How much of a difference does it really make using buffered or non buffered memory on a server

Hi all,

How much of a difference does it really make using buffered or non buffered memory on a server?

I have a Dell T610 and choice of modules which you can see in the attachment.
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AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAsked:
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EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
On regular desktops a memory error may cause a program or operating system to crash.
This is treated as a nuisance by the computer industry and something that users have to live with.

With servers at the heart of a business, crashes are treated more seriously
so memory with error correction (EEC) is recommended.

http://www.servethehome.com/unbuffered-registered-ecc-memory-difference-ecc-udimms-rdimms/

So does it make a difference ..... Yes .... with a server in a critical environment, crashes are less likely to happen
with EEC memory correction.

Personally, I wish all PC motherboards supported supported EEC memory
(it's not much more expensive that unbuffered memory)
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Performance-wise, you'll only notice the difference in benchmarks. You should also keep in mind that you will be severely limited in the amount of RAM you can use with UDIMM's - probably 24GB with UDIMM and 192GB or 384GB with RDIMM.
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AaronSystems Administrator & DSTCommented:
Depends on how much RAM you are looking to put into it... Honestly unless you have huge demand on this server you shouldn't need over 24GB ram... I would say 16GB even would be okay in a 50-75 user environment. The problem would be if you decided you could live with 24GB right now but wanted to expand later. However because as Eirman said that it is more reliable if you are looking at less than 100 users and this is a critical production server I would go for the buffered... restarts can cause all sorts of problems you do not want. What happens when it is middle of the day and you restart but it had a hundred updates pending(sometimes hard to find a good time to restart a server if the updates are not critical) now you could be down 30 mins in high production time. Therefore I would have to agree with Eirman on this one in that it's worth a few extra bucks.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You absolutely want to use buffered (registered) modules unless you're only going to install 3 modules in the system (one per channel).      Note also that the T610 only supports 1 or 2 GB unregistered modules, but supports registered modules of up to 16GB, so you can get FAR more memory using registered modules.

Registered modules present FAR lower bus loading than their unbuffered cousins -- one load/module instead of one load/chip (typically 16 loads per module) ... so the waveforms on the memory bus are MUCH cleaner, and less likely to cause any issues.    As an added benefit, virtually all registered modules incorporate ECC, so if there are any single-bit errors they'll be automatically corrected.    Bottom line:  The memory subsystem is MUCH more reliable with registered modules; and you can also install FAR more memory.

If you don't understand why bus loading is important, watch #10 here:
http://xlrq.com/stacks/corsair/153707/index.html


Note r.e. the comment above:  "... Personally, I wish all PC motherboards supported supported EEC memory.   (it's not much more expensive that unbuffered memory)  "   ==>  The question is about buffered vs. unbuffered RAM,  NOT about ECC.     There are both buffered and unbuffered ECC modules -- and if you're only installing 2 modules it's fine to use unbuffered ECC if your motherboard and CPU support ECC  (not all do).     It's true, however, that virtually all buffered modules support ECC.
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AaronSystems Administrator & DSTCommented:
@Garycase, thanks for that comment I am a bit rusty/fuzzy on this subject and was a bit confused after reading some of these coments and was just thinking I need to re-buff up on this stuff. Very well written and not verbose or "fuzzy".
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andyalderCommented:
It was a pretty good explanation although "one load/module" would be better worded as "one load/rank" since many RDIMMs have 2 or 4 ranks which can be thought of as double (or quadruple!) sided modules. Max ranks per channel is normally 8 although HP pushed Intel's spec a bit with three tripple-ranked RDIMMs per channel.
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AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Hi Guys,

thank you all very much, it is all clear to me now! We will go for registered ECC modules on all servers (perhaps even clients) in the future.

Thanks again for you time and input!
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