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Will DDR2 ECC memory work in a standard desktop PC?

Posted on 2011-02-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a pile of 2 GB ECC DIMMs that came out of servers that were upgraded to higher density memory and want to know if I can use this memory in desktop PCs.  Google says yes but the motherboard manufacturer's website says it supports non-ECC memory only.

I tried to pop in a module to see if it would recognize it, but it appears that the modules are physically different.  That is to say that the key in the memory slot on the motherboard fits the existing non-ECC memory, but the ECC memory pulled from the servers has it's corresponding slot about half a centimeter away so the slot and key won't line up.

I thought the only different between ECC and non-ECC memory was the additional parity on the DIMMs?  I've verified that both memory modules are 240 pin DDR2 PC2-5300.  The only difference is that one module is buffered, ECC and the other is unbuffered, non-ECC.

Are the two types of memory physically incompatible or am I missing something?
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Question by:FWeston
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PowerEdgeTech earned 500 total points
ID: 34893888
"Will DDR2 ECC memory work in a standard desktop PC?"

Not usually, BUT it depends on the system.  For example, Dell's Precision workstations DO support ECC memory.  I would say however, that 95-99% of desktops do not support ECC.

"I thought the only different between ECC and non-ECC memory was the additional parity on the DIMMs?"

While that is true, most chipsets/motherboards are coded to accept one or the other ... not both, hence the reason they are keyed differently ... to keep them from being put in the wrong systems.

In fact, even among ECC memory ... Fully-Buffered ECC memory is keyed differently from other ECC memory types.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34893894
If the manufacturer says one is supported, then I would take that as the answer.  What system make/model are you looking at?
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by:nobus
ID: 34894658
unless you have a desktop that supports  this ram, sell it on e-bay, and use the gains to buy compatible Ram !
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by:andyalder
ID: 34895272
PC is probably DDR rather than DDR2, see picture of notches at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIMM#168-pin_SDRAM
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by:FWeston
ID: 34896686
Both are DDR2-5300.  I've verified this by the sticker on the RAM, the DIMM model #s, and the output from CPU-Z.  Seems like the memory will not work since it's keyed differently.  Thank you.
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