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Does the 'brand name' of RAM matter?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by kmetal, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I am upgrading from 2GB to 4GB maybe as much as 8GB if i switch from windows xp to 7. Is there a performance difference among RAM brands? My home recording laptop (toshiba dual 1.6) is 5 yrs old, and is soon going to be my internet machine. i am holding off for a year on a new computer purchase, to get my money's worth, and see how usb 3.0 prevails. I got 4GB PNY brand in there now, as a test, and it works. it's half the price i paid at big box, from an online vendor. So before i finalize this purchase, i'm wondering if 'brand' matters performance-wise on RAM, and if so, how much/why? Thanks.
    This question stands for project studios, and pro applications.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You need to check your computer specs. If the ICH controller is not recent enough (and I bet it isn't) you will not be able to access more than 4GB of ram. PNY is a good brand. I use OCZ and GSkill these days.
  3. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    Biggest difference between brands is probably reliability. Check the specs, and reviews. If the RAM is rated similarly, it should perform similarly. I have used OCZ with no problems. I seem to get GSkill a lot lately - it seems pretty popular these days.
  4. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Yes, the brand name does matter. RAM, although scientific in nature, uses some voodoo and witchcraft to make it actually work. <---That explanation is a greatly simplified exxageration, of course. Before you buy, you *must* consult the motherboard manufacturer's webpage where it lists all known compatible RAM. Believe it or not, just matching the specs does *not* guarantee that it will work in your system. Remember, it's witchcraft and voodoo! ;)

    Basically, the name brands use better stuff to build with. RAM operates on such a low level that things like circuit board thickness and copper trace thickness really matter. The brand names use thicker boards and more copper, along with a few other things. They also run a complete test on each stick before it leaves the factory. Other companies will run a spot test on a batch of RAM. Name brands often have "forever" warranties, too!

    So spend the extra money to get good RAM. Brands like Crucial, Mushkin, GSkill, Corsair are all good. I'm using 8 Gigs of Gskill Ripjaw and couldn't be happier. Get sticks that have heat spreaders, too. They are the aluminum bars that cover the chips. Well worth it during a lengthy tracking session.*

    Go for 8 gig if your board will support it. Get it now while you have the money or you'll wish you did later.

    Also, download the program called "Memtest86+" It is located here:

    Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool

    Burn it to CD, and then put it into your drive and let the the computer boot from it upon next startup. It will test your RAM for you. It can be as complete or basic as you like. The complete test of 8 Gigs of RAM can take overnight if you use all the tests.

    * Remember, the heat must be evacuated from the box itself, so get good, quiet fans! Fluid bearings or magnetic bearings make the least noise.
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Let me just state again that unless your memory controller can handle more ram it doesn't matter a rat's a$$ about OS or cpu or brand of DDR. It won't show up and sometimes you won't get past the post screen either.
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys, i got alot to look into starting w/ whatever the ICH controller is. Given this is a 'last call' upgrade, on a personal recording computer, i doubt i will put any more than the minimum/moderate investment into this RAM purchase. Will certainly consider the quality, and interesting features of RAM mentioned, in my new Computer's purchase. It's late to the point of being early right now (timewise, 5:30am), but i am tiredly thinking that, since my computer came w/ a vista upgrade, which i declined, that it is equipped to handle more than the 3GB media center can access. Gimmie a few days, i need to look at this stuff w/ fresh 'not fried' eyes. Thanks!
    I've got some new ammo for the studio i work at's ageing computer tho! Alright!
  7. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Hey...roll your own computer! That way you get exactly what you want. Not as cheap as ready-made, but much better quality.

    Start here:
    The Ars System Guide: September 2010 Edition

    I usually build some variant of the Budget box for my DAW needs! A better mobo/CPU/RAM combo and more hard drive space makes for a great DAW.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The ICH controller is part of the chipset. The fact your computer came with a Vista option is completely meaningless so don't get distracted by unrelated information. Remember my last post that stated it didn't matter what the OS is. What is the brand and model designation of your computer and I can tell you what it is.
  9. mdb

    mdb Active Member

    If your RAM has built-on heatsinks then the brand will also matter for the sake of quality cooling fins. The newer, faster RAM produces a lot of heat and if they don't dissipate that heat properly, they will shut down and your computer will run without the failed ones, but not necessarily tell you. You'll think you're running with 8GB, but maybe 4GB overheated and stopped...
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think it will be rather a moot point from the age of the computer in question. Though good for general information for folks.
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Toshiba Satellite A105-S4384, Model NO. PSAA8U-IL502K. Shoulda said that first.
    As far as the diy build idea, i don't have the time to dedicate to it, between summing up a studio build, learning their DAW of choice (not mine), booking, recording clients. But its not out of the question someday.
    The laptop in question is a home recording machine. Anything heavier than a 12trk demo w/ low 'lamency', i'll do at the studio. Just want my machine to have the most RAM it can take while it transitions into an entertainment computer. Thanks, the info i've learned will apply to more than just my home computer!
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    4GB DDR2 is your max with that chipset. The memory controller can't handle more and it won't even recognize it. Sorry.
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Glad i don't have to waste money! yeah baby! gonna get the 4gb online for the same price as one stick at big box and keep lovin it! Thanks!

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