Why are Macs so picky with RAM?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Hexley, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Hexley macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    Why are Intel Macs so picky with RAM? I remember back in the PPC days PC ram will work on a Mac even if it is not certified to work on a Mac.

    Today, it's hit or miss with non-certified RAM modules.

    I always thought Macs wholly ran on commodity PC hardware.
  2. xekret macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2012
    I upgraded my 2011 iMac with PNY mac certified ram and it would just have problems. I switched to crucial and everything works great. Not sure if the PNY was faulty but it was frustrating having to change the RAM all those times.
  3. bliggs macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2012
    Broken Arrow
    I've used Crucial in the past as well with great results. I have also used RAMJet but they are quite a bit more expensive. They do specialize in RAM for MAC's and guarantee it to work or your money back.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    You can use any good quality RAM modules that meet the spec of that particular Macintosh. If you buy from a place that sells rubbish, then don't expect it to work. If you buy RAM that doesn't meet the specs of your Mac, then don't expect it to work.

    If you buy from one of many reliable sellers, and make sure that you buy the right RAM, you'll be fine. You can save lots of money by buying from a reliable seller instead of buying from Apple directly (or from Dell, HP etc. directly, it's the same principle). That's what I do, and never had problems. You can save a tiny little more by buying from unreliable sellers who sell unreliable memory. Not worth it.
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    On the contrary, some of the PowerPC Macs were extraordinarily difficult with generic RAM. There was a whole range of PowerBook G4s that used processor-slewing in Sleep mode, and wreaked havoc with standard DDR333 RAM modules.

    The issue, as usual with Apple, is that when they publish a spec, the firmware checks the RAM very closely to the spec. So if a generic RAM assembler has cut corners and failed to write all of the expected configuration data to the module's SPD values, then the Mac will fail it. How do you know if corners have been cut? You don't other than buying RAM from a reputable supplier who guarantees compatibility.
  6. Mac_Max macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    My experience has been that Intel Macs pretty much work with any memory. The only times I've seen problems is when a memory producer has a bad batch (which consistently errors in memtest86) or makes low quality parts in general.
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    only Mac Pros are picky, everything else will take any RAM of the correct type. "Mac memory" is just normal memory with a price hike.
  8. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    In my experience.....

    iMacs are the most picky. Second are the minis....No too much trouble with Macbooks and Pros though....


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