Should I Buy Used RAM? (Full buyer’s guide)

I’m a major fan of building PCs from old and often used components. So, as you can imagine I’ve built quite a few PCs with used RAM! 

My current gaming rig, a PC sporting a used i5-6400 and a pre-owned GTX 1080ti, is home to 16GB of used Crucial DDR4 2400 RAM. 

These two little sticks, that I bought off eBay for a rather low sum of £40, have hummed along pleasantly for the past 4 years without a single issue. 

But – there’s always a but – is my RAM a lucky fluke? Do most sticks of used RAM fail? 

Should you buy used RAM, even though the price of new RAM has dropped in recent years? 

Well, as a used gaming PC enthusiast, I want to answer all your questions about used RAM.  

So let’s get started!

Should I buy used RAM? Yes, you should buy used RAM. By buying used RAM you’ll get faster, or more RAM, per dollar spent compared to new RAM. Plus, you’ll be saving 2-4 perfectly good sticks of RAM from being tossed into an incinerator at your local landfill site. Sounds win-win to me! In this article we’ll look at:

  • I’ll answer the question “Should I buy used RAM”, and why, in more depth
  • You’ll get a list of where you can buy used RAM sticks
  • Look at the difference between used RAM and refurbished RAM
  • Take a look at some of the problems you could potentially encounter when buying used RAM
  • Tips for buying used RAM
  • Explore why buying used RAM may not be the right move for you
  • A conclusion and a look at what you can do next

Ok, now you know what I’ll cover in this article, let’s crack on and take a closer look at each section…

Why should you consider buying used RAM? 

Buying used RAM… Saves you money 

One of the biggest draws for buying used RAM, for me anyway, is because it’s cheaper. 

Compared to new RAM, used RAM costs a lot less money. 

This means you can either spend that free cash on a better CPU or graphics card, or you can get even better used RAM than what you could have afforded if you bought new. 

For example, ‘16GBs of DDR4 3200’ refurbished used RAM currently sells for about $55 on eBay. 

Whereas, a new set of ‘16GB DDR4 3200 RAM’ will set you back about $65. That may not sound like a big difference. After all, what’s $10 dollars? 

But, that $10 saving equals a 15% saving. Not too shabby. And that saving grows even more when you increase the amount of RAM. 

32GBs of 3200 Ram costs about $90 refurbished. Whereas the same RAM will cost you $140 new. 

That’s a massive saving of 36%! 

The more used RAM you buy, the bigger the savings you’ll get over buying new RAM. 

Buying used RAM… Helps save the environment 

When you dump your old PC components what do you think happens to them? 

They leach away in landfill, burn in incinerators, or float around in our oceans. 

We like to pretend that little things like global warming and total global environmental collapse is something other people have to worry about. 

After all, buying a new stick of RAM, or a CPU, isn’t going to make the tiniest bit of difference to the “environment”, right? 


The problem is, there are billions of gamers out there right now who have developed a very bad habit of tossing old consoles, PCs, game pads, and whatever else in the trash without a second or first thought about the consequences.  

And why would they? Businesses who couldn’t give two flicks of an on/off switch about silly little things like clean air and fresh water have pumped us full of the “it’s not my problem” marketing mantra. 

But the slow destruction of our environment is our problem, it’s my problem, and it’s the future generation’s problem. And we need to take collective responsibility for our planet’s health.

Every RAM stick, GPU, CPU that ends up melting in a furnace is pumping tons of CO2 and carcinogenic plastic particles into the air that you suck in between your lips!

Each RAM module, unwanted GPU, and “unfixable” fan, is another nail in the sphere shaped coffin our planet is coughing and spluttering its way into! 

So, take a stand! Show the world there is a better way. 

Buy used, and save our planet. Seriously, it’s that simple. 

Buying used RAM… Gets you more RAM for your money

Ok, so you can save money by buying used RAM. That’s great!

But what if you have a set budget for your RAM. What if you have $150 burning a hole in your pocket? Should you just go out and spend it on new RAM just because you’ve got the cash?

Uhhh, NO!! 

You need to buy used.

You see, even if you buy used you can still empty that wad of cash. 

But you can do so in a way that massively benefits you:

You can buy more RAM.

By buying used instead of new you can actually buy more ram for your money. 

For example, $150 dollars might buy you 16GB of new ‘DDR4 3200 RAM’.

But if you buy used, $150 might buy you 32GB of ‘DDR4 3200 RAM’. 

The math here is beautifully simple: 

Buy Used = More RAM per $ spent

Now, that’s an equation I can get along with! 

Buying used RAM… Gets you more RAM speed for your money

Well, if faster RAM is your thing, then buying used is your friend. 

