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I was looking on Newegg for some SO-DIMM DDR3 ram for my laptop and noticed Kingston has a large variety of very similar laptop ram chips with different model numbers, marketed as "System Specific" ram with a listing of "compatible" devices. (Curiously Newegg has a couple of Lenovo specific ones, but none match my laptop's model specifically.)

I'm used to buying desktop RAM for custom builds where "system specific" wouldn't even make sense but I'm a bit more hesitant to buy laptop ram. Is "system specific" something I should be worried about? Or if the RAM meets the specs my laptop's manual lists (SO-DIMM DDR3 PC3-8500) is that enough to be reasonably sure the chip will work with my laptop?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

"System specific" from Kingston, simply means that they have tested that RAM on that machine and it is guaranteed to work. However, any RAM that matches the requirements for your laptop should work.

Personally, if the system specific memory costs more, Id skip it and get "regular" memory. Even if it doesnt work (which it should), you can return it.

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+1. It's possible that some brands of memory don't work with some systems because the memory manufacturer cut corners and is outside tolerances for the system, but all of my personal experience suggests that laptop memory is about as interchangeable as desktop memory. – Darth Android May 31 '13 at 15:31
@DarthAndroid - Very unlikely. If memory is being sold as DDR3 at a certain speed it matches that specification. Now the height of the memory could be a problem in theory, unlikely also, since laptop memory is already a different size which I believe has a set standard. – Ramhound May 31 '13 at 15:55

"System Specific" memory is just a marketing ploy. RAM manufacturers do not test their memory modules with all the products they list in their database. The only reason for them doing that is to capture the market share of those "savvy" customers entering "buy ram for product_name" in their favorite search engine.

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