FAQs - Memory

  • What is ESD and why is it important?

    ESD stands for Electrostatic Discharge. Static electricity is the energy found in the air surrounding us and can damage electronic components in computers' hard disk drive, floppy disk drive, memory modules, motherboards, etc. To protect memory modules from being damaged by ESD, always keep an electronic component in its anti-static package until you are ready to install it. For an added measure of protection, use an anti-static wrist strap, which can be found in most electronic retail stores.

  • What is CAS Latency and how does it work?
    CAS Latency (also referred to as CL or simply latency) is the amount of time it takes for your memory to respond to a command. Specifically, it is the length of time between memory receiving a command to read data, and the first piece of data being output from memory. Latency is measured in terms of clock cycles and is often noted as CL2 (two clock cycles) or CL3 (three clock cycles).

    CL2 parts process data a little quicker than CL3 parts as it takes one clock cycle less for the initial data to be processed. However, after the first piece of data is processed, the rest of the data is processed at equal speeds. Latency only affects the initial burst of data. Once data starts flowing, there is no difference in processing speed. Please note, a clock cycle for a PC100 module is 10 nanoseconds so you probably won't notice a significant performance difference. Most systems will accept either latency part. However, there are some systems that will require either CL2 or CL3 parts.
  • Do DIMM memory modules have to be installed in pairs?
    No, DIMMs are designed as 64-Bits-wide; therefore, there is no need to install them in pairs in Pentium or equivalent systems.
  • My System will not reboot after I installed a new memory module, what should I do?
    Verify that you have the correct memory module for your system.
    The new memory module(s) may not be compatible with your system. The newer memory modules are being manufactured with high density IC’s (little black chips). They now come with 8 (on one side), 4 (on each side) or 8 (on each side). The design inside of the IC’s on the Memory Modules may be too complex for your system to read and it may not work in your system.
    Make sure that the memory is seated properly in the computer socket with both clips locking on their own.
    Verify that the addition of the module does not exceed the memory capacity of your computer.
    Test each module in the system to see which is defective by performing the following procedure for each memory module:
    A: Shut down your system
    B: Remove all the memory modules from your system.
    C: Insert one memory module at a time and boot the system up to ensure its compatibility
    D: After each module is successfully tested insert all modules into the system and boot up.
    NOTE: Place the highest memory module closest to the processor and work down.
    If you have identified a defective module, return the memory module to the retailer (vendor) where you purchased it for an exchange. If the exchange date has expired, then contact PNY to obtain a Returned Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number.
  • What is DDR and what does it stand for?

    DDR memory, (Double Data Rate memory) is the latest in high-performance memory module technological advances. It offers twice the data bandwidth of conventional PC100 or PC133 SDRAM, and is particularly well suited for high-performance servers, workstations, and PCs, which need optimal CPU-memory performance. Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM is precisely what the name implies. A clock cycle can be represented as a square wave, with the rising edge defined as the transition from "0" to "1", and the falling edge as "1" to "0". In SDRAM, only one of these wave edges is used, but DDR SDRAM references both, effectively doubling the rate of data transmission.

  • What does ECC mean and what is it used for?
    ECC stands for Error Correcting Code. It is also referred to as parity memory. ECC is more advanced than non-parity because it can detect both multiple-bit errors and single-bit errors; while non-parity memory only detects single-bit errors. ECC is typically found in higher-end PC’s and file servers where data integrity is key.
  • What information should I have ready when I e-mail or call in for help?
    Here is a quick checklist of important information we will need to assist you.

    The make and model of your system
    The make and model of the motherboard in the system (If your system was built for you) 
    The information on the white label on the memory module itself.

  • How do I correctly install desktop memory?

    The following section is provided for individuals who are familiar with working on the inside of a computer. If you are inexperienced with computer hardware, or have difficulty following this overview, please refer to your computer’s user guide for a detailed, step-by-step installation process.

    Turn off power and remove power cord.
    Be sure to handle the module in a static free environment.
    Remove all jewelry from hands.
    Do not use a power driven screwdriver during installation.
    Before removing the module from its anti-static package, touch a metal surface to discharge any built-up static electricity.
    Handle the memory module by the ends, and do not apply excessive pressure to the module.
    Refer to your system’s user manual for proper configuration and location of DIMM or SIMM sockets.
    If necessary, remove any drives, drive cages and adapters to gain access to DIMM or SIMM sockets.

    Line up the two notches (along the gold edge) of the memory with the plastic pegs in the memory socket. Align the notches with the pegs and apply equal pressure holding the memory from one end to the other and push it into the socket until it is firmly seated. The connector locking clips on either side will lock into place when the memory is properly seated. NOTE: Failure to properly align the notches with pegs will result in severe damage to the computer.


    Most systems will automatically recognize the memory upon bootup. Some machines may require you to run setup (i.e. : Error 164). Follow the steps below:
    - Upon bootup your system will prompt you with a memory size mismatch error, or an invalid configuration error message to run your system’s CMOS setup.
    Select the option that lets you enter your CMOS setup (Usually DEL, CTRL+ALT+ESC, or F2).
    Once you are in setup, you must save the settings your machine will automatically input for you by choosing either the Save Settings and Exit, or Write To CMOS options before exiting. (Usually either F10 or F4).
    Once the settings have been saved, your machine will reboot with the new configuration.
    Otherwise ensure that these precautions are taken when installing new memory into your system:
    Make sure that the power is fully off and the machine is unplugged from the outlet. Your memory module is a very sensitive piece of equipment so be very careful when handling the module - especially for ESD (Electrostatic Discharge), make sure that you are properly grounded from any static.
    Make sure that you touch something metal before putting you hands into the open PC - this will take any ESD (Electric Static Discharge) from you and dissipate it.
    Make sure that the notches on the memory modules are aligned with the keys of the motherboard's memory socket. Push directly down and evenly all the way until your tabs snap by themselves.
    NOTE: Failure to insert the memory module properly will prevent operation and could damage the motherboard and or memory module. DO NOT INSTALL IT BACKWARDS as this will short the motherboard, rendering it useless.
    The rule is that you will need to work your way from the highest amount in slot 1 to the lowest. After you have installed the new module.
    - try booting up the PC, if it boots up into windows, you can check to see that the computer is seeing the total amount of memory installed. Example: (128MB = slot 1 + 64MB = slot 2 + 32MB = slot 3 = 224MB).
  • How do I install my new notebook memory module?

