View Full Version : Do MoBo Manufacturers' RAM Compatibility Lists Mean Anything?
12-02-11, 09:22 PM
Motherboard manufacturers publish lists of RAM that has supposedly been tested and found to work with specific motherboards. How necessary or desirable is it to limit the RAM installed to RAM that is on the list? I am afraid to ignore them lest I end up with RAM I can't use, but, obviously, it would be nice to be able to select from more kinds of RAM to take advantage of sales, etc. Would I be safe buying any RAM that met the specification for the motherboard, e.g., any DDR3 2133? Also, if particular RAM is not listed on the motherboard manufacturer's compatibility list, but the RAM manufacturer claims it is compatible with the motherboard, is it safe to use?
12-02-11, 09:44 PM
More often than not the compatibility lists don't really mean a whole lot, unless you are one of those people that only buys things according to spec and want to make sure without a shadow of a doubt your RAM will work. I've only once in my life had a kit of RAM not compatible with a motherboard, and that was due to the CPU FSB and the RAM ratio divider not lining up. Otherwise I've never had a problem. As long as you're running one of the latest BIOS releases, you shouldn't have any problem. Some sticks may overclock nicer on boards than others, but as far as getting the motherboard to POST you should be safe.
12-15-11, 07:44 PM
Quick answer: no.
12-15-11, 07:51 PM
That list means that with the processor they tested with and their motherboard, that kit of ram will work.
Ram that works in a crosshair v formula and a FX-8150 may not work with the same mobo and a 955BE.
Plus, a lot of ram that isn't on the list will work great.
From the above, whether it is worth anything really depends on whether you have the same CPU and motherboard and want to be 100% sure a kit of ram will work, rather than 99% sure.
12-15-11, 08:02 PM
I've had high rated sticks not work in one of my AMD boards. I never paid any attention to compatibility lists, as typically the "exotic" sticks of ram aren't listed. In my situation, it was sticks that worked fine on an intel platform, that didn't work on my CIVE, then I sold them to another person disclosing the incompatibility I had, and they worked fine in his system too. My system wouldn't even post with them installed, so there was nothing I could do to even try to get them working.
For an every day rig, I'd stick to RAM that has been tested and approved. Ram speeds and timings are typically only perceivable in synthetic benchmarks. For a daily or gaming rig, I'd buy whatever sticks are rated 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24 at the lowest price from a reputable seller.
For a benchmarking rig ram speed makes a small but very important difference to scores - if you have a really good score on subzero cooling, the other people with really good scores on subzero cooling also have really good ram and really good CPUs. In order to beat the best benchmarkers, you want to have really good ram also or you are at a disadvantage that will have to be made up by stronger CPU/GPU performance than they had.
That is why for benchmarking, you should buy very wisely and/or very expensively to get an exceptional set of ram... When you are close to putting up the best scores anyone else in the world has put up on your CPU/GPU, it comes down to a few percentage points of difference - the difference between 1st place and 5th place can often be decided by ram speed and timings.
For anything other than benchmarking, spending $50 or more than you need to is a waste of money that would be better put into cooling or better other components in the system. That is true for everything in my opinion, unless you have a very specific application where encoding times may be different by a few seconds and that difference is important to your situation.
So thats why I would recommend you stick to the recommended list - it is the surefire way to get a stick of ram the mobo manufacturer says will work on your motherboard. I can't think of any reason to buy sticks that aren't listed there, not worth the (potential) trouble.
12-17-11, 02:40 PM
My DDR2 ram isn't on my motherboard ram compatibility list..but it has been working great for 2 years. :attn:
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