We're looking to upgrade the RAM in one of our IBM System X servers. I received a quote of $560 from IBM for 2x 4GB chips of RAM. I've looked at the exact same type of RAM (ECC PC2-5600 server RAM) from Kingston and Crucial and both are around $200 for the same amount of RAM.

  • Is IBM RAM somehow qualitatively different thus justifying the 125% increase in cost?
  • What reasons are there for choosing the IBM RAM over the non-IBM brand RAM?
  • If I purchase non-IBM brand ram and use it my server what are the possible repercussions?
  • We don't do shopping recommendation here, so this will be closed. That said, I think that you should try another reseller.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 16:43
  • It's not a shopping recommendation. Where did I ask "Which RAM should I buy?" I just want to know from other Administrators (i.e. not IBM, but people who work in the REAL world) why IBM RAM is 250% the price.
    – Albion
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 17:51
  • 2
    Because installing other than IBM RAM in your system will make it "unsupported" - if you have issues with your system where you need tech support from IBM, you will be requested to remove the 3rd party RAM and reproduce the problem.
    – the-wabbit
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 8:44
  • BTW: I consider this a valid question and would vote to re-open.
    – the-wabbit
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 8:51
  • I also consider this a valid question... it's about the whether or not there is a measurable difference between IBM and non-designer brand memory (and what the consequences are for using it).
    – user62491
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 6:57

1 Answer 1


You're paying for 3 letters: "I", "B", and "M".

I'll pay a little extra than bargain-basement prices for 3rd party RAM from Crucial simply because they'll guarantee compatibility and have a lifetime guarantee, but their prices are still very reasonable compared to first-party prices from places like Apple or, apparently, IBM.

RAM upgrades very, very rarely should impact any kind of support status for most systems. However, if there's a reason that you think support might be impacted due to the use of 3rd party RAM, then you need to balance that against the upcharge that you're paying for 1st party RAM.

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