Only a handful of companies in the world manufacture memory, but hundreds of companies sell reassembled parts and pass them off as their own. Several of the best reasons to buy memory from the manufacturer are due to three quality control steps that are built into the manufacturing process: traceability codes, burn-in testing, and guardband testing.
When you look at a memory chip, you'll notice that there are a series of numbers printed on the chip. These numbers are used to identify and fix problems that may occur in batches of modules. Using the traceability code, chip manufacturers, such as Micron, are able to determine when the part was built, which fab it was built in, and are able to trace it to the original silicon wafer that the problematic chip was derived from. By building databases of this information, chip manufacturers are better able to pinpoint the cause of memory problems, correct them, and manufacture a new batch of modules that are better than before. Over time, these improvements in manufacturing process have a noticeable impact on module quality that is hard, if not impossible, for third-party assemblers to emulate. When you purchase from an original manufacturer, you're able to take advantage of module technology that's been consistently improved over time.
In addition to the advantage of traceability codes, authentic manufacturers use a process called burn-in testing, which helps produce higher quality modules than companies that assemble modules from a variety of components. During an original manufacturer's burn-in testing, chips undergo heightened temperatures to identify the small portion of chips in every batch that fail after minimal use. By identifying and removing these naturally occurring problematic chips before they reach the end consumer, original manufacturers are able to achieve higher levels of quality and reliability.
Guardband testing helps ensure that a chip will work properly, even under abnormal operating conditions. Inside computers, temperature and other variables often change, and guardband testing helps account for this.
When memory chips are manufactured, they typically must fall within certain ranges in order to achieve acceptable levels of performance. For example, say a chip needs to meet a particular parameter between 10 and 20 to be deemed acceptable. Rather than set the test process to fail any chip that rates less than 10 or greater than 20, the test process is set to fail chips that rate less than 11 or greater than 19. This way, when the memory chip is used in a real computing environment and natural variance occurs, the chip is close enough to the center of the range that it's able to function optimally. By only testing and approving chips that fall within strict "guardband" ranges, an original memory manufacturer is able to account for natural variation that the memory will experience in real world use.
Since Crucial is a premium memory brand of Micron, one of the largest memory manufacturers in the world, our modules are backed by rigorous quality and reliability testing. Premium memory isn't the same as generic memory — it's a whole new level of reliability.