Can you use ecc ram on a non-ecc motherboard, such as ga-m68m-s2p

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by Stephen, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Stephen

    Stephen Guest

    Hello, I had a GA-MA770DS3 motherboard which will not power on. I
    wanted to buy a replacement but AM2+ boards are hard to find. The only
    gigabyte model I can find is the GA-M68M-S2P. However I was using ECC
    memory in my original motherboard. Does the m68m-s2p support ecc, I do
    not think it does. I was using Kingston kvr800d2e5/1g. I don't think
    the m68m supports ecc. Could I fit the ram and use it without the ecc
    function or would it not work at all?
    Stephen, Feb 21, 2012
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  2. Stephen

    Paul Guest

    GA-MA770-DS3 (rev. 2.0)

    4 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory
    Support for DDR2 1066
    Support ECC memory [Use of a CPU that supports ECC is required]

    GA-M68M-S2P (rev. 2.3)

    2 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 8GB of system memory
    Support for DDR2 1066

    So you're only getting two slots on that one.

    The modules should fit, as I don't think UDIMM versus UDIMM ECC makes
    any difference to slot keying. The BIOS could choose to ignore the
    ECC, and if for some reason the extra eight bits weren't wired up,
    it shouldn't hurt anything.

    As far as I know, the only real saving for removing ECC from a design,
    is if the ECC signals are hard to route, away from the memory controller.
    Years ago, Intel made a chipset, where the motherboard layout required
    going to a 6 layer PCB to achieve the connection of the ECC signals.
    As a result, many products were built on 4 layers, and the ECC was
    disconnected. But I've never heard of that issue since, so I assume
    the breakout is easy enough to do, with a 4 layer board now.

    The other issue is BIOS support. The only potential downside, would be
    a BIOS that notices ECC in the module serial presence data, and does the
    wrong thing (i.e. refuse to POST, issue "memory error" beep).

    I couldn't find any forum-type reports of mixing ECC with the GA-M68M-S2P.

    It might work, or not work, as a function of the BIOS.

    DDR3 memory is relatively cheap (and is due to go up in price again),
    and getting a DDR3 motherboard + RAM would be another alternative. Whether
    that will work, depends on your processor.

    Gigabyte has a CPU support list, where you can search by processor and
    look for resulting motherboards.

    Paul, Feb 21, 2012
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  3. Stephen

    Stephen Guest

    Hello again,

    Thanks for your help on my other thread.

    Unfortunately am2 boards are hard to find. The m68m is not as well
    specified as the 770ds3, I agree, but I cannot find a 770ds3 for sale.
    The m68m was the only gigabyte am2 board for sale that I could find
    brand new. I did look for second hand 770ds3 on ebay( but no-one
    was selling any. I would like to stick with gigabyte boards if
    possible but I don't know that am2 boards are available from any other
    manufacturer either.

    Stephen, Feb 25, 2012
  4. Stephen

    Paul Guest

    Yeah, the selection of the old motherboards, is looking pretty thin
    right now. I guess everything for AMD, would be moving to FM1, so
    there's no reason to make the old boards.

    This is what Newegg shows, in terms of socket versus products available.

    CPU Socket Type
    AM2+/AM2 (1)
    AM2+/AM3 (2)
    AM3 (55)
    AM3+ (58)
    AM3/AM2+/AM2 (7) <--- One Asrock board, with mixed DIMM slots
    FM1 (56)

    The other Asrock board, has two DDR2 slots. ASRock A785GM-LE

    Not a lot of good choices.

    Paul, Feb 25, 2012
  5. Stephen

    Stephen Guest

    I've not heard of asrock before. Who are they? Are their boards any
    Stephen, Feb 28, 2012
  6. Stephen

    Paul Guest

    They are the "low cost" offshoot of Asus. (They mention Pegatron in
    the article, and Pegatron is also an Asus operation.) So it's still Asus,
    but at "arms length" and in separate facilities.

    I only have one of their boards here, and the BIOS code was left
    unfinished in a couple areas (I suspected "lawyer trouble" as
    the root cause, rather than carelessness. I think Intel threatened
    them. SpeedStep code was turned off. A hacker in Germany figured
    out how to turn it back on. I ended up running a modified BIOS
    in the motherboard.)

    As long as the customer reviews for the Asrock board don't indicate
    problems of that sort, a bad BIOS, I think the board is a safe
    purchase. My Asrock board, at $65, still runs. I was half expecting
    a $65 motherboard to just blow up after a year, but it hasn't.

    Asrock tries to do "non-mainstream" things. Like that example motherboard
    I showed you, with two DDR2 slots and two DDR3 slots. You can't install
    four DIMMs at the same time, with that setup. Only two at a time. Either
    use two DDR2 sticks, or two DDR3 sticks, and the stick type supported
    would be a function of the processor used. Some AMD processors support
    both DDR2 and DDR3, in which case, you can use either.

    My Asrock motherboard, has both an AGP video slot and a PCI express
    video slot (and both could be used at the same time). Not many motherboards
    are built like that! I suspect they made those motherboards, until they
    ran out of chipsets to use. Asrock also made some motherboards, where
    the processor was on a replaceable vertical module, so you could
    do an upgrade without throwing away the base board. Adding novelties
    is how they try to establish their own "niche" personality. If they
    did "bog standard" boards like their parent Asus, you wouldn't have
    been able to tell the two companies apart. (Asus also makes low-cost
    boards, typically microATX for business PC applications.)

    Paul, Feb 28, 2012
  7. Stephen

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In the last episode of <>,
    They're an ASUS spinoff going back to 2002 or so. I'd consider them to
    be on the upper end of the cheap stuff, although they've definitely put
    out some good hardware (and a bit of junk here and there)
    DevilsPGD, Feb 28, 2012
  8. Stephen

    Stephen Guest


    Just to let you know I put the ECC RAM into the new, non-ECC
    motherboard and like you predicted, it works fine. It is 800 and board
    supports up to 1066, so I wonder whether I would see a difference
    upgrading to that speed?

    Stephen, Mar 6, 2012
  9. Stephen

    Stephen Guest

    I bought the Gigabyte board, only because I had not read your post at
    the time and I have always used Gigabyte boards in the past, which is
    perhaps a bit silly: just because something was good ten years ago
    doesn't necessarily mean it is still the best today. For the same
    reasons I still stick with AMD processors.

    The features you describe sound very good, being able to use
    difference types of RAM, video card, processors, etc suggest a very
    future-proof board. I only wish I had read your post before I rushed
    to buy!

    Stephen, Mar 6, 2012
  10. Stephen

    Paul Guest

    AMD processors are a little more dependent on RAM speed than
    some of the Intel ones. But not to the point for me at least,
    that I'd be buying more RAM.

    To give you some idea, my Asrock board runs DDR2-533,
    and the machine I'm typing on is DDR2-800. So I didn't
    exactly splash out on the RAM :)

    The problem now, is finding some worthy RAM for an upgrade.
    When RAM goes out of style, the enthusiast grades are the first to go.
    And one DDR2-1066 product I was just looking at, got bad
    reviews, because it didn't appear to be up to spec.

    As far as I can remember, something like DDR2-800 might have
    been the top Jedec speed. To make higher speeds or reduce the
    latency, they generally boost the RAM voltage. The Kingston
    tables show the trend. Nominal DDR2 is 1.8V, with the fastest
    grade tested here at 2.3 or 2.35V. If you expect the RAM to
    operate at the stated speed, you have to apply that voltage.
    So the RAM will be running a little warmer.

    And sometimes you get a little surprise. I remember when I
    got my new motherboard, I put some Kingston DDR2-800 in
    it, and carefully adjusted it so that (I thought) it would
    be running at DDR2-800. Later, when I was checking, I discovered
    by using CPU-Z, it was running DDR2-1066 and the computer hadn't crashed.
    (The speed thing, is a BIOS bug.) And that was without boosted
    voltage or anything (because at the time, I wasn't interested in
    overclocking the RAM). Some of the DDR2 out there has headroom,
    but the best way to spot that, is to read the reviews on Newegg
    and see how things are going, today. The thing is, sometimes
    a really great brand of RAM chips goes out of production, and
    then there's nothing left but less overclockable chips.
    The customer review are the best way to spot a trend.

    Overclocking RAM is a little tricky, because the BIOS may not
    adjust tRAS, tCAS, tRCD, that sort of thing. You're expected to
    "scale" the numbers yourself, if you adjust the BIOS so that
    some hardware is overclocked. RAM overclocking can be a side
    effect of changing a CPU setting, or it can be a purposeful change
    in the RAM page of the BIOS (on AMD, effectively changing the
    clock divider). To make an overclocking experiment meaningful,
    you need to find a web article on it, to get a better handle on
    how many "knobs" to turn :) Clock, up. Voltage, up. Timing parameters,
    scale up. And so on. Then, a little memtest86+, followed by perhaps
    a Linux LiveCD and some Prime95 testing. If your RAM is unstable,
    the last thing you want to do, is boot into Windows, because the
    registry can get corrupted. Only boot to Windows, when all your
    other testing shows your adjustments are perfectly stable
    and error free. You can't hurt a Linux LiveCD, with RAM errors.
    It's a CD (read-only).

    Paul, Mar 6, 2012
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