    The following section is provided for individuals who are familiar with working on the inside of a computer. If you are inexperienced with computer hardware, or have difficulty following this overview, please refer to your computer’s user guide for a detailed, step-by-step installation process.


    Turn off computer and disconnect the AC power cable. Refer to your laptop owner's manual for instructions for locating and opening the memory compartment. Before touching any electronic components (such as your new PNY memory) or opening the memory compartment to your laptop, make sure you touch a grounded metal object or attach an electronic static discharge (ESD) wrist strap to your wrist and then connect to grounded metal. This will discharge any static electricity you may have stored on your body or clothing. Hold or handle the memory by its top and side edges only. Do not touch the chips or the contacts.
    Remove older module from your notebook computer: Remove older module,(if replacing), by pulling tabs of the socket outward using your thumbs. The module should pop up into a 45 degree angle. Now remove the module by pulling gently backward. Use side to side motion, if necessary, to remove. Insert new PNY memory into your notebook computer:

    Note the location of the notch along the gold edge of the memory module, this needs to be lined up with keyed notch in the socket. The memory should be inserted firmly on a 45 degree angle (as shown in illustration). Then push down until module snaps into place. Reseal your memory compartment and power up your computer. Your new memory should automatically be detected by your computer’s operating system.
  • How can I get a defective Memory card replaced or refunded?

    PNY Technologies will honor its product's warranty. Refunds, however, are done on the retail level based on the individual store’s return/exchange policies. Most are 14 days. If the Memory module is defective in any way we will gladly exchange it for you, please contact technical support at 1-800-234-4597 to obtain an RMA (Return Material Authorization) Number.

    ***NOTE: No returns will be processed without an RMA number.
  • What is DDR3 memory?
    DDR3 is the third in the generation of DDR – SDRAM (or Double Data Rate - Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) family of memory.
  • DDR3 fit into a DDR2 memory socket on a motherboard?
    No, DDR3 memory keyed notch (or missing tooth) along the gold edge is in a different location than DDR2, making it impossible to insert into a DDR2 motherboard. DDR3 runs at a lower voltage and the power to ground plan is arranged differently from DDR2.
  • Is your memory compatible with MAC firmware Upgrades?
    PNY memory is fully compatible with MAC OS X and OS firmware updates.
  • Will additional memory speed up my computer?

    Additional memory will not necessarily increase the performance of your computer. It will allow you to run more programs at once or more memory-intensive programs at once. There may be a performance increase if the original amount of memory installed was close to insufficient for the programs and processes you use the computer for.

  • Windows 32-bit does not recognize 4GB or more of memory

    This is common. A system running the 32-bit version of Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7 Operating Systems with 4GB of physical memory installed will show approximately 3.5GB or less. The reason for it is because Windows will allocate some of the memory to other resources on the motherboard.

  • How does DDR3L memory differ from standard DDR3?
    DDR3L is low voltage memory at 1.35V. DDR3 memory adheres to the 1.5v standard. The SODIMM DDR3 memory we provide today is of dual voltage and will operate in both 1.35V and 1.5V environments.
  • What is the difference in the part numbers?

    Parts sold in kits (denoted by "K" or “K3” or "K4"in the part number, e.g. – MD24576K3D3-1333) are specifically packaged for use in Dual, Triple, or Quad Channel motherboards. Although Dual/Triple/Quad Channel technology resides on the motherboard itself (on the chipset), the memory modules need to be installed in pairs or sets of three for Dual or Triple Channel mode to function properly. Identical modules packaged in a kit work best because the motherboard will be accessing all the memory modules as a single memory location with a wider bandwidth. RMA’s for these products will need to be returned in their respective kits as the products are replaced with a new kit.

  • How do I determine what memory is compatible with my system?

    Computer and motherboard manufacturers generally provide this information under the specifications for your model on their website. If you experience trouble finding this information on their website please call their technical support group for assistance.

  • My computer running a 32-bit version of Windows does not recognize 4GB or more of memory.
    This is the memory limitation of a system running the 32-bit version of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems. Combined with the 32-BIT OS limitation, 4GB of physical memory installed will show approximately 3.5GB or less because Windows reserves some of the address space.
  • My new PNY memory modules have what looks to be a "cover" on them. Should I remove it?
    No. These are heat spreaders and are designed to dissipate heat. They should not be removed.
  • I purchased some memory for my laptop or desktop and it is too big (or too small) to physically fit into the motherboard memory slots!
    You have purchased the wrong memory for your computer. Memory is sold in both laptop/notebook and desktop formats. The part number for memory for laptops or notebooks always starts with "MN" and the part number for memory for desktops always starts with "MD".
  • I have purchased and installed memory but my computer is beeping or freezing when I boot up.
    The wrong type (wrong speed or voltage) has been installed. Please refer to your computer or motherboard manufacturer for correct memory specifications.