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Document ID: VLAR-3X9NRF

Memory - Using gold-plated SIMM in tin-lead SIMM socket

Applicable to: World-Wide

Is it safe to use gold-plated memory SIMMs in tin-lead SIMM sockets, or vice versa? I've heard conflicting opinions?

The industry consensus from memory and motherboard manufacturers is that mixing gold and tin contacts will cause degalvanization of the gold contacts, leading to corrosion and data errors over time. Where there is little consensus is on how long this will take and how big a problem it is. Long-term mixing of gold and tin, therefore, is not a good idea. Some memory and motherboard manufacturers, including IBM, do not support the mixing of metals and any damage caused by this practice may void the warranty of the affected component. However it is probably safe to do so for a reasonably short period of time. How short is impossible to say, as it depends on the quality of the components themselves and environmental factors (such as humidity and dust), but a period of weeks or months is not unreasonable. (This is not a guarantee by any means and you are responsible for any problems that may result, but many people have successfully done this for a year or more without incident.) Of course, this assumes that the SIMMs are otherwise acceptable, except for the type of metal used for the contacts. (In other words, the motherboard requires 70ns 72-pin Industry Standard tin-lead SIMMs, and you substitute SIMMs that are identical except for gold-plated contacts.)

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