Choosing a brand of memory for a computer can be as easy or as difficult as one wants it to be. Memory is used to store data or instructions from programs, but I often think of it in practical terms as the capacity by which the computer is able to perform multiple tasks; usually with more memory installed, a computer can operate and execute programs faster. I wanted 4 GB of memory for my new computer but did not choose a brand right away. I looked for sticks with a cheap price and found several. One of the candidates was made by a company I had never heard of before, Patriot. I asked my online peers if anyone had used them before. Some had and advised me that they were a good company. I purchased them from newegg.com for $54.99 ($74.99 with a $20.00 mail-in rebate) in November of 2008. I installed them easily enough like any other memory sticks.
There are not a lot of criteria to judge memory by: it either works, or it does not. I have bought Kingston, Corsair, Crucial memory sticks, and I cannot really tell the difference among them in terms of performance. Still, I would say that I have not been disappointed by the memory sticks from Patriot, so that should be taken as a positive note. I think gamers probably have the highest standards for memory, but I am not as thorough as they are in studying memory or overclocking.
In addition to its adequate operation, Patriot Memory has a lifetime warranty. Of course, most memory manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty with their products. Quite simply, memory should not fail. There are exceptions, such as arriving DOA (dead on arrival) or being damaged by an electrical mishap, but most brands carry this type of warranty because they generally do not expect memory to degrade over time like a hard drive or graphics card. I have seen some manufacturers offer a limited warranty, such as 3 or 5 years. I would avoid these companies because even though the chance of failure is minimal, I find limited warranties for memory to be suspicious.
I received my mail-in rebate check as well, so I cannot complain. Like all mail-in rebates though, it is likely that some will not receive theirs for one reason or another; this may or may not affect your decision to purchase.
If you plan on buying this brand, make sure you have the correct specifications. Some motherboards have specific memory requirements. For example, my memory is made for DDR2-1066 (PC2-8500) and has a 5-5-5-15 timing, which fit my ASUS P5Q SE Plus. This can be important information, and you should look up your motherboard specs beforehand. For instance, with motherboards made for i7 processors, it is likely you would buy DDR3 RAM, not DDR2, which is the general memory for Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad motherboards. If you have a pre-built computer, you can look at the brand that is already installed to see if it is similar (although you may want to buy the brand that is already installed to prevent any compatibility problems).
On a side note, when installing the 2 Patriot sticks, do not be surprised by the weight. Because of the heat shield design of the memory, they are a little heavier than the average stick. It should not be a big problem, but just keep it in mind when you are inserting them to avoid any accidents.
I cannot really criticize Patriot Memory due to sparse criteria, but I can say that it works well. It is not necessary to buy this particular brand, though I think it is as reliable as any other one. I plan on buying 4 more GB in the future to upgrade my system to 8GB total for really high performance.