OWC ram the cheapest? How reliable?

macguy93

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
1
Hi everyone,

I am finally upgrading my ram in my 12-core from 12 gigs to 48gigs. From what i have been able to conclude, OWC is the cheapest around.. Is that true? I apologize if i am repeating an existing topic, but i cant seem to find anything.

OWC is charging roughly $450

Also I read that sometimes their ram has issues and shows errors in logs and essentially stops working.. How true is this? Should I be hesitant of buying ram from them?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,173
9,849
California
It is hard to judge RAM reliability from forum posts like this. You are going to get three of us saying their OWC RAM died, and three more of us saying their OWC RAM works great.

I will just say this... RAM is now a commodity item and as long as the RAM you buy meets the specs and the vendor will honor the warranty, just get whatever is cheapest. OWC is normally one of the most expensive and I see no reason to pay their price premium for RAM. Despite all their advertising, there is nothing special about their RAM.

Find your specs and shop around at places like Crucial or Newegg.
 
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macguy93

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
1
Thanks for your reply! I uploaded a picture of the ram that my computer uses. What is the difference between UDIMMs and RDIMMs? what do i need to look out for when buying ram?

I also cant seem to find anything on newegg, and crucial seems way too expensive, unless im not doing a proper search?
 

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macguy93

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Jul 30, 2012
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Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
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The cheapest solution is non-ECC unbuffered DDR3 1333MHz at $33 per 8GB.

Next up is Quad-Ranked ECC Registered memory. If you use 4 per CPU you won't get speeds over 1066MHz. You can get these for as little as $48 for 8GB.

Dual-rank Registered ECC is $58 for 8GB. If you want to use 4 per CPU this is the best choice because although RDIMMs are ~1% slower than UDIMMs, when you use more than 1 DIMM per channel UDIMM performance is 8% worse than RDIMMs.

Dual-rank unbuffered ECC is the best choice for just 6-DIMMs, starting at $61 per 8GB DIMM.

OWC's is ECC unbuffered, although it was formerly ECC Registered as 8GB UDIMMs weren't available until the end of last year.

Pricing from SuperBiiz.

Just to note, that while I mention the speed differences you won't notice them. More of an issue with a 24/7 server farm than a workstation. Even 1066Mhz vs. 1333MHz speeds aren't user noticeable and won't likely impact you.
 
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macguy93

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
1
The cheapest solution is non-ECC unbuffered DDR3 1333MHz at $33 per 8GB.

Next up is Quad-Ranked ECC Registered memory. If you use 4 per CPU you won't get speeds over 1066MHz. You can get these for as little as $48 for 8GB.

Dual-rank Registered ECC is $58 for 8GB. If you want to use 4 per CPU this is the best choice because although RDIMMs are ~1% slower than UDIMMs, when you use more than 1 DIMM per channel UDIMM performance is 8% worse than RDIMMs.

Dual-rank unbuffered ECC is the best choice for just 6-DIMMs, starting at $61 per 8GB DIMM.

OWC's is ECC unbuffered, although it was formerly ECC Registered as 8GB UDIMMs weren't available until the end of last year.

Pricing from SuperBiiz.

Just to note, that while I mention the speed differences you won't notice them. More of an issue with a 24/7 server farm than a workstation. Even 1066Mhz vs. 1333MHz speeds aren't user noticeable and won't likely impact you.

Thanks Umbongo for your reply!!

will this ram work in my 12-core: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-1333M...rds=PC3-10600E,+1333+MHz,+DDR3+desktop+memory

And how good is that brand and type?

Also i should include.. I will need to assign 3 gigs per CPU for adobe after effects, hence the whole reason why im putting in 64 or 48 gigs of ram.. so what type of ram would i need for that type of application?

Thanks again!
 
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JesterJJZ

macrumors 68020
Jul 21, 2004
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OWC is a pretty Mac specific dealer. I've bought from them for years and trust their products wholeheartedly. Wouldn't think twice about getting my RAM there.
 
