So, I was hoping to reach out to the Steamgifts community for some advice. I started building a gaming PC (my first ever) over a year ago, but I had to stop acquiring parts due to financial issues and the skyrocketing prices of graphics cards. Now, I'm ready to finish it... but I'm in a bit of a pickle.

I had previously bought 2x 8GB Corsair Pro Vengeance DDR3-2400 RAM. From reading online, if I want to buy more memory, and I do*, I should stick with Corsair and ideally 2400. However, from what I've looked online, it's pretty much impossible to find at reasonable prices, except on eBay. I'm kind of leery about anything that is "used" when it comes to PC parts, but I'd love some feedback / advice on what others think I should do.

  • Yes, I know, 16 GB is "enough," but I'm someone who always ends up running into the high-end of RAM usage, so I really want to bring myself up to 32 GB.
2 weeks ago

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Is used RAM worth buying?

View Results
Yes
No
Depends - I'll leave a comment to explain below.
Obligatory Potato

If there is a problem with the availability, then it is OK to buy used ram (when the price is reasonable), as it is not really prone to breaking. Just test it on your pc, if it works at that frequency and latency, then it should work for many years.
Of course, ideally you should buy it form somone, who is close to you, so you can test it and return if any problems occur.
Also keep in mind, that 2400 MHz is a pretty high frequency for DDR3, so running it does not only depend on the ram sticks but also on your CPU RAM controler and your motherboard, especially while using all 4 slots (so I would recommend buying it only if you can return it without problems or you are OK with loosening your timings if problems occur (not because you are buying used, but because sometimes 4 sticks can make some problems)).

2 weeks ago*
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Thank you for the response. Do you have any advice how I might evaluate whether I'll have problems with all 4 slots at that frequency? I'm a bit under-educated when it comes to hardware.

2 weeks ago
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You can only check if everything is OK by inserting all 4 RAM sticks and trying out something demanding on your PC (a AAA game, some benchmarks or MemTest86, which is a pretty good free tool for testing memory. I would suggest running it for 2-3 hours and if it does not detect any errors, then you are good to go).
If your PC doesn't start, then sometimes cleaning your RAM slots with compressed air, resetting the BIOS or even changing your RAM randomly can solve the problem.
Don't understand me wrong, in most cases you should be fine, but sometimes there could be some time required to spend before you be enjoing your whole RAM.

Could you write your current PC config?

2 weeks ago*
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"Could you write your current PC config?"

You mean share the parts list?

1 week ago
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Yes, exactly.

1 week ago
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MSI 970 Gaming ATX AM3+ motherboard
AMD FX-8350 4 GHz 8-Core processor
Corsair CXM 750W semi-modular power supply
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2x8GB DDR3-2400 memory

For graphics card, I'm about to purchase an RX 580 8GB red devil card.

1 week ago
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RAM is one of few parts that used ones are worth considering in building gaming PC. But when it comes to vulnerable parts like SSD, HDD and displays, you will take more risks.

2 weeks ago
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That's kind of how I was leaning with my thinking. I'd done some research previously on used SSDs and decided that was one risk I just wasn't willing to take.

2 weeks ago
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Ask for a guarantee or some time to return it if your not happy with it

2 weeks ago
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That's an idea. Any thoughts on whether that's common practice with eBay transactions? That's where I was looking, and my past experience has been that anything you buy on the site is a gamble with little options for returns.

Edit: Another user addressed the eBay concerns below. I'm very much leaning this route now. Thank you!

2 weeks ago*
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Good luck then bro =)
I'd suggest you to don't rush and take your time with the purchase

2 weeks ago
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*sis. And thank you! :)

1 week ago
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I wouldn't worry too much about buying used ram sticks, especially if they're newer models. I've only ever once had a stick go bad on me, but the one that did was pretty old with heavy use.

2 weeks ago
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Good to know! Thanks. :)

2 weeks ago
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Memory is usually far more durable than logic (CPU/GPU) and storage (HDD, SSD) components. There shouldn't be a problem getting used as long as you don't mix up ECC and non-ECC. Also from experience you can mix vendor types, though it's not ideal to do so. Just try to keep each channel consistently fitted (ex ch.1 has Corsair+Kingston, ch.2 Corsair+Kingston instead of ch.1 Corsair+Corsair and ch.2 Kingston+Kingston). Matching memory speed first (important) and then CAS latency second (not so important) matters more than vendor (not really important).

