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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > No more third party RAM

No more third party RAM
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Zeeb
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Jan 31, 2008, 08:06 PM
 
Last weekend I tried to take a picture of myself when the built in isight failed(no I was not naked, lol) on my first generation macbook pro. Thinking this was something minor--like another application using the camera--I tried to fix it myself without success. After calling support during which I reinstalled the OS it was determined that I needed to take it in to the genius bar. To make a long story short, my computer came back with a new logic board, inverter, and the crucial 1GB memory stick I installed over a year ago in a little baggy. How much would this have cost me if I didn't have Applecare? I almost didn't get it--glad I did.

Anyway, a letter accompanied my computer which states, "In some instances, a non-approved part (or parts) that fails Apple's diagnostic tests is removed from your product and returned in a protective bag with your product. Continued use of this part (or parts) may cause another failure or damage to your Apple product, which Apple will not cover in a subsequent repair."

So, I guess this means if my computer fails again I better have the super expensive Apple brand installed or I'm responsible for the charges even with Applecare. A 1GB module on crucial for my model is currently $26 but $150 from Apple. Ouch. Maybe its time for me to pick up a new MBP after the next upgrade. . .
     
ghporter
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Jan 31, 2008, 09:48 PM
 
If you have third party RAM in a Mac that goes in for service, they will remove the third party RAM, tell you that it might have been the problem all along, and then go along and do what they can to fix the computer. It's a good idea to eliminate this as a problem by keeping the factory RAM you replaced, and then if (when) it turns out that the third party RAM wasn't causing the problem, leaving the factory RAM in the computer when you hand it over to the Genius Bar people.

It's not that third party RAM is bad. It's that it hasn't been exhaustively tested by Apple, and so they don't guarantee the computer will work with it. I have my MBP filled with third party RAM, as is my iMac, and they are fine. But if anything happens, I will definitely put the factory RAM back in as the first hardware troubleshooting step.

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mduell
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Jan 31, 2008, 10:31 PM
 
So you had a bad logic board (plenty of those around) and as a diagnostic they took out the third party RAM as is their standard practice (they'd probably do the same with Apple RAM and test another stick). There's nothing wrong with third party RAM and no reason to pay Apple's ridiculous prices.
     
Zeeb  (op)
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Jan 31, 2008, 10:42 PM
 
Thanks for the info--both of you. So you both think I can safely put my bagged crucial RAM back into my MBP without a problem? On the service invoice it was listed as saying it was the cause of an "issue" --without saying what the issue was. I can't imagine a RAM stick could blow a logic board but I am not sure. I guess if it happens again I can just remove it before I turn it in for service as suggested. The difference between $26 and $150 is unreasonable IMO.
     
DKeithA
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Jan 31, 2008, 10:45 PM
 
Zeeb,

We're definitely in the minority here, but I also don't think I'll be installing 3rd party RAM in the forseeable future. I've had too many issues - with Crucial as well as RamJet.
     
hookem2oo7
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Feb 1, 2008, 12:38 AM
 
They did the same thing to my MBP when i sent it in with the original Apple 1GB stick and another original Apple 256MB stick I had laying around from a MacBook I upgraded. There's nothing wrong with the 256MB stick as I ran it through several hardware tests after I got it back...
     
ginoledesma
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Feb 1, 2008, 12:39 AM
 
Well, one or more of the components will eventually fail in a computer. I'd still get 3rd party RAM (since Apple doesn't make its own for most of their consumer products). If your computer starts behaving oddly in the future, you could do preliminary troubleshooting by isolating out RAM and such. If you still haven't been able to pinpoint the problem, just remove the RAM and ship the system back to Apple.
     
CharlesS
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Feb 1, 2008, 12:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by DKeithA View Post
Zeeb,

We're definitely in the minority here, but I also don't think I'll be installing 3rd party RAM in the forseeable future. I've had too many issues - with Crucial as well as RamJet.
The Crucial RAM is the same RAM that Apple uses. Crucial is Micron, and much of the RAM I've seen that comes with Apple hardware has been Micron-branded. Therefore, I can't see how you would see any difference in reliability between a stick of Micron RAM that you bought from Apple and a stick of Micron RAM that you bought from Crucial.

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Eriamjh
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Feb 1, 2008, 08:18 AM
 
Apple ALWAYS blames third party ram for HW failures. Always.

If one insists that they must buy Apple ram (which is likely the same as other ram), I recommend buying thiord party ram anyway and using the difference one saved to buy AppleCare.

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analogika
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Feb 1, 2008, 09:06 AM
 
There is no "Apple RAM".

Apple uses third-party RAM, as they don't make their own.

In addition to micron, they also use hynix and samsung, as well as a couple of others.
     
DKeithA
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Feb 1, 2008, 09:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
The Crucial RAM is the same RAM that Apple uses. Crucial is Micron, and much of the RAM I've seen that comes with Apple hardware has been Micron-branded. Therefore, I can't see how you would see any difference in reliability between a stick of Micron RAM that you bought from Apple and a stick of Micron RAM that you bought from Crucial.
I'm not going to debate with anyone because I know how most here feel about this issue. I am just relating my experience.

I've had multiple issues where swapping the factory RAM back in a Mac has corrected the problem. It was just bad RAM. This is usually the exception not the rule, I acknowledge this, but reliability is foremost with my systems. I'm only going to buy fully-supported hardware.
     
analogika
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Feb 1, 2008, 09:09 AM
 
Well, if it's faulty, it makes no difference WHO supports it - in fact, most RAM vendors have a much longer warranty than Apple does (two years in most cases, AFAIK).

Broken is broken and needs to be replaced.

End of story.
     
ghporter
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Feb 1, 2008, 10:52 AM
 
Let me clarify this a bit. IF you get RAM that meets all the specs that the parts Apple supplies meet, than it will work. Period. If something fails, that's different, but assuming the RAM you use is functional, then there's no problem using it. I stay away from "Bob's Storm Door and Memory Company" products, if you get my meaning, but the well-known brands like Crucial, Corsair, Kingston, and so on stand solidly behind their products so even if they do fail you're not really out anything more than time.

And note that I mentioned the first hardware troubleshooting step was to put factory RAM back into your Mac. RAM is a very crucial part of how your computer works, and if there's a problem with it, you could have some incredibly odd and difficult to ferret out problems. Having a "known good" set of DIMMs on hand is helpful in this. Also note that some Macs have really, really tight RAM sockets, and it's possible to get replacement parts "sort of" installed without actually having them fully installed, so with time they could work loose and stop working. It's vital that ANY RAM is fully inserted in its socket. So if you have products that meet the specs from reliable vendors and install them correctly you should have no problems whatsoever.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
SierraDragon
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Feb 1, 2008, 04:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
So you both think I can safely put my bagged crucial RAM back into my MBP without a problem?
That is not the point. If you paid for service and they said "bad RAM," toss the RAM. For the future continue to buy third party RAM but replace it with the original RAM for troubleshooting and prior to returns to Apple.

-Allen Wicks
     
OWCLarry
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Feb 1, 2008, 10:45 PM
 
Crucial is owned by Micron, but not all memory Crucial sells is with Micron devices or even all built be Micron. Crucial is a memory reseller and they sell other brand memory on third and memory not built just by Micron.

So to assume that if you buy from Crucial you'll get the same Micron factory parts Apple purchases from Micron or specifies be supplied by Crucial, that would be a incorrect.

Not here to rip on Crucial - we highly respect them as a competitor - but setting the record straight.

As for the Apple thing... If there is ANYTHING 3rd party in a system, it is very common for certain service techs in the chain to automatically blame what's not Apple for why the Apple product had a problem. We have letters customers set us from Apple blaming 3rd party memory on things like - LCD cracks (those Powerbooks with the LCD pressure issue where cracks could happen), broken keyboards, failed hard drives, failed optical drives, you name it. Fortunately they were gracious enough to cover these things under warranty despite blaming the memory... which had absolutely nothing to do with the problem.... and worked just fine with the customer reinstalled it and ran Apple hardware test. lol.

But gotta wonder... how many out there will next time pay the huge premium to get Apple memory after such an incident? sounds like one one will.... I think it's not fully intentional to scare customers, but rather an standard policy for some techs, not all by any means as lots of Apple techs we have contact with don't do this, to automatically default to anything not standard installed as a possible cause and beyond that, they are just going down a repair process script without really knowing why what's wrong is wrong, just script telling what part gets replaced when x is the test result, etc.

Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
The Crucial RAM is the same RAM that Apple uses. Crucial is Micron, and much of the RAM I've seen that comes with Apple hardware has been Micron-branded. Therefore, I can't see how you would see any difference in reliability between a stick of Micron RAM that you bought from Apple and a stick of Micron RAM that you bought from Crucial.
Larry O'Connor
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IceEnclosure
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Feb 3, 2008, 12:32 AM
 
Happy OWC 2GB upgrade in my iMac G5 over here!! Roommate's PM G5 has the same.

ice
     
cutlassvillager
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Feb 3, 2008, 01:26 AM
 
My MacBook Pro had "faulty" memory when I had to get my screen repaired. It came from the factory with dead pixels. They said that there was faulty ram when they ran the hardware test, but didn't specifically blame the memory for the screen issue. They took the RAM out. OWC replaced the RAM for free. I have bought a ton of memory from them and that's the only time I had any issue.
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Zeeb  (op)
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Feb 5, 2008, 10:20 PM
 
Ultimately that is what I decided as well. I called crucial, got an RMA, sent back the "defective" RAM along with the letter Apple sent and asked for either replacement or refund. If they send back a new stick I'll install it. It seems the consensus is that Apple simply blames anything third party without a substantial reason. The lousy part is that in the meantime 'm running my computer on half the RAM I'm used to so its like going back in time! lol
     
aehaas
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Feb 6, 2008, 12:15 AM
 
I was in the electronic industry. (Do not quote me as I am not going to look up the exact specs but it gives the idea). Motorola sold a 3055 transistor. It was specified as dissipating 100 watts, up to 100 volts and can carry 20 amps all in a TO-3 specific case style with specific dimensions. It had an amplification of 1000 and was NPN type. RCA, Sylvania and others sold exactly the same thing. They all went for around $1 each.

