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  • SpinRite v6.1 Release #3
    The 3rd release of SpinRite v6.1 is published and may be obtained by all SpinRite v6.0 owners at the SpinRite v6.1 Pre-Release page. (SpinRite will shortly be officially updated to v6.1 so this page will be renamed.) The primary new feature, and the reason for this release, was the discovery of memory problems in some systems that were affecting SpinRite's operation. So SpinRite now incorporates a built-in test of the system's memory. For the full story, please see this page in the "Pre-Release Announcements & Feedback" forum.
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  • BootAble – FreeDOS boot testing freeware

    To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under a GRC-customized version of FreeDOS which has been modified to add compatibility with all file systems. In order to run SpinRite it must first be possible to boot FreeDOS.

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*Any* advantage to running SR6.1 on Xeon cpu w/ECC memory?




Is there *any* advantage to running SpinRite 6.1 on a machine with a Xeon CPU and ECC memory?...

[...vs. a typical i-core intel cpu and non-ECC memory?]

Reason I ask is, I came across a DELL Precision T1700 on eBay for a good price and it looks to have all the necessary acoutrement for a good SR test machine -- ie. VGA video output, PS/2 connectors , USB3.0 and SATA-3 ports. In addition to some workstation features that would make it useful when NOT running SR.

Being part of DELL's workstation line, albeit the "baby of the bunch" - it runs the Xeon processor with ECC memory capability.

Thanks in advance.





ECC memory capability
Well yes, in theory and no in theory... let me explain. You have to ask yourself what causes memory corruption to data at rest in memory. I guess there is the possibility that the RAM is aging out and becoming flaky. The other possibility is some sort of bad power or I suppose maybe an unlucky strike from a space particle (so called cosmic rays.) If a single bit flips from the bad event, without ECC you won't catch it, and I don't think SpinRite currently deploys any checksum that would catch it. So a minor corruption COULD occur this way while SpinRite was holding data in memory that it intended to return to disk. This would be adding to the problems you thought you were addressing by using SpinRite. The ECC RAM can correct that single bit flip, so that would be a better outcome. So that's the yes part of the theory.

The no part of the theory is how the machine's firmware handles ECC errors. I'm led to believe that many machines hard stop when a non-recoverable ECC error occurs. If this happens to SpinRite at the wrong moment, then you will have just lost an entire sector of your data with no recovery possible.

If you know the machine has been well cared for, then probably the chances of the memory aging out aren't that high. As for the rest, well, all you can do is all you can do. Put the machine on a UPS to prevent power issues, go deep into the earth and build some highly shielded bunker to maybe block most cosmic rays... (just kidding...)




Is there *any* advantage to running SpinRite 6.1 on a machine with a Xeon CPU and ECC memory?...
Not today, but it might be that eventually (as in SR7) having more "machine" will allow for more work to be done at once. At present, SpinRite 6.x under utilizes the machine since it's spending all of its time waiting for each transfer request to end, before starting the next one. But SpinRite 7 will be fully multitasking and able to take advantage of multiple and faster cores... and its technology for spotting "slow spots" on drives will mean that the machine will be much busier in the future. I don't have any quantification of any of that yet.