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How frequent are DRAM errors? How significant a factor is heat? Is it worth investing in ECC RAM?

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possible duplicate of Should I use ECC RAM for the next computer I build? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Dec 11 '11 at 7:48
@techie007: I don't see how those two are a duplicate. Advice and frequency differ... – Tom Wijsman Dec 11 '11 at 8:09
Only if your motherboard supports it. Mostly you want this for high useage servers and the boards will be designated for it. – Fiasco Labs Nov 20 '13 at 18:06
Yes, it is worth investing in ECC, esp for critical applications, e.g. medical, space, financial. Nowadays, even GPUs have ECC. Occurrence of soft-errors has been increasing due to several reasons, e.g. process scaling, etc. See my survey paper for reference. Also see this related superuser question. – user984260 Dec 20 '15 at 16:32
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A paper addressing this issue was published here.

"The goal of this paper is to answer questions such as the following: How common are memory errors in practice? What are their statistical properties? How are they affected by external factors, such as temperature and utilization, and by chip-specific factors, such as chip density, memory technology and DIMM age?"

And this is a part from summaries:

"This either indicates that chip size does not play a dominant role in influencing CEs or >there are other, stronger confounders in our data that we did not control for." >Similarly, "In all cases, for the same utilization levels the error rates for high versus >low temperature are very similar."

I would still recommend ECC for production systems, mind you.

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Added some other points brought up by chris in my original answer and just made it all one. – Troggy Aug 27 '09 at 21:37
You seem to have self-answered. But I don't see a frequency in your answer, are there any numbers? – Tom Wijsman Dec 11 '11 at 8:10

According to a study done by Google, memory errors are fairly common, affecting about 8% of DIMMS per year:

[Google study]

[ZDNet interpretation/summary]

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