wait for explanation or resolve from Lenovo and hope that the issue doesn't get lost over time (or that any bits get lost in our processing where "corruption is unacceptable") while we patiently wait.

Reply
Options

10396 Posts

01-02-2010

US

39211 Signins

404877 Page Views

  • Posts: 10396
  • Registered: ‎01-02-2010
  • Location: US
  • Views: 404877
  • Message 6 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-16, 19:27 PM

I didn't say or mean to imply that ecc memory is never appropriate,  I said that ECC is not necessary for the things I do.  If I had different needs, I could certainly see needing or wanting ECC or RAID-6.  It is an option and may or not be appropriate, depending on your needs, much like the color sensor, which I also don't need.  Also, I am not a Lenovo employee and do not speak for Lenovo.


Rich


I do not respond to requests for private, one-on-one help. Your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where they may help others as well.

If a response answers your question, please mark it as the accepted solution.

I am not an employee or agent of Lenovo.
Reply
Options

28 Posts

03-11-2016

US

104 Signins

679 Page Views

  • Posts: 28
  • Registered: ‎03-11-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 679
  • Message 7 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-16, 21:14 PM

With exception that ECC RAM currently is not working yet, I feel ECC memory should be purchased when using a Xeon processor.  Otherwise, there is no need with a standard Core I-7.

 

For me, since I run ZFS file system and ZFS depends heavily on RAM for caching, ECC is highly recommened:

http://zfsonlinux.org/faq.html#DoIHaveToUseECCMemory

 

Memory problems do occur.  Unless you have ECC memory you will never know.  If you are having a problem with non ECC memory, most likely it will just result in a blue screen or kernel panic.  If it's data that is going to be written to disk that has been corruputed in memory, then permanent corruption will occur with that written data.

 

Since you are going to be running a bunch of VM's, I would go with ECC memory as you are essentially having your laptop act like a server.  Just my 37 cents.  (Inflation)

Reply
Options

4968 Posts

11-22-2011

US

5774 Signins

89608 Page Views

  • Posts: 4968
  • Registered: ‎11-22-2011
  • Location: US
  • Views: 89608
  • Message 8 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 1:04 AM

This write up explains alot:

http://www.computer-memory-upgrade-stick.com/ecc-vs-non-ecc.htm

 

It appears to be old, and sponsored by Crucial.

The basics are there: server vs home user.

 

Reply
Options

520 Posts

10-03-2011

CA

2856 Signins

14480 Page Views

  • Posts: 520
  • Registered: ‎10-03-2011
  • Location: CA
  • Views: 14480
  • Message 9 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 3:20 AM

It appear ECC ram is useful for servers if that is true what is benefit of having ECC ram at a desktop computer?

 


Next to none, or negative (ECC ram is typically a bit slower) unless your workflow represents a few very rare and special cases. Running a few VMs on laptop isn't a special enough case :)

 

A typical modern server has 2+ CPUs (hence the need for Xeon, and not just a regular consumer-oriented CPU) and each of those CPUs has up 12+ DIMMs, and each of those up to 32GB, and uptime is in months. It has multiple power supplies, and it's used by many people etc.

 

A single user laptop, with at most 4 DIMMs, full of random stuff with buggy drivers starting from Thunderbolt controllers and nVidia GPUs, and ending with Wifi and BlueTooth, running a desktop OS, by a single user, with at most 3-4 drives, and rebooted every now and then, has many more real stability issues than extremely low chance of a random RAM bit flipping corruption data. That is, of course, unless you operate it on the International Space Station, or other high altitude / high radiation environment, and even there on ISS they managed to run Thinkpads for many years before Intel marketing came up with an idea of up-selling ECC & Xeon brands in laptop. Even if there is no proof it  works, there is no shortage of customers who would pay "for protection" upfront :)

 

Surely, we'll soon see ECC & Xeon in mobile phones too. If don't want your super important call interrupted, or, worse yet, a game of Candy Crash displaying a pixel that is off in color for 1/60 of the second in 0.00000001% of cases, buy a mobile phone with a Xeon processor and ECC! :)

Reply
Options

4968 Posts

11-22-2011

US

5774 Signins

89608 Page Views

  • Posts: 4968
  • Registered: ‎11-22-2011
  • Location: US
  • Views: 89608
  • Message 10 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 3:52 AM

shop.lenovo.com for a PS50 shows  ECC memory 64GB for $680.00 .

Regular 64GB for $210.00.  Very valid question you have. Back to the server vs home user.

All posts above seem valid per use of your machine. $470 extra buys a lot of steak.

I would explore your operating system use of memory (win, linux, etc) before I would take the leap to ECC at that price.

  

Reply
Options

61 Posts

01-04-2016

US

132 Signins

889 Page Views

  • Posts: 61
  • Registered: ‎01-04-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 889
  • Message 11 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 4:12 AM
This isn't "the basics" but it's the history of how ECC developed. At least the Wiki article quoted above was written in this decade.
Reply
Options

4968 Posts

11-22-2011

US

5774 Signins

89608 Page Views

  • Posts: 4968
  • Registered: ‎11-22-2011
  • Location: US
  • Views: 89608
  • Message 12 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 4:38 AM

The basics remain the same.  ECC costs more in 2000 and in 2016. ECC vs no-Ecc remains the same as in 2000.

The user has to decide what memory to use, based on budget and NEEDS for his system. 

Reply
Options

61 Posts

01-04-2016

US

132 Signins

889 Page Views

  • Posts: 61
  • Registered: ‎01-04-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 889
  • Message 13 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 5:35 AM

"The basics remain the same?" Hardly. Xeon's are now available on Laptops with Thunderbolt 3 connections and there is a real possibility of a market shift from desktop development station to Laptop centered development setup with many advantages. PDP-10s remain the same, not the advancing technology which is about to bring Xeons and ECC to Laptops. And when it happens, the uses of Laptops will expand.

Reply
Options

31 Posts

03-27-2016

ID

373 Signins

3114 Page Views

  • Posts: 31
  • Registered: ‎03-27-2016
  • Location: ID
  • Views: 3114
  • Message 14 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 7:12 AM

I just would like to add to this discussion: https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Advantages-of-ECC-Memory-520/

 

"The incredible thing about the graphs above is that over the past three years, we have not had a single case of memory errors or system instability caused by ECC RAM. Every single failure was due to either no POST or the system rebooting when we tested the memory for errors. While the rebooting issue is not ideal, the 25% reboot failure actually adds up to only 2 sticks ever with that specific problem, and both were all the way back in 2011.

The failures for non-ECC RAM, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly caused by memory errors. In fact, only 9% of the failures (No post, other/misc, and incorrect size/speed) were the type of failures that would not put your data at risk. The other 91% of failures were the type that you absolutely do not want to see in a server or other system that contains valuable data.

One thing we do want to make clear is that although non-ECC RAM currently has about a 1% failure rate, the testing we perform on all of our systems catches the majority of the issues. In the field, the failure rate for non-ECC Kingston RAM is only about .4%, or roughly one stick for every 250 sticks we sell. So while ECC RAM is certainly important for servers and systems with high-value data, non-ECC RAM is more than stable enough for use in most home or work systems."

 

For me personally, I'd get ECC RAM on a Laptop only when Xeon has become a necessity (and i7 no longer suffice). Meaning, needing of more than 64GB RAM or advanced features missing from an i7. When a Xeon is required, for me it would be pointless not to use ECC.

 

Mind you, so far I have never encounter a Production system running on a Laptop. For Development environment, I'd say no Xeon nor ECC are required. One scenario I'd see for this need is when later I need to use a Laptop as a server to do a user acceptance test executed on a customer site. That is one niche situation, IMHO.

Using: P51/i7/64GB/FHD, X230/i5/16GB/WXGA, M58p/Core2Duo/2GB, Q190/i3/4GB, Q190/Celeron/4GB. Gone: S110/Celeron/2GB/WSVGA, W510/i7/16GB/FHD, W520/i7/32GB/FHD, W530/i7/32GB/FHD, P50/i7/64GB/FHD, E330/i3/8GB/WXGA, E440/i5/8GB/WXGA, E440/i5/16GB/WXGA, E460/i5/16GB/FHD, Yoga2 10/Atom/2GB/WUXGA.
Reply
Options

107 Posts

02-01-2016

US

512 Signins

3389 Page Views

  • Posts: 107
  • Registered: ‎02-01-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 3389
  • Message 15 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-17, 10:11 AM

I got some dubt!.  soon I will know if really I need it or not. It appear ECC is useful when I want to keep everything at RAM which is exactly what I want to do. I plan to keep all VMs fully inside dedicated RAM. 

 

My understanding is ECC memory is important if I am going to serve lots of live user with data being cached at memory to speed up the performance. I am the only user of my computer. So I don't mind restarting my system Or restoring my Vm from backup if thing go wrong. So It appear I am not target for ECC memory.

 

However after reading the comments, I think I need to run a simple test to see how many filp bit can really happen at my system. then I can make better decision what to do if some day I get extra money to spend on ECC memory.

 

 

Here is how I am going to do the test on my ThinkPad P50. I will create a Ram disk as big as 62 G. I will create a script that can copy a file as big as 61G into that Ram disk. Script should create mdf5 of above file and save the result some where on SSD. after 1 minute script should calculate md5 of above file save it again. Script should delete the file from RAM and repeat the process for 24 hours.

