Question Intel CPUs Don’t Support ECC Memory: How Bad For A/V Quality?

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Karadjgne

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I've put in a call for help lol, hopefully one of the Moderators who are much more knowledgeable about this will jump in. And there are several 👍.

I only suggested daily backups to the Nas, on the days you actually work, but you can set the pc up automated, so it backs up the data anyway, there's always something going on in windows, security downloads, malware checks, maliscios software checks, so keeping that as a current backup can't hurt.
 
'Downloading from the internet'.....

ECC isn't going to help one bit (no pun intended) for error correction there. There's 2 strikes against you from the get-go. First is reliance on the data being a perfect copy, there's nothing guaranteed that whatever you receive is going to be pure, error free. Since you cannot check the incoming data integrity (did a bit flip during transmission, was there an error from the upload or original encoding etc).

Second, the data has to make its way through the Lan to the Ram. Meaning you are relying on the integrity of everything in your pc prior to the data actually getting to/through the ram itself.

That also applies to other inputs. Cd/dvd or flash or even hdd. Reads can be imperfect, errors created by your pc before it gets to the ram.

Biggest issue with EEC isn't its relative unavailability for consumer use. It's a speed thing. Checking for and Correcting errors takes time and resources, the ram itself has to run lower speeds as a result. And ppl aren't interested in running 2133MHz in their brand new expensive Ryzens.

If serious about EEC being a requirement, you should be looking at HEDT platforms anyway, not gaming platforms. The programs used that require that kind of error free processing generally also require the resources HEDT offers that consumer grade platforms don't. Like quad channel bandwidth, 128Mb+ of ram, beyond reasonable core counts, massive computational ability and the appropriate instruction sets etc.
Actually, you can easily check downloads--just download it twice and compare it. I've been doing this for decades. And it does find errors. I'm actually dealing with a hospital web site that keeps erroring its download on each attempt--no two have been alike so far. :(

Yep, speed is one of the biggest issues on the consumer platforms as non-ecc udimms can be almost twice as fast as ecc reg or even ecc memory. But like typing fast with mistakes, or typing slower to 100% accuracy, it's whatever is important that determines the tool you need.

Most enterprise systems that handle all of your banking and other critical data aren't using HEDT or any special platform. It's just a lot of ecc reg memory, sas disks, and other techniques such as memory mirroring, etc that servers have to keep the data integrity. And keep in mind how many billions of billions of bits per second these systems process.
 

kanewolf

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1.) As this is a backup and not an enterprise speed system, why suggest configuring it with any kind of “RAID-Z” striping, as I have no need for speed over fault tolerance?
If all you care about is security, then RAID6 might be the best choice. RAID6 is similar to RAID5 but with a second parity disk. Your data can survive two disk failures without any loss. As physical disk size increases, the amount of time required to rebuild increases. That time, during a rebuild, is a vulnerable time. RAID6 provides redundancy even during a rebuild. The other thing that can improve redundancy is having a "hot spare" disk in your NAS. That way the NAS can initiate a rebuild without human intervention. Again minimizing the vulnerability time. To take advantage of both of those features, you need a fairly large NAS unit. An 8 drive would the minimum I would recommend.
 

soundtrek

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Actually, you can easily check downloads--just download it twice and compare it. I've been doing this for decades. And it does find errors. I'm actually dealing with a hospital web site that keeps erroring its download on each attempt--no two have been alike so far. :(
But how do you compare the files for errors? Does each have a CRC number which you then use some kind of algorithm to see if they "sum" together or not? https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/programmable/support/support-resources/knowledge-base/solutions/rd04222011_550.html
Again, I'm a newbie so please be specific about this "checksum" checking procedure.

Yep, speed is one of the biggest issues on the consumer platforms as non-ecc udimms can be almost twice as fast as ecc reg or even ecc memory. But like typing fast with mistakes, or typing slower to 100% accuracy, it's whatever is important that determines the tool you need.

Most enterprise systems that handle all of your banking and other critical data aren't using HEDT or any special platform. It's just a lot of ecc reg memory, sas disks, and other techniques such as memory mirroring, etc that servers have to keep the data integrity. And keep in mind how many billions of billions of bits per second these systems process.
Will 16GB of non-reg ECC memory be fast enough for flawless movie playback of 1080p blu-ray movies via JRiver player?
And for simple scene deletions of decrypted BD movies via
https://www.cyberlink.com/products/powerdirector-video-editing-software/specs_en_US.html ?
 

soundtrek

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If all you care about is security, then RAID6 might be the best choice. RAID6 is similar to RAID5 but with a second parity disk. Your data can survive two disk failures without any loss. As physical disk size increases, the amount of time required to rebuild increases. That time, during a rebuild, is a vulnerable time. RAID6 provides redundancy even during a rebuild. The other thing that can improve redundancy is having a "hot spare" disk in your NAS. That way the NAS can initiate a rebuild without human intervention. Again minimizing the vulnerability time. To take advantage of both of those features, you need a fairly large NAS unit. An 8 drive would the minimum I would recommend.
Someone at hydrogenaudio recommended this, which is about as much as I afford. https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/ts-h686 I would be backing up directly from a late model non reg ECC RAM supporting desktop. The NAS will powered on only for back up sessions lasting only 30 minutes or so. And presumably being enterprise grade drives should provide respectably high MTBF rates?
 

