[SOLVED] Best deal on 32GB RAM for Dell OptiPlex 9020, and should RAM be replaced before initial bootup?

hbenthow

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I'm looking for a computer, and am strongly considering a refurbished Dell OptiPlex 9020. The particular one that I'm most considering is selling for an extremely affordable price (approximately $230), but there's one drawback: it only has 8 GB of RAM (it can support 32, and I want as much as possible).

Does anyone have any recommendations on which RAM provides the best balance of price and reliability?

I searched NewEgg for RAM that's compatible with the aforementioned computer, and here are the results:

https://www.newegg.com/tools/memory-finder/#/result/12000705;flt_storagecapacitytitle=32%20GB

Also, here are the results from Crucial:

https://www.crucial.com/compatible-upgrade-for/dell/optiplex-9020-(mini-tower)#memory

And from MemoryStock:

https://www.memorystock.com/memory/DellOptiPlex9020.html

Price-wise, I'm hoping for no more than $180 total for all 4 8GB sticks altogether, although I could go as high as $200 if absolutely necessary. But I don't want unreliable RAM that will damage my computer and/or give me BSODs. Out of the options on the pages linked to above (or any other options that you know of), what is my safest bet for reliable RAM for an affordable price?

Also, I read that some brands of RAM don't actually run at the advertised 1600 Mhz, and instead only run at 1333 Mhz due to a setting called XMP, which has to be changed in the BIOS. I read one thread on the Dell forums where someone complained that editing these BIOS settings gave them BSODs.

https://www.dell.com/community/Alienware-General-Read-Only/How-to-enable-XMP/td-p/5521235

Are all brands of RAM like this, or just some? Is it something that I need to worry about?

Also, if I buy the refurbished Dell computer, would it be safe for me to remove its RAM sticks (only 8GB altogether) and replace them with a separately-purchased 32GB set of sticks (4 x 8GB) before ever plugging in and booting up the computer, registering Windows, etc? Or would I need to wait until later?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Have you ever tried Crucial? If so, how does it compare to the others?
Crucial is a subsidiary of Micron. Micron has been making DRAM and computer memory modules in various forms since 1978. They are one of the few remaining early players along with companies like IBM and Samsung, that are still around that were making DRAM early on in the computer revolution. They are trustworthy, They make quality products. Their products have WIDE compatibility and they honor their warranties.

The only reason Crucial isn't a bigger player in the enthusiast market is because they don't really try to be. Still, they are big. But if I'm going to buy aftermarket, enthusiast class memory, with heatsinks and such, I am probably going to stick with the bigger aftermarket players like G.Skill and Corsair, because this is where they live and it's where they began.

Crucial on the other hand, is who I normally would turn to for OEM type system memory, memory for other types of devices such as NAS boxes or laptops or for memory for anything that they offer that other companies have stopped making.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Not "some brands of memory". Nearly all, and potentially, ALL consumer platform and HEDT platform memory. If the memory speed of the XMP profile is higher than what the natively supported memory speed of the CPU is, then you must enable XMP, A-XMP or D.O.C.P, depending on whether it's an ASUS motherboard, or an AMD or Intel platform. AMD will usually be A-XMP. Intel will be XMP. ASUS motherboards will call it DOCP because they refuse to pay Intel the royalty required to use "XMP" in any way.

It doesn't matter what brand it is, it will be the same. The only exception is if you have a platform that is locked and cannot support memory speeds faster than what it already supports natively and generally speaking, for Intel platforms, that means any system that does not have an unlocked Z motherboard. H, B and other lower chipsets do not support memory speeds faster than 2666mhz, at the most, for the 9th Gen platforms and it goes down from there the further back in generation you go.

Knowing what the EXACT model of the motherboard is that the system will have, or at least what chipset family it is, will tell us exactly what kind of memory support it will have. Full specs would be helpful, but that part at least is pretty much mandatory.

Optiplex 9020 doesn't really tell us what we need to know. We need to know the service tag, or express service tag numbers, or at least the EXACT sub model, to know what THAT particular 9020 came with as far as hardware options because there could be a variety of different configurations that came in multiple sub lines of the Optiplex 9020.
 

hbenthow

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Knowing what the EXACT model of the motherboard is that the system will have, or at least what chipset family it is, will tell us exactly what kind of memory support it will have. Full specs would be helpful, but that part at least is pretty much mandatory.

