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Can I replace ECC memory with unbuffered memory?

Posted on 2004-08-30
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I just purchased an IBM Netfinity 5600 (Dual P3 600 MHz) off eBay, and now I would like to upgrade its RAM. According to its user manual, it comes with memory of the following specifications:

Memory
 Standard: 128 MB, expandable to 4 GB
 133 MHz, registered, error correcting code (ECC)C synchronous dynamic random access memory
(SDRAM) complying with PC 133 SDRAM Registered
DIMM Specification, Revision 1.0 or later).
 Four dual inline memory-module (DIMM) sockets

Since ECC ram is expensive, will my server still run if I add non-ECC (unbuffered) PC133 RAM to it? What it I remove the original ECC RAM from it and replace it with only non-ECC (unbuffered) PC133 RAM ?

Thanks.
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Question by:bobwood2000
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MarkDozier earned 100 total points
ID: 11938932
No you can not add non ECC memory to ECC memory.
If your board supprts it you can replace it with PC 133 memory, In facr I recently did this on a Dell server.
You need to read the manual for the server to see if it will support the PC-133.
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by:RLGSC
RLGSC earned 100 total points
ID: 11940427
BobWood2000,

Generally, you cannot intermix ECC and non-ECC memory (even if you could, it is not a particularly good idea).

For older machines, check out used parts dealers. Often, the memory will be available on a used basis. On a reliability basis, ECC memory is operationally far superior (actually, it is really SECDED, Single Error Correction, Double Error Detection). While memory has overall increased in reliability over the years, the memory capacities have exploded. Thus, the error rate over time is higher than many people expect.

- Bob (aka RLGSC)
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by:crazijoe
crazijoe earned 100 total points
ID: 11941165
Actually the price of used ECC memory (from what I have seen on ebay) for that old of a machine is pretty comparable to non ECC. Since the demand is not there and there are tons of people trying to sell older memory. You do need to watch out to make sure you don't get high density memory modules.
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by:woodendude
woodendude earned 100 total points
ID: 11942674
I'm running an xseries IBM server that originally had ecc ram, I'm now using  pc2100 ram,sd ram, According to Kingston you can run sdram in your machine. BHut as said above you can not mix ecc and sd ram.
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by:Arl
Arl earned 100 total points
ID: 11944167
Hi,

There was a similar question : http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_20845000.html

Now, if I can suggest this site for a quite complete explanation : http://www.computermemoryupgrade.net/

Otherwise, regarding that, just a fact that it could be supported with changing settings.
But this is unadvised.

Now, it's up to you, but your type of RAM is quite more expensive now, cause this is no more the standard.
So if you can find cheap RAM, why trying, and after that you can post a feedback to let us excatly what's happening :-)

Hope that can help.
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Author Comment

by:bobwood2000
ID: 11944389
Okay, now I certainly won't mix ECC and non-ECC ram. Thanks.

Since my computer only comes with 256 MB ECC RAM, I would prefer to remove this module and replace it with 4 x 512 MB of non-ECC RAM. On pricewatch.com I'm finding 512 MB modules of PC133 non-ECC for $35 and equivalent ECC modules for $70. Thus, I'd certainly prefer to the NON-ECC RAM, if it will work.
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by:crazijoe
crazijoe earned 100 total points
ID: 11944618
I would definitly make sure it is compatible. I had bought 4 sticks of 256MB PC133 ECC for a Dell PowerEdge 350 and they were not compatible. I then bought 4 sticks from crucial, same spec different micron part numbers, and they worked. Alot of these servers use priority specific hardware. Most servers need ECC memory for mission critical apps, where it is not fesible to shut down the server during bussiness hours or because it would be a DC that housed the global catalogue.
I guess it probably wouldn't matter if not using this as a server.
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Author Comment

by:bobwood2000
ID: 11944649
Actually, I was planning to use this as a server. Okay, I'm convinced. I'll pay for the ECC RAM.

Thank you everyone for your help!
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