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Memory compatibility listings for motherboards? What are their purpose?

By fr34k123
Feb 2, 2012
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  1. Hi there,
    I was wondering if someone could clarify why motherboard manufacturers put out memory compatibility listings?

    Im in a discussion with a work collegue who seems to think that these lists are non-exhaustive and they do not also display incompatible ram. Ive explained to him that i believe these listings are designed to show a list of all ram that is tested by the MB manufacturer and is known (and therefore guaranteed) to be compatible with the board in general. He disagrees and suggests otherwise - he thinks that memory of similar specification (timings and voltage) to those listed on the compatibility are 100% guaranteed to work as they share the same characteristics - he suggests those lists serve no purpose when trying to match memory types and motherboards for compatibility and therefore cannot be relied upon in a situation where ram may not be compatible with the board in question.....

    If anyone can clarify exactly why motherboard manufacturers provide these lists - that would be great :)
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,270   +103

    You're both mostly right. As far as I know, the qualified vendors list shows RAM proven to be compatible during internal testing. While similarly configured modules aren't necessarily guaranteed to work, there's generally no reason they shouldn't.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    But you don't want to assume the various modules would work together, or at the same time. Those listings of compatibility may show they work in the same system, but may or may not show memory that works together..
  4. paul2go

    paul2go TS Rookie

    Memory compatability

    Just thought I would ad my ten cents on this subject as I've just upgraded my PC with new mobo and cpu ie.Gigabyte GA-880GMA-USB3/ AMD Phenome II and new memory sticks, Crucial 4x4Gb.
    PC would not boot up & only had Beep Tones - 2 long 1 short, could not find any help as to what this meant, despite checking with supplier and manufacturers site.

    After a lot of head scatching It transpired that the problem was the installed memory!

    Why? well, the installed bios setup is only configured for SINGLE channel & not DUAL channel memory which as I had unfortunately istalled all four sticks and was intending to enter the bois to DUAL channel, but could not even access the bios at all to effect this, however removing two of the memory sticks solved the problem.

    One final comment regarding the usefullenes/ or not of prefered memory lists, I think it bettter to rely on the information provided by the manufacturers of the desired memory.

    Of course you real techies out there maybe would not need this info but hey!it might assist some not so clued-up.

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