Optiplex 9020 doesn't really tell us what we need to know. We need to know the service tag, or express service tag numbers, or at least the EXACT sub model, to know what THAT particular 9020 came with as far as hardware options because there could be a variety of different configurations that came in multiple sub lines of the Optiplex 9020.
It's the mini tower submodel, and has a PC5F7 motherboard.
 
I have an Optiplex 3020, the baby brother of the 9020. I have 2 memory slots versus your 4, but the same 1600Mhz speed ddr3. My system originally came with 8gb that was 2x 4gb modules of mixed speed and manufacturer. Worked fine though. I got a used 16GB ddr3 kit for $40 shipped that happened to be on crucial's compatible list for my machine. Being ddr3, I wouldn't have sweated it much as ddr3 is pretty much ddr3 as long as both modules were part of a kit, but it was nice knowing it was listed as compatible. This kit brought me up to 1600Mhz from the 1333Mhz modules I had as well as moved me from 8gb to 16gb. Definitely makes the system snappier.

I wouldn't worry about getting expensive match sets of ram if you have just a single 8gb module. I would just find 3x more of those 8gb modules. Otherwise, if you're stuck with 4gb or even 2gb modules, just find 2x 16gb kits of the same type or a single 32gb kit used for <$100 and you should be fine. I've not had any issues with mixing ddr3 on any of my systems, especially the Dells.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
That system supports 1600mhz DIMMs. That's it. For that system I would recommend finding a Non-ECC, Non-Registered, DDR3 1600mhz 4x8GB kit. You will likely have better luck finding a reasonably priced kit used as all the currently available "new" kits are pretty much NOS (New old stock) and are way more expensive than the memory is worth.

If I'm being honest, it's all a waste of money anyhow. You're going to pay about 100 bucks for that memory kit, in addition to the 230.00 for the system, and probably at least some amount of taxes and shipping. So even if you VERY conservatively assume that to be around 350.00, you could get into a MUCH BETTER performing system for somewhere near that price.

Which CPU model is the unit you are buying going to come with, because that mini tower could have anything from an i3 to an i7 in there?
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I've not had any issues with mixing ddr3 on any of my systems, especially the Dells.
And yet, I'm constantly helping poor saps figure out their problems because they've done that exact thing. OEM style motherboard are MUCH more likely to have issues with mixed memory than a good aftermarket board. Doesn't even really matter what generation we're talking about. It's true that for memory that meets the native speed requirements, so generally 1600mhz and less for this particular platform, the chances are much lower that you'll have problems with mixed memory, but the potential for problems is still there regardless that any particular person did or did not have problems when doing something similar.

What works in one system on the same motherboard may not work in another system, even with the identical DIMMs.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Do you have a desktop computer now? One with an aftermarket case, or have access to a used aftermarket ATX case that you could use?

What is the primary usage for this system anyhow? Work? School? Gaming? Something else?
 

hbenthow

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I wouldn't worry about getting expensive match sets of ram if you have just a single 8gb module. I would just find 3x more of those 8gb modules. Otherwise, if you're stuck with 4gb or even 2gb modules, just find 2x 16gb kits of the same type or a single 32gb kit used for <$100 and you should be fine. I've not had any issues with mixing ddr3 on any of my systems, especially the Dells.
It comes with 2 4GB sticks, so I'll have to remove and replace them to get 32GB.

I'd prefer to get new rather than used RAM, as it usually comes with a warranty (often a lifetime one), which I think is worth paying extra for.
 

hbenthow

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That system supports 1600mhz DIMMs. That's it. For that system I would recommend finding a Non-ECC, Non-Registered, DDR3 1600mhz 4x8GB kit. You will likely have better luck finding a reasonably priced kit used as all the currently available "new" kits are pretty much NOS (New old stock) and are way more expensive than the memory is worth.
But what I'm worried about is that used RAM may be less stable and/or come without a warranty. I'm mainly concerned about RAM giving out or causing random restarts or BSODs. I'm very concerned about system stability. That's why I'm asking for recommendations: I want to know if the options I'm considering (such as those linked in my OP) are trustworthy.

