If RAM fits is it compatible?

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Not necessarily.  Older motherboards used by HP, for example, take proprietary RAM; while the socket fits, the computer will not boot because the pin assignment is completely different.  Although this practice has fallen away many years ago, there are other things to consider.

First, you may have an issue if the motherboard doesn't like RAM slower than a certain speed.  Also, while most motherboards are supposed to detect RAM timings automatically, if it doesn't the timings might be set too tight for the RAM to function properly.

Second, motherboards may or may not support RAM with parity (or ECC).  Therefore, a mismatch may prevent the computer from booting.

Finally, you must also consider memory channels.  Starting with motherboards that use DDR, many of them support a technology known as dual-channel memory.  In order to increase speed, the motherboard reads and writes to both sticks simultaneously.  However, this operation is timing critical and requires matched sets of RAM.  Some motherboards will detect a mismatch and revert to single-channel.  Others will attempt to use the looser timing of the slowest stick as a common speed for both.  Others, however, are too stupid to figure all this out and won't boot at all.

The best thing you can do is look this stuff up from the manufacturer's manual, or research the specifications of the motherboard.  Then, obtain exactly what is specified to be compatible (although, as stated before, you can use faster RAM than what the motherboard specifies - it will only work at the slower speed).
andreblue7 years ago
i have tried it before.not everyone will work because you need spefic ones for different broads so look at what your broad model is and use the site like said to find if it works(you also need the rams model too which should be written on it or on a sticker)
torquelink7 years ago
NO guarantee @ all , some memmories have compatibility issues with some motherboards, so, go to manufacturers internet site to see compatibility, ,, if u wont  do this , u can have more bad luck then luck.
lemonie7 years ago
If it goes in the slot without any difficulty, probably. Power-up and find out. Or do tedious things like checking the specifications of the RAM & mainboard before turning it on....


seandogue7 years ago
Presuming that you're talking about the kind of RAM used in computer motherboards, the answer is no. The number of pins is not sufficient to guarantee that the memory is compatible with a given motherboard.

The RAM's speed, amongst other parameters, must match those required by the motherboard. Visit your motherboard mfg's site to determine the correct RAM for your system.

orksecurity7 years ago
Not guaranteed. Bus speed varies. Slow memory in a fast machine may either cause the machine to run slower or simply malfunction. (Faster is usually OK.)

Find out what your machine needs; check the memory module to see if it meets that spec.