At some point in your PC building journey, possibly while trying to get the best bang buck for the buck, you must have asked yourself the question: does RAM brand really matter? As with most things in life, the answer is that it depends. In this article, we will lay bare the major arguments for or against the importance of the brand of your RAM and then will leave it up to you to decide which of them sounds more convincing. You might also be wondering if you can use RAM sticks made by different brands simultaneously. We’ll answer this query too. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it!
Does Ram Brand Matter
All RAMs have a common origin
Yes, that’s true. Well, sort of. You see, just like there are only two major players in the graphics cards market, namely AMD and Nvidia, there are only three major manufacturers of RAM, in the truest meaning of the word, manufacturer. These are Samsung, Hynix, and Micron. The brands you see on Amazon like Corsair and ADATA source their RAM sticks from one of these three companies. This means that, in general, there is not going to be a huge difference in the quality control aspects of the popularly known retailers.
It is the specs, stupid
To borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton’s election campaign, it is the RAM specifications that truly matter. Everything else is secondary. There are three major things you need to consider in RAM specs. These are generation number, size, and speed. DDR4 and DDR5 are two examples of generation numbers. DDR5 is newer and much faster than DDR4 but is also more expensive.
RAM size is going to be determined by your usage patterns. If your usage is little more than social media scrolling and creating spreadsheets here and there, even 4GB RAM is going to suffice. However, just to be safe, invest in an 8GB stick because chances are you are going to be doing all that scrolling on the Google Chrome browser, which is a real memory hog. For anything more than that, you should go no further than 16GB; 32GB is overkill for most users, even today.
One thing you might want to keep in mind is that, despite the marketing hype, more RAM does not necessarily translate into a similar increase in the speed of your computer. Speed is mainly determined by your CPU. Think of them like a pump pushing water through a pipe: CPU is the pump while RAM is the pipe, roughly speaking. A clogged pipe would definitely reduce the flow rate. However, no matter how unclogged the pipe is, the flow rate is not going to increase if the pump produces too little power. Therefore, spend any extra money you have on a faster CPU, if possible, instead of more RAM.
Brand is more about reliability than performance
Just like in other electronics products, in the area of computer memory too, a brand is little more than a symbol of reliability. That is what most brands are charging a premium for while offering similar specifications. Any major brand like Corsair is putting its reputation on the line to assure its customers that they are not getting a faulty product. Lesser-known brands simply do not have enough resources to provide the same level of quality testing on the RAM sticks they receive from the original manufacturers.
Now, let’s explore all the ways in which the brand of your RAM does matter.
Reasons why the RAM brand does matter
Better Quality Control
As alluded to earlier, that is the main reason why you are buying your RAM from Corsair or G-Skill and not from a random no-name brand on AliExpress, for instance. There is very little chance of getting a defective stick if you go with the former. On premium RAMs, often there are also extensive modifications like the addition of heat sinks on RAM sticks. As RAM speeds increase, the amount of heat they generate also increases. Overclocking produces still more heat. Most consumer-grade electronics don’t really tolerate heat all that well. Thus, the quality of the auxiliary components like heat sinks and their proper contact with the RAM stick itself really begin to matter. As a result, there is a significant difference in the lifespan of two otherwise identical sticks from different brands.
More Flexible Return policies
In general, the more popular a brand is, the more flexible their return policy. The reason is obvious: they are highly confident that their product wouldn’t fail. Different manufacturers offer different lengths of warranty periods. One such example is Corsair. Although their products are often more expensive that their counterparts, they make it up with their very long warranty periods. For instance, as of the writing of this article, there is a lifetime warranty offer on the Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 16GB. Thus, the few extra bucks that you pay translate into the peace of mind that should anything go wrong, you can easily have your item replaced.
Can you mix RAM brands?
This is one of those things where the phrase “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” applies really well. Yes, you can mix them. But why would you?
Whatever reasons you might have, we wouldn’t judge you for them, but here are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Ensure that the size and speed of your RAM sticks match as closely to each other as possible. This is because if they are different, the motherboard will make both the RAM sticks run at the spec that is the lower of the two.
Despite these measures, there still is a likelihood that your PC will run into random crashes and produce errors and headaches that few PC builders have experienced before you. This is because different brands have different manufacturing processes and have optimized their products for different conditions. For example, Hynix and Micron are unlikely to produce RAM sticks that have identical architectures. This means that it is not enough that your RAM sticks have similar specs. There is a high likelihood that, sooner or later, you are going to run into memory troubles.
Therefore, our advice would be to stick to reason and avoid mixing RAM brands.