Is there any way to tell if used RAM is reliable? And does it ever come with a warranty?

The best deal, money-wise, that I've found so far is the "House Brand" RAM sold by MemoryStock, which is $37.95 per 8GB stick (which comes to about $150 for 4 of them), with free shipping and a lifetime warranty. Here's the link:

https://www.memorystock.com/orderitem.asp?it=816ms-816&MnfId=&MdlId=8111036232

Do you think that this RAM is likely reliable enough, or likely to be prone to failure? Also, what are your thoughts on Corsair and G.Skill RAM?

Do you have a desktop computer now? One with an aftermarket case, or have access to a used aftermarket ATX case that you could use?
I have a desktop computer, but it has a stock HP small form factor case.

What is the primary usage for this system anyhow? Work? School? Gaming? Something else?
Mainly Internet browsing, media viewing/listening, and 1080p video editing (as a hobby).

And yet, I'm constantly helping poor saps figure out their problems because they've done that exact thing. OEM style motherboard are MUCH more likely to have issues with mixed memory than a good aftermarket board. Doesn't even really matter what generation we're talking about. It's true that for memory that meets the native speed requirements, so generally 1600mhz and less for this particular platform, the chances are much lower that you'll have problems with mixed memory, but the potential for problems is still there regardless that any particular person did or did not have problems when doing something similar.

What works in one system on the same motherboard may not work in another system, even with the identical DIMMs.
I have no intention of mixing different types of RAM. I want to get a set of identical sticks.
 
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And yet, I'm constantly helping poor saps figure out their problems because they've done that exact thing. OEM style motherboard are MUCH more likely to have issues with mixed memory than a good aftermarket board. Doesn't even really matter what generation we're talking about. It's true that for memory that meets the native speed requirements, so generally 1600mhz and less for this particular platform, the chances are much lower that you'll have problems with mixed memory, but the potential for problems is still there regardless that any particular person did or did not have problems when doing something similar.

What works in one system on the same motherboard may not work in another system, even with the identical DIMMs.
I disagree. Seems like ddr4 has gotten a lot more picky, especially with the ryzen platform while ddr3 is almost to the point of put anything and it will work, as long as you're talking stock speeds.

And I'm not giving a generic answer here, this is the exact same platform. The 3020, 7020, and 9020 share most if not all the same architecture and I think even the bios. It's just the number of sockets that's different.
 
It comes with 2 4GB sticks, so I'll have to remove and replace them to get 32GB.

I'd prefer to get new rather than used RAM, as it usually comes with a warranty (often a lifetime one), which I think is worth paying extra for.
Gotcha. A lot of branded aftermarket ram also still has a warranty even when used since it is based on serial number. But new will always guarantee a solid warranty unless it is a fake, which is a higher chance with new older components. Lots of scams there so be careful.
 
But what I'm worried about is that used RAM may be less stable and/or come without a warranty. I'm mainly concerned about RAM giving out or causing random restarts or BSODs. I'm very concerned about system stability. That's why I'm asking for recommendations: I want to know if the options I'm considering (such as those linked in my OP) are trustworthy.

Is there any way to tell if used RAM is reliable? And does it ever come with a warranty?

The best deal, money-wise, that I've found so far is the "House Brand" RAM sold by MemoryStock, which is $37.95 per 8GB stick (which comes to about $150 for 4 of them), with free shipping and a lifetime warranty. Here's the link:

https://www.memorystock.com/orderitem.asp?it=816ms-816&MnfId=&MdlId=8111036232

Do you think that this RAM is likely reliable enough, or likely to be prone to failure? Also, what are your thoughts on Corsair and G.Skill RAM?



I have a desktop computer, but it has a stock HP small form factor case.



Mainly Internet browsing, media viewing/listening, and 1080p video editing (as a hobby).



