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Laptop Memory Upgrades: A Brief Guide

Looking for a quick and affordable way to improve the performance of your laptop? One easy way to do this is to upgrade the Random Access Memory (or RAM) in your laptop, which could significantly improve your performance in many cases and give you a lot more leeway when it comes to multitasking. Most laptops today have 8GB of either DDR3 or DDR4 RAM installed by default. 8GB is perfectly fine, and is more than enough for most users, but if you plan on multitasking a lot or performing more demanding tasks (or, in some cases, even simply using multiple Google Chrome tabs!) then an upgrade will likely improve performance.

Laptop Memory Upgrades: A Brief Guide

Less than 8GB of RAM is generally inadvisable, and anything more than 16GB is overkill for most users. As a result, you would probably want to keep your RAM from 8GB to 16GB. In terms of RAM, quantity has a stronger impact than frequency- higher frequency memory can improve performance in some cases but this depends heavily upon workload and the application in question. In general, however, frequency and latency have very little impact on performance, so it’s better to spend less money to get more RAM than to spend more money for less RAM that is faster. For compatibility’s sake, it’s recommended to make sure that the RAM you are using has the same latency and frequency.

Something specific to consider is the type of memory supported by your laptop.  If you are unsure of this, it is always a good idea to check the laptop’s included documentation or to check online for your laptop specifications on the manufacturer’s website. Most Windows laptops use the SODIMM form factor, which is the acronym for Small Outline Dual In-Line Memory Module. SODIMM is a smaller version of the technology used in the full-size DIMM sticks used in desktop machines.

Since form factor is relatively simple, the main thing you need to consider when shopping for laptop RAM is the type of RAM used in your laptop. This is usually either DDR3 or DDR4 RAM. The two are not interchangeable, and you must get the type of RAM that is used by your laptop. DDR4 is the newer standard, but both can be affordable, fast, and easy to obtain.

Installing RAM upgrades for laptops is extremely simple- all you need is a static-free environment, a screwdriver, the replacement RAM, and optionally an ESD wrist strap. Make sure the laptop is powered off, unplugged, and remove the battery if it is removable. Next, make sure you ground yourself on an unpainted metal surface- this can be something like the edge of a desk or a nearby lamp, or even an unpainted metal surface within the laptop. Flip the laptop over and locate the removable plate that protects the RAM and remove this plate. Inside, you should see at least one SODIMM chip- if you need to remove one, pull the side clips away from the module to release it, which should pop up. Remove this module and insert the new module(s) by inserting them in the same way, holding the module by the sides and lining the notch in the module up with the “tooth” in the laptop’s SODIMM slot. Next, apply pressure evenly on both sides of the module and press it down firmly, and the module should lock in place. Put everything back together and you should be good to go!

Computer troubles and upgrades can be stressful and selecting parts can be a confusing process, but we are here to help! If you want to avoid the hassle and get help with part selection and installation from our professional technicians, contact us at one of our locations!