On closer inspection of the whole Motorola micro device catalog the same transistor was listed 4 or 5 times with prices something as: $1, $5, $20, $45 each. Why? They are all the same right? NO!

There is also the reliability specification or MTBF. Which one do you think is in the space shuttle?

There are other specifications as well. I apologize to Radio Shack but... I have seen specifications for stereo amplifiers that are far better than High End amplifiers costing 25 times more. But what happens over time is that the specifications degrade. Electronic parts are not necessarily good or bad, they can degrade slowly over time, usually accelerated by elevated temperatures.

A simple light switch may be 120 volts and 15 amps. When specifying for them in industry there is also (at least) one more spec to review. The click rating. Is it 100, 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000. These would be more expensive and you cannot ordinarily purchase them at Home Depot. You have to go to a specialty electric supplier.

Conclusion: An otherwise well known manufacturer may sell several levels of the "same" product that is in fact quite different. You probably heard about the 3 levels of Champion spark plugs for your car all having the same stock number but sold from different outlets and performing (in the long run) quite different among themselves.

'Just trying to show that there may be differences in the RAM, or not. I am in business and cannot tolerate down time at all. I have always bought the more expensive OEM Apple RAM, whatever it is and although I am sure there have been failures, I have not had one in many computers over many years.

If it is expensive it may or may not be better, but if it is dirt cheap it most likely is dirt cheap (in general). In general, usually, a better made product will cost more. That is unless a new production method actually allows for a less expensive but better quality end product.

aehaas
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aehaas
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Feb 6, 2008, 12:26 AM
 
The very nature of the speed of the CPU is its testing. All the chips are made the same then tested and sorted for speed. There is less of a yield of faster chips therefore they are more expensive. Some chips fail completely.

More expensive RAM may be secondary to having it tested. Cheaper RAM may be altogether untested. The tests may be more rigorous for "better" RAM from the same manufacturer.

We do not know what they all are doing but I am fairly certain that there are in fact differences in the end products we see.

aehaas
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OWCLarry
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Feb 6, 2008, 02:05 AM
 
There are definitely different grades of memory. We build our products with the premo product. In addition, we are one of the few out there that actually maintain a lab with pretty much every Mac we sell memory for. In addition to full test platform module testing, we system test modules from every production to fully confirm proper operation in the Macs we offer the different types for. It's these extra steps and more in our process that puts the right, reliable product in our customer's systems without worry. Even the premium brand stuff has fall out - we sell a ton of Samsung original yes, it comes back too - as does Micron - but like our own line, it's a very small percentage because it's quality and in truth it's not always the fault of the module - but our lifetime advance replacement warranty stands by that product we sell none the less. In the case of the Mac Pro and Xserve modules we sell - EACH and EVERY one of those modules actually goes into an Apple for system load long memory testing. These are high end systems that operate under a unique load and customers typically have mission critical processes depending on those systems. We don't mess around. Our Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty makes a warranty replacement quick and relatively painless - but our goal is to prevent the need to use the warranty in the first place. We don't want memory to have to come back any more than our customer. You do pay more on the front end for quality (although right now memory is so cheap the delta vs. generic OEM lower grade stuff out there is very small dollar wise) - but definitely come out ahead in the long term.
Larry O'Connor
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lysolman
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Feb 7, 2008, 01:40 PM
 
I didn't see this:

Call Crucial, get a replacement!

Most RAM has a lifetime warranty, because, they do break!

Don't put the same stick in there. Get a replacement!

Yaaay!
     
acoustix
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Feb 8, 2008, 07:55 AM
 
OWC memory is excellent RAM at an excellent price. If it fails (very rare) they replace it. Can't ask for much more than that. The only one good thing about Apple selling computers with low RAM is that it gives you something to put in a drawer, trouble-shoot with and in the worst case scenario, put back into your computer before sending it in for servicing.
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Zeeb  (op)
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Feb 8, 2008, 09:15 AM
 
True enough, I sent the defective RAM back to crucial so hopefully they will send me a replacement. If not, I will check out OWC memory since everyone seems to give them a good recommendation. Unless there is an explicit advantage to using the expensive Apple provided RAM, I can't justify the expense. Aehass had an interesting point though, by suggesting the reason the Apple ram is so expensive is because of not so obvious differences--such as the ability to tolerate heat. That is actually feasible, since my first generation mbp gets incredibly hot -- it simply may have broken the RAM down--along with the logic board. lol I figure I'll give the third party RAM another go, if my volcano laptop causes the RAM to fail again, while leaving the Apple RAM intact, then I guess I will be more suspicious of the third party RAM.
     
   
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