What's the deal with cheap "AMD ONLY" RAM from eBay?


Captain Jack Sparrow

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There seems to be a lot of strange DDR2 RAM modules on eBay.

Consider this scenario:
I'm looking for 4GB DDR2 800MHz RAM modules for an old desktop PC which we've re-purposed as a server. It currently has 8GB RAM installed, but this isn't enough, as it always seems to be running at (or near) capacity, which leads to large amounts of swapping. The motherboard (GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-DS4) [external link, GIGABYTE] claims to support 16GB RAM.

I have been unable to find 4x4GB DDR2 800MHz RAM modules from "trusted" sources at a decent price. So naturally, I jump on eBay and find things like this (all links are external links, eBay UK):
Exhibit A - "Samsung"
Exhibit B - "Micron"
Exhibit C - "Hynix"

Now if you observe the listings carefully, you'll see notes such as:

Exhibit A: “Buyer note: it is hgih density, Only fit for AMD CPU Motherboard. It can not support any intel motherboard.”

Exhibit B:
Buyer Notice:

This memory only compatible with the AMD mainboard/AMD chipset/AMD CPU.

Not work with(Not compatible):

1.All the Intel CPU,Intel chipset,Intel mainboard.

2.All the Compaq,HP,Dell,Apple Computer.

If your pc is intel chipset.Please choose the low densiy memory.

Exhibit C: “This item is only compatible with AMD cpu motherboard.It can not work in any intel cpu motherboard.”

Please excuse the absolutely shocking spelling errors, this was a direct copy and paste, be assured that those are not my mistakes! :D
So before I potentially throw £25 down the drain, does anybody here have experience with these RAM modules?

What exactly is high density and low density RAM?
If I was to install some in an Intel motherboard, why wouldn't it work?​

The only explanation I can think of is that it's something to do with the memory controller. I think AMD CPUs have their memory controller integrated on the CPU, whereas Intel platforms generally have their memory controller integrated on the chipset.

I'm concerned because I thought DDR2 RAM was universal, and although this purchase is targeted at an AMD system, I have my doubts about the quality of these RAM modules if they "can't work in Intel motherboards". Furthermore, because they all seem to be shipping from China, that's got all my alarm bells ringing! :eek:

They seem to feature chips from the likes of Samsung, Micron (parent company of Crucial) and Hynix, so I'd expect these to be reliable, but the fact that they're shipping from China still has me worried about the quality and authenticity of the RAM modules.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Ian

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I thought the same as you, so I had to do a bit of Googling and found this:

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1043995/ocz-releases-special-memory-for-amd-am2-cpus

To be honest, I'd avoid it too (if possible) - as there are so many caveats on the ebay descriptions and they all look non-branded (and who knows if the chips are really high end).

You may be ok with these Micron sticks (HP branded). They're ECC, which may be useful for the server too:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Micron-16GB-4X4GB-DDR2-PC2-6400P-800MHz-ECC-Reg-Server-Memory-RAM-/322223456293?hash=item4b0603c025:g:dDgAAOSw6n5Xq0sD
 

muckshifter

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I'd have no problems buying Samsung, Micron or even Hynix chip memory.

China makes lots of chips.

Look for non-ECC memory!

I don't buy anything off EBay!!!

You can ignore the 'Density" jargon, it's computer gobbledegook to confuse 'normal' people into thinking we geeks are brill.

"high density ram is more efficient in cost and data storage then low density ram"
(Mr Google will have a better answer ;) )


:user:
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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I thought the same as you, so I had to do a bit of Googling and found this:

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1043995/ocz-releases-special-memory-for-amd-am2-cpus

To be honest, I'd avoid it too (if possible) - as there are so many caveats on the ebay descriptions and they all look non-branded (and who knows if the chips are really high end).

You may be ok with these Micron sticks (HP branded). They're ECC, which may be useful for the server too:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Micron-16GB-4X4GB-DDR2-PC2-6400P-800MHz-ECC-Reg-Server-Memory-RAM-/322223456293?hash=item4b0603c025:g:dDgAAOSw6n5Xq0sD
Putting ECC RAM in a desktop PC is unchartered territory. I'm not prepared to take this risk, becuase it's more likely that it won't work, than it will work.

