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Help choose the motherboard that supports ECC?

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July 21, 2011 10:14:16 PM

Trying to locate a desktop motherboard that would support DDR3 ECC modules.

The requirements are as follows:
1) must be for Intel CPU (not AMD)
2) preferably made by Asus
3) at lest one regular PCI slot

So far the closest I could find is Asus P6T WS PRO but it has 2 PCI-X slots which would be totally useless for me, so I'd only get it as the last resort.

Allegedly, since RAM controller is on-chip in Xeons, any 1366-based mobo should support ECC RAM, but there are conflicting accounts on whether that is true or not...

Please help?
a b V Motherboard
July 22, 2011 12:37:33 AM

Look into Intel workstation motherboards. Most of those will support ECC memory. I do ask, why do you NEED a board that uses ECC memory? Also, I've read some experiences with people just throwing a xeon in any consumer board and not having anything happen--the board won't recognize/work with the proc. Again, I would stick with Intel in that court to ensure quality and compatibility, but that's just my take. I usually work on servers, not trying to get server use out of consumer cra...parts. Are you also looking for buffered memory or unbuffered ? Verified or not? Please elaborate your needs and I can look them over and make sure everything checks out.
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July 22, 2011 12:46:13 AM

Because I'm paranoid and I want to ensure the integrity of my RAM (and am willing to pay a little extra for it), but I do not need the double-CPU stuff, yet I want to play games (not necessarily at the absolutely top FPS). In other words, I'm a consumer who values data integrity above speed.

From what I see, DX58SO2 is pretty much the only candidate there (out of http://ark.intel.com/products/family/1125/Intel-Desktop... )
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a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2011 2:11:00 AM

That is VERY un-necessary. If you purchase high quality standard memory modules, you will likely get BETTER integrity PLUS the performance opposed to what you are looking for. Server memory (EDD) is NOT used for standard computing, it will suck for such, it is for constant transfer where the drive is being read/written to continuously be XX many people. You will have NOTHING to worry about if you purchase some Corsair or Kingston premium memory. Actually, you will probably have better because it can handle what you intend to do. Looking at boards that support it and coming up with minimal options USUALLY means that something won't work or that it is simply not necessary (As the case with your situation) I work with servers on a daily basis, I also work with regular old machines daily and will tell you, trying to get such an esoteric setup will inevitably cause greater problems. Many bring similar concerns looking at workstations; there is a reason they use standard memory. It's because for the tasks at hand with those boxes, it is what is best/most dependable.

Sorry to knock your ideal down but, I will gladly discuss this further and elaborate if necessary to emphasis the fact that what it sounds like you are doing, will actually cause pitfalls across the field.
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July 23, 2011 4:11:26 AM

I beg to differ. I've been (and still am) using ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe with ECC RAM (2 x KVR400X72C3A/512) for 7 years already and it works just fine, no issues whatsoever. I want ECC, and I don't want to risk it. Just so you know, you are talking to a person who found a bug in Fujitsu MPG3409AH HDD firmware (random 1->0 bit flipping once per 100Mb read in a very specific hardware configuration -- it was NOT the HDD onboard RAM failure), thanks to my strict verification of data integrity.

I want ECC, period. I only need help determining what boards support it, because most of the sites do not list that, and googling "motherboard ECC" doesn't help because that query matches substring in "non-*ECC*".
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a c 229 V Motherboard
July 23, 2011 9:04:02 PM

If you don't absolutely require a socket 1366 motherboard, the following socket 1155 motherboards along with a Xeon X3400 might meet your requirements:

- SuperMicro MBD-X8SIA-F-O
- Intel S3420GPLX
- ASUS P7F-E
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July 24, 2011 3:44:24 PM

GhislainG said:
If you don't absolutely require a socket 1366 motherboard, the following socket 1155 motherboards along with a Xeon X3400 might meet your requirements:


Thanks for the tip, but all of them are server boards, which means I get just 2 USB connectors, which is so much less than enough...
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Best solution

a c 716 V Motherboard
July 24, 2011 5:20:15 PM

If you want consumer 'attributes' then look at AMD or some non-spec MOBO + chipset(s).

Non-Spec EVGA SR-2 Dual LGA 1366 -> http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=270-WS-W55...
Non-Spec ASUS P8B WS LGA 1155 -> http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8B_...

