Upgrading computer memory (RAM) is one of the most easy ways to improve speed and performance. While computer RAM is less of an issue today than it was in the past, you may be surprised to find out your computer is running only a fraction of the memory capacity it can. With RAM being so inexpensive, maxing-out your computer’s memory can be the most affordable way of boosting performance.
Upgrading Computer Memory Buying Tips
Probably the fastest way upgrading computer memory is to visit a top online retailer such as Crucial or Kingston. They will have tools on their site to help you find the type of memory your system requires. In some cases, they will be able to scan your computer and identify how much RAM you currently have and give you a list of possibilities on what to buy. To max out your system, you may find you have to throw out existing modules. For instance, if you have two 512MB modules taking up two spaces, you will want to discard those and buy two 1GB modules.
Once you have the RAM, you will need to open the case and find the RAM slots on the motherboard. You will normally see between two and four slots. Sometimes these slots will be numbered and color coded. For instance, you might see the slots numbered on the motherboard as 1-3-2-4, with the one and two slots being one color and the three and four slots being another. This indicates the RAM should be installed in pairs. So if you have two 1GB sticks, you will want to install them in the 1st and 2rd slots to pair them up.
You can install only one stick of RAM, Installing DDR in pairs can improve performance. But always check with the motherboard’s requirements when selecting memory. Crucial.com will have a lot of information about your computer or motherboard and give you insight on whether your memory must be matched in pairs or can be installed by themselves.
Technique For Upgrading Computer Memory
Before you begin upgrading computer memory, lay the computer on a solid, flat surface, such as a table or a floor. Open the case. Touch bare metal on the interior of the computer’s chassis to ground yourself and protect against Electrostatic Discharge (ESD). Locate the memory module closest to your CPU. You should find this to be memory bank 1. If you are installing a second stick, locate memory bank 2. Next, open the clips securing the current memory. Grab the corners of the memory and lift directly upwards to remove an existing stick.
If you are installing memory in an open slot, release the clips on either side of the bank and match up the notches on the memory with the keys on the memory bank slot.
Memory can only be installed one way, so make sure you have these lined up properly to reduce the risk of damaging the motherboard or RAM module. Press the memory firmly downward until you hear the clips snap closed.
Do not force the memory if it will not go. If you are having problems, remove the memory and take a closer look at what you’re doing. The memory will need to be pressed down firmly, but it should go with little resistance.
For more information on upgrading computer memory in your PC, be sure to visit our forums or read our other hardware tutorials.