This is because the memory controller in an AMD CPU does support ECC RAM, BUT ONLY IF IT'S UNBUFFERED AND NON-REGISTERED. Good luck finding ECC RAM which is unbuffered and not registered. Buffered and Registered RAM is basically what ECC RAM is, so I'm not entirely sure why AMD bothered to put any ECC support in their CPUs if they can't support buffered and registered ECC RAM.
I'd have no problems buying Samsung, Micron or even Hynix chip memory.

China makes lots of chips.

Look for non-ECC memory!

I don't buy anything off EBay!!!

You can ignore the 'Density" jargon, it's computer gobbledegook to confuse 'normal' people into thinking we geeks are brill.

"high density ram is more efficient in cost and data storage then low density ram"
(Mr Google will have a better answer ;) )


:user:
I'm going to take one for the team and purchase this dodgy RAM. When the RAM modules arrive, I'll MemTest86 them for 24 hours. If even one error shows up, then I'll use PayPal Buyer Protection to apply for a refund without having to send the item back, as this would cost more than the refund itself!

Am I crazy? Wish me luck... even though the RAM probably won't arrive for a couple of weeks! :D

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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I nearly forgot about this thread! Damn, I am slacking! :D

Anyway, the memory arrived and here it is!

IMG_20161022_131916.jpg IMG_20161022_132026.jpg IMG_20161022_132048.jpg
* sandpaper not included

At first glance, they do look like genuine Hynix RAM modules. However, upon closer inspection, without even opening the packaging, I noticed poor quality printing on the IC chips. I also noticed terrible quality soldering under the ICs, with drops of solder actually on the IC chips! This has got me worried immediately.

Anyway, without further ado, let's fire them up.

I installed all 4 modules, then powered up the PC and...

...

...

Nothing. The PC was stuck in a reboot loop without even reaching the POST stage.
Okay, time to investigate.

I removed two modules and the PC was able to POST and I entered the BIOS.
From here, I narrowed it down to one module which was completely dead. I placed this back into its packaging and marked it as faulty.

So we're running with 3 x 4GB totalling 12GB. Next, I ran Memtest86.
An hour later, the 3 remaining modules completed the first pass without any errors. Pleasantly surprised, I then booted into Windows. Everything seemed okay and stable, so I then shut the PC down as I didn't need to use it. From here folks, it's all downhill. While Windows was attempting to shut down, it crashed to a BSOD.

Puzzled, I ran Memtest86 for a second time. I think you've all guessed what's coming next, if you haven't, then you should have by now!

Capture_Memtest86.png


Capture_WMDT.png


The RAM was bad... VERY BAD. If you look at the Memtest86 screen capture, you can see that the errors range from 2423.3MB all the way up to 13047.5MB, which means that at least two of the remaining three modules are defective!

I'm not sure why these errors didn't show up the first time I ran Memtest86. The only explanation that I can think of is when I first ran Memtest86, the RAM modules were at room temperature. When they heated up to their normal operating temperature, they exposed their true colors.

I contacted the seller and included these screenshots. The seller was very apologetic and offered a full refund once the faulty modules have been returned. They have already paid for the return carriage to China (although PayPal deducted a fee of 71p) so I'll get these sent off on Monday.

Meanwhile, I had also ordered some Samsung high density RAM from a UK seller for a more expensive price. I'm going to name and shame this seller and I'll explain why later.

I ordered the Samsung RAM modules from here: Samsung 16GB (4x 4GB) DDR2 800mhz PC2-6400 Memory for AMD 240pin Non-ECC UK (external link, eBay)

The seller is "canoneoskiss" (external link, eBay) who (at the time of writing) has a 582 feedback rating with 99.5% being positive.

Long story short, these modules which were more expensive and like the Hynix RAM modules, they also displayed similar defects. I am naming and shaming canoneoskiss because when I requested to return the item for a full refund, canoneoskiss refused and claimed that the memory modules are not compatible with my system. canoneoskiss then became rather aggressive and childish. Eventually, canoneoskiss admitted that these RAM modules should be compatible with my system and will not accept a return for a full refund.

Well, yes, we know that these should be compatible, because if they weren't, surely the motherboard would not even POST?
Either ways, I was getting nowhere fast with canoneoskiss, so I've started an eBay Money Back Guarantee case against canoneoskiss. He immediately offered a partial refund which was 1/4 of the purchase price. I am not a mug, so obviously, I declined the (let's face it) insulting refund offer and the case is currently still ongoing.

Avoid the seller canoneoskiss at all costs. Very bad customer service, refuses return for faulty goods, communicates in broken English and is very arrogant. I can see that canoneoskiss is also selling very cheap LED light bulbs, probably imported from China, I bet these are not CE approved and they could kill you if you touch them while they're operating!

Anyway, in conclusion...
Don't bother with "high density" or "AMD only" RAM modules. They are cheap, poor quality and potentially counterfeit products. They will cause you nothing but trouble. Stick with low density RAM and known brands (Kingston, Corsair, Crucial). I think these "Hynix" and "Samsung" RAM modules are totally counterfeit.
They do look like a bargain, but they're not.

You really do get what you pay for.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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muckshifter

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"if it's too good to be true"

"I told you so"

"Ebay"


... update us when you get the refund. ;)



disclaimer: the 'quotes' were not aimed at you directly
 
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Ian

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Thanks for the detailed update Capt. Jack - it's interesting to see such a detailed look at what these chips are actually like! That is pretty horrendous that so many of the modules (from both sellers) were useless.

I wonder if some people are actually able to use them? :eek:
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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"if it's too good to be true"
"I told you so"
Oh no! Here comes mucks, straight in there with the obligatory "I told you so" post!
Thanks for the detailed update Capt. Jack - it's interesting to see such a detailed look at what these chips are actually like! That is pretty horrendous that so many of the modules (from both sellers) were useless.

I wonder if some people are actually able to use them? :eek:
I don't think so. Although it was possible to boot into Windows with this RAM, the system was very unstable and could crash to a BSOD at any moment. I think most people just buy it, realize that they've been had and then move on. The RAM modules themselves probably cost less than £5 to manufacture. If they sell them at £22, they certainly do get some profit I suppose!

Or maybe I was just unlucky and genuinely did get two faulty batches. No... I just can't.

Maybe I got exactly what I deserved. But to be fair, try and find me a 4GB DDR2 800MHz single stick memory module which isn't a high density type. They're rarer than the holy grail (if they even exist).

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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I finally got my money back through eBay's Buyer Protection. They even covered the return postage.

Another week, another set of 16GB high density RAM modules.
This time, from a "trusted" brand, Kingston.

IMG_20161104_154336.jpg IMG_20161104_154520.jpg IMG_20161104_154800.jpg

Here we go, Memtest86 galore!

capture_20161104_163734.png


OH DEAR...
It's failed Memtest86 already. However I ran it again to check for good measure and ended up with errors again. I noticed that the errors were never at the same physical memory address, it was always different, which leads me to believe that the modules are actually fine, but something else is causing RAM to operate incorrectly.

I tried playing around with voltages in the BIOS, but the modules were still unable to complete a pass of Memtest86 without errors. In a last ditch effort, I slashed the memory clock multiplier, so that the RAM modules are running at 667 MHz rather than 800 MHz.

capture_20161105_013548.png


And then I ran Memtest86 again.

capture_20161105_013434.png


Voila. The modules passed a complete Memtest86 pass.
So for some reason, although they are labelled as "800 MHz" modules, they are not stable at this speed, or the Phenom CPU cannot handle all of the modules running at 800 MHz. At 667 MHz these modules work brilliantly and the system is stable and reliable.

At this stage, capacity is more important than speed, this server really needs 16GB, so I'm going to stick with running these modules at 667 MHz and I guess that I'll have to live with the performance hit.

