First off, before you even decide which vendor to use. Take a look at your Mobo's QVL (qualified vendor list). All that is, is RAM they've tested with your motherboard that worked. Do not make the mistake that all of that particular vendor's RAM they offer was tested. A QVL is not a guarantee that the RAM will work. However, I'd say it's 99.999% sure it will.
Do keep in mind that some Mobo's are notoriously finicky about what RAM they like.
A basic thing to know about RAM is that there are very few manufacturing companies with the ability to make DRAM chips. Those DRAM chips store the data. If you are looking at your stick of RAM, the DRAM chips are the black banks on the stick/circuit board.
Most companies (third party vendors) that "make" computer RAM actually just assemble the pre-manufactured parts:
Those few companies that actually manufacture the DRAM chips include: Hitachi, Hyundai, Micron and Samsung.
What that boils down to is there is Top Tier RAM and Generic RAM. Top tier is extensively tested by the manufacturer and it's solid. Those parts that fail the testing either get trashed or re-sold to third party vendors. It's then known as "generic" RAM. Frequently, the RAM that was rejected during testing is then repackaged at a lessor speed grade and sold by the third party vendor under their brand name.
What that means is that Generic RAM will probably work, but over time it will also be likely to have marginal performance and fail. Generic RAM is a cheaper choice. Remember, in computer hardware, cheap is cheap for a reason. The question is do you want to deal with that reason as a possibility or not? Sometimes, I do choose generic RAM sometimes, I don't.
Now in late 2007 DDR3 became the latest in the RAM technology generation. Essentially in one clock cycle, 3 chunks of data gets sent. (DDR2 was 2 chunks in a clock cycle, DDR is 1 chunk per clock cycle). At this point in the game, you should be either on DDR3 or looking to migrate there soon. DDR4 is on the horizon. Samsung announced (Jan 2011) that they have developed a 2 GB DRAM module.
I always recommend you purchase the greatest amount of RAM you can, per stick. The least amount I would purchase is 4 x 2GB. That's 4 sticks of 2 GB each for 8 GB total on an 64 bit OS, in a dual channel config. I prefer to purchase the highest speed my motherboard will support, sometimes though my budget doesn't support it. In that case I downgrade to next speed down that it supports.
Obviously, you choose what works for you. I am always going to put more money into my CPU , Vid card and Mobo. RAM gets my consideration after
those three. However, as always do what works for you.
© DIY-Gaming-Computers.com 2011