I have no intention of mixing different types of RAM. I want to get a set of identical sticks.
Used ram if it is working is just as solid as new--most if not all the ram I have is used and I think I've seen one module out of maybe 50-100 actually go bad and that was after about 3 years. But you are right that they come with no warranty. If you want trustworthy, buy direct from the manufacturer, not through a 'marketplace', and from a company which you can call and talk to someone for support (not just a phone number that leaves you on hold for 200 years). These are the type of companies that will quickly resolve an issue without much trouble or effort on your part. It will cost more, but you're well aware of that.

The best way to test any ram is to use a program called memtest. There are 2 variants and either one works well. You can make a boot cd/usb and put it in the system and it will test the memory until you tell it to stop, displaying any issues that it finds. Also, since you have a Dell, there is a Dell native diagnostics built into the system that has a memory test that is almost just as effective. This is how I tested my 16gb and my system has been on ever since and hasn't crashed once (probably at least 6 months now if not longer).

Used ram can come with a warranty, but it is 3rd party which will have all sorts of fine print and exceptions. A better warranty will come with most premium credit card plans that double the factory warranty or extended it by a year, but that it typically for new products.

I've seen that company before and I know they've been around a long time. I would call them and make sure you're happy with talking with them and who you're dealing with since they are in california where the ports make easy access to garbage from overseas to dump in the us market. Not that this company would be doing that as they do have a reputation to protect, but just be comfortable with them. I think you are wanting to avoid all potential problems if possible, so this would be important to check.

A company that has been in the 'ram game' this long has made connections to cut out one level of distribution which helps reduce the price. Generally, these will be as high quality as any other brand and as long as this company sticks around, you will have a good warranty through them.

Corsair and gkill are excellent brands and are great products even used. I have several modules of these of various types (ddr, ddr2, ddr3) and sizes (1gb to 4gb) and have been happy with all of them. These are a premium product with a premium price, but I don't think they would be any less prone to failure compared to the memory stock house branded modules.
 

hbenthow

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Don't change the RAM (or any hardware) before booting it up and verifying the thing works.
Don't introduce unneeded variables.
Fair point. You're right.

Used ram if it is working is just as solid as new--most if not all the ram I have is used and I think I've seen one module out of maybe 50-100 actually go bad and that was after about 3 years. But you are right that they come with no warranty. If you want trustworthy, buy direct from the manufacturer, not through a 'marketplace', and from a company which you can call and talk to someone for support (not just a phone number that leaves you on hold for 200 years). These are the type of companies that will quickly resolve an issue without much trouble or effort on your part. It will cost more, but you're well aware of that.
If I were to buy from a marketplace to save money, would I still have access to the manufacturer's warranty?

The best way to test any ram is to use a program called memtest. There are 2 variants and either one works well. You can make a boot cd/usb and put it in the system and it will test the memory until you tell it to stop, displaying any issues that it finds. Also, since you have a Dell, there is a Dell native diagnostics built into the system that has a memory test that is almost just as effective. This is how I tested my 16gb and my system has been on ever since and hasn't crashed once (probably at least 6 months now if not longer).
How long do you recommend running the test for with Memtest, and with Dell's diagnostic? And would it be best to run both, or would Dell's diagnostic alone be good enough?

I've seen that company before and I know they've been around a long time. I would call them and make sure you're happy with talking with them and who you're dealing with since they are in california where the ports make easy access to garbage from overseas to dump in the us market. Not that this company would be doing that as they do have a reputation to protect, but just be comfortable with them. I think you are wanting to avoid all potential problems if possible, so this would be important to check.

A company that has been in the 'ram game' this long has made connections to cut out one level of distribution which helps reduce the price. Generally, these will be as high quality as any other brand and as long as this company sticks around, you will have a good warranty through them.
If I call them and have a good feeling about the trustworthiness of the people running it, do you think that the savings would make it worth ordering the House Brand from them (as opposed to ordering say, Crucial, Corsair, or G.Skill from elsewhere)?

Also, would it be a good idea to immediately test any RAM that I buy and install with Memtest or Dell's diagnostics before using the computer for regular usage again? And if it would pass the test, does that mean that the sticks that I installed are probably reliable enough to trust?

