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Chipsets and ECC memory

Posted on 2006-06-11
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I just closed out a question about memory and the 915 chipset.  Now I realize I have another question.

How much would I have to change on my PowerSpec 7110 to be able to install ECC memory?  I.e. since the 915 chipset doesn't support ECC, can the chipset be changed?  If so, what does that involve?  Is it just a replacable component or is it so integral to the otherboard that it isn't practical to consider?

Ron Hicks
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Question by:Ronald Hicks
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by:garycase
ID: 16882784
It would require a new motherboard.
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by:Arjun1
Arjun1 earned 150 total points
ID: 16882799
Hi,

Normally a  chipset is a group of integrated circuits (microchips) that can be used together to serve a single function and are therefore manufactured and sold as a unit. For example, one chipset might combine all the microchips needed to serve as the communications controller between a processor and memory and other devices in a computer.

This should mean to say that it is an integral part of the Motherboard and many of the other chips on the motherboard does depend on the ' Chipset' . As such it would not be advisable tho think of changing it.

 In reality, one can indeed change the Chipset but it surely would noit serve the purpose as it would be expensive and involve many issues of other chips on the motherboard not working as thsy should or simply " cooking " the motherboard.

The time, the equipment and the money involved in doing this surely makes it easier to buy a motherboard with a desired chipset functionality.
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garycase earned 150 total points
ID: 16882848
... to expand a little bit:   As I said above, it would require a motherboard replacement; but if you are careful about your selection you could use everything else that's currently in your system except for the current memory (actually you could even use it; but you wouldn't get the benefits of ECC, so you wouldn't want to do that => unless you wanted to spread the cost of the change over time).
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 16883126
I should correct a statement in the above comment:   "... In reality, one can indeed change the Chipset ..." ==> NO !!   Not in ANY realistic way.   Modern motherboards are multi-layered printed circuit boards with very complex circuit schematics, and to change the topology of the circuit wiring to accomodate a different chipset is simply not possible.    There is NO realistic way to change the chipset on a board -- that's essentially a complete redesign !!

... even if one was to resort to physical wiring between IC sockets for the new chipset, modern chipsets work at such high frequencies and have such critical reactive tolerances that the wires alone would keep the system from functioning properly !!
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Author Comment

by:Ronald Hicks
ID: 16884542
Thanks.  Now I know what I have to do, if I decide to do anything at all.  Two more servers with ECC memory and swap the SATA drives in my current boxes for the drives that come with the new ones so as to avoid the whole reinstallation of Windows 2k3, apps, home directories, and Exchange, etc.

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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 16885663
Not quite so simply:  new servers with a different chipset will require a new installation of Windows 2003.  If you stay with a SIMILAR chipset (e.g. an Intel 925 or 945) you MAY be able to just do as you said, and boot the old drives -- Windows will find a lot of new devices, etc., but MAY work okay (I've done this when going from an 865 to 875 chipset and vice-versa and it worked; but haven't tried it with 915/925).   If it works, then you'll just need to re-activate Windows (easy) and all should be well.

... but in general New Chipset ==> New Install
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Author Comment

by:Ronald Hicks
ID: 16889147
Ouch.  Thanks.  I think I would never have suspected that.    Ron

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