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Old 03-02-2008, 10:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Memory Compatibility - How is it determined?

So I'm wondering if anyone could explain or point me to an article which answers this basic question, "How come some memory doesn't work in some computers?"

Take, for example, a Dell laptop. Some memory brands will not work when installed. Is this because the motherboard manufacturer is responsible for finding compatibility with certain memory modules? Or do the RAM companies and the motherboard companies come together at some point? And how can Crucial Memory Inc. guarantee 100% compatibility? Are they using very generic/compatible modules on their DIMMS that are recognized across the board by computer hardware?

I mean, I remember buying a brand new ASUS motherboard and the first release of some OCZ memory and it ended up being incompatible. However, after some time had passed, and I believe the memory was updated to "Revision 2", it is now compatible in that motherboard. So at the end of the day, how is memory compatibility dictated? Is it on the motherboard mfg'ers end? The memory mfg'ers end? Or is a joint effort?

If anyone could refer to the Dell scenario I mentioned, that'd be most appreciated. Is Dell manufacturing their hardware to recognize a very limited variety of aftermarket memory modules?
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory Compatibility - How is it determined?

To answer your question without much proof or back-up, yes the memory compatibility is based on both the motherboard manufacturers and memory manufaturers. One reason why Dell has such a limited compatibility is so it can use this as a tool for raising prices on RAM purchased through their website. It is way too complicated and I really don't understand it myself. All I can say is from searching for this same answer for hours and hours, I have received nothing but headaches and information I already knew or was useless to me.

Seems the only surefire way to know is to buy a few different options (as long as there is an open return policy) and use whichever RAM gives you best performance. Ugh.. just thinking about this gives me a headache..
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory Compatibility - How is it determined?

Thanks a lot for the response.

Someone else provided this scenario:

Quote:
A motherboard bios can be programed to look for a tag on the ram.
Without that tag, the computer will not complete post.
Dell may set those paramiters because they realize that the better the quality of the ram, the fewer the problems you the user may have.
Then again, they could have an exclusivity deal with one or more manus, and as a result get thier ram at a lower price.
I was wondering how near the truth this explanation is?
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory Compatibility - How is it determined?

That seems like a logical possibility. Makes sense to me.
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory Compatibility - How is it determined?

If anything dell is cheap and uses low quality RAM..
So they would do that "tag" crap so you could only use memory that you bought through them.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory Compatibility - How is it determined?

Dell would prefer you to buy from them opposed to someone else, which is prob a big reason why many others arent compatible
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory Compatibility - How is it determined?

it is a complex scheme of marketing, mass purchase discounts, hardware inflation, greed, general acceptance that most ppl who buy prebuilts usually have low knoledge of computer hard ware, and just plain consumer stupidity
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