How to Add More Memory to Your Computer

Adding more memory is one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades around. Memory refers to the processes that are used to acquire, store, retain, and later retrieve information. When your computer’s CPU (central processing unit) tells your computer what to do, it needs a scratch pad for taking notes. Memory works as that scratch pad. The more memory you stuff into your computer, the larger the scratchpad, letting you run more programs more quickly.

There are many types of main memory (what we call RAM), in this tutorial i will explain how to buy the specific type of memory your computer needs, and how to snap the new memory into the right spot inside your computer.

For a desktop computer, memory about four inches long and an inch tall, with little notches in its sides and edges. Most computers hold from two to four memory modules. Laptop memory is about half the size of a desktop computer’s memory; most laptops can hold one or two memory modules.


Desktop RAM Modules


Laptop RAM Module

Different types of memory fit into different types of RAM Slots — little slots that hold the memory modules bottom and sides. The notches on the memory module must mesh with the dividers and holders on their slots. If they don’t line up, you’re inserting the wrong type of memory module into the RAM slot.


Some computers require you to install memory in matched pairs. That means you need to buy and install two identical sticks of memory at a time. Also, those two memory sticks must be placed in matched pairs of RAM slots inside your computer. Not all computers are this picky. But if your computer requires memory to be installed in matched pairs, be sure to buy two identical modules.

If every one of your memory sockets contains a module of memory, you don’t have any free slots. You will need to remove some low capacity memory to upgrade to higher capacity memory.

The speed and performance issues with memory are confusing to some people because of all the different ways to express the speeds of memory. Memory speed was originally expressed in nanoseconds (ns), whereas the speeds of newer forms of memory are usually expressed in megahertz (MHz) and megabytes per second (MBps) instead. Memory speeds have often been expressed in terms of their cycle times (or how long it takes for one cycle). The DDR SDRAM numbers after an acronym describe the speed of a particular DDR SDRAM module. The larger the number, the faster the memory – if your motherboard’s equipped to handle it. You can usually install faster memory in slower motherboards without problem, but putting slower memory in faster motherboards will slow down your computer.

Laptop computers use smaller parts for everything, and that includes memory. Regular sticks of memory won’t fit into a notebook, and vice versa. Buy memory designed specifically for your brand and model of laptop.

When faced with the unpleasant task of buying the right type, speed, and size of memory for a computer, most people give up and take it to the shop. Do it yourselfers often turn to online memory vendors because they’ve made the process so easy. Follow these steps for the quickest and easiest way to figure out how much memory’s already inside your computer, and the best type of memory to add to your particular model.

Visit the Crucial website or another online memory vendor. Most online memory vendors, including Crucial, offer special programs to scan your computer’s memory requirements and offer recommendations. Tell the Web site to find out what memory’s inside your computer and to recommend compatible upgrades. On Crucial, for instance, click Scan Your Computer, and choose Download the Scanner. The Web site sends a small program to your computer to scan its memory, and then presents the results compatible with your computer. When you’ve identified the type and amount of memory you need, you’re ready to make your purchase.

 Installing Memory in Your Computer or Laptop

If you live in a static electricity-prone environment, buy a grounding strap that wraps around your wrist and attaches to the computer. Even if you don’t have static electricity problems in your area, you should still ground yourself by touching a metal part of your computer’s case before touching its innards. If you’re working in a dry area with lots of static, take off your shoes and socks. Working barefoot can help prevent static buildup.

After you buy your new memory modules, follow these steps to install them.

1 Turn off the computer, unplug it, remove the case, and locate the memory slots on your motherboard


Desktop RAM Slots


Laptop RAM Slots

2 Remove any old memory sticks, if necessary, to make room for a higher-capacity memory stick. Pull the slot clasps away from the existing memory module on each side, and then pull the module up and out. Place the extracted memory into a plastic baggie for safekeeping.



3 To open a laptop or notebook computer, turn it off, remove the battery and remove the panel from the bottom of the laptop. (Check your notebook’s manual to see exactly where its memory modules live.)

4 Add the new memory. Look for the notched sides and bottom of the memory stick. Align the memory stick’s notches with the slot's dividers and clasps. Then push the memory stick straight down into its slot, and push its little locking clips toward its edges to hold it in place.


5 On a laptop, push the smaller memory stick into a smaller slot. Two clips then hold the memory stick flat.


6 Double-check your work. Make sure all the memory modules firmly in position.

7 Put the case back on your desktop PC, or the small panel back onto the laptop.

8 Then plug in and turn on your computer. Windows should run faster, more smoothly, and be able to juggle more programs at once.

If your computer doesn’t recognize your new memory chips, turn it off and push those chips into their slots a little more firmly. That may do the trick.
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