For example, if your budget is $150 you’ll be able to grab a set of new ‘16GB DDR4 3200 RAM’ sticks.

Not bad. But you could do better…

Much better. 

If you buy used, for the same budget of $150, you could still get ‘16GB of DDR4 RAM’. But instead of its speed being a lowly 3200mhz, you can veer into the fast lane and buy 3600mhz RAM. 

If you buy used you’re getting an 12.5% increase in speed for free! 

Why aren’t more people buying used! 

Finally, you should buy used RAM because… RAM is pretty much indestructible and it’s the safest component you can buy used 

Another great reason to buy used RAM is the fact that RAM sticks are nearly indestructible!

I have, accidentally, driven over an old ‘Hynix RAM’ stick in the past after it fell out of my car boot! And the thing still worked after I clawed it from under my tire! 

Seriously though:

What does this indestructibility mean for you when buying used RAM? It means that, regardless of age, used RAM runs like it’s brand new. 

So buy in confidence. 

Where can you buy Used RAM? 

This is my list of the best places to buy used and refurbished RAM sticks. If you can think of anywhere else that I could add to this list, let me know in the comments. 



  • UK 
    • CeX – Offers a good 2 year warranty, but you do pay a little extra fee for this. 
    • Game – Sometimes sells used computer components, but not often. Usually sells them cheap.

What’s the difference between refurbished and just plain used RAM? 

What is the difference between refurbished and used RAM? 

Generally, used RAM was bought by an individual with the intention of using the RAM in a gaming PC, or another type of personal computer. Then, after upgrading their PC, they look to sell their old RAM. 

You’ll find a lot of this type of used RAM on websites like eBay. These RAM sticks are usually sold as seen. 

RAM is pretty much indestructible as far as computing goes, but you still want to see the stick actually working if you plan on buying it from an individual.

When buying RAM from an individual it will come with no warranty, and the only protection you get is what PayPal, or other payment systems offer.

Refurbished RAM is a little different: 

Refurbished RAM is still used, but there are a number of key differences that spice up the flavour of vanilla used RAM. 

Refurbished RAM sticks are usually sold by businesses not individuals. 

To be considered refurbished, the RAM will undergo a thorough inspection by a trained technician. 

The RAM will first be checked for physical defects. Then, if there are no obvious marks, cracks, or heatsinks peeling away from the RAM chips, the inspection moves on to phase two. 

Phase two of the inspection sees the RAM tested for electrical competence. It’s placed inside a compatible motherboard and stress tested. These stress tests last for upto 24 hours. If the RAM comes way unscathed it’s passed as refurbished and it’s sold on websites such as eBay. 

Refurbished RAM often comes with a 1-2 year limited warranty. 

Because of the testing process and the inclusion of a warranty, it is a little less risky to buy refurbished RAM.

However, you will pay a premium for the inclusion of the warranty and the testing process. 

Problems you may encounter with a used RAM and how to solve them

  • Cracked/Broken PCB 
    • Very rare 
    • Do not buy if PCB is cracked or parts have snapped off
  • RGB lighting not working
    • Very very rare defect
    • Check to see if RAM is working 
  • Heatsink coming away from RAM chips
    • Very rare
    • Can be reattached with thermal compound 


It’s worth me pointing out that in all the time I’ve spent buying used RAM sticks, I have never encountered any of the above problems. 

However, I wanted to make you aware of the potential problems you may face, regardless of how small they may be. 

Tips for buying used or refurbished RAM

Tip 1: Buy RAM that your motherboard supports 

Different motherboards support different types and speeds of RAM. Check your motherboard’s manual to find out what RAM the board is compatible with, then only buy that RAM. 

Nearly all modern gaming motherboards work with DDR4 RAM. However, they’re likely to only support certain speeds of RAM. 

For example, my motherboard works with ‘DDR4 2400 RAM’ but no faster. However, if I did buy faster RAM, such as ‘DDR4 3200’, it would still work. The motherboard will downclock the faster RAM to the motherboard’s fastest supported speed.  

Tip 2: Buy current generation RAM

RAM is split up into generations such as DDR4, DDR3, ex…

But unlike CPUs and GPUs, RAM generations last a very long time. The DDR4 RAM generation has been the de facto RAM solution since way back in early 2014. 

And DDR5 is not expected until 2021. And even then it will be super expensive for a number of years. 

Now I know what you’re thinking, if you can buy yourself a few sticks of last-gen DDR3 you’ll be saving a penny or two, right? 

Sadly, that’s not the case as most motherboards do not support DDR3. 

So, when buying used RAM, stick to the current generation. 

Tip 3: Compare old RAM to new RAM

The price of new and used RAM sticks are in constant flux. 

