Can You Mix Two Different Ram Brands?

Upgrading your ram is the cheapest way to boost the performance of your computer. And when it comes to adding more ram to your system, a question may come up in your mind whether mixing two different ram brands would work or not?

Yes, you can mix ram modules from two different brands as long as they share the same DDR memory type. For example, you can pair Corsair 16GB DDR4 module with Timetec 8GB DDR4 module. Similarly, you can pair two ram modules with different speeds and capacities.

Incompatibility issues are more likely to occur when you’ll try to pair ram sticks from different DDR generations. For example, a DDR2 stick won’t work with a DDR3 or DDR4 stick.

What Factors Can Contribute to Incompatibility Issues Among Two Different Brand Ram Sticks

Evey ram brand has its own PCB design that distinguishes them from other brands. This leads to a huge difference in performance when it comes to picking between expensive and cheaper ram modules.

CAS Latency, Dies, Clock Speed, and Voltage are some additional factors that influence the performance of a ram stick.

Ram modules from similar brands sync more easily to give you a decent boost in performance.

Moreover, the difference between single-channel and dual-channel ram sticks could cause incompatibility issues.

Single vs Dual Channel Memory

You’ll find plenty of ram brands throwing dual-channel configured memory sticks these days. And if you pair them with single-channel sticks, you’ll end up with lower performance. However, the difference in performance isn’t that noticeable unless you run ram benchmarks.

Dual-channel ram configuration yield better results when it comes to dealing with heavy workloads.

single vs dual-channel memory configuration
Image by: Hardwaretimes

If you will be pairing dual-channel configured memory sticks from different brands, you may or may not end up with lower performance in complex workloads. Due to the difference in the configuration of each brand, both memories can end up running single-channel.

So, there are chances that incompatibility may arise, which may affect your overall performance in the end.

Clock Frequency & CAS Latency

The clock frequency and the latency of a ram stick are the most deciding factors to consider when choosing a ram module. Both of these are responsible for the overall speed of a ram stick.

Whenever you buy a ram stick, you’ll see numbers like CL16-18-18-38 printed on either side. These numbers are referred to as CAS Latency denoted by CL. Generally, CAS Latency refers to the number of clock cycles it takes for a ram stick to access a specific set of data through one of its columns.

A RAM stick with CAS Latency 18 means that it would take cycles for a ram stick to perform a specific task. Therefore, the lower the CAS Latency, the more efficient would be the ram.

Therefore, mixing up ram modules with different CAS Latency can cause instability issues. Especially, if one ram kit comes with a CL14 and the other one shows up with CL 18, then there would be a difference between them when accessing the data. The CL14 ram stick would be faster in accessing the data as compared to CL 18 ram.

If you pair more than two ram sticks from different brands, and all of them have different CAS Latency as well, then you may end up with slower performance. Adding ram gives you more benefit if there’s a negligible difference between CAS Latency and Clockspeed of all the memory sticks.

Voltage

This is a less worrying factor that can cause incompatibility issues among ram sticks from different brands. Therefore, one of the ram sticks may not operate with its full potential due to a lack of voltage supply.

Size or Capacity

Although there are no incompatibility issues if you pair two ram modules with different capacities, you should know what may happen if you go with this configuration.

When you pair a 4GB ram with an 8GB memory from different brands, then this may end up as an “Asynchronous dual-channel configuration”. In this configuration, the first 4GB stick would sync perfectly with the 4GB out of 8GB ram stick. And the remaining memory would act as a single-channel memory.

Conclusion

Finally, you can mix ram sticks from different brands and it works just fine. However, try to pair ram modules that have almost the same level of specs like Voltage, CAS Latency, Clock Speed, and Channel Configuration. Furthermore, you can only pair ram from the same generation (DDR type) if you are planning to upgrade your system.

Instead of going with ram modules from different manufacturers, our advice would be to stick with a single brand. Ram modules that are made by the same manufacturer are highly compatible with each other.

The most important factors to consider when pairing two different ram sticks are clock speed and CAS Latency. If you’ll play around with these factors, then you are less likely to see any incompatibility issues among your ram sticks.

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