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Posted by: Jim_ on: 02/08/2004 06:00 AM [ Print | 0 comment(s) ]
One of the things that goes hand-in-hand with being a hardware reviewer is that you'll be asked a lot of questions via email. When you've been at this as long as we have here at 2CPU.com, the volume of these emails is often extraordinary. Over time, you begin to notice a lot of duplication in the questions asked of you to the point where you're digging around in your "sent items" folder looking for your previous response to the same question. Believe me, copy and paste are your friends.
If you read the site on a regular basis you've probably already figured out that Hooz and I are trying to make 2004 our break-out year. As a result, we're going to be attempting to publish more content than ever before. One thing that I decided to try was to take one of the commonly-asked questions that hits my inbox and turn it into an informative article for the masses. If this first attempt is well-received, you can certainly expect more of the same as the year progresses.
The SMP community has grown a lot over the last couple of years, and it gets a lot of its new users from the uniprocessor realm. Many of these new SMPers and others who are simply curious about "our" world are often confused by the different types of memory both available and often required by certain multiple processor platforms. It's with this in mind that we're here today taking a look at unbuffered, registered and ECC memory. If this article prevents one reader from purchasing unbuffered memory for his/her Serverworks GC-SL based motherboard, it's been a success.
Let's briefly talk about unbuffered, registered and ECC memory and then take a look at how what type of memory you decide to purchase can impact overall performance. I'm fortunate to have an MSI Master LS2 in my possession which is an Intel E7505-based board that will happily take unbuffered or registered memory and also supports ECC.
As I was testing the different memory types, I was curious how Sisoft Sandra would interpret the differences. I decided to include a small screenshot for giggles.
There really isn't a lot to say from a technical perspective about unbuffered memory. It's what the vast majority of PCs on the planet use. Essentially, with unbuffered memory the chipset deals directly with the memory itself. There is nothing in between the two parties as they communicate.
Registered memory is where the fun begins. I have defined in the past, wayyy back in my Iwill DVD266-R review. I'll use the same quote I did then: