Subject: Re: VIA VP2 chipset
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG, port-i386@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: current-users
Date: 02/01/1998 22:17:23
[ On Sun, February 1, 1998 at 20:59:28 (-0500), David Jones wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: VIA VP2 chipset
> Why do you need ECC?

The question is more like:  Why would you ever *not* want ECC?????

With memory densities as high as they are, and prices as low as they
are, not using ECC, even in a clean-room environment, is, IMHO, insane.
Soon a single alpha-particle might knock out many bits simultaneously
instead of just one.

Of course if all you ever do is play games, then I guess it wouldn't
matter so much -- an error might even work in your favour!  ;-)

I don't use my machines to play games (well, not often, and usually only
those simple thinking games like solitare, xlife, mahjongg, etc.).

I want my machines to run for months on end and I don't want any
surprises.  Of course I still lose since I don't have parity on the
memory bus, nor do I have parity in the external cache.  Parity error
detection is a bare minimum requirement for me, and ECC gives me a whole
lot more comfort.  Every time I look at the CE lights that occasionally
come on on my Sun-3s I feel quite superior to any PC user despite the
fact that my machine is only about 1/60'th as fast as a high-end PC.

Which reminds me -- does anyone know for certain of any Intel (or AMD)
capable "socket-7" (or Slot-1) motherboards which do have ECC L2 cache?
I know that most of the big brand-name servers do (IBM, Dell, Digital,
etc.), but none of the generic boards seem to.

I truely wish Digital (aka Compaq) weren't such *&^!@$#-heads on their
SRM capable Alpha licensing policies.  I'd far sooner run an Alpha than
any Pentium, and not because it's 64-bit -- quite the opposite actually.
(FYI, most Alpha motherboards even have ECC protected cache.)

It's almost worth paying Digital's insane prices for SRM anyway, just to
get a more trustworthy machine....

Now if only my Multia CPUs hadn't gone wonky....

							Greg A. Woods

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