Major RAM Help Needed Here

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by vand0576, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. vand0576 macrumors member


    Aug 11, 2006
    mpls, mn
    OK, I am sorting out how to do this all in my head and I have quite the headache. I have never owned a mac, and I don't know if I should be spending the kind of money they (Apple) wants me to to get the RAM I need.

    I would be using the student discount, so that's all well and good. But I would really like to max out the iMac 20" I plan on purchasing with the full 2GB RAM.

    I have a few options and my worries with each are following them.

    1) Buy the 2 GB upgrade from Apple, at a cost of $270
    What worries me here is that this is Apple installed RAM, and is probably of the highest quality that they require for their machines, I feel by installing RAM other than Apple-factory-installed RAM I may be doing myself a disservice.​

    2) Upgrade the 512MB stick Apple supplies to a 1GB ($90) and then install my own 1GB stick (cost roughly $84 at for a total cost of about $174
    This option is vastly cheaper, almost by $100 ballpark. My fear in doing this is that there will be some sort of problem with mixing and matching two types of RAM. Does it matter if the two sticks are not the same Make/Model?​

    3) Take the iMac as is with the 512MB stick and replace it with a bundled 2GB RAM (2 x 1GB sticks) from for a price roughly $174
    Again, the price vastly preferred to option 1, however I worry about performance of "third-party" RAM again and wonder if I would be missing out on the iMac's true power.​

    So essentially I am asking you, the Mac community, two questions:

    1) Is Apple RAM (and yes I am aware it's Samsung-made) really where its at and I should most definately buy it from them?
    2) Is there a problem with mixing and matching RAM of different makes and models? (I am aware I should only be purchasing PC5300 RAM and not questioning the mixing of other interfaces or "speeds" of RAM, i'm talking about the maker mostly)

    If anyone knows anything about RAM, I would love some help. I'm trying to buy my first ever Mac and I need direction.
  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Go with option #3. Apple RAM is way need to go there. Lots of people are having success with cheap RAM in the Intel Macs...the new Macs don't seem to be as picky about RAM as the PPC Macs were (and even then, buying RAM from Apple was usually a bad idea).

    Go with the base Apple RAM and buy yourself a matched pair of 1 GB sticks for maximum performance. You'll have to keep the stock 512 MB stick in a drawer in case you have to troubleshoot your machine/send it back it to Apple for repair...they'll often try to blame third-party RAM for any problems you have, so you need to have a little bit Apple RAM to put back into the machine for these purposes only. (Also run the machine for a bit with the stock RAM before you swap it out for your 2 GB pair just to make sure everything is running fine as you received it.)
  3. sulhaq macrumors regular


    Jul 29, 2006
    I would go with option # 3. Seeing as if you don't buy standard products from Apple not only is the shipment delayed but you cannot exchange them at a retailer if problems arise and have to painstakingly wait 2 more weeks for them to recieve your defective product, acknowledge it, customize a new one and send it out. It just takes too much time. And as noted before apple ram is way overpriced.

    So just buy a standard machine and get 2x 1gb sticks from newegg.
  4. mahonmeister macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    I went with Samsung Origional from OWC for my PowerBook G4 and for the family mini.

    You can use third party RAM and it will work fine. As for quality and reliability, others will have to fill you in on their experiences.

    Letting Apple install the RAM will give you peace-of-mind but at a high price. I would get 1GB from Apple and then purchase the rest myself. Remember you can still get Samsung RAM from 3rd party sellers.

    Edit: I see others feel more strongly about matched pairs for higher performance. If you have Apple install 1 stick of Samsung and then install the other stick yourself (Samsung), would they not get the performance of matched pairs?

    From what I have read, performance gains are around 5% with matched pairs.
  5. socokid macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2003
    Silliness. Apple RAM is not only covered under AppleCare (bonus), but also has the least amount of failures out of any RAM I have every purchased. As a technician this is merely a fact, I've seen it a hundred times. And Apple doesn't "blame" third party RAM as being bad unless it is in fact, bad RAM. Simple tests can prove this. (kernel panic with bad third party RAM, doesn't kernel panic with Apple RAM, running diagnostics fail on the RAM tests with third party RAM, doesn't with Apple RAM, etc...)

    So, if you want to blame any issues you are having on the machine while completely discounting the fact that it could be the third party RAM, go ahead, switch it out before you have a technician look at it, you will only be hurting yourself by possiibly "hiding" the real problem. Why anyone would do that, or even suggest it, is beyond me.

    Sorry, it's just that your post makes no sense at all. If you want to chance it with third party RAM, that's just fine. Most third party RAM chips have a warranty so if the third party RAM is determined to be bad (even by an Apple technician as installing third party RAM does not void any warranty for the rest of the machine), you can have it replaced, no biggie, but to circumvent troubleshooting it by swapping out the third party RAM before troubleshooting seems stupid IMO. If you want to pay a little extra to have it covered by Apple, and to know that its failure rate is extremely rare, also fine, it's up to you.
  6. slackersonly macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2006
    I bought an iMac this May with the standard 512mb ram and purchased a 1gb ram stick from DataMem with lifetime warranty. Cake to install.
    So I would recommend #3 but to search for the best deal at multiple ram vendors as they can change frequently.
  7. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I would go with either or OWC's Factory original Samsung RAM.

    If you buy through Newegg, there is no specific Apple compatibility guarantee, so you must know what you're doing.

    Newegg does carry some good prices on Crucial ( Micron ) RAM, but
    again they do not specifically guarantee Apple Compatibility.
    If you choose the wrong DIMMS, you'll be stuck paying return shipping and restocking fees.
  8. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    You seem to have misunderstood my post. My point was simply that if you have a problem with your machine and you call AppleCare, one of the first things they'll have you do is check if it's the RAM. By keeping the Apple RAM, you can immediately troubleshoot yourself by popping the Apple RAM back in. If you still have a problem, you should go through Apple to resolve it. If not, deal with your RAM vendor.

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