What's bad about bad RAM?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by pighuddle, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. pighuddle macrumors member


    Oct 26, 2003
    While in a buying frenzy I went for the "free" RAM (Lifetime warranty either Samsung or Elixir) when I ordered my computer from PowerMax. Was that a mistake? If the RAM's "bad" how does it manifest itself? From what I can tell when RAM is bad the symptoms are fairly dramatic. If it shows up and doesn't cause panics I'm thinking it should be ok. Is that correct or could bad RAM effect performance too? Are Samsung and Elixir substandard brands? -thanks
  2. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    yeah if your ram is bad it should manifest itself rather quickly either in kernel panicks or not even showing up

    i believe apple uses samsung.
  3. Nspace macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Since I am new to macs I am not sure of all the disadvantages bad ram may have. In terms of pc's bad ram or just generic cam will often not run at agressive or the fastest ram timings. If it does not, you have to lower the ram timings for all of the ram installed to capacitate the lowest. This can reduce performance. I have bought generic ram in the past and in 2 instances I have had problems where the particular chips havent been compatible with the motherboard i was using, either causing instability with the system or causing it not to post.

    Ever since I have tried to stick with quality names such as crucial, corsair, and kingston for example. A little extra can go along way.
  4. Macmaniac macrumors 68040


    Bad RAM can equal the computer not booting correctly, getting stuck on boot, and freezing in programs. A lifetime warranty can go a long way.
  5. pighuddle thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 26, 2003

    So in other words it should be pretty self-evident right away.

    Nspace. Like I say I already bought the RAM From what I can tell it's not 'crap' or generic ram but it's also not the name brands I've heard of.
  6. Golem macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2003
    Most times.

    But not allways.

    We had a machine that was flawless for 12 months then over the course of 3 months started becoming unreliable. Unreliable= crashing once a week. So not exactly problematic but for a server running (24/7) that had previously run 3 months between OS upgrades without restarting it was a problem. We then started having data issues showing up. Reinstalled OS several times,cleared PRAM ran all the tests etc, No improvement. Since all the problems were fairly subtle a few months went past while this went on. Eventually we pulled all the ram and replaced it and all the problems went away.
  7. AssassinOfGates macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    A cardboard box.
    Its not always obvious. When I was troubleshooting the airport problem, first thing I checked was the hardware and discovered that the Viking ram I've been using for 2 years is bad. (Tho it was a software problem in the end) Meh. Works flawlessly in OS 9, 10.2, and 10.3 so I really don't care. YMMV
  8. jared_kipe macrumors 68030


    Dec 8, 2003
    "bad" ram can also overheat and cause problems. You can put it through a ringer with your hardware test cd. Just put it through an extended test. If it shows nothing but you still suspect, you can take it to an apple store where they can run an extended test.

    I do believe memory takes the blame for some problems that might not be memory related, its almost as common as the "fix your premissions" excuses.
  9. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    bad ram on a mac will have the same effect as bad ram on a PC just more so since mac are ram hungery
  10. kanker macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2003
    Hey, I think I saw this exact question on another board, my exact answer -

    Bad RAM is becoming a bigger problem as Apple shrinks the tolerances for RAM's performance. Bad RAM will generally result in kernal panics. When I buy RAM, I get Crucial, since they not only guarantee the RAM, but also guarantee that it will work with your particular computer for life. That said, if they're throwing in free Samsung RAM, I'd feel pretty confident in the RAM's quality, as I believe that Samsung is one of the vendors that Apple uses for RAM. I don't know anything about Elixir, so I won't try to speculate.

    :) :D ;)
  11. pighuddle thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 26, 2003
    That's a good idea. I guess I've never had bad ram or any big hardware problems (knocking on wood) so I don't think I've checked out the hardware test cd and didn't know there was a ram tester utility. So that's included w the system disks etc. huh? Lern sump'm new ery day.

    and yes kanker, pighuddle = dix (from the DP forum) and vice versa. ...are you stalking me?

  12. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Buy from Crucial, that is where I get mine. My brother's eMac had some trouble with bad RAM. Sent it back, got a replacement, and voila! Fast eMac. Same with my PowerBook, but without the bad RAM part. All you need to do is run some diagnostic software. Or, I've found that using Xbench (a benchmarking utility) works well too in discovering RAM that works, but but well enough.

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