Upgrading RAM on my MBP: 3rd party RAM and warranty issues
April 23, 2007 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Upgrading RAM on my MBP: 3rd party RAM and warranty issues

I would be going for cheaper 3rd party RAM except for 1 issue: Applecare tech support said that if the 3rd party RAM fried my RAM slot or something, that wouldn't be covered under Applecare. Due to how much this freaking computer cost me, am I right to buy the inflated Apple RAM just to be safe? Was the techie correct about the Applecare policy? On the off chance the slot does fry how much would that cost me to fix?
posted by GleepGlop to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
1. If you're concerned about staying under warranty, then you have to buy their approved RAM. (And possibly have it installed by them)
2. ...
3. Fried Slot? There's no fixing it.
posted by unixrat at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2007

In my entire life I have never heard of Kingston/Kingmax/etc RAM frying a computer. Apple's RAM is a rip off. I also can't imagine they wouldn't service your machine even if you managed to blow it up using 3rd party RAM. Maybe someone will chime in to say otherwise. I say buy your 3rd party RAM.
posted by chunking express at 11:20 AM on April 23, 2007

You'll be absolutely fine. Buy any decent RAM and install it properly (I think there's even a youtube video for this) and the ram will not fry.

check dealram.com for good deals and to make sure what you buy is MBP compatible. as for the apple care issue, the chance that your ram is going to fry is almost zero.

i bought ram from dealram, saved nearly 200 dollars, and everything has been working smoothly for about 9 months. (only had my MBP for 11).
posted by ruwan at 11:26 AM on April 23, 2007

They were trying to sell you overpriced RAM. Buy from someone reputable and it will work. (My preferred RAM vendor is Crucial, FWIW.)
posted by raf at 12:00 PM on April 23, 2007

Memory doesn't "fry" computers. I've never heard of such a thing in my decade+ of fixing computers.

You could damage the slot if you don't put the memory in on the correct side, but you'd have to force it pretty hard to do that.

If you ever have to get service, just take out your non-factory RAM. Voila: You're still under warranty. Problem solved.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on April 23, 2007

memory can indeed fry computers. you do it by buying some that's completely and totally wrong and shoving it real hard in the computer. (AFAIK, this was a problem when the Power Mac G3s came out initially - Power Macs previous used DIMMs that were 5v and the new ones used normal 3.3V SDRAM.)

just make sure you get the right kind - Crucial's website will tell you - and you'll be fine. I go with crucial, corsair and mushkin, in that order, and typically buy from newegg. apple will typically remove non-apple branded memory if you bring your machine in for service (memory is a user-installable part on everything but the Mac Minis). apple memory has the advantage that it is covered under applecare, but non-apple memory typically has a lifetime warranty anyway (esp. from those three brands I mentioned) so it's not much of an advantage.
posted by mrg at 12:12 PM on April 23, 2007

I second 3rd-party RAM from a 3rd-party site. Newegg has Apple-specific RAM that is the right speed and everything for MB/MBP. They even have special 3GB packages for MB/MBP which are a fraction of the cost that Apple wants to sell it to you for.
posted by ijoyner at 12:18 PM on April 23, 2007

When I bought my Macbook at the Apple store, the Apple employee took me over to a computer, opened up newegg.com, and showed me exactly the RAM to buy. I suspect he would not have done that were it a known "frying" issue.
posted by olinerd at 1:10 PM on April 23, 2007

Response by poster: Blazecock's idea of just taking out the 3rd party RAM if something were to happen to my RAM slot and then take it in for service seems like something I could be happy with providing they wouldn't refuse to honor the warranty without me providing the bad RAM stick...
posted by GleepGlop at 1:40 PM on April 23, 2007

In fact, Apple has you do this sort of thing if you send a laptop in for service and you've added third-party, non-factory memory. You are asked to remove this memory before you send in the laptop. If you leave it in, they take it out before they do any work, and you get the laptop back with a little anti-static bag with your "non-Apple" memory.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on April 23, 2007

I would go ahead and get non-Apple RAM, but buy it from a reputable manufacturer.

