Sep 072009

ECC Memory

ECC stands for Error Checking and Correction. ECC memory is widely used in workstation and server computers.

What Is ECC and How Does It Work?

As the name “Error Checking and Correction” suggests, ECC is technology that allows computers to correct memory errors. The most popular type of ECC used in memory modules is single bit error correction. This enables the detection and correction of single-bit errors (within a byte, or 8bits of data). It will also detect two-bit and some multiple bit errors, but is unable to correct them.

How dos ECC work? Take the most common single bit error correction for example. For each byte of data sent across the memory bus, a check-bit is generated by calculating that byte of data using an Exclusive OR algorithm. This check-bit will be stored in a separate memory chip. That is why memory modules with ECC capabilities sport 9 memory chips on each side, rather than the 8 chips per side we often see with non-ECC memory modules.
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