Shopping for RAM can be a dizzying experience. Not only are there hundreds of memory kits to choose from, but it's not uncommon for memory makers to offer several different models all sporting the same frequency, and sometimes the same latencies. And then there's the generic RAM kits boasting similar specs, but at a cheaper rate. Ever wonder what really separates one RAM kit from another? Here's how Exceleram explains it.
Exceleram, which is a division of Topower Logistic and resides in Germany, posted an interesting article describing different levels of memory. According to Exceleram, memory chips typically fall into one of four categories. At the top are "Major Brand" chips. These are fully tested and labelled by the maker with its own brand name, like Elpida, Hynix, Micron, Samsung, etc, and are the highest quality available.
Just below that are "eTT" chips. These are also fully tested, but overproduced and are sold unlabeled and already mounted to modules by other producers. Exceleram says these are comparable in quality to Major Brand.
Lower on the totem poll are "uTT" chips. Exceleram says these may not have been fully tested, and though they're usually functional, they're typically not backed by a warranty. The upshot is that they're a lot cheaper than other types of memory chips, so memory makers may opt to gamble.
The least desirable chips are called "Downgraded," and these have usually failed some critical tests, Exceleram says. However, they usually "work well under normal circumstances," they just won't be sold as enthusiast grade or overclocking RAM.
You can read the full article here with expanded explanations on each of these chip levels.