Help Me Choose: Memory

Random access memory (RAM) is the workhorse behind the performance of your Dell Precision™ workstation. RAM temporarily stores information from your operating system, applications and data in current use. This gives your processor easy access to the critical information that make your programs run.

The amount of RAM you have and the memory architecture of your system helps determine how many programs can be executed at one time and how much data can be readily available to a program. It also helps determine how quickly your applications perform and how many applications you can easily toggle between at one time.

With 32-bit workstations, the maximum addressable memory is only 4GB, of which a maximum of 3GB is available to applications. That's often far too little elbow room for large files in today’s high-end workstation applications.

Fortunately, the 64-bit technology in Dell Precision workstations featuring Intel® Xeon® and Core™ processors can dramatically expand that address space, shattering the 4GB limit.

In addition, many of our workstations now offer quad-channel memory architecture. Quad-channel memory offers additional lanes of access to the processor. Much like cars travelling on the highway, the higher the number of lanes, the greater the amount of traffic can be transferred from memory to the processor. This equates to better throughput, allowing you to access larger data sets faster. When using quad-channel memory, it is best to purchase memory in equal sets of four to take advantage of all the lanes available to you.

Many Dell Precision workstations can use ECC (Error Correcting Code) or non-ECC memory. ECC memory is a feature in memory for high-end systems that detects and reports memory errors without interrupting the other operations of your system. This is important for highly detailed tasks that must be as accurate as possible and when minimizing system crashes due to error faults are of the utmost importance. Non-ECC memory does not detect and report memory errors and is good for when you're running noncritical applications.

RDIMM memory is the type of memory available on our mainstream tower and rack workstations and similar to ECC memory, and can provide additional data protection and reliability. RDIMM memory, or registered memory, has a register used as a pass-through for address and command signals. This allows workstations to support more RDIMMs per channel. RDIMMs consume more power but are available in larger capacities and higher ranks. Bottom line is RDIMM memory allows for extremely large memory configurations up to 512GB on select Dell Precision workstations.

Upgrading your memory is one of the most cost-effective ways to boost your system performance.
For memory-intensive workstation applications, Dell recommends installing as much memory as possible, populating all memory channels for maximum performance.

The system you are configuring may or may not include all of the options listed here:

If you want ... Choose ... 
Peak performance and the ability to take advantage of 64-bit applications in highly specialized areas of oil and gas, digital content creation, high-end CAD and medical imaging. 128GB* or more
Great performance for large files and multitasking with high-end CAD, animation, analysis software and other extremely demanding applications. 64GB*
Good performance for multitasking with relatively large files and demanding workstation applications. 32GB*
Adequate performance with relatively large files and mainstream workstation applications. 16GB*
Acceptable performance with office productivity applications and basic workstation applications. 8GB*
  Max Memory SupportedMemory Channel Memory Types Supported Notes
Tower 7910512GB Future 1TB4RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC512GB*/1TB requires a dual-processor configuration 
Tower 7810 128GB Future 256GB4RDIMM ECC 128GB* requires a dual-processor configuration
T5610128GB 4RDIMM ECC128GB* requires a dual-processor configuration 
Tower 5810128GB Future 256GB4RDIMM ECC
T3610 128GB4ECC, NECC