Tag Archives: dmidecode

How to identify ECC memory modules

This is a short article describing how you proceed to identify whether or not you have ECC memory modules in your Linux workstation or server.

Also as a side note, the importance of ECC memory is great. Even filesystems such as ZFS with check summing will not account for flipped bits due to cosmic rays. According to studies such as http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~bianca/papers/sigmetrics09.pdf , a DIMM has an 8% chance per year of getting a correctable error. Multiply that with the amount of DIMM’s you have in your system (4 or more?), and you suddenly have a very likely chance of seeing data corruption during a year.

To display what type of memory module you have, we make use of the following DMI type:

16   Physical Memory Array


# dmidecode --type 16


# dmidecode 2.11
SMBIOS 2.7 present.

Handle 0x0007, DMI type 16, 23 bytes
Physical Memory Array
        Location: System Board Or Motherboard
        Use: System Memory
        Error Correction Type: Single-bit ECC
        Maximum Capacity: 32 GB
        Error Information Handle: 0x0010
        Number Of Devices: 4

Both on Debian/Ubuntu and RedHat based distributions this tool is provided by the dmidecode package.

// CrashMAG

View information about your BIOS from Linux using dmidecode

To get at this information we will use a utility called “dmidecode”. dmidecode is a tool for dumping a computer’s DMI (some say SMBIOS) table contents in a human-readable format.

On CentOS/RHEL/Fedora you may run the following to install it.

# yum install dmidecode

On Arch Linux you may run

# pacman -S dmidecode

The following examples will allow you to see a few important parts of information such as;

  • The manufacturer of your motherboard
  • What type of motherboard you have
  • The version of the BIOS running on your motherboard

To view the manufacturer and what type of motherboard you have, run the following

dmidecode --type system


# dmidecode 2.11
SMBIOS 2.4 present.

Handle 0x0001, DMI type 1, 27 bytes
System Information
        Manufacturer: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
        Product Name: GA-MA78G-DS3H
        Serial Number:
        UUID: 4E2F4100-0000-0000-0000-0000FFFFFFFF
        Wake-up Type: Power Switch
        SKU Number:

Handle 0x0034, DMI type 32, 11 bytes
System Boot Information
        Status: No errors detected

To view the version of your BIOS you may run the following

#dmidecode --type bios


# dmidecode 2.11
SMBIOS 2.4 present.

Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 24 bytes
BIOS Information
        Vendor: Award Software International, Inc.
        Version: FA
        Release Date: 09/19/2008
        Address: 0xE0000
        Runtime Size: 128 kB
        ROM Size: 1024 kB
                ISA is supported
                PCI is supported
                PNP is supported
                APM is supported
                BIOS is upgradeable
                BIOS shadowing is allowed
                Boot from CD is supported
                Selectable boot is supported
                BIOS ROM is socketed
                EDD is supported
                5.25"/360 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
                5.25"/1.2 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
                3.5"/720 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
                3.5"/2.88 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
                Print screen service is supported (int 5h)
                8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
                Serial services are supported (int 14h)
                Printer services are supported (int 17h)
                CGA/mono video services are supported (int 10h)
                ACPI is supported
                USB legacy is supported
                AGP is supported
                LS-120 boot is supported
                ATAPI Zip drive boot is supported
                BIOS boot specification is supported
                Targeted content distribution is supported

Handle 0x0029, DMI type 13, 22 bytes
BIOS Language Information
        Language Description Format: Long
        Installable Languages: 3
        Currently Installed Language: n|US|iso8859-1

There’s also additional options to use with dmidecode. You probably also want to try the following to get an idea of what type of information you can get your hands on.

#dmidecode --type keyword
Valid type keywords are:

// CrashMAG