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Chapter 4. Memory > Memory-Buying Tips

Memory-Buying Tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you buy memory for your Mac. Most of the memory sold by reputable Mac dealers is generally of good quality and with proper handling should last as long as your Mac will.


Always verify that the memory you are buying will work with your specific Mac model. Many times the lowest prices on the Web will be from generic memory dealers. Most of the time the memory will be fine, but as I noted earlier, in several cases certain types or sizes of RAM are not compatible with some Mac models. A dealer that sells memory listed for use with Macs should be able to verify that what you're buying is correct for your model.


Always compare the total delivered cost. Many times the lowest price comes with a large shipping and handling fee. Consider the dealer's reputation also—RAM is not the place to cut corners on quality as it is critical to your system's stability and reliability. The difference in price can seem trivial if the RAM is not reliable and causes crashing, return shipping costs, and phone calls. You can save a bundle over catalog and retail-store prices on the Web and still get quality RAM, but beware of deals that seem too good to be true.


Many dealers back their memory with a lifetime warranty. I personally would never buy memory with a shorter warranty. Dealers offering less make me wonder if that's because they have a higher return rate (failure rate) or have little confidence in the memory they're selling.

Name-brand versus generic RAM.

Most of the memory I've bought over the years has been generic—meaning it was not sold with the brand-name label of a major manufacturer such as Kingston or Crucial. I'd guess that 90 percent of the RAM sold in the world is generic, and this is not necessarily a sign of lesser quality. The components used in generic memory modules are usually from major manufacturers using proven circuit boards. Although there's always a chance of problems with any memory, if you buy from a reputable Mac dealer that's been around for years, you should be fine.

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