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How much does memory brand actually matter?

Last response: in Memory
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October 6, 2008 5:29:51 PM

I was going to buy more RAM and I had questions about the brands. I found a good deal on RAM, but there is no brand name. I've been told that it is some off brand that no one has ever heard of. It's a 2GB stick of DDR2 800Mhz RAM with a cas latency of 4 for about $25. I can by the same RAM for $35-$40 if it is a name brand. Is it worth the extra 35% of the price to get a name brand. I've never ever had a stick of RAM go out before, so I can't see reliability being a factor. Is there a performance difference?

More about : memory brand matter

a b } Memory
October 6, 2008 6:04:46 PM

Can you just buy the same model you already have? That would be the safest thing IMO.
October 6, 2008 6:10:59 PM

I'm putting my current RAM (512mb) into my sister's computer, and puting the new 2GB into my system. Will the brand of the 2GB matter?
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October 6, 2008 6:12:47 PM

Yes brand does matter. There are only a few company's that manufacture memory chips and then in turn sell the chips to the companys that make memory modules. These companys, Corsair, Mushkin, Crucial, OZC just to name a few tell the chip makers what they want and then when the chips come in they grade them and sort them before putting the chips on the pcb's that end up being the modules you buy. The chips that don't make the grade for the quality memory brands get resold to lower budget memory companys that not only use these chips but also may not hold the same standards for assembly that the quality manufactures use.

Now another thing to remember when adding more memory to a system you already have is that by mixing brands you can cause instablity between them, due to slightly different timings and voltage requirements. This can end up giving you many headaches and system crashes.

With memory the old saying "you get what you pay for" really does have meaning.
October 6, 2008 6:17:59 PM

So, if this 2GB stick were the only stick in my computer, what would off brand memory cause? Is is slower, less reliable, or what? What makes the off brand chips so bad? Performance hit?
October 6, 2008 6:21:58 PM

Personally, I'd go with a good brand as well. You are taking chances with a no name brand but it's your call really. Is there a warranty?
a b } Memory
October 6, 2008 6:26:36 PM

They are less reliable. If you do buy no-name RAM, download memtest86 and run several passes.

They may be slower too. A good brand like Mushkin will usually deliver the timings it advertises, at 1.8V. With a no-name, you might need to relax timings to get stability.
October 6, 2008 6:39:53 PM

+1 to aevm, add to the list Geil, G.Skill, A-Data (some), OCZ or Corsair (if you want expensive). Usually cheaper RAM's do have stability issues, or even compatibility issues.
a b } Memory
October 6, 2008 6:51:56 PM

stoner133 said:
The chips that don't make the grade for the quality memory brands get resold to lower budget memory companys that not only use these chips but also may not hold the same standards for assembly that the quality manufactures use.


Stoner133 spelled it out pretty well in his previous post. Cheap RAM is just that - CHEAP. It's always worth it to go with a name brand for RAM. You should also try to get a 2x1 setup instead of one 2GB stick so that it will run in dual channel mode.
October 6, 2008 7:11:59 PM

Wait, if I just have one stick of RAM, it won't work as duel channel? Why not? What does duel channel do exactly?
a b } Memory
October 6, 2008 7:20:14 PM

No one stick will not run in dual channel mode. Here's a quote from the Wikipedia page:

Dual-channel architecture describes a technology that theoretically doubles data throughput from RAM to the memory controller. Dual-channel-enabled memory controllers utilize two 64-bit data channels, resulting in a total bandwidth of 128-bits, to move data from RAM to the CPU.

In order to achieve this, two or more DDR/DDR2 SDRAM memory modules must be installed into matching banks, which are usually color coded on the motherboard.

Here's the link to the Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual-channel_architecture
October 6, 2008 7:26:19 PM

So, do they need to be the same brand, size, or speed? If I got two RAM sticks of different brands (name brands or off brands) would they be able to run dual channel? Is there an obvious performance increase that I would notice?
October 6, 2008 7:40:41 PM
a b } Memory
October 6, 2008 7:44:03 PM

Did you even read the linked post? Here's some more from the same link:

It is not required that identical modules be used, but this is often recommended for best compatibility for dual channel operation.

Modules rated at different speeds can be run in dual-channel mode, although the motherboard will then run all memory modules at the speed of the slowest module. Some motherboards, however, have compatibility issues with certain brands or models of memory when attempting to use them in dual-channel mode. For this reason, it is generally advised to use identical pairs of memory modules, which is why most memory manufacturers now sell "kits" of matched-pair DIMMs. Several motherboard manufacturers only support configurations where a "matched pair" of modules are used. A matching pair needs to match in:

* Capacity (e.g. 1024 MB). Certain Intel chipsets support different capacity chips in what they call Flex Mode: the capacity that can be matched is run in dual-channel, while the remainder runs in single-channel.
* Speed (e.g. PC5300). If speed is not the same, the lower speed of the two modules will be used. Likewise, the higher latency of the two modules will be used.
* Number of chips and sides (e.g. 2 sides with 4 chips on each side).

In other words, if you don't match the RAM brand, speed, etc... it may or may not run correctly. With the current price of RAM, there is no reason not to buy a good name-brand matched kit. If you don't, good luck!

October 6, 2008 7:47:49 PM

Same speed and timings for Dual-Channel, which most likely means going with the same brand that you have now, or just getting a set of Dual-Channel memory. Another thing to consider is voltage. If one stick is 1.8v while the other runs at 2.0v, one stick will either get too much power, or not enough which means huge stability issues and possible hardware failure. Not worth it :) 
October 6, 2008 7:52:16 PM

I now understand the importance of brands. But IF I were to somehow not have duel channel running, would I notice a difference?
a b } Memory
October 6, 2008 8:09:41 PM

Once again, read the link I posted above. It answers all these questions. Here's another quote from it. I don't know why you don't just Google this. That's what I did and the Wikipedia page was one of the first ones in the list.

"Dual channel at best might give a 5% speed increase in memory intensive tasks, not even close to the two times that "dual" suggests"

Even if dual channel doesn't offer much of a speed impact, why not just buy a name-brand dual channel kit. That way you'll be sure that you have high quality RAM running as fast as possible. Even quality RAM is cheap right now. There is no reason to get crappy RAM to save a couple bucks.
November 16, 2008 1:10:55 PM

stoner133 said:
Yes brand does matter. There are only a few company's that manufacture memory chips and then in turn sell the chips to the companys that make memory modules. These companys, Corsair, Mushkin, Crucial, OZC just to name a few tell the chip makers what they want and then when the chips come in they grade them and sort them before putting the chips on the pcb's that end up being the modules you buy. The chips that don't make the grade for the quality memory brands get resold to lower budget memory companys that not only use these chips but also may not hold the same standards for assembly that the quality manufactures use.

Now another thing to remember when adding more memory to a system you already have is that by mixing brands you can cause instablity between them, due to slightly different timings and voltage requirements. This can end up giving you many headaches and system crashes.

With memory the old saying "you get what you pay for" really does have meaning.


substitute kingston for crucial..
crucial is micron's consumer outlet they do make their own chips in house ,so to speak,,and they do make good stuff...:) 
!