Corsair and gkill are excellent brands and are great products even used. I have several modules of these of various types (ddr, ddr2, ddr3) and sizes (1gb to 4gb) and have been happy with all of them. These are a premium product with a premium price, but I don't think they would be any less prone to failure compared to the memory stock house branded modules.
Have you ever tried Crucial? If so, how does it compare to the others?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I disagree. Seems like ddr4 has gotten a lot more picky, especially with the ryzen platform while ddr3 is almost to the point of put anything and it will work, as long as you're talking stock speeds.

And I'm not giving a generic answer here, this is the exact same platform. The 3020, 7020, and 9020 share most if not all the same architecture and I think even the bios. It's just the number of sockets that's different.
I feel you, but the bottom line is, it doesn't matter if you disagree or not. You are a sample of one. I've built and worked on literally probably at least five hundred of more DDR3 systems, and I've seen clear examples of this happening ESPECIALLY with OEM boards that simply are not as friendly in terms of memory training and compatibility as most aftermarket boards are. Is the problem as prevalent as with DDR4 systems, no.

But it is STILL a potential problem and it happens not just from time to time, but regularly. I assure you, back prior to 2015 when DDR4 was not widely in use yet, we still had the EXACT same types of issues with memory compatibility. Obviously, as expressed HERE in an article that was primarily written ABOUT DDR3, before DDR4 was even widely adopted.

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ddr-dram-myths,4155-6.html


And I assure you that Jim Fleece (Tradesman1) knew more about memory than 99.9% of the worlds population, including you, me and probably pretty much every other member of this forum except maybe InvalidError or Pinhedd. He was one of the primary forum operators at the G.Skill forum and was the go to source for memory questions here. Unfortunately, he's no long with us, but fortunately, some parts of his body of work are, and clearly HE agreed that DDR3 had the same potential for these problems as DDR4 currently does. Not to mention, I've seen it more times, personally, than I can even remember or recall specific occasions.

Additionally, your board, which you are basing your experience and knowledge of this topic off of, is different than the board the OP is looking at using. Now, there is every chance that he will NOT have any issues even if he were to throw a 1333mhz stick and an 1866mhz stick in there together. Probably, all things being equal, they will simply both work and will run at 1333mhz. On the other hand, there is every possibility that two sticks of Corsair or Crucial RAM that are the exact same part number but came from different batches on different production runs will have a different composition that is different enough for the motherboard to say "no ballgame".
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Have you ever tried Crucial? If so, how does it compare to the others?
Crucial is a subsidiary of Micron. Micron has been making DRAM and computer memory modules in various forms since 1978. They are one of the few remaining early players along with companies like IBM and Samsung, that are still around that were making DRAM early on in the computer revolution. They are trustworthy, They make quality products. Their products have WIDE compatibility and they honor their warranties.

The only reason Crucial isn't a bigger player in the enthusiast market is because they don't really try to be. Still, they are big. But if I'm going to buy aftermarket, enthusiast class memory, with heatsinks and such, I am probably going to stick with the bigger aftermarket players like G.Skill and Corsair, because this is where they live and it's where they began.

Crucial on the other hand, is who I normally would turn to for OEM type system memory, memory for other types of devices such as NAS boxes or laptops or for memory for anything that they offer that other companies have stopped making.
 
If I were to buy from a marketplace to save money, would I still have access to the manufacturer's warranty?



How long do you recommend running the test for with Memtest, and with Dell's diagnostic? And would it be best to run both, or would Dell's diagnostic alone be good enough?



If I call them and have a good feeling about the trustworthiness of the people running it, do you think that the savings would make it worth ordering the House Brand from them (as opposed to ordering say, Crucial, Corsair, or G.Skill from elsewhere)?

Also, would it be a good idea to immediately test any RAM that I buy and install with Memtest or Dell's diagnostics before using the computer for regular usage again? And if it would pass the test, does that mean that the sticks that I installed are probably reliable enough to trust?



Have you ever tried Crucial? If so, how does it compare to the others?
Unknown. Sometimes manufacturers will only warranty through authorized channels. Also, if what you end up with are fakes, you're out of luck completely.

For memtest, it really depends on your tolerance level for reliability. I'll usually run it overnight and that's enough for me, but when I had to test 256gb in one of my systems where it took 2 days to complete even one pass, one pass was enough. Dell's test can be set to run for a certain number of passes or unlimited. I've typically only used the short test when I'm in front of it, and then will set the long test for a single pass and come back after a bit to see the results. If I wanted to really be sure, I would just run it overnight like memtest. I think if you wanted to be absolutely 100% sure, you should run dell's test overnight and then memtest overnight.

And one thing to seriously consider if memory corruption is this serious for your application is to move to a workstation or server that uses registered memory with various options for extended error correction. These platforms can be many times as tolerant of memory errors due to registered memory as well as being able to memory mirroring and use other hardware level techniques for preventing and correcting memory errors.

Yes, I would. They've been around almost as long as PCs have been mainstream, and their product should be just as good.

I would make sure you first boot the system as mentioned and test it with the factory memory both memtest and dell test to confirm there are no issues with the system in stock form. If there are, you can simply return and warranty the system at that point. The second you start swapping stuff, the finger could be pointed at something you did. Once the system and memory passes in stock form, I would then look at upgrading the memory and testing it. If at any point you have issues with your new memory, you can put in the original modules to confirm that everything still works correctly.

Crucial is the retail brand of Micron who is one of the longest memory makers around. In fact, many modules sold by other companies are actually made by Micron. Perfect example is this HP part number 698651-154, which is actually a Micron module:


At one point back in the early days of computing (in the late 1990s), Micron even sold computers:
 

hbenthow

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But if I'm going to buy aftermarket, enthusiast class memory, with heatsinks and such, I am probably going to stick with the bigger aftermarket players like G.Skill and Corsair, because this is where they live and it's where they began.

Crucial on the other hand, is who I normally would turn to for OEM type system memory, memory for other types of devices such as NAS boxes or laptops or for memory for anything that they offer that other companies have stopped making.
Which would likely be better for 1080p video editing (as a hobby), Crucial, or G.Skill and Corsair? Or would they all performed about the same?

Also, have you had any experience with MemoryStock's House Brand? If so, how does it compare to Crucial?

For memtest, it really depends on your tolerance level for reliability. I'll usually run it overnight and that's enough for me, but when I had to test 256gb in one of my systems where it took 2 days to complete even one pass, one pass was enough. Dell's test can be set to run for a certain number of passes or unlimited. I've typically only used the short test when I'm in front of it, and then will set the long test for a single pass and come back after a bit to see the results. If I wanted to really be sure, I would just run it overnight like memtest. I think if you wanted to be absolutely 100% sure, you should run dell's test overnight and then memtest overnight.
Thank you for the advice. That sounds like a good method.

Yes, I would. They've been around almost as long as PCs have been mainstream, and their product should be just as good.
I called MemoryStock. Someone answered the phone quickly and answered all of my questions. He said that they've been selling their House Brand since 1999 and it has proven reliable.

I would make sure you first boot the system as mentioned and test it with the factory memory both memtest and dell test to confirm there are no issues with the system in stock form. If there are, you can simply return and warranty the system at that point. The second you start swapping stuff, the finger could be pointed at something you did. Once the system and memory passes in stock form, I would then look at upgrading the memory and testing it. If at any point you have issues with your new memory, you can put in the original modules to confirm that everything still works correctly.
An excellent plan.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
For vanilla/OEM branded memory, you can generally trust just about anything made by Crucial, Micron, Samsung, IBM, Mushkin, SK Hynix or in many cases, even PNY, who has also been around a long time is is often the OEM for many manufacturers and are also a global supplier of memory and flash products. I personally prefer Crucial, Micron and Samsung for OEM type memory products though if I can get them with the specifications I require. Others might have different preferences.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I called MemoryStock. Someone answered the phone quickly and answered all of my questions. He said that they've been selling their House Brand since 1999 and it has proven reliable.
Which is exactly what any company would tell you. There are no car dealerships you can walk up to that are going to tell you, dude, you should go across the street because we do occasionally have issues with some of our models. You can bet that hardware vendors and manufacturers are no different in that regard.

If you can get verification of somebody who has had long term success with a particular brand of memory, or any computer component for that matter, preferably from multiple sources, then it's an unnecessary risk because there ARE a fair number of fully vetted manufacturers to buy from, globally.
 

hbenthow

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Which is exactly what any company would tell you. There are no car dealerships you can walk up to that are going to tell you, dude, you should go across the street because we do occasionally have issues with some of our models. You can bet that hardware vendors and manufacturers are no different in that regard.