For 'ECC' + Intel - you MUST use a Xeon CPU. But to confuse you more there's (2) types of 'ECC' memory; Buffered {RDIMM} & Unbuffered {UDIMM}. Registered/Buffered is the standard for scalability and stability to the CPU IMC. However, LGA 1155 WS boards support only 4-DIMM so you're stuck with UDIMM.

ASUS makes substandard WS MOBOs and I'd stick to SuperMicro or TYAN. It's your rig. ;) 

-- footnotes:
The bug(s) you found had zip to do with ECC. I own a sizable data center - 99.999999% of the errors you run across are due to coding errors; poor programming or 'interaction' where ECC won't help. ARQ - HUGE volumes of data processing, scientific & commercial 'rendering' 'do' justify ECC, but that's about it.

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July 25, 2011 8:31:23 PM

Thanks for the tip, I think I will go with Asus P8B WS. BTW I figured out the secret code: "WS" denotes ECC support (or at least it is true for the 30+ motherboards that I researched).
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July 31, 2011 6:03:11 PM

I agree with the ECC if you are fully populating all the slots otherwise for single or two sticks ECC for workstation is just a hype. These high performance motherboard based on Nehalem and westmere knows how to disable failing sticks - ON THE FLY.

Tik
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July 31, 2011 6:18:21 PM

Ummm, how single-bit error correction / 2-bit error detection is "just a hype"?
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July 31, 2011 6:38:06 PM

IMHO - ddr (ddr3) is a matured technology and if WE avoid using crappy memory and buy only motherboard that uses reputable parts (capacitors/inductors etc), implement raid and or SSD technology, I think your system will be stable for day to day use.

BTW, I'm also infatuated with ECC (especially RDIMM's) in fact, I'm waiting for a strip down version of the WS/server boards with generic video chip and optional audio.
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July 31, 2011 6:53:18 PM

tikblang said:
IMHO - ddr (ddr3) is a matured technology and if WE avoid using crappy memory and buy only motherboard that uses reputable parts (capacitors/inductors etc), implement raid and or SSD technology, I think your system will be stable for day to day use.


1) Ever heard of ionizing radiation effect on the memory chips such as bit flipping?
2) You do understand that, while the probability of such effect in a single memory cell is miniscule, the probability of such effect in a 8-GB memory stick is 68'719'476'736 times greater, right?

I don't want to risk it. Maybe you think your data isn't worth extra $30 spent on ECC memory -- up to you. I respectfully disagree.

I use ZFS for my storage. Same reason. Given the current sizes of data sets, silent data corruption is no longer a non-issue.

Read more and be enlightened (or scared): http://storagemojo.com/2007/09/19/cerns-data-corruption...
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August 1, 2011 4:54:38 PM

Wesha, I understand you. Also using ecc mem for my desktop. And now want a new one, maybe P8BWS, because of usb3, sata 6.0 Gb, etc. I hate a frozen computer and blue screen(but agree that a bad code could not be repaired with any hardware). And in my desktop, to secure my data, have LSI SAS raid and a good UPS. My friends are saying that I am crazy, but my computer had never frozen and no lost data. Core I7 second generation is much more convenient and silent for home environment than server
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August 11, 2011 12:32:03 AM

Best answer selected by Wesha.
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April 11, 2013 6:17:59 PM

Please be more aware about types of memory - so-called "server" memory is buffered, & as such can never work with "standard" desktop-type motherboards.

There are a number of desktop motherboards which do support UN-buffered ECC memory - the most prevalent are made by asus

ECC is very useful to handle the odd time when power glitches and/or alpha particles etc happen to flip a bit in a memory module, or even when a bit gets "stuck"
... it's very well worth the research & procurement effort for those who feel the need ...
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May 14, 2014 7:52:18 AM

puttsy said:
Look into Intel workstation motherboards. Most of those will support ECC memory. I do ask, why do you NEED a board that uses ECC memory?


(Responding to a very old thread)

Here's why: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/dram-error-rates-nigh...


Everywhere else on a system (internal to the CPU, SATA, PCIe, all comms, hard drive, even the data channel to the monitor) has error correction, except the ram - and ram bit error rates turn out to be thousands of times more common than anyone imagined (mostly down to bad board design, but even so...)

If you're gaming a few glitched bits don't matter. For anything else, the decision which was undertaken 25 years ago on economic grounds to remove even the basic parity bit on consumer system memory is a bad proposition.

Bear in mind that _everything_ on a computer passes through memory. Data and code. With an average 8% error rate per dimm per year that's more risk than I'd like to consider safe.
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