 

 

Next day I will check to see if all md5 are same or not. This should give me a estimate of how many flip bit I can have in 24 hours. If there was any I can repeat the test with different file size or duration. Or maybe I can trun the idea  into a flipbit testing software!.

 

 

If there was some flipbit at 24 hours , then it make sense to get ECC RAM. because I want to keep all my VMs into memory all the time. If there was no flip bit in my test. then I dont need ECC memory at all!

 

Update : I just found few memory test tools that can run similar test


https://github.com/google/rowhammer-test
http://www.memtest86.com/troubleshooting.htm

Reply
Options

4968 Posts

11-22-2011

US

5774 Signins

89608 Page Views

  • Posts: 4968
  • Registered: ‎11-22-2011
  • Location: US
  • Views: 89608
  • Message 16 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-18, 1:43 AM

Clarification:

The PS50 can be ordered with a i-7 core or Xeon core.

The i-7 core does not support ECC. Check out shop.lenovo.com. change the core, and the memory offerings change. The Xeon core has 8 "wires" on the CPU die to support ECC.

 

My comment "back to the basics".  The ECC standard has be around for years.  The implementation, hardware wise has changed. ECC usage on the southbridge has moved to the CPU die, best I can find out.  ECC memory is "fatter" to support ECC.  The 2 percent degrade was also noted in 2000, and confirmed in above post.

==

Factory Lenovo PS50 Xenon supports DDR4 2133. Any other vendor offering  DDR4 for a PS50 may fail, at this time, note the 16gb offering[withdrawn]. DDR4 comes in 4 flavors, check the CL=xx number. 

=

A user commented about a PDP-10. A PDP-10 came out in 1966.

Reply
Options

61 Posts

01-04-2016

US

132 Signins

889 Page Views

  • Posts: 61
  • Registered: ‎01-04-2016
  • Location: US
  • Views: 889
  • Message 17 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2016-04-18, 7:54 AM

So, what exactly is your point? ECC has changed since 2000 and is now accomplished within the CPU. It is my understanding that there is no longer a speed degradation in most implementations.

Thus, it's basically way different then it was even 5 yrs ago and much better by all accounts. (The PDP 10, on the other hand, has NOT changed basically since 1966 and reading 1966 literature about it will still help you decide whether to buy it or not).

Most importantly, the Factory Lenovo P50 ordered with a Xeon processor and ANY flavor of ECC memory DOES NOT WORK currently.

Reply
Options

1 Posts

04-11-2018

US

2 Signins

14 Page Views

  • Posts: 1
  • Registered: ‎04-11-2018
  • Location: US
  • Views: 14
  • Message 18 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2018-04-11, 0:07 AM

Sorry to reactivate the old post but the question that I could not find the answer to, is that does the failure rate typically reported on ECC versus non-ECC refer to soft crashes when you have to reboot the computer, or  Hard failures - when you had to replace the  memory chip?

Reply
Options

13 Posts

11-14-2019

UA

12 Signins

108 Page Views

  • Posts: 13
  • Registered: ‎11-14-2019
  • Location: UA
  • Views: 108
  • Message 19 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2019-12-17, 20:51 PM

Is there a list of Thinkpads that support ECC? That would be sweet! I would especially prefer a Ryzen-powered Thinkpad with ECC. ECC is recommended for ZFS, which is a main reason its important to me.

Reply
Options

3460 Posts

12-02-2007

US

8926 Signins

181206 Page Views

  • Posts: 3460
  • Registered: ‎12-02-2007
  • Location: US
  • Views: 181206
  • Message 20 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2019-12-20, 10:38 AM

Hello,

 

ThinkPad P-series models with Intel Xeon CPUs support ECC RAM.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 



I am a volunteer and neither a Lenovo nor a Microsoft employee.

L380 YogaP72 (20MB-*)P50 (20EN-*)S230u (3347-4HU)T23 (2648-LU7)T42 (2378-R4U)T43p (2678-H7U)T61p (6459-CTO)W510 (4318-CTO)W530 (2441-4R3)W530 (2441-4R3)X100e (3508-CTO)X120e (0596-CTO)X220 (4286-CTO)X250 (20CM-*)Yoga 370

  Communities:   English    Deutsche    Español    Português    Русскоязычное    Česká    Slovenská    Українська   Język Polski    Moto English

Reply
Options

13 Posts

11-14-2019

UA

12 Signins

108 Page Views

  • Posts: 13
  • Registered: ‎11-14-2019
  • Location: UA
  • Views: 108
  • Message 21 of 27

Re: What is real benefit of ECC RAM over non-ECC RAM?

2019-12-20, 10:43 AM

No way I'll buy another Intel CPU. Overpriced and security issues.

Thanks.

Reply
Forum Home

Community Guidelines

Please review our Guidelines before posting.

Learn More

Check out current deals!

Go Shop
X

Save