The laws of supply and demand are fickle mistresses. One day used RAM is barely half the price of new RAM. Then the next day new RAM is cheaper than used RAM. What a funny old world we live in, ay? 

The point is, you’ll often find new RAM sticks are selling for lower prices than used RAM, Especially on days like Black Friday near the holiday season. 

So, be sure to check all the prices before choosing used. 

Tip 4: Shop around 

There is a price difference between used RAM sold by individuals, and refurbished RAM sold by businesses. 

Usually, you’ll pay a premium for a refurbished part. 

But that isn’t always the case. 

Be sure to shop around, as you may find refurbished RAM sticks selling for less than the plain used variety. 

Tip 5: Look for evidence that it works 

I know, I know, I said that RAM is pretty much indestructible, and that when it runs it practically runs like new regardless of age.

Yes this is still true. 


You should still check the RAM is working. Come on, let’s be honest, there are some dodgy sellers out there who would sell you a piece of card with the word RAM scribbled on it in crayon if they thought they could get away with it. 

Don’t let them! 

Check that the RAM you plan on buying actually works before you buy it. 

Tip 6: Has it been overclocked

You can overclock RAM. And it does stress it a little bit. But not enough to warrant you worrying over it. 

Worry about more important things such as:

  • Will your cat dig your new RGB keyboard?
  • Or will your dog chew your new mouse mat? Answer: yes he will, and he’ll convince you it was your fault he chewed it!

These are things worth worrying over…

Tip 7: Paypal offers buyer protection: use it 

Do not pay in cash. Please, for the love of all things, do not just transfer money directly from your bank account to a seller’s account. 

If the RAM stick is dead, you won’t have a way of getting your money back. 

Use PayPal as it offers very strong buyer protection. 

If the RAM arrives and it looks like it’s spent an hour or two on a summer BBQ, you can tell PayPal, and they will give you your money back. 

Tip 8: Warranties are great so long as you don’t pay too much extra  

Be aware that you may pay a slight premium on refurbished parts that come with a warranty. 

I buy used PC parts from all over the world, and rarely get warranties with them. But a warranty can provide some confidence and security.

Tip 9: Sell your old RAM to help pay for your new used RAM

Don’t let your old RAM disappear into a draw. 

And please, don’t add to Mother Nature’s woes by throwing another perfectly good piece of plastic into the trash.

Somebody out there, like you, wants to buy used components. So, let somebody else join in on some USED RAM FUN by selling your old stick.

There loads of people out there, who want to build a media PC or a cheap Fortnight PC, that don’t need supper fast memory to hit 60fps.  

Plus, any money you make can be pumped back into buying your new RAM. 

Why shouldn’t you buy second-hand RAM? 

Now we’ve been through all the positives of buying used RAM, I couldn’t send you on your way without dipping my toes, just a little bit, it to the reasons why you shouldn’t buy used RAM

Here’s are a few reasons why you shouldn’t buy used RAM:

  • Used RAM sticks don’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty
  • You may not be able to return the RAM if you buy from an individual seller
  • A lot of the time, you won’t know the RAMs history and if it’s been overclocked
  • Because RAM is pretty much indestructible, there isn’t as much of difference between new and used RAM in price compared to, say new and used GPUs


I honestly believe that buying used or refurbished RAM is a great way to get more and faster memory in your computer for less money. 

Plus, you’re helping to save the earth by stopping another two sticks of plastic from being sent to the incinerator.

But the big draw for me is the money that you can save. So, check out some of the websites I mentioned above:

Your next load of RAM could be listed on one of them right now. 

What next? 

Can I buy other used refurbished parts? Yes. GPUs, CPUs, motherboards, Blue-ray drives, you name it, I’ve bought it used and built a system out of it. I’ve never had any failure or problems.  

What about used fans/cases? Yes, you can buy used cases and fans. You can also buy used cooling solutions. However, used cases will often need a good clean. PCs are dust magnets after all!

What about the PSU? I have bought used PSUs in the past and they have worked absolutely fine. However, PSUs degrade over time. Their power output drops by about 5% every year, so, an old PSU will supply less power than a new PSU. That being said, if you buy a very powerful old PSU, it should easily have enough power to power even the most power-hungry modern components.  

I’d like to build my own gaming PC from used parts, how would I do that? Ahh you are in luck, I wrote a “how to create a gaming PC from used parts” a few months back. You can take a look at it here

Beth Morris

Beth's love of gaming started when she first played Frogger on her Tiny PC. Since then she's developed a love for FPSs, a need for speed playing Forza, and a hunger to find dragon's eggs in Spyro! When she's not gaming she's either cooking, reading, or spinning around in her car!

Recent Posts