2 weeks ago
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More good info. Thanks. What I had read was that going to different vendors is a bit tricky because while there are standards, there's going to be things that they handle in different ways that may lead to problems.

2 weeks ago
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I have 16g ddr4 3000mhz and it definitely not worth buying. I've mostly never used more than 1/2 of it. Common usage is 1/4. Operating system needs only 300mb- my system is highly efficient by using any of resources so windowsOS that just eats everything you will give to it and dunno how to correctly use your resources isn't my choice. I've playing some of games too- for now mostly Dying Light so I dunno why you need more than 16g in gaming PC.

2 weeks ago*
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Well, I'm very interested in modding, and I've also been told additional RAM can be handy for that - but please, anyone, correct me if I'm wrong on that understanding.

2 weeks ago
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If you're using sync between all RGB components in your rig.
Otherwise you meant modding as creating mods for games/applications. Then it depends only on concrete tasks that you want. Don't think I can help with that- test it by yourself to realize. My(not very big) modding experience says that amount of RAM in system is enough for tasks that I want to do.

2 weeks ago*
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Oh yeah, I just meant game modding. I'm the sort who goes a bit overboard in that area on the games I love.

Edit: Of course, historically, I've lacked the equipment to truly mod to the level I want to.

1 week ago
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Or you can also live with 16 GB for a little while, and upgrade a bit later... I too use 32, but I've dealt with 16 until not long ago and basically it was fine as long as I was careful not to keep too much stuff opened (web browsers are sadly large offenders in that area).

But yeah, as others said, RAM is pretty durable in general, so as long as you test it right when you buy it you should be good with used sticks.

2 weeks ago
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Yeah, I thought about just waiting, but if I don't buy it with my tax refund, I'll spend that money on other things... and being a parent, a spare ~$100 doesn't come around too often for me. lol

2 weeks ago
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You could tell your kid(s) "hey look at this present I got for you, it's RAM modules! let's put them into my computer until you have one of your own where you can use them!" :D

1 week ago
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Match the voltage too.
Most likely the RAM will be fine, but a bad stick can corrupt files (including the OS). Run a 24 hour test on the memory from a CD or a different computer that accepts the RAM.

2 weeks ago
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Good advice! Thank you!

2 weeks ago
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I'm been making my own PCs for decades now, and I run them a long time before upgrading/replacing them. I've had drives, displays, motherboards, GPUs all die, but never RAM. Granted, eBay is never 100% safe, but if the seller has good volume (in PC components) and solid feedback, and especially offers any sort of purchaser protection, I'd have little to no reservations.

2 weeks ago
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Thank you! I very much appreciate the advice of an expert such as yourself. :)

2 weeks ago
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You haven't built many pc to say ram are never faulty...

1 week ago
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RAM is really one of the few components that are hard to mess with. So it's after cases the safest thing to buy...

2 weeks ago
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Thanks! That's the general impression I'm getting here.

2 weeks ago
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I only say no because you need to find the EXACT SAME STICKS as the ones you own or you will either gimp your memory or lose out on the extra performance since it operates at the lowest specs of your sticks. If you replace all your new memory from the same package, then good going.

2 weeks ago
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Yes, I had read that your experience will "downgrade" to the worst of your memory when it comes to thinks like speed. I kind of don't want to waste the quality I've already invested in. XD

2 weeks ago
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I only say no* because you don't need EXACT SAME STICKS

It's good that they will be same speed, latency, voltage, but not exact SKUs

*actually I voted yes

2 weeks ago
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It's Ebay, if it doesn't come exactly as described in working condition, ask for a full refund including original shipping and a paid return label. If the seller refuses, Ebay will still give you a full refund without returning the item. If the seller writes something in the description like "as is" or "no returns", you can completely ignore it, it is not allowed on Ebay and means nothing. If they do not list the item as "for parts" or "not working", it must arrive in working condition. They have the right to refuse returns for other reasons though, such as if you order the wrong thing or just change your mind.

