Is 'top tier' memory worth the premium?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Do you guys think that top tier memory is worth the premium?



Do you play it safe and buy the 'top brand' memory, or do you save a bomb and go for the 'no name' generic stuff.



The reason that I ask, is that I normally only buy 'top brand' memory, but I recently bought eight 512MB sticks of 'generic' memory ? and to be honest I'm delighted with it. Exactly the same timings as the 'top brand' stuff, but about half the price that Crucial wanted.



Did I get lucky, or is 'top brand' memory a waste of money?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    i've bought nothing but generic and never had a problem. plus, from many generic memory places, if memory doesn't work right or fails, it is replaced for free, often including shipping charges.



    Granted, the warranty is only 30 days or so, so if something happens 5 years down the road, i'd be SOL. I would love to hear stories of memory working great and then failing after a year or two, since those are the only times where I see the expensive stuff having an advantage, since it usually has a lifetime warranty.



    But pay three times more for a chip that is 98% likely to work exactly as a generic one? You won't catch me doing that for a general-use computer! (servers, mission-critical stuff excepted)
  • Reply 2 of 11
    A friend of mine just had several frustrating months of weird, intermittent problems with his G5 iMac that eventually, after many hours on the phone to Apple, was diagnosed as being caused by bad memory.



    I'm sure there's a moral there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is as the memory he'd bought (on my recommendation) came from Crucial.



    I was giving him occasional tech hints e.g. unplug everything you can, try creating a new user profile etc. and the only reason I didn't tell him to take out extra RAM was because it was from Crucial. A lesson learned for me anyway.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Crucial is just great, and not exceptionally expensive.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,131member
    The top tier memory is good when you know you're going to be overclocking your PC or you have to have bulletproof reliability.



    I prefer the midgrade stuff like Kingston.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    "Top tier" in my opinion relates to getting RAM with built-in buffering or ECC. There are most certainly benefits to getting better RAM, but for non-mission-critical applications mid-grade or even reasonably cheap RAM is fine. I'd stay away from bargain-basement stuff, though. I've had problems with it in the past.



    The brand name is pretty inconsequential. What matters more is the maker of the individual RAM chips that are soldered onto the RAM board. If you can recognize the manufacturer of these ram chips, that's usually a good thing. A lot of the generic el-cheapo stuff uses RAM from shady manufacturers. One of the popular ways for said players to do business is to package major player silicon that didn't meet major player specifications. In other words, you could be buying the modules that Samsung thought weren't good enough to go into their product. One way to sort-of mitigate this problem, if you're buying el cheapo RAM, is to buy a speed that's rated faster than your application requires.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Splinemodel

    "Top tier" in my opinion relates to getting RAM with built-in buffering or ECC.



    what does that stuff do?
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Quote:

    Originally posted by progmac

    what does that stuff do?



    hardware error handling, essentially.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    crusadercrusader Posts: 1,129member
    I usually just go with the cheapest memory you can get with a lifetime warranty. Honestly you could probably get away with no-name stuff, but I like the mental assurance a lifetime warranty offers (esp when I buy 1 gig sticks).
  • Reply 9 of 11
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Splinemodel

    hardware error handling, essentially.



    While ECC is for error detection and correction, buffering in terms of memory, isn't. Buffering is a technique that allows more memory chips to be used on a memory bus and is only compatible with computers designed to use it. It's a specialized set of line drivers that needs to be both on all the memory controller and on each memory module. It is normally used on servers because of this, offering 64GB and higher in some systems.



    If you have a computer that needs buffered memory, then there is no choice. It is generally that way with ECC too, computers that don't require ECC often don't accept it, others require ECC. Some chipsets go either way, but it seems that it is hard wired one way or the other on most computers. The new Powermacs appear to offer it either way. I think they might be the first non-server Macs that accept ECC, and they seem to be among a very small number of computers that will accept ECC or non-ECC memory, though for obvious reasons, I expect that you must use only one kind or another in any given machine.



    I personally go with computers that can use ECC memory whenever possible and use ECC memory with it. With my Windows PCs, the ECC based systems that I have just don't crash or BSOD. There are other reasons that make this so, but I believe ECC is one of the "prongs of attack" to maximizing stability. It basically corrects against stray radiation from randomly flipping bits, particularly helping program instructions and pointer locations, even the memory chips might have some unstable isotopes.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    kaiwaikaiwai Posts: 246member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Messiah

    Do you guys think that top tier memory is worth the premium?



    Do you play it safe and buy the 'top brand' memory, or do you save a bomb and go for the 'no name' generic stuff.



    The reason that I ask, is that I normally only buy 'top brand' memory, but I recently bought eight 512MB sticks of 'generic' memory ? and to be honest I'm delighted with it. Exactly the same timings as the 'top brand' stuff, but about half the price that Crucial wanted.



    Did I get lucky, or is 'top brand' memory a waste of money?




    Well for me, I've always gone for either Kingston or Apacher; which ever is the cheapest; with that being said, however, I did get some low latency memory, and personally, I think the issue has to do with whether you want that extra bit of security, but with that being said; install the memory, run the hardware testing tool as to test the whole memory, 9/10, if the hardware test passes, the memory is all ok.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    so what is high low and mid tier memory sources

    i went to ramdeal or like places to find my 1g ram for my ibook g4 worked fine how about a list of examples
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