CPU-Z RAM 1.png


CPU-Z RAM 2.png


- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Hi there, I have bought 2 unit of the so called "cheap AMD only DDR2 ram", 4GB x 2..... After I put into my computer, it can run into Window no problem, but after a minute the system just crash, or freezing. After I put back my previously Kingston ram it has no issue like before. So guys, please aware of these cheap ram on Ebay. :(
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Hi there, I have bought 2 unit of the so called "cheap AMD only DDR2 ram", 4GB x 2..... After I put into my computer, it can run into Window no problem, but after a minute the system just crash, or freezing. After I put back my previously Kingston ram it has no issue like before. So guys, please aware of these cheap ram on Ebay. :(
It's very hit and miss I've found. Right now, I am using Kingston 'AMD ONLY' 16GB of DDR2 4Rx8 RAM because it's virtually impossible to find DDR2 RAM in 4GB modules which don't use 4Rx8 modules. 4Rx8 refers the the amount of memory chips on each side of the module. It will have 4 banks (2 on each side), with each bank containing 8 memory chips.

Initially when I ran these modules at their advertised speed of 800MHz, it caused crashes and MemTest86 failures.

The trick was to lower the DDR2 speed in the BIOS. When I lowered the RAM speed to 667MHz, Windows was stable and all the MemTest86 errors went away. This thread is actually quite old, I wasn't expecting any more replies, but to this day, these modules (now with added heatsink!) are still running reliably to this very day.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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It's very hit and miss I've found. Right now, I am using Kingston 'AMD ONLY' 16GB of DDR2 4Rx8 RAM because it's virtually impossible to find DDR2 RAM in 4GB modules which don't use 4Rx8 modules. 4Rx8 refers the the amount of memory chips on each side of the module. It will have 4 banks (2 on each side), with each bank containing 8 memory chips.

Initially when I ran these modules at their advertised speed of 800MHz, it caused crashes and MemTest86 failures.

The trick was to lower the DDR2 speed in the BIOS. When I lowered the RAM speed to 667MHz, Windows was stable and all the MemTest86 errors went away. This thread is actually quite old, I wasn't expecting any more replies, but to this day, these modules (now with added heatsink!) are still running reliably to this very day.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
Hi ,

I own a pretty old MSI P45-Neo3 which runs perfectly fine. I was planning to upgrade it to the latest core2 extreme cpu and max memory ( 16GB ).
Unfortunately i already ordered the 16GB Samsung DDR2 AMD only sticks from eBay right before i stumbled on this thread. I thought they were cheap because of ddr2 being old......
I will still give it a go , maybe i get lucky with just lowering the voltage also. It was "only" $22 so i'll see what happens.

Ps , this thread might be old and i hate bringing it back alive BUT these older systems still run fine and if i can get it to run faster for little money...... :)

I will let you know what happens with the memory sticks!
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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Hi ,

I own a pretty old MSI P45-Neo3 which runs perfectly fine. I was planning to upgrade it to the latest core2 extreme cpu and max memory ( 16GB ).
Unfortunately i already ordered the 16GB Samsung DDR2 AMD only sticks from eBay right before i stumbled on this thread. I thought they were cheap because of ddr2 being old......
I will still give it a go , maybe i get lucky with just lowering the voltage also. It was "only" $22 so i'll see what happens.
This was the situation I was in at the time. It would work fine with 8 GB (4 x 2 GB), but at the time, the server was maxxing its RAM due to running virtual machines. I decided to give the 4 x 4 GB configuration a go, but as this thread has shown, it was a really poor idea.

I got 4 x 4 GB working reliably by lowering the clock frequency of all RAM modules. This turned out to be pointless in the end, as I decided to replace the virtual machines that the server was running with dedicated hardware appliances. Today, the server never really uses more than 5 GB of its 16 GB of RAM.

Do not lower or increase the voltage of the RAM!

For me, doing so led to unpredictable results and damaged the CPU's onboard memory controller. I had to replace the entire CPU due to this. Exercise extreme caution if you intend to change the voltage.
Ps , this thread might be old and i hate bringing it back alive BUT these older systems still run fine and if i can get it to run faster for little money...... :)
Sadly, this will probably not make much difference. Unless you're constantly running the RAM at capacity, then this won't be worth it. In my experience, increasing the amount of RAM almost never makes the system 'faster'. What does make a world of difference is to replace the OS drive with an SSD. Even on low RAM systems, this will make them much more responsive.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

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