kanewolf

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Someone at hydrogenaudio recommended this, which is about as much as I afford. https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/ts-h686 I would be backing up directly from a late model non reg ECC RAM supporting desktop. The NAS will powered on only for back up sessions lasting only 30 minutes or so. And presumably being enterprise grade drives should provide respectably high MTBF rates?
That is an odd choice for a NAS. Multiple 2.5Gb ports would be difficult to deal with in most environments. The mix of 2.5 and 3.5 inch disks is also odd.
Similar price is this unit -- https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/tvs-873e All 3.5 inch drive bays. And PCIe slot to support 10GE rather than multiple 2.5GE.
 

soundtrek

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That is an odd choice for a NAS. Multiple 2.5Gb ports would be difficult to deal with in most environments. The mix of 2.5 and 3.5 inch disks is also odd.
Similar price is this unit -- https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/tvs-873e All 3.5 inch drive bays. And PCIe slot to support 10GE rather than multiple 2.5GE.
Being very new to NAS for use as redundant backup systems I've been hunting for suggestions from those likely to be both non-compensated and highly knowledgeable. There are several brands of NAS models which protect data loss by redundantly backing up to multiple HDDs, But it seems that only the Qnap TS686 employ ECC RAM and a ZFS file system to prevent overwrites of corrupted (bit flipped) files during backup sessions, the ability to repair files, among other fail safes. Reply #24 suggested this model, apparently because of these file protection features.
 

Endre

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This discussion may only serve to reveal my less than complete knowledge of A/V digital signal processing rather than raise questions which audibly or not impact signal quality. However, the concerns raised stem from here. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/01/linus-torvalds-blames-intel-for-lack-of-ecc-ram-in-consumer-pcs/

The report initially describes and quotes Mr. Torvalds’ contempt for Intel’s refusal to support error correcting ECC memory which apparently impacts his interest with server hardware, computational computing and other non-home theater related tasks. But later discussed are claims, though unspecified, where consumers-presumably home users-can also suffer from non-ECC memory generated errors.

Thus, if the lack of ECC memory would leave the computer audiophile vulnerable to errors, however infrequent, in what form would they be? Would they manifest as permanent audible “clicks” during the re-digitizing of music in 24 bit audio and/or when downloaded from stores like https://www.hdtracks.com/ ? Has anyone experienced this? If not perhaps because such errors may be even more noticeable and more frequently occurring from much more common be still respectably sounding 16 bit audio?

OTOH, would such errors be more noticeable if downloading or playing 1080p or especially 4K video, though both requiring far more digital bandwidth (e.g. bit depth?) than even 24 bit audio? However, the ears are likely more sensitive than the eyes to digital audio errors.

In any case, do AMD brand Ryzen CPUs and motherboards support ECC memory?

And which if any other motherboard brands do also?

But if so would such consumer desktop systems tend to create more heat induced fan noise than desktops with comparable Intel CPUs and motherboards performing the same kinds of work loads, such as 1080p video editing-and full length movie playbacks via https://jriver.com/overview.html ?
This subject is quite interesting.
So, ECC memory has one extra chip on the memory module that checks, by using parity method, if the information is perfectly preserved.

By having an extra chip, the memory will have to do one, or a few, extra clocks, which means that it will be slower, and more expensive, and gamers & enthusiasts won’t appreciate it.

In music production, I haven’t noticed errors in 16-bit / 24-bit / 32-bit audio.

I also download, sometimes, 24-bit music from HDtracks.
I’ve noticed no errors.

But I think that there is a small probability for errors to creep in.
If your projects are extremely important, go for ECC memory!
 

soundtrek

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If I was to go with Qnap, I'd not be looking at a 2HDD Nas, but a 4 HDD Nas in Raid 10. I'd also use an external drive big enough to backup the entire Nas. Backup to Nas daily, backup Nas to external weekly. Since the external is invisible to the pc, only sees the Nas, likelihood of virus, malware, malicious software etc is as close to Zero as it gets.

Having 4 HDD in mirror/strip in a hotswap means if any hdd develops issues, yank it out, replace it, rebuild it. Using 2x hdd, you are limited to mirror, so a dual 1Tb setup = 1Tb. Used in striping, you'd get the full 2Tb, but each disc only has half the info, so if a disc goes down, you loose everything.

The TS-h686 QuTS hero edition uses 4 hotswap bays and ZFS. (in your link). Hdd, ssd, nvme compatible.
If you would care to revisit what seems to be a very good backup system plan for me:

Install four identical 2TB HDDs in this NAS.
https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/ts-h686

Then, as I don’t need fast read/write speeds, instead of striping then configure the drives as a mirrored array.

This NAS’s ZFS file system and (non-registered?) ECC memory will guard against mis-reads and mis-writes, thereby protecting files from corrupting bit flips, and even repairing corrupted files.

But you then had also advised periodically backing up the NAS to an external drive. However, you didn’t say that this external drive had to be anything more than another 2TB HDD in a box with a USB or CAT 5 or 6 port for backing up the NAS. Thus, the external drive has no ZFS or ECC file protection. But as the NAS does have them, when the external drive’s backing up the NAS, will this NAS thereby insure that the external drive’s reads/writes are bit perfect?
 

Karadjgne

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I'm no expert, but I'd have to sy that makes sense, direction doesn't matter, if the Qnap was returning files to pc, or sending to external drive, it's essentially the exact same thing, so would use the zfs to guard against itself giving up an error. Nothing can be said about the receiving drives though, unless you used the Qnap as the sole drive system, not a backup. In which case speed will be essential.

But since the external drive would be a backup of the Qnap, it would receive no errors, and on any returning data, the zfs will look for any errors or bit-flips and fix them.

So either way, there's something that's protecting the data, by backup, secure backup, secure return.

You could even use the Qnap as a proofing drive, save any downloaded content, run anti-virus/malware on the file, send it to the Qnap for processing against inherent or assumed bit-flips, and then pull it back into the pc all cleaned. Speed would be nicer there.
 
Okay this is a long post so bear with me.

Ecc is the best way to ensure your data isn't corrupted. But there are many many redundant systems built into protocols to combat bit error starting from electrical interface protocols, and download frame protocols, to file format protocols and post checks and more. However a good quality power supply and not pushing memory to the bleeding edge on timings will reduce memory errors. When I run memtest on my gateway/firewall and nas I get 1 error a week. This is with aggressive read write combos.

Bit errors in memory are a lot less common than file system errors. If you ever read a mechanical hard disk SMART logs you'll see thousands of counts for excess vibration head realigns. Simply walking near your backup machine can cause a misread.

Zfs is by far the most robust filesystem for maintaining file integrity.

Now zfs has some hefty requirements. You will hear about the memory error scrub of death which could wipe out your entire drive. This is about how 1 bad bit in memory can cause the entire array to go in correction mode and wipe everything out. It has never happened and the hypothesis was flawed that memory was consistently bad at one spot and the memory management allocation system kept using the same cell. Both are near impossibilities. So ignore any articles about scrub of death.

Some people like raid 6 with 2 drives for parity. It has the benefits of losing two drives and still having all your data. Then it can take up to a week to rebuild the array with all drives spinning. The problem with this approach is the likelihood of a 3rd drive failure is high if they are all of the same age and make. And if that happens during a rebuild you are up $hot creek. Zfs will not save you then.

Why not raid 1? Well with raid 1 you get 1 backup. That means 1 drive failure are you are okay. But most people drive two of the same drives and install them at the same time. That means the likelihood of them failing about the same time is high.

Personally I use xfs on unraid. It is a braindead easy to use NAS that in some ways is more secure. While Xfs is not as secure as zfs, with unraid you can get up to two parity drives like raid 6. So you can lose two drives and still be okay. Also the data is not spanned. With a raid approach if there is a catastrophic failure you lose every file. With unraid a catastrophic failure means you only lose data that drive. If you have 8 data drives that means 1/8th of the data lost. Not all 8. The likelihood of this happening is very small however. For 1 parity drive I use seagate. For the other parity I use wd red pro cmr drive. This reduces risk of duplicate failure of parity drives.

I would recommend a zfs system IF you have multiple people accessing your mechanical hard drives at once like at small business like linus tech tips. Or you have lots of files that require fast access like a steam game storage server.

But for 99% of users unraid is almost as fast over a 10GBit network server as zfs+raid6 provided you use a nvme cache drive.

The best approach is to use the 3-2-1 backup. Two local copies (one workstation one backup server) and one remote cloud backup.

My personal system has local copy on my main computer. I have a 2 parity local backup on unraid and a monthly backup to an external backup drive which I keep in a fire safe. Monthly backup takes 12 hours.

I also run scheduled diagnostics once a week which emails me the status of my system including SMART parameters of each drive. Once a month I run disk check out which reads every file on every drive to see if any copy is defective. This takes 14 hours with 6x6tb drives.

Also as always invest in an UPS power supply for your NAS and for goodness sake use the usb connection on the UPS to connect to your NAS. Tell the NAS to power down gracefully after 30 seconds on the UPS power. This prevents file corruption.

For my computer's backup I use file history backup built into windows and save to a password protected share on my nas. I do not mount the drive as a drive letter to deter ransomware. I also use bit defenders secure enclave folders which prevent unauthorized apps from overwriting files.

If your family photos are important to you on your smart phone I recommend "sync it" on google play store. It will backup any folder on your phone on a scheduled daily basis. This also allows you to bypass googles recompression and file size limits they impose with their free photos.google.com backup service.

If anybody wants help with setting up a system or recommendations please ask.
 
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