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What Your RAM Goes Through: the Die-hard Tester

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments

Memory products are essentially commodity products these days.

This doesn't mean however that manufacturers don't pay attention to quality. A Computex this week, we caught up with Geil, a smaller manufacturer of memory modules, but a high quality producer nevertheless. Geil demonstrated to us its DBT, or die-hard burn-in technology system, which rigorously test memory modules before they ship out to customers.

Like many module producers, Geil sources high-quality memory ICs from many large name makers such as Samsung, and then custom manufacture modules for consumption.

Using a custom built system Geil calls the EVO III IC Tester, individual memory chips are tested for speed, voltage and leakage before they are embedded onto the memory modules.

From there, the modules are placed into Geil's DBT chamber. According to the Geil representative we spoke to, only Geil and Kingston possess such a system. The DBT runs the modules through a lengthy process, testing for module frequency and temperature stability Modules are tested in large temperature swings, from very cold to hot. Bad modules are sent back to manufacturing and good modules go to you. This isn't your typical Memtest86 test!

Check out the pictures.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Tindytim , June 7, 2009 1:40 PM
    ProDigit80Geil means 'horny' in dutch, and something like 'super' or 'cool' or 'top' in German.It's probably a german product, for the name really sucks!

    Or maybe they're just technosexuals?
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    radium69 , June 7, 2009 12:37 PM
    Nice to know that GEIL is a quality brand. Ram from GEIL is pretty famous here in holland. They are recommended, and are also not so expensive. I've been using 3 sets of GEIL 4gb (2x2) for 2 years, and not a single one failed. While my kingston did.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , June 7, 2009 1:28 PM
    Geil means 'horny' in dutch, and something like 'super' or 'cool' or 'top' in German.
    It's probably a german product, for the name really sucks!
  • Display all 16 comments.
  • 11 Hide
    Tindytim , June 7, 2009 1:40 PM
    ProDigit80Geil means 'horny' in dutch, and something like 'super' or 'cool' or 'top' in German.It's probably a german product, for the name really sucks!

    Or maybe they're just technosexuals?
  • 5 Hide
    maaksel , June 7, 2009 3:00 PM
    TindytimOr maybe they're just technosexuals?


    mmm... technosexuals...
  • -1 Hide
    apache_lives , June 7, 2009 4:47 PM
    sorry but my shop front sells there basic stuff and like corsair and other "basic" models, there ram failed at a rate of maybe ~15% in 6 months compared to kingston at less then ~5%

    ill stick to kingston thankyou
  • -1 Hide
    lucuis , June 7, 2009 6:16 PM
    apache_livessorry but my shop front sells there basic stuff and like corsair and other "basic" models, there ram failed at a rate of maybe ~15% in 6 months compared to kingston at less then ~5%ill stick to kingston thank you


    Seems odd to see a failure rate that high. I'm thinking it's either a very bad case of you got all the bad ones, or it's user error. I speak of course of the dreaded static monster.
  • 1 Hide
    zendax , June 7, 2009 7:05 PM
    While I currently have Corsair memory in my system, Geil is my favorite brand because they always offer quality RAM at reasonable prices. This isn't always true at the highest end (as you can clearly see from THG's recent test of high end DDR3 kits), but unlike other memory manufacturers, it seems with Geil you buy the cheapest part and still get the same great quality.
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , June 8, 2009 12:32 AM
    lucuisSeems odd to see a failure rate that high. I'm thinking it's either a very bad case of you got all the bad ones, or it's user error. I speak of course of the dreaded static monster.


    All normal, and we used to stock TwinMos ram till it became epic - some of there laptop DDR1 would have a 50 50 chance of working it was that bad, and no not static or anything, otherwise the kingston sticks would come back in the same proportions etc

    Also see bad batches of generic (lemel, transcend), but super generic stuff like rambo (LOL) has a rate similar to kingston - doing so well concidering

    We know how companies products behave simply by seeing hundreds of machines being built and what comes back - when you see the invoice of whats in a system you get the general idea of what is "most likely wrong" just like when nvidia (or its partners) had bad batches of products - 8600, 8400, and lately the 9800GTX+'s all failing - you start to see a patern etc.
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , June 8, 2009 12:35 AM
    zendaxWhile I currently have Corsair memory in my system, Geil is my favorite brand because they always offer quality RAM at reasonable prices. This isn't always true at the highest end (as you can clearly see from THG's recent test of high end DDR3 kits), but unlike other memory manufacturers, it seems with Geil you buy the cheapest part and still get the same great quality.


    Have had great luck with high end Corsair, not with there low end stuff although most of there generic stuff is most likely rebadged, and we sell it as parts more then in systems so more chance the customer f***s it (especially around that area - everyone claims to know something about hardware, where as they dont know squat)
  • 0 Hide
    puddleglum , June 8, 2009 1:13 PM
    It would be interesting to see the percentages of RAM chips that fail in this tester. Also, what do they do with them to send them back through again? Are those the ones folks here got that died in 6 months?
  • 0 Hide
    misry , June 8, 2009 2:54 PM
    I've got a 2G set,(4x512) of GEIL that I bought back when 2G was overkill. I've lent them out and got them returned a couple of times and they just keep plugging along. Currently in a Linux machine brightening up the interior with orange heat spreaders.
  • 0 Hide
    Kill@dor , June 8, 2009 3:09 PM
    Thats some good information to know...
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , June 8, 2009 4:50 PM
    Only GeIL and Kingston have those machines? That must make them very expensive if only two companies in the world use them. Or is it more likely that the chip manufacturers themselves normally use these machines? Companies like Crucial and Corsair may have the fab plant run the chips through this setup, while Kingston and GeIL decided to do it themselves?
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , June 8, 2009 9:12 PM
    more likely kingston and geil dont make there own memory chips and rather just select the PCB, memory modules its self and the timings to sell them at etc like most companies (other the the big ones - Samsung etc)
  • 0 Hide
    flinxsl , June 10, 2009 12:18 AM
    hellwigOnly GeIL and Kingston have those machines? That must make them very expensive if only two companies in the world use them. Or is it more likely that the chip manufacturers themselves normally use these machines? Companies like Crucial and Corsair may have the fab plant run the chips through this setup, while Kingston and GeIL decided to do it themselves?


    almost every integrated circuit goes through this kind of testing before it is sold
  • 0 Hide
    flinxsl , June 10, 2009 12:20 AM
    this is why this testing is needed:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve