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Cheap RAM vs Expensive RAM

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July 12, 2006 6:14:14 PM

What is the difference between a cheap stick of RAM compared to one of the better known brands like Corsair or Crucial? Are they better for overclocking? I would imagine that a cheap stick of PC3200 would run at the same speed as the more expensive ones. Am I right?
July 12, 2006 6:30:30 PM

I don't overclock. I highly recommend Corsair Value Select modules. They are not expensive, they'll be a little bit more than the bargain bucket RAM (maybe only $5 more), but are worth it.
July 12, 2006 6:46:47 PM

Sometime expansive RAM has better timing too
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July 12, 2006 6:53:34 PM

When not OCing I would recommend the cheaper versions from the brands with a good reputation among OCers. If OCing use the brands and versions the OCers use for that particular board.

While building and testing new computers for allmost 1.5 years I had to RMA 15-20 % of cheap non-brandname RAM but less than 1% of brandname RAM (I know because the shop stopped using the cheap RAM when they got tired of hearing my complaining and started using mostly Kingston Value instead but also Samsung, Corsair and GeIL). We build about 50 desktop computers a week. We used memtest86 and memtest86+ for testing with all tests running over night (if they didn't fail before). RAM that failed in a newbuild PC was tested a second time in a special workbench.
July 12, 2006 7:02:23 PM

Well, if a kit of high-lvl RAM will cost you something like 20-30-ish dollars more, Id would still be worth it since there usually are better timings provided, maybe higher stability, better support.
But spending double or so if youre not going into overclocking is a waste of money.
July 12, 2006 7:07:38 PM

Quote:
When not OCing I would recommend the cheaper versions from the brands with a good reputation among OCers. If OCing use the brands and versions the OCers use for that particular board.

While building and testing new computers for allmost 1.5 years I had to RMA 15-20 % of cheap non-brandname RAM but less than 1% of brandname RAM (I know because the shop stopped using the cheap RAM when they got tired of hearing my complaining and started using mostly Kingston Value instead but also Samsung, Corsair and GeIL). We build about 50 desktop computers a week. We used memtest86 and memtest86+ for testing with all tests running over night (if they didn't fail before). RAM that failed in a newbuild PC was tested a second time in a special workbench.

........... :wink: ..........
July 12, 2006 7:21:19 PM

Quote:
When not OCing I would recommend the cheaper versions from the brands with a good reputation among OCers. If OCing use the brands and versions the OCers use for that particular board.
While building and testing new computers for allmost 1.5 years I had to RMA 15-20 % of cheap non-brandname RAM but less than 1% of brandname RAM
I've given up on generic unbranded RAM after similar bad experiences. Unless you are prepared for the cost and time of returning bad RAM I would leave well alone. I did recently see some unbranded DDR2 PC5400 that was ridiculously cheap and a part of me was tempted. But, the cheaper the RAM the worse it probably is.

As for tighter timings and higher RAM speeds, if you look at benchmarks you see that you get very little back in return for the high prices of 'exotic' RAM. Personally, I think it's mostly a waste of time and an Ego trip; the money is better invested in other components. The one time it makes sense to me to buy fast RAM, is if it means that you can overclock your CPU more. This is usually only true for extreme overclocking I think, as usually changing the memory divider means you can get away with using PC5400.

Here's an idea; when you place an order for memory order a cheap generic RAM and a value branded RAM. If the generic RAM fails RAM testing then simply return it. If it passes then send back the branded RAM. In the UK you can do this with no questions asked and mailing RAM will only cost you pence.
July 12, 2006 7:35:01 PM

Quote:

While building and testing new computers for allmost 1.5 years I had to RMA 15-20 % of cheap non-brandname RAM but less than 1% of brandname RAM
I've given up on generic unbranded RAM after similar bad experiences. Unless you are prepared for the cost and time of returning bad RAM I would leave well alone. I did recently see some unbranded DDR2 PC5400 that was ridiculously cheap and a part of me was tempted. But, the cheaper the RAM the worse it probably is.

Couldn't agree more. Cheapo non-brandname RAM has given me quite a headache before and several (about 4-5) trips to the vendor to replace. Finally I just returned it. Its just that non-brandname RAM has less quality assurance overall. You can still get ones that work, but don't be surprised if it takes a few trips to the store.
July 12, 2006 9:00:15 PM

I have some cheapo RAM ("Markvision" :tongue: ) but it has Samsung chips. So, it is good. It wouldn't be the best, but it is good.
According to SPD is rated 3-3-3-8, but I managed to get it working at 2.5-3-3-6.
Unfortunately, I have 4 sticks --> Limited to 2T command rate... Is that slowing my performance noticeably? :?:
July 12, 2006 9:48:39 PM

RAM is pretty much RAM at its heart. However, I can sympathize the sentiments some have echoed about their "bad RAM." Though using expensive RAM intended for overclocking isn't all-together neccesary, it will improve longevity (at least in my experience, which could be random I suppose but not likely).
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July 12, 2006 10:40:22 PM

2-5% depending on the task.
July 12, 2006 11:01:56 PM

I game quite a bit, and out of the systems I've built I've only bought performance memory once and it wasn't really worth it to me, since then I've just bought Kingston Value ram... as seen in my system specs below :) 
July 13, 2006 2:28:46 AM

Ok then, I shouldn't worry about that. 8)
I made some tests with my RAM, and it reached 500 MHz with 3-3-3-8 timings. Awesome.
Of course, I didn't leave like that. I don't want to fry 2 GB of RAM. :roll:
!