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Thread: UDIMM versus RDIMM, ECC versus NON-ECC

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    Senior Member Cynthia Hansen's Avatar
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    Default UDIMM versus RDIMM, ECC versus NON-ECC

    Hi all,
    I'm in the process of ordering a new computer and am not tech minded and have been limping along on an old Precision 690 XEON 5140, so please bear with me. I'm looking at ordering a Dell system (Dell Precision T3600, six core E5-1650), and there is 1 type of RAM available that is Non-ECC : DDR3 UDIMM, (4x2 GB DIMMS), and 2 types that are ECC: 1333Mhz, DDR3 SDRAM(4 DIMM) and DDR3 RDIMM, 1600 MHz(4 x 2GB DIMM).

    Could someone on here explain the difference to me (in laymans terms please)and why one might be better than another for my needs? I primarily use 3dsMax, Vray and Photoshop and occasionally After Effects, Premiere and Illustrator.
    Thanks in advance,
    Cynthia

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    Default Re: UDIMM versus RDIMM, ECC versus NON-ECC

    ECC or error correcting code memory is typically used in fields that have zero tolerance for data correction. This type of RAM has built in features to suppress instances which may cause data corruption. These fields would normally be scientific, perhaps medical, financial most definitely and server computers.

    The software you listed and the field you work in, as a whole, have better tolerance for memory related errors, therefore it would be more cost-effective to opt for non-ECC memory.

    ECC RAM modules are typically more expensive, and as such selecting non-ECC memory would allow you more cash headroom to select better components or upgrades in other aspects of your machine.

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    Senior Member Cynthia Hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: UDIMM versus RDIMM, ECC versus NON-ECC

    Thank you, Dylan, for your very clear explanation.

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    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: UDIMM versus RDIMM, ECC versus NON-ECC

    The cheapest and most readily available Ram type today is DDR3 SDRAM. It is "safe" to use over ECC for personal workstation needs - unlike the new LGA 2011 generation that the system you are suggesting uses and supports all types of DDR3, ECC and non-ECC, older Xeons that were under a "blanket" rule of thumb configuration that needed to support mainly servers, opted for ECC only memory.

    Also, ECC is an error correction controller and some extra buffer addition to a normal DDR3 SDRAM memory stick. It's not something exotic or completely different: think of it as a car with AC: the same car design might have it or might not. Depending on were you drive it, or how sensitive you are to heat you might never, ever need it. Many people that swear by it, don't necessarily have more than a personal preference as an argument.

    I have and older Dual Xeon ECC-only Dell Precision 5700 at work...I doubt that its more stable for everyday tasks than my personal computers, and the company had to pay serious money to lately update it to 12GB of Ram over the 4GB it had when shipped from the factory. Those 8GBs cost more than 3 times what 16GB of DDR3 SDRAM (non-ECC).

    If your workstation has to have more than 16GB RAM now or in the future, I would go non-ECC any day or would get the cheaper option from Dell and upgrade it myself - simply because to do more than 4x4GB ECC (your motherboard will be limited to 4x dimm slots) you would have to spend a fortune: atm Dell is asking $590 for the 16GB ECC (over the basic 8GB non-ECC DDR3 version) and an extra $940 for 32GB ECC. When 32GBs of non-ECC DDR3 retails for around $190 and 32GB 1600MHz ECC is around $290, the above numbers are a bit of a steal.

    I can see why individuals with no IT experience or in-house IT support get to choose Dell workstations as "build-to-order", hi-end systems.
    Unfortunately, many of the options available for those machine configurations are (sadly simultaneously) overkill in one department and underpowered in another: the performance of the Xeon 6-core for the 2011 socket is matched and/or supraced by its i7 6-core LGA 2011 sibling (i7-3930K). The Quadros offered that are a meaningful upgrade cost in the 4-figures just to match the performance you would get from their GeForce siblings that retail for 1/4 that, and cannot even touch the GTX Geforce performance cards in the $400-500 range get. The V5900 from AMD is the best value for money option available for the T3600, but if you are using CUDA in your Adobe workflow (maybe you do if you play with Premiere and AE CS5.5 and newer), the AMD card won't support it (though Adobe will embrace OpenCL with their newer products, a very smart move that puts AMD CPUs and GPUs back in the game in a big way)

    Unfortunately Xeons in the CG world are useful when you need more than 1x processor, aka Dual Xeon systems which the T3600 is not.
    Quadros used to have a niche of better OpenGL acceleration through better driver support, which is nothing but empty marketing promises for the last 3 or so years. Lately extremely expensive Quadros and Teslas were used only by people that had to have more than 3GBs of VRam - the upper limit for GeForce cards. Today we have 4GB GTX 670s retailing for $480, offering much more than "pro" cards that ask for $2-2,500 in the Dell configuration options. The superior quality / lower consumption etc arguments favoring the pro-cards are too thin, usually used by elitists that try harder to justify their choices than give a proper, value engineered advice (and no, value engineering is not chopping down quality, we are not contractors here).

    Unfortunately the six-core i7 3930K and hi-end GTX cards are not marketed through their workstation line by Dell, rather the Alienware "Gaming" lines like the Aurora desktop. Fancy blink blink cases, colorful eye-candy lights and other cheesy stuff that people would most likely won't need or want in their working environment, still would offer better value for money.

    Custom builds are ofc the best value for money 90% of the time, still without someone to do it for you in-case you don't know how (it is pretty easy, still requires a lot of patience and more confidence than knowledge to be honest), it might be too challenging for people who don't want to get "dirty" with assembly details.
    RyderSK likes this.

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    Senior Member Cynthia Hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: UDIMM versus RDIMM, ECC versus NON-ECC

    Thank you Dimitrios for your rather thorough reply to my query. This is why I love this forum: so many people from around the world having such extensive knowledge in all aspects of the 3d world, you can find an answer for anything.

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    Veteran Member RyderSK's Avatar
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    Default Re: UDIMM versus RDIMM, ECC versus NON-ECC

    I love Dimitrios too for his crusade against meaningless spending on so called "professional" workstations :- ) So many people waste incredible amount of money on these system to never reap any benefit on it. I am always for custom builds. Just, go any local PC builder, that is already pretty established bussiness, they can often offer even MUCH faster and reliable service on built computers.
    jurajtalcik.com | new company, still old domain..
    facebook.com/jurajtalcik.visualizations | Personal blog around my (now ours with Veronika) work

    corona-renderer.com/forum/index.php/topic,999.0.html My Corona thread on WIPS/Theory/Questions

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