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Online stores sell DDR3 memory from companies like Komputerbay for a fraction of the price that Kingston, Samsung, Crucial, OWC, etc. charge (not mentioning Apple OEM).

Most reviews are good, but some people report it not working. That's not actually a problem, since Amazon will give you a refund; so the important question is:

  • With RAM, if it works initially and passes hardware tests, does that mean it's likely that it won't have future problems?

(Reviews only represent a fraction of the people that bought the items, so if it works right away they're likely to leave a positive one and not come back to edit it if things go wrong months or years down the line.)

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    Crucial is a subsidiary of Micron, which is a DRAM manufacturer, i.e. they use their own chips for memory modules and thus are in the category of Kingston and Samsung. – lupincho Dec 12 '12 at 18:02
  • Anecdotally speaking, I've installed Crucial RAM in a number of machines and never had a problem with it. – Daniel Dec 12 '12 at 18:12
  • @Baumr: I am not sure if that is available in the UK (assuming that you are in the UK, given the Amazon UK link in your post), but in the US, Crucial has money back guarantee if you use the Memory advisor tool on their website (where you choose manufacturer, model number etc) and you end up with incompatible memory. Similarly to Daniel Lawson, I've also had good luck with Crucial. – lupincho Dec 12 '12 at 18:20
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I have used RAM from "tier 1" vendors, as well as from "value" vendors like the ones that you've mentioned. I've had very few sticks "go bad over time" or "just die", but I tend to buy DIMMs (dual in-line memory module) appropriate for the application.

This last bit is key: RAM from a vendor who manufactures a quality product (good solder joints, board integrity, etc.) typically has problems when used outside of its intended parameters, generally defined by inconsistencies in speed, timing, and latency (the gap of time between when the computer attempts to read/write/act on the RAM and the resulting change).

You can install slower RAM in a faster computer. In fact, many computers tend to run slower, adjusting themselves to the RAM's timing. If you overclock any part of the system (processor, RAM, video card, etc.), the component needs to handle the additional thermal demand placed on it. RAM that cannot dissipate heat effectively enough will eventually have future problems, as the continual exposure to too much heat causes some parts to melt or degrade.

Just because "Vendor X" has RAM priced at an absurdly low (or high!) price doesn't mean that it's a good deal. Just make sure the RAM meets your system's requirements. As @lupincho's comment states, using the vendor's "configurator" will get you the appropriate components for your system, and a much greater chance the vendor will stand behind their warranty.

  • Thanks, perfect reply! So to confirm; if I'm not over clocking, and just throwing a "value" RAM module that is supported by my chipset — I'm in the clear? Also, how would this fit in with my question (and answer) here? – Baumr Dec 18 '12 at 12:58
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    Any stick of RAM that meets the minimum specs for your computer will work. There is no guarantee that a stick will not develop problems over time. A slight imperfection in a solder joint on a "name brand" stick slowly develops thermal fatigue, and the stress builds over three or four years, until the joint breaks and the stick now has the dreaded "future problem", while a stick of "value" RAM operates far longer. Who knows what's in the cards. – TomUnderhill Dec 19 '12 at 3:50

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