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Buyer Beware, Memory has errors!
on July 31, 2012
I've been in the Computer software, hardware, and service field for 15 years. I've worked on and repaired computers since I was 14, so I know quite a bit. This includes how to properly test new hardware. One of the first things you do with memory if you care about your data (and don't have a board that supports ECC memory) is to test the memory using a tool like memtest86 (google it) for at least 24 hours of continuous checking. Do not be fooled by some of the people that post on here saying it works, and that they have no problems. I'd bet dollars to donuts they plugged the stick in and booted their computer. Read on:
I received the memory yesterday, so as soon as I got home, I put it in my Dell Vostro 3750 work machine, and booted it up. BIOS shows 16GB. Great. Windows Boots? Awesome! memory looks great right? not so fast. I Restarted computer with Memtest86-4.0a cd in, and began the standard full range test. I left the machine going, and before I went to bed, it still showed 0 errors after 4 hours of testing. 20 more to go though. When I checked on it again this morning, it had ran for 13 hours, and there were now 8 errors. The errors weren't huge, (say FFFF vs FFEF) for a value, but errors are errors. For those of you that aren't tech savvy, or don't know what this means, or why you should care, here's an explanation:
Just because your computer boots with memory in it and looks like it's working ok, doesn't mean your data will be ok. Think of it the game telephone. you tell someone something. Lets say you tell that person your favorite color is red. Then they tell someone that same thing. This goes on say, for 20 people in a row, until finally the 19th person comes back and tells you what the person before him said, except when you hear it back, they say "your favorite color is green". Clearly this is not correct, as your favorite color is red. Did your message get totally messed up? nope, only one small part of it changed along the way, but it was enough to make that information incorrect. Memory works the same way. another example is this. Lets say you open your resume up in Microsoft word. When you open it, your computer opens it into memory. If you have bad memory, or memory that has errors in it, and your resume gets loaded into the part of memory that is bad, you may not notice anything. But when you edit that document, and save it, when your computer meant to write a "1" or a "0" somewhere, your bad memory may change that "1" to a "0" or "0" to a "1". It could happen to just one byte, maybe 10 bytes...hell if your memory has enough errors, it could do it to half your document. Suddenly when you try to open it again, you can't, because so much of it has been corrupted that it is no longer readable by your computer.
If you EVER buy memory, no matter what brand, do yourself a HUGE favor, and run memtest86 on it for at LEAST 24 hours to verify you have good..reliable memory. You'll be glad you did.