Kingston and Crucial are both good. Corsair is probably okay, too. I'd go online to one of their sites, use the "RAM Configurator" (or whatever they call it, the thing where you put in your model and it picks out the part for you), and order it directly from them. Make sure to keep all your sales reciepts / invoices / etc., and make sure the part you get is "Guaranteed Compatible."

In the very unlikely event that their RAM did fry your motherboard, and Apple wouldn't touch it under AppleCare, then you could go after the manufacturer.

But if you go to some fly-by-night mom'n'pop on Pricewatch, and buy no-name RAM, and it blows your system, you're going to be S.O.L. Don't do it. I also think that buying the RAM directly from the manufacturer will make it easier in case you ever have to file some sort of claim against them for killing your system.

That said, I don't think I've ever heard of RAM actually frying a system, unless it was the wrong type, or was improperly installed (both of which I consider PEBKAC, and not the fault of the RAM). But if you want to be safe, stick to a major brand, order directly, and keep all the paperwork.

Just as an organizational suggestion, I have one of those manila-ish 'portfolio' folders (the accordion kind with a flap that's secured by an elastic that wraps around the folder) about 1"-2" thick, for each of my computers. I keep all the paperwork in there: the original manuals and CDs, the sales reciepts, any warranty paperwork, and proof of purchases and warranty info for any internally-installed addons or upgrades. It's saved my butt I don't know how many times. Just something to consider.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:29 PM on April 23, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the help people, I'm going to get some 3rd party RAM from a good brand.
posted by GleepGlop at 3:22 PM on April 23, 2007

For what it's worth, I spring for the Apple stuff now. On my last computer I put in 512mb from Crucial - certainly not the cheapest RAM around - and things went well... except my incremental OS updates seemed to fail pretty reliably unless I pulled that one stick. I've heard Apple machines address RAM differently than PCs, I've heard Apple uses the same suppliers as everyone else but their QA is to a higher/different standard (I've heard this about their displays too), and I don't know how true all that is -- I just know it never gives me problems.

However, above posters are correct: it's not going to void your warranty and it's not going to "fry the slot" unless you install it underwater or something. And I can confirm that if you send it in for warranty work they will just pull the third-party RAM and send it back in an anti-static bag with the computer.
posted by churl at 4:07 PM on April 23, 2007

I have most assuredly had bad memory take a logic board down with it. My personal machine, c. 2004. And in working behind the Genius Bar for a year and a bit, I saw it plenty of times (read: a few).

And sure, if the "Genius" or whomever is in a bad mood, and you have the 3rd party memory in there, they can claim that is what caused it, and deny the repair.

Moral of the story: take the memory out before you take it in for repair, and you'll be fine.

But paying the premium for Apple memory is often worth it, just because its more reliable, and the price difference is a lot less than it used to be.
posted by frijole at 6:30 PM on April 23, 2007

12" G4 Powerbook here. Googled around to find the correct specs, then purchased 1gb aftermarket RAM from NewEgg. I forget the brand, I think it wasn't Kingston/Crucial, but it's behaved nicely for the past two years of almost constant uptime. Then again, my warranty was already thoroughly voided by the time I installed it (bought the machine used from a friend who'd dropped it), so I had less to lose.
posted by Alterscape at 7:33 PM on April 23, 2007

I see you are in Ontario - most of the recommended websites are American. I bought all 3 GB of my iMac RAM from CanadaRAM. They sell two kinds of non-Apple branded memory. Given that Apple manuals tell you how to install your own RAM, I think what the AppleCare person was talking about was damaging the computer by installing the RAM incorrectly. The CanadaRAM memory is guaranteed to work properly with your Mac. I am simply a satisfied customer. (Bought the memory for my old G3 iMac from them too.)
posted by birdsquared at 9:18 PM on April 23, 2007

You're the one who bought a mac, so take your machine in for the expensive repair like everyone else.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:14 AM on April 24, 2007

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