While it’s hard to judge long-term reliability, the use of these ICs and modest number of user reviews that complain of actual hardware failure suggest that OLOy DIMMs should last as long as those from other brands. The only real downer we can see is that OLOy’s weak “lifetime” warranty and short history make long-term support an uncertain proposition. However, in real life, RAM is so cheap that many people who see 3+ year old RAM fail are just going to order a new kit, rather than send in their modules and wait weeks to get replacements.
If you've been shopping for DDR4 RAM, you've probably noticed incredibly low prices on OLOy-branded products. Considering that the OLOy name is pretty new -- it just launched in 2018 --, you're probably wondering if it's really a bright idea to trust these DIMMs. Everyone likes to save money on components, but if you end up with serious problems, it’s no bargain. To find out whether OLOy RAM is worth considering, we did some digging, spoke with company reps and tested a couple of the company’s kits
OLOy History and Availability
After five years of establishing itself as an OEM module supplier, Chunwell introduced its OLOy brand in 2018. A company spokesperson told us that all of OLOy’s products are made in Taiwan, where Chunwell also manufactures modules for other brands. In the U.S., you can find its DRAM modules selling on both Amazon and Newegg. In China, you’ll find its products on Alibaba.
On Newegg, OLOy prices range from $49 for a 16GB, dual-channel kit of DDR4-2400 to $249 for a 64GB set of DDR-3000. What’s particularly impressive is that, at press time, a 32GB kit of DDR4-3200 was going for only $99 on Newegg, which is about $10 less than the cheapest name-brand competitor we could find and $30 to $60 less than most. It also has some unique-looking DIMMs in its Warhawk line, where the heat spreaders look like wings, have RGB lights and come in a variety of interesting colors including red and teal.
OLOy Hardware: Industry-Standard ICs
Digging into the hardware, we found that the OLOy WarHawk memory we recently reviewed uses SpecTek ICs on printed circuit boards (PCBs) manufactured in Taiwan by Hsien Jinn. Though most of us consider SpecTek to be the discount brand of Micron, its ICs have appeared on everything from our recent Corsair 64GB kit to G.Skill’s low-cost Ripjaws V DDR4-3200. A second, lower-priced kit we tested uses lower-cost Hynix ICs which were also similar to the budget offerings of better-known brands.
We liked the OLOy WarHawk memory we tested, because of its great overclocking capability and high speeds. In all of our tests the WarHawk either kept pace with or outright bested competitors such as the Adata Spectrix D80 and Patriot Viper Steel.
We also tested the lower-specked OLOy Owl kit, which is not yet sold in the U.S. Its cheaper ICs had similar latency and overclocking performance to Patriot’s value-priced Viper Steel. It turns out that both kits use the same low-cost ICs.
What Users are Saying
We could test a dozen OLOy kits, but we can never account for all the potential issues a consumer could encounter. That’s why looking at user reviews can be helpful, particularly when you don’t know if you can trust a new brand. The good news is that, putting aside some user confusion about how to use newer RAM with older CPUs and how to overclock it, the number of real complaints is very low.
Looking at Newegg Reviews of the 32GB DDR4-3200 Warhawk kit we tested, two complaints appeared to come from users whose older-model AMD CPUs couldn’t support four ranks of memory at this data rate (DDR4-3000 was once popular with AMD users due to boot failure or operational instability at DDR4-3200). Many of those systems were stable at DDR4-3200 after installing two single-rank DIMMs, and it’s fairly easy to confuse the stability limit of one rank per channel with that of one DIMM per channel. Filled with 8GB per rank, this 32GB kit contains two 16GB dual-rank DIMMs, and applies the same stress to the memory controller as a four-DIMM kit of single-rank modules. Please see our PC Memory 101 for additional info on ranks.
To eliminate the rank-vs-DIMM confusion, we turned our attention to a 16GB kit that contains only two single-rank DIMMs. The most frequent complaint concerned its lack of RGB software, but OLOy is upfront about the fact that its DIMMs rely on motherboard RGB software to change those settings. The next most common complaint was a variation of users not understanding that they need to enable XMP to run the memory’s XMP profile.
Out of 41 reviews of the WarHawk 16GB kit ($67), we saw a mere three (7 percent) that appeared to indicate a faulty DIMM: For comparison, TeamGroup’s NightHawk RGB ($80) showed three likely hardware defects out of 69 reviews (4% failure rate) along with several likely errant installations, Patriot’s Viper RGB ($92) showed one XMP incompatibility on a Ryzen 2400 out of a mere 13 reviews, and Corsair’s Vengeance RGB Pro ($98) showed only one bad kit out of 38 reviews (3%) plus a single failure of the user to set XMP. It’s important to remember that users who experienced a problem are more likely to post a review so failures are probably over-represented in any list.
Yet, no matter how low the failure rate, every company produces products that are either defective out of the box or fail later on. That’s where company warranties come in, and for OLOy, the devil is in the details. While OLOy’s product listings claim the modules have a “limited lifetime warranty,” a company spokesperson told us that it provides a brand new product as replacement during the first year, the same but a likely refurbished product as replacement in years two and three and, after that, you can send in your RAM but may have to pay for repairs.
Our consolations are that good memory rarely fails, and that any failures that do occur usually happen within the first three years. Additional assurance comes from OLOy’s use of high-quality components.
So, should you feel comfortable buying OLOy RAM? For the most part, the answer is a resounding yes, because the company uses industry-standard ICs, which are the same as those found in many of its better-known competitors. In our tests, OLOy RAM was at least as fast as its direct competitors so performance should not be a problem.