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Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
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England
Corsair is a top brand for memory, you won't go wrong using them and yes it's the same memory on both sites.

Pretty much any memory is "safe" to buy as long as it matches the specifications. Like so many computer parts you really want to be looking at the warranty and customer support experience with the company you buy from, which is why so many like OWC.
 
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macguy93

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
1
Corsair is a top brand for memory, you won't go wrong using them and yes it's the same memory on both sites.

Pretty much any memory is "safe" to buy as long as it matches the specifications. Like so many computer parts you really want to be looking at the warranty and customer support experience with the company you buy from, which is why so many like OWC.
Okay that's what I was thinking. Just to confirm before I purchase, that ram will work in my 2012 12-core correct?

And is that ram ECC fully buffered?
 
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ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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OWC is not the cheapest supplier but they support the MAC and verifies that their RAM sticks will work in your computer.

DMS has been the least expensive supplier of high quality, burned in, highly reliable apple approved RAM.

I would not currently trust anything on amazon or ebay. There are a couple other quality suppliers mention here, none sells for less than DMS, who also provides excellent customer support. You can get lucky with others if you want to role the dice. Personally I'd wouldn't want to deal with cheap RAM issues just to save $20-$40.... but that may just be me.

RAM is basically a commodity, but the better suppliers at least sample test the RAM prior to sale, if they don't burn them in. Cheaper RAM suppliers often pass on seconds to you to test.
 
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macguy93

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Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
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I have been getting mixed opinions whether or not ECC registered RAM is really worth it. I hear that the errors that could occur i wont even notice, but i also if they do, they will give off a kernel error..? Im very confused what I would truly notice if an error ever were to occur. i am strongly aiming towards the Corsair 8GB XMS3 sticks, but at that price point, i don't think that they are ECC registered..

Thanks for all of the input you guys have supplied!
 
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ScottishCaptain

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
872
473
I am finally upgrading my ram in my 12-core from 12 gigs to 48gigs. From what i have been able to conclude, OWC is the cheapest around.. Is that true? I apologize if i am repeating an existing topic, but i cant seem to find anything.
I don't know if they're the cheapest, but their RAM works, and they have awesome customer service (beyond that of Apple IMHO). Every single machine I have ever needed RAM for, I've bought through OWC (and this is going back to the PowerPC 601 days).

Also I read that sometimes their ram has issues and shows errors in logs and essentially stops working.. How true is this? Should I be hesitant of buying ram from them?
I don't know what that is. 99% of the time their RAM is identical to the stuff Apple sells, because either company (OWC or Apple) tends to buy whatever is available on the market in sufficient quantities. Might be Micron RAM, Hynix, Samsung, etc.

The important thing is that OWC guarantees their RAM *will work* in your Macintosh. OWC is first and foremost a Mac company. They wouldn't have the excellent reputation they have today if they sold defective stuff.

I have been getting mixed opinions whether or not ECC registered RAM is really worth it. I hear that the errors that could occur i wont even notice, but i also if they do, they will give off a kernel error..? Im very confused what I would truly notice if an error ever were to occur. i am strongly aiming towards the Corsair 8GB XMS3 sticks, but at that price point, i don't think that they are ECC registered..
Apple has never shipped a Mac Pro without ECC RAM. This should tell you how important it is. Likewise, OWC doesn't actually sell non-ECC RAM, because running that crap in your Mac Pro is not recommended. You can do it if you want to be cheap and you want to run your Mac Pro out of spec, but it is not recommended anywhere (other then by people trying to save money) for this calibre of a machine.

ECC means that your Mac Pro can tell if something is wrong or broken in your RAM.

You said you want to run 48GB of RAM, so I'll run with that as an example. 48GB of RAM is approximately 48 * 1024 * 1024 * 1024 * 8 bits, equal to 412316860416 bits. No, I'm not pulling your leg. There are 412316860416 bits inside 48GB of RAM. Each one is either a 1 or a 0 at any given time.

Let's say ONE... Just one of those bits decides to go wonky for a split second and accidentally flips from a 1 to a 0.

