Will cheap RAM damage my Computer?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 17, 2006
I'm a relative novice when it comes to computer hardware. I will be purchasing a new Macbook in the next week or so. I want to upgrade the RAM to 2gb. I have searched the forums and haven't found anything relating to what I'm wondering. My question is this: if I buy cheap RAM and it turns out bad, will it damage my computer? or would I just need to replace the RAM? I know I can get G.Skill ram on Newegg for $80 a stick (much better than the $120 from crucial), and it has a lifetime warranty. So i wouldn't have too big of an issue with sending it back for replacements if it breaks. My problem would be if it damages my computer. Also, if it does damage my computer, I'm guessing Applecare would't cover it. Does anyone know otherwise? Thanks!


macrumors 6502
May 26, 2006
Yes it is possible, and it's not just cheap ram that can do damage. However damage to a computer resulting from DIY ram upgrades are rare.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2004
Johannesburg, South Africa
I dont really see how cheap memory can damage your mac, it might be a bit less stable than with expensive memory, but your macbook uses a standard intel chipset, and most memory manufacturers make their memory to comply to JEDEC standards that intel also adherese to, so I would be very surprised if stability is impacted very much.

Just check the memory timing of the cheaper memory, a lot of cheaper modules have slower speeds (as in latencies) and that might impact the performance a bit, but I think Apple uses the slower type anyway so you might not nothice a thing.... :D


macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
If COULD damage your RAM in rare cases. The rarest case would be if the RAM you bought doesnt actually meet the required specs in power consumption. For example, if you stick in RAM that is suppose to use 2.6 volts but it actually only uses 2 volts, something bad can definitely happen either the RAM or the motherboard.

It doesnt have to be cheap RAM for it to do this. It can be top of the line RAM. It is just less likely for the more expensive because more than likely they test it thoroughly that everything is what it should be


macrumors newbie
Sep 2, 2006
Stay away from cheap memory. I bought an Intel Imac 20" along with a $60 512 stick (compare to Apple's $100 512 stick) and it hosed the machine beyond repair. The OS would consistently crash and sometimes the machine would fail to boot. I actually had to return the mac and exchange it for another one. No problems with the Apple RAM.


macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2006
I personally don't think there is any reason to worry about cheap ram. If it's defective send it for an rma. the best thing to do would be to run a ram testing program. I know windows has one but I can't think of what it is in OSx. If you're running a mac pro that's a whole other case entirely. You need heavy duty heat sinks etc. for those things.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 4, 2004
San Francisco, CA
yeah, ram is the matter. it's important. you don't expect to bring it back for getting replace. it should be OK once you installed. so you have to choose mid range of price ram. it's safe.


macrumors member
Jul 22, 2006
That was my concern too. I talked to an Apple employee about it once and they said Apple won't cover it if you have problems with non-Apple RAM. Of course you could just put the Apple RAM back in if you have a prob. Anyways I ended up just getting the 2GB of Apple RAM (I didn't pay for my computer though).


macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
They are numerous threads here on good reliable sources of affordable guaranteed
Apple compatible RAM.

Neweggs sells Crucial RAM for less than Crucial itself sells Apple guaranteed RAM.
So that is an option, but Newegg does not guarantee Apple compatibility so if you select the wrong DIMMS, you'll be stuck with return shipping and restocking fees.

I'd go to Datamem.com or to OWC where you can buy RAM with a full lifetime warranty and 100% guarantee of Apple compatibility.


macrumors member
Sep 12, 2004
i did have a a G5 iMac that i ended up buying cheap RAM for and it gave me nothing but problems. It froze up constantly and would heat my machine way up. If i took it out though everything would run fine. So my advice would be to search around here for places to buy cheap reliable RAM.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2003
high-rise in beautiful bethesda
Cheap RAM won't damage your computer. It sounds like you're getting some RAM FUD from somewhere. (Fear Uncertainty & Doubt).

Bottom line - buy some inexpensive RAM from a reputable RAM retailer or a reputable Apple retailer and you won't have any problems. If you buy RAM from a guy named "igotsuram439" on Craigslist then things probably won't work out so well.


macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2005
It is possible, I've had a motherboard burnt out around the memory slots once. Don't believe it is possible? Get a old board that you don't want, and slide a screwdriver up and down a slot, see sparks? Think what faulty ram can do.


Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
Bergen, Norway
As long as the RAM meets the Mac models technical specification it should work, and I've always gotten the cheapest kind possible, from a local PC supplier who don't know - and don't care - about Macs. Macs were known for being picky back in the days, but I've not have had any problems with "ordinary" RAM the last 10 years.

For a MacBook, that means that any 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) on two SO-DIMMs should fit:

MacBook User Guide said:
Your computer has two memory slots that you access by removing the computer’s battery. Your MacBook comes with a minimum of 512 megabytes (MB) of 667 MHz Double Data Rate (DDR2) Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory (SDRAM) installed. Both memory slots can accept an SDRAM module that meets the following specifications:
  • Double Data Rate Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module (DDR2 SO-DIMM) format
  • 1.25 inch or smaller
  • 256 MB, 512 MB, or 1 gigabyte (GB)
  • 200-pin
  • PC2-5300 DDR2 667 MHz Type RAM
For best performance, fill both memory slots and install an equal memory module in each slot. The maximum amount of memory you can install in your MacBook is 2 GB, using one 1 GB DIMM in each memory slot.
I got a pair of TwinMOS modules for my MacBook, and they work beautifully on both my machine and my boss'.

And I seriously doubt the RAM can damage your Mac. Poorly installation might damage it, but not the RAM in it self, as long as it's the right kind and not one-in-a-million seriously corrupt, of course... ;)