Regarding RAM - "It either works, or it doesn't?" at

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Old February 12th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #1
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Regarding RAM - "It either works, or it doesn't?"

Question to the wise, I recently bought "Non-Mac" RAM from a computer center. They didn't specialize in Mac. I asked, "Will this Kingston RAM work in a Mac?" They said it will either work, or it won't boot.

My Quad G5 came with 1 GB (two 512 HP ECC PC4200 DDR2 533), so now I have 5 GB (bought 4 1GB sticks non-ECC). Although it does work, and shows as "OK" in the profiler (it does say PC2-4200U instead of the PC2-4200E where the ECC modules are) Now I know the non-ecc downgrades the ECC, but back to the itch that bugs me, "Am I doing my computer dis-service by not get "Official Mac RAM" or cuz it shows it works, is it REALLY working?" And what does the "E" and the "U" mean? Thanks.
Gary Siu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2007, 05:35 AM   #2
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They may not specialise in Macs, but if they said "it will either work or it won't boot" they aren't memory specialists either!

I don't know what the "V" means (parity checking maybe?), but the "E" almost certainly stands for ECC (Error Correction Code). You can check your Mac's shipping memory config on Kingston's site at

To your question; are you doing your Mac a dis-service by not getting "official" Mac RAM?
Probably not.
Like most parts, the Apple memory modules are OEM-ed (Original Equipment Manufacturer) from another company. Very few companies actually make DRAM chips because of the astronomical cost of setting up a production line (about $1 billion). I'm not sure who's doing the Apple modules at the moment - a closer inspection of the chips might reveal that.
Although it's guaranteed to work, the primary reason for not buying Apple RAM is the cost - you can of course buy the same spec RAM from a PC store costing considerably less and stick it in your Mac, which is exactly what you've done.

Anyway - providing you stick with a good brand manufacturer such as Kingston, you shouldn't have any problems. You should, though, get ECC RAM for your Mac as that is what it has been designed to use.
Please note that I am not advocating you go and buy the cheapest memory available - that will probably get you in trouble. Cheap (bad) RAM can cause freezes, crashes, maybe even lost data. I've been stung by poor RAM in the past, and I only ever by branded from one or two trusted suppliers now.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #3
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Thanks Lindsay

So far so good. I was told the "ECC" was used mainly for servers. I've had a couple crashes since the RAM install, but personally I think I was "Jambing" too much through. No boot problems yet.
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