Difference between ECC and Non-ECC Memory
By Theydiffer - January 4, 2016

Do I need an ECC or Non-ECC memory? That’s the question most memory users are asking and while it is a bit technical, it can be answered in a few minutes by learning how ECC and non-ECC memory works.

Definitions

ECC Memory

non-ECC memory having eight memory chips (one fewer than an ECC)

Used mainly by home systems, it does not have your ECC’s auto detection and correction of memory errors but it does have an advantage of 2% in terms of performance and usually is cheaper, but considering the data your system holds, it might not be that big of a deal.

A memory error or corruption usually tends to arise when a system is powered too long, so having a Non-ECC memory will cause a bit of an error and should be shut down once in a while. Unlike your system that’s powered by an ECC memory, it can go longer and would be of no consequence in regards to your memory stability.

A sample non-ECC memory currently being sold out there is Kingston ValueRAM 16GB (8GBx2) that costs around $74.

ECC Memory vs Non-ECC Memory

What’s the difference between an ECC memory and non-ECC memory? While both do all the things a memory should do, an ECC memory offers more than your regular reading and writing of data.

An ECC memory will automatically detect errors that come from your memory and will automatically correct them. A non-ECC memory won’t do it but it does perform a bit faster, and will also be slightly cheaper. An ECC memory will have more stability, and that’s why it’s often preferred by servers and workstations with invaluable data that users can’t afford to lose, while a non-ECC memory is often used in home system that needs all the performance boost it can get as long as it doesn’t stay powered-on for too long.

You should also take note, pairing ECC and non-ECC memory will disable your ECC’s auto detection and correction of memory errors/corruptions. So your best bet would be pairing an ECC memory with an ECC memory.

Comparison Chart

ECC MemoryNon-ECC memory
Auto detects memory errors and corrects itNot capable of correcting errors but some are capable of detection
More expensiveLess expensive
2% disadvantage of performance2% advantage of performance
Recommended for system with high-value data (Servers and workstations)Recommended for standard use (Home system)