I wouldn't be too worried about used RAM failing, I don't think it is common for RAM to wear out and very few people overclock RAM. Just make sure to buy the same exact type of RAM you have now that is rated for the same speed, timings, and voltage to have the best chance of working together.

2 weeks ago
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Thank you! I wasn't aware quite how buying on eBay works these days as far as returns. I've used eBay sporadically over the last two decades.

I'll definitely try to match the specs as closely as possible. Ideally, I think I'll just try to buy the exact same memory I've already got.

2 weeks ago
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https://pages.ebay.com/ebay-money-back-guarantee/questions.html#mbg

It is important to try and get the exact same memory. Even if you buy 4 new single sticks of the same memory or 2 kits of 2 sticks at the exact same time, they might not work together. This is why they sell kits of 2 or 4 sticks that they pre-test to make sure they work. If you buy the same memory, it will most likely work though. Even different brands might work together if they are the same speed and timings, but it is best to get the same thing just to be on the safe side.

Here is a post that talks about it: https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?57038-Don%92t-combine-memory-kits!-The-meat-and-potatoes-overview

2 weeks ago
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Thanks for sharing that link. It was a fairly interesting read. What I'm curious to know is how often problems occur in these situations.

1 week ago
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I don't know, I only buy a couple things per year on Ebay, but I did some research because I just bought a new GPU there. Basically Ebay wants to keep it's customers happy to get them to keep using the site, so they will almost always side with the buyer if there is a problem.

Or were you talking about problems with memory compatibility? I don't know about that either. I used to mix all kinds of random memory of different sizes and even speeds in the past, but that was back in the days of PC100 and PC133 SDRAM. I think everything back then was single channel and it didn't really matter.

1 week ago*
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Oh yeah, I meant for the memory compatibility. Apparently the problem was frequent enough on that site, but "frequent" is kind of relative to your overall traffic.

1 week ago
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You can see on the listing page if the seller accepts returns. Unfortunately, there is no filter for that, only for free returns.
For testing a 24 hours memtest86 is advised, easy to use, boot from USB. Or at least 12 hrs, but always one stick at a time.

1 week ago*
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I've bought ram from aliexpress and they all worked (and still work) perfectly. Buying used pc parts from aliexpress is not even used per se, because you can never know what the product you're gonna get has gone through. So it's more like super used. So, yeah. Used ram is as safe as used pc components get.

2 weeks ago
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Thanks, someone. :)

1 week ago
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it's always reasonable to buy the exact same ram (kit) a second time when you want to upgrade.
as long as your board has enough slots obviously.

however on a mature platform and with the newest bios installed you shouldn't have too many problems with ram (in)compatibility.
but since you are going for the 2400mhz speed crown identical ram in all slots is kind of mandatory. most memory controllers really don't like mixed and matched memory sticks at high frequencies and with all slots populated.

buying used is always an option. either the sticks work or they don't.
last summer i bought my gtx 970 used as well and it was a bargain. however i would never buy used & abused hdd or ssd.
if you're having a really hard time finding the exact same memory sticks again you could consider selling off your kit and get two new (or used) kits instead.

2 weeks ago
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That's an idea... selling them off and buying some more common ones. I might save some money that way, actually.

1 week ago
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2 weeks ago
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But he she is using DDR3, so he she can't download that DDR4.

View attached image.
2 weeks ago*
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She. :)

2 weeks ago
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Don't be ridiculous. Women are scared of computers.

2 weeks ago
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What's a comput- OH MY GOD THIS THING IS TERRIFYING

1 week ago
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Oh, sorry, I didn't suspect there are "gurls" on the internet :D

2 weeks ago
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View attached image.
1 week ago
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my experience with used ram is limited to these cases:

  • ddr2 for my present pc bought at CEX store, the stick was faulty and they changed for another one that worked.
  • very old ram and vram for retrocomputing, it all worked until the old logic board died because of capacitor failure.
    in both cases used ram was the only way.
2 weeks ago
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ddr3, no way jose

buy a ddr4 pc

2 weeks ago
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It's too late. Much too far in the process to scrap it at this point.

1 week ago
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Not worth it unless you're 100% sure you can return it no problem for a full refund if it doesn't work.

