I bought a pair of 8GB DDR3 RAM back in 2013. Recently I have been experiencing random bluescreen quite often, so I used Windows 10's memory diagnostic tool to check my RAM. Turns out there are some hardware errors with my RAM.

I wonder if my RAM became faulty because of age? In that case, would it be better if I purchase a new stick of RAM?

1 Answer 1


The short answer is YES: RAM does indeed "age".

And some of the degradation is noticiable if you use it intensively (as servers do). However most non-server users won't notice it, which is why the usual answer is that RAM does not age. Which is incorrect.

The ageing mechanism(s) are quite complex, or at least are too involved to discuss here. And in any event, since you cannot really measure the degradation non-destructively, or even predict it very accurately, it doesn't help you very much to know the specific details.

So for the average user, if RAM failure is an issue, then about the only thing you copuld do is use new RAM, and replace it over time if you use it very heavily (as in a home server etc). After computer purchase, you normally don't get a choice of what RAM to use, in terms of type and ECC or not. Those are decided by the CPU/motherboard makers.

And as long as you recognise the signs of RAM failure, then replacing it is straightforward.

The ageing effects data retention time as well as other RAM aspects. And its a function of:

  • Number of erase cycles
  • Temperature history
  • Process size used to make RAM (as in the nm scale)
  • Inherent defects in the RAM

In general, it's been found that all else being equal, as RAM cell size decreases, degradation rate increases (Study of Scaling Effects on DRAM Reliability As well as here: Thermal degradation of DRAM retention time: Characterization and improving techniques.

This is very good too:DRAM Reliability Aging Analysis and Reliability Prediction Model M.C.R.Fieback

It's quite hot topic.

  • Can confirm: I too was surprised to find out the RAM on my 2½ year old gaming rig was going bad, but after dealing with increasing instability over the course of several months, I tested the RAM and found multi-bit errors in many locations that were consistent across tests. I replaced all four sticks (4x16 GB, 3600 MHz) with a new set and voila! All problems went away. I should add that I always test new RAM when I receive it, so I know the previous, now-faulty set was working fine when I bought it. My conclusion is that, yes, RAM does degrade, either over time or (more likely) through use.
    – Kyle Rose
    Jan 6 at 0:00

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