With ECC RAM, your Mac Pro will detect this issue and correct it. You will likely see an error show up in Console.app, and the relevant memory stick will show up in System Profiler.app's memory section with the number of errors that have occurred.

Your system will however continue to work.

If you don't have ECC RAM, then there is no way for the Mac Pro to tell if something has gone wrong or not. This can lead to all sorts of unbelievably random behaviour that can sometimes be a huge pain in the butt to track down. Everything from data corruption to kernel panics can occur (and a kernel panic requires a hard restart to clear).

Without ECC RAM, you will NOT know if the RAM is failing or if something else is broken inside your machine. Your machine WILL begin to behave strangely, and this could have the consequences of even corrupting data on your hard drive (since if bits are being flipped in RAM and written to disk, there's no way to tell if the data is supposed to be like that or not).

Seriously, the simplest answer to all of this is to just buy your RAM from OWC. It's a good price for a solid product. The stuff is guaranteed to work and OWC has excellent customer service if something goes wrong (I have never personally had an issue with their RAM in the ~15 years I've been buying it from them). Install the stuff in your Mac Pro and get on with life.

If you buy something else and cheap out, it's going to bite you in the ass later on. You might spend hours or days trying to track down the issue, and then you're going to have to pull the incompatible RAM and ship it back- and god knows how the company you bought it from is going to handle the return, if they even let you exchange it.

-SC
 
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macguy93

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
1
I don't know if they're the cheapest, but their RAM works, and they have awesome customer service (beyond that of Apple IMHO). Every single machine I have ever needed RAM for, I've bought through OWC (and this is going back to the PowerPC 601 days).



I don't know what that is. 99% of the time their RAM is identical to the stuff Apple sells, because either company (OWC or Apple) tends to buy whatever is available on the market in sufficient quantities. Might be Micron RAM, Hynix, Samsung, etc.

The important thing is that OWC guarantees their RAM *will work* in your Macintosh. OWC is first and foremost a Mac company. They wouldn't have the excellent reputation they have today if they sold defective stuff.



Apple has never shipped a Mac Pro without ECC RAM. This should tell you how important it is. Likewise, OWC doesn't actually sell non-ECC RAM, because running that crap in your Mac Pro is not recommended. You can do it if you want to be cheap and you want to run your Mac Pro out of spec, but it is not recommended anywhere (other then by people trying to save money) for this calibre of a machine.

ECC means that your Mac Pro can tell if something is wrong or broken in your RAM.

You said you want to run 48GB of RAM, so I'll run with that as an example. 48GB of RAM is approximately 48 * 1024 * 1024 * 1024 * 8 bits, equal to 412316860416 bits. No, I'm not pulling your leg. There are 412316860416 bits inside 48GB of RAM. Each one is either a 1 or a 0 at any given time.

Let's say ONE... Just one of those bits decides to go wonky for a split second and accidentally flips from a 1 to a 0.

With ECC RAM, your Mac Pro will detect this issue and correct it. You will likely see an error show up in Console.app, and the relevant memory stick will show up in System Profiler.app's memory section with the number of errors that have occurred.

Your system will however continue to work.

If you don't have ECC RAM, then there is no way for the Mac Pro to tell if something has gone wrong or not. This can lead to all sorts of unbelievably random behaviour that can sometimes be a huge pain in the butt to track down. Everything from data corruption to kernel panics can occur (and a kernel panic requires a hard restart to clear).

Without ECC RAM, you will NOT know if the RAM is failing or if something else is broken inside your machine. Your machine WILL begin to behave strangely, and this could have the consequences of even corrupting data on your hard drive (since if bits are being flipped in RAM and written to disk, there's no way to tell if the data is supposed to be like that or not).

Seriously, the simplest answer to all of this is to just buy your RAM from OWC. It's a good price for a solid product. The stuff is guaranteed to work and OWC has excellent customer service if something goes wrong (I have never personally had an issue with their RAM in the ~15 years I've been buying it from them). Install the stuff in your Mac Pro and get on with life.

If you buy something else and cheap out, it's going to bite you in the ass later on. You might spend hours or days trying to track down the issue, and then you're going to have to pull the incompatible RAM and ship it back- and god knows how the company you bought it from is going to handle the return, if they even let you exchange it.

-SC

I Think you have convinced me to just stick with OWC, like you said they do have great customer service, which i have experienced the last couple days i have been asking them questions on live chat. Along with the product they offer, customer service goes a long way. If there willing to supply their customers with a 24/7 live chat, then that just shows their detection to providing a good product! Thanks again for your response, i think i can finally sleep at night now knowing that i didnt spend less money on crap that can potentially screw up my 4K machine! Whats another $100 when i already spent a good penny on the damn computer haha
 
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stix666

macrumors regular
Nov 13, 2005
223
25
I live in the UK. To buy 24Gb Ram will cost £300 - £400 (up to about $700 depending on how insane the money-printing becomes).

I'm going to take a risk by buying 1 stick of 8Gb corsair ram from Amazon. The worst that can happen without ECC is that there will be a malfunction that could be fixed by removing the RAM. Given it is less than a 1/3rd of the cost, I'm happy to make my Mac Pro a guinea pig here
 
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macguy93

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
1
I have a 2008 MP Octo and I use 16 GB of MemoryUSA RAM which was much cheaper than Kingston or OWC when purchased. Their lifetime warranty is excellent btw.
This is their deal on 48GB: http://www.memoryamerica.com/k6d31024721333au.html
Thanks for the great find! I might end up taking that route. Ram for that cheap that is ECC is what I have been looking for. How have your experiences been with their ram and customer service? Also, what is that brownish color on the heat sync?? (totally irrerleveant but im just wondering)
 
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gpzjock

macrumors 6502a
May 4, 2009
798
33
I bought 8GB of DDR2 800mhz EEC RAM from MemoryUSA in 2008 ($250) and another set of 8 in 2009 ($150). Like the Apple RAM it came with HUGE heat syncs attached and ran at 70-85ºc under load. 1 stick of the first batch went bad in 2010 and MemUSA replaced the whole batch of 4 modules for free (except the p&p $36). Another module from the '09 batch went bad in 2011 and they did the same again for p&p only.
Price wise Crucial wanted $500 a set in 2008 and Apple wanted nearly $900! :eek:
I can't fault the customer service or lifetime warranty, they have my undying faith and I was very impressed with their 'replace the lot' attitude. All the sets were matched pairs with consecutive manufacturer's serial numbers. :)

No idea why the heat spreaders on the new kit are brown, my ones are black, shiny and covered in fins.
 
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cvaldes

macrumors 68040
Dec 14, 2006
3,237
0
somewhere else
DMS has been the least expensive supplier of high quality, burned in, highly reliable apple approved RAM.

I would not currently trust anything on amazon or ebay. There are a couple other quality suppliers mention here, none sells for less than DMS, who also provides excellent customer support. You can get lucky with others if you want to role the dice. Personally I'd wouldn't want to deal with cheap RAM issues just to save $20-$40.... but that may just be me.
I've been purchasing RAM from DMS for 10+ years. Their prices are very competitive and they offer a lifetime warranty. Why pay more?

Heck, I won't even buy the "Apple approved" parts. I just buy the equivalent-spec'ed RAM and I have never returned a stick back to them. As mentioned before, these are commodity components.
 
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macguy93

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2012
149
1
Just as an update, i ended up just buying 32gigs of RAM from OWC. I bought 4 8GB modules. Just to confirm (as i will have the ram in the right slots for this to work) I can still use the existing ram in my mac pro (6X2gb sticks)? I will have 8 gigs in slot 1 and 2 and i will have 2gigs in slots 3 and 4? and vice versa for the other 4 slots.. I will be able to have 40gigs in my machine? The ram that is in the computer now is apples original ram and just and also my machine is a 2012 5,1.

Essentially the existing ram is the Hynix brand apple uses, that is also compatible with owc?

That sound right?

Again thanks for everyones helpful responses!
 
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