2 weeks ago
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Yeah, it sounds like there's low risk, but definite need to make sure I don't get screwed in the process.

1 week ago
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Good RAMs always have lifetime guarantee and refund policy, if yours doesn't it's not worth picking, and if it does you'll have no issues even with used ones, as long as you make sure to also ask for all related documents. So yes, it's one of the very few elements that are worth getting used, just pay attention to all the details.

2 weeks ago
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Thanks, JustArchi :)

1 week ago
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I'm using 24GB of used RAM from eBay no problems here. I ran memtest86+ for a solid week with zero errors. (I am paranoid about RAM errors and also took this time to let my thermal paste cure). I'm running a used Xeon CPU from eBay also in the same system. :)

Obviously your mileage may vary.

As others have said if you are adding RAM be sure to buy exactly the same RAM. Not just same brand and model name and speed, but same part number. You can probably get away with mixing, depending on your motherboard/CPU combination (some are more forgiving than others) but for optimal stability and performance it should ideally all match.

2 weeks ago
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Thanks. That gives me a bit of hope. I think I'm going to bite the bullet at this point. Just going to wait for just the right deal before I fully commit. :)

1 week ago
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The seller I bought my RAM from was atr-ny and eBay used to have site-wide coupon deals like 15 or 20% off a couple times a month, I used one of those as well to save even more. But I don't think they've had one so far this year (unless I missed it).

1 week ago*
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buy everything used all the time if it has a nice discount. 😁 except hdd/ssd and underwear 🤔

2 weeks ago
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Agree on HDD/SSD and also I would add graphics card, I worry if some wanna-be crypto-currency tycoon has abused it for profitz

2 weeks ago
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Ehh, post-crypto-currency GPU should be less abused than 3-hours-a-day gaming card that had to play some unoptimized mess and had to jump between 50%-100% efficiency like every 5 minutus during those 3-hours sessions.

1 week ago
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What's wrong with used underwear!? 😁

1 week ago
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View attached image.
1 week ago
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1 week ago
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Do you need more for anything RAM heavy other than gaming? Because 16 is 100% enough for the foreseeable future for games.

1 week ago
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Modding, and I do plan on using it as a development workstation as well. I'm a C# developer.

1 week ago
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Fair enough, used RAM is usually fine but I'd try to get it locally and see them tested just in case there's a dud in there.

1 week ago
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As long as you pay with Paypal it is great to buy used on Ebay. Any issues at all and Paypal will refund you 100% if the seller does not.

However, unless you are OCD and/or have a window in your PC as long as the speed and timings match they will all run fine together, even if the brand is different.

But yea, Ebay is not scary at all, all the power rests in the buyer. Paypal always sides with the buyer so sellers will bend over backwards to make you happy and avoid any problems.

1 week ago*
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Good to know! I use PayPal far more frequently than eBay, so that's probably how I'd handle the transaction anyway. :)

1 week ago
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Yea, I've bought and sold a lot of electronics on Ebay, and it is rough for a seller xD

One time I sold a laptop on there that would boot to BIOS but it was so smashed up and broken I listed it "AS IS' and "Broken For Parts Only".
The person who bought it complained to me that it was broken, so I had to refund them half the price even though the description was 100% spot on, they guy guy just knew that he had all the leverage.

It's just how it is on Ebay, so don't be afraid to buy on there. Be afraid to sell on there tho. xD

1 week ago
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Wow. Yeah... remind me not to sell on eBay again. (I did so once long ago.)

1 week ago
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I do content creation and have 16gb of ram. I've run out of ram many times before, but because I'm moving more into programming now (in which the tools I'm building don't need a lot of ram) I haven't bothered to upgrade. For any 3D work 16GB of main system ram is essentially the minimum, but 32GB+ is where you should really be at.

As for buying used...ram goes bad more often then people think (Years ago I did computer repair and saw ram related issues quite a few times), so be sure to buy from someoneone with a good return policy and run memtest on it to be sure you got a good one.

1 week ago*
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Thanks. I will keep that in mind. ^^

1 week ago
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Build it with 16. Buy the 2nd pair of sticks later when money is not so tight or when prices come down a bit. No harm at all in doing it this way.

1 week ago
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