If you can get verification of somebody who has had long term success with a particular brand of memory, or any computer component for that matter, preferably from multiple sources, then it's an unnecessary risk because there ARE a fair number of fully vetted manufacturers to buy from, globally.
A good point. I'm leaning toward Crucial, since they seem to have the most proven track record.

On the Crucial website, the 8GB single sticks and 2x 8GB kits are out of stock (they don't sell a 4x 8GB kit for some reason), but Crucial offers links to buy them from other sellers, including Amazon, NewEgg, and B&H. If I were to buy them from any of those sellers, would accessing Crucial's warranty (if need be) be straightforward?

Amazon (itself, not a third-party seller, and on the page that the Crucial website linked to) is offering the 8GB Crucial sticks for the incredible price of $37.99 right now with free Prime shipping, but unfortunately only has 2 in stock.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B008KSHQBU/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new

Here's the page for this particular stick on Crucial for reference:

https://www.crucial.com/memory/ddr3/ct102464bd160b/ct4506041

And here is Crucial's "Where to buy" page for it:

https://www.crucial.com/wtb?ps-sku=CT102464BD160B

Would it be unwise to order those two now and two more later? The reason that I ask is this quote from you:

there is every possibility that two sticks of Corsair or Crucial RAM that are the exact same part number but came from different batches on different production runs will have a different composition that is different enough for the motherboard to say "no ballgame".
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
If you buy them from an actual partner, including any of those listed on Crucial's website, or directly from a retailer like Best Buy etc., or Amazon.com (Not a 3rd party retailer on Amazon), Newegg.com or B&H etc., so long as you are actually buying from those retailers AS the seller, and not some numbskull nobody third party reseller, they will absolutely honor the warranty. If you buy it from some third party seller on Amazon, Newegg or Ebay, they MIGHT honor the warranty, IF the product is new and the serial is valid.

There are plenty of small, local shops, who are absolutely selling online as well, and are absolutely legitimate vendors of Crucial and other manufacturers products. Generally speaking so long as the product is new in the package, does not have a serial number that has been registered before or blacklisted as having been stolen/not legitimate, and you have the purchase information from a legitimate, licensed business in the US, they have no reason not to honor the warranty. In many cases, CANNOT refuse to honor the warranty.

They wouldn't still be in business if they behaved that way.

The fact is that you are unlikely to have problems if you buy two separate kits of the same part number or model, and use them together. Unlikely. But "unlikely" is not the same as "guaranteed to work together".

Read section two here:



And then read this post:

https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/amd-ram-compatibility.3210050/#post-19785792


And then realize that so long as you are aware there is a slim chance (And I say "slim" because it is a lot less likely on this older platform and especially with 1600mhz or slower memory kits. Chances would increase for incompatibility if these were DDR3 2133mhz kits we were talking about) they could refuse to play nice together, then you won't be TOO mad if you run into problems. That chance is very low as we've both told you now, but it exists, so you should be aware.

Memory is never guaranteed to work except when it is all purchased together in one kit. This is exactly why they have kits ranging in number from two DIMMs all the way up to 8 DIMM kits for consumer and HEDT platforms. If you can get all four DIMMs in a single kit, you should do so. If you can't, then get two identical kits and call it a day. It will most likely work fine.
 
Which would likely be better for 1080p video editing (as a hobby), Crucial, or G.Skill and Corsair? Or would they all performed about the same?

Also, have you had any experience with MemoryStock's House Brand? If so, how does it compare to Crucial?



Thank you for the advice. That sounds like a good method.



I called MemoryStock. Someone answered the phone quickly and answered all of my questions. He said that they've been selling their House Brand since 1999 and it has proven reliable.



An excellent plan.
All the same. In a stock system like the Dell, there's no advantage to any speed advancements that 'performance' memory provides. Even the heatsinks can be a problem as stock systems aren't designed for them and can actually trap heat versus help get it out.

Great to hear about the interaction with MemoryStock. I'm going to also keep them in mind when I need new memory. :)
 

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