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Microsoft says PCs may need DRAM upgrade (to ECC RAM)

I have looked at many system crashed and often ended up concluding that RAM is at fault (random causes of BSODs is a very good pointer to this).  It now appears that single bit errors is being considered as a major system failing.  obviously, when spec'ing a server or computer perhaps you should consider ECC RAM as a standard to improve reliability.

For about four years Microsoft has been collecting data through its Online Crash Analysis (OCA) tool that reports system crashes to a Microsoft Web site. About 18 months ago it began sharing OCA data and the white paper with systems and chip makers. According to one source, the report said single-bit error rates in DRAM are now among the top ten causes of systems failures

Source: EETimes.com - Microsoft says PCs may need DRAM upgrade

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Posted Wed, May 23 2007 8:16 AM by David Overton

Comments

Tim Long wrote re: Microsoft says PCs may need DRAM upgrade (to ECC RAM)
on Thu, May 24 2007 2:18 AM

I tend to agree. I'm a closet system builder and I've learned the hard way that cheap RAM is utterly false economy. When I buy DRAM now, I insist on seeing a brand name on it and a lifetime warranty. Generally I go for Kingston, but anything branded with a warranty will do.

I would definitely use ECC memory for a server. In fact, until recently my workstation had ECC memory, but I recently replaced it with standard memory, mainly because it is getting long in the tooth and PC133 memory is hard to find nowadays.

One of my hobbies is astronomy and I use a specialised CCD camera to take photos of very dim and distant objects. Every now and then an image turns up with what looks like a little "tear" in it. These are caused by cosmic ray hits and it's amazing how much effect they can have on a semiconductor - so it's not difficult to imagine the same thing happening to PC memory.

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