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Memory Upgrades: What’s Right For You?

Has your computer performance been slow lately? If so, it may be time for an upgrade. The easiest part to upgrade that could boost your performance significantly is your RAM, or Random Access Memory. This acts as the temporary storage for applications that are currently running on your machine. Unlike your storage space, RAM is cleared when the computer loses power.

Memory Upgrades: What's Right For You?

What are the different types of RAM?

There are numerous types of RAM in use with consumer computers today that come in numerous form factors. For example, desktops typically use DIMM RAM, while laptops use a different, smaller form factor called SODIMM. These are merely changes in size, however- the real difference in speed comes from the version of RAM a machine uses. Consumer desktop RAM types include DDR, DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4- with DDR being the oldest and DDR4 being fairly new. Most machines today use DDR2 or DDR3, and DDR4 is typically used in high-end enthusiast computers. DDR is outdated and rarely used. The newer the memory type is, the faster and more power efficient it is. The type of RAM you use is limited by your processor and motherboard, however- for example, if a board is using DDR2 memory, you cannot use DDR3.

How do I know what type of RAM my computer needs?

Generally, this can be done in a number of ways. For example, on a Windows 10 machine, you could open the Task Manager (either by pressing Win+R and typing ‘taskmgr’ and running that or by using the CTRL+ALT+DEL Security Menu and running it from there) and navigate to the Performance tab. From there, click “Memory” and you should see both the type of RAM you are using as well as the capacity in the upper right-hand corner, while the form factor is in the lower right-hand corner underneath the speed and slots used. However, if for some reason that does not work, most RAM sticks have it indicated on a sticker on one of the sides. Make sure you use an anti-static wrist strap, however, to avoid damaging your parts with static electricity if you do this! One other alternative would be to identify the type of motherboard you are using and search online for the manual or specifications- that would help you find out what you need as well.

How do I replace or upgrade RAM?

If you want to upgrade your memory or replace the parts yourself, you could follow the above instructions to find what type of memory you are using and purchase the parts, either from a store locally or an online store. First things first, you should always make sure the computer is shut down and unplugged, and ensure you have either grounded yourself or used an anti-static wrist strap. Next, open the side panel. From there, if you are removing the RAM, you will want to release the clips on both sides of the RAM sticks you wish to remove and pull them from the machine. To insert a RAM stick, you must first press down those clips as if you were removing a memory stick and then line up the new memory’s notch with the raised “tooth” in the slot and press it down firmly and evenly across both sides. After that, replace the side panel and you should be good to go!

Of course, if you wanted to avoid the hassle and would rather have your new upgrades professionally installed by our qualified technicians, you could always contact us at one of our locations.