How to install RAM on a Windows PC including desktops and laptops. In a few simple steps to the essential RAM upgrade!
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Random Access Memory, or RAM, is the brain’s short-term memory on your computer. Your computer uses its RAM to temporarily store any data that it needs to access immediately or quickly. This way you don’t have to go through all the data on your hard drive. In other words, computers load data into their RAM memory for quick access.
For this reason, a PC memory upgrade is a way to boost your computer’s speed and performance. The more RAM your computer has, the noticeably faster everything runs. You’ll have faster startup times, more browser tabs without interruption, higher FPS (frames per second) when playing games, more freedom when multitasking with different apps, and overall faster performance.
Are you ready to test it? Read on – here’s the complete guide to installing PC memory.
How exactly does a RAM upgrade affect it?
The RAM upgrade gives your computer the resources it needs to temporarily transfer data from the hard drive to the CPU for processing. Even the fastest solid-state drives (SSD) are sluggish compared to how fast RAM is feeding your computer the data it needs. Without RAM, or without enough RAM, working on the computer would become unbearably slow or not work at all.
In general, users add more RAM to:
Note that all the reasons listed above are directly related to making your PC faster and more powerful. This is the main reason for the RAM upgrade.
Are there any risks?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Performing a RAM upgrade yourself is not without risk. The main danger of doing this is that it could damage your computer’s delicate internal components, although this can also happen every time you open the PC to look inside, or a bit of dust to free. Also, the manufacturer’s warranty is likely to be void if you have one.
Read on to get an up-front look at the key factors so you know exactly what to do when you need to upgrade your RAM.
If you’d rather not upgrade your RAM, you can get more performance out of your computer with a special PC optimization tool. AVG TuneUp automatically deletes junk files, disables unnecessary software, and performs a host of other performance-enhancing actions to keep your PC up to date.
Choose your new memory
There are some key criteria when choosing memory for your motherboard. Before upgrading your PC’s RAM, ask yourself these questions:
That way, you’ll know exactly what type and how much RAM to get.
How much RAM do you currently have?
The first step is to check your computer’s current memory. Remember, you don’t want to find out all the memory on your computer, that’s your hard drive, just the memory available on your computer.
If you are using Windows 10, right click on the bottom of your desktop and select Task Manager. You can also open it by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Select the Performance tab and locate your Storage. Your current RAM is shown in gigabytes (GB).
For a more detailed overview of this process, see our guide to checking RAM on a PC.
How much RAM do you need?
Assuming your current RAM is insufficient, how much RAM do you really need? Adding too much RAM is just as possible as adding too little RAM. You should therefore clarify this question at an early stage.
Consider the following factors when making your decision:
Primary use: What do you plan to use your computer for primarily? CPU-intensive tasks like high-end gaming and video editing require a lot more RAM, so you’ll need at least 16GB for consistent performance. For normal web surfing or word processing, 8 GB should be enough.
Budget: RAM is not cheap. While you can find good deals on RAM online, it’s best to buy from reputable vendors with guarantees and solid return policies.
Limitations: Your PC can only handle a certain amount of RAM. If you buy too much, you won’t be able to use everything. Read on to learn more about the RAM limit and how to find it.
As a rule of thumb, consider 4GB of RAM as a minimum, but go for 8GB if your budget allows. With 8GB of RAM, you’ll have much better performance</a>. You don’t need 16GB or more of RAM unless you’re using your PC for more powerful programs and processes .</p><a id=”>
How much RAM is your PC designed for?
You can’t just add more RAM to your computer without checking a few things first. Every PC has two limits on its maximum RAM: its motherboard and its operating system (OS). The lower limit determines the maximum RAM for your PC.
Determine the maximum memory for your motherboard
Your motherboard has a maximum amount of RAM and a fixed number of RAM slots – the physical areas where the RAM modules reside. Keep these factors in mind when evaluating how to choose RAM for your motherboard.
See the four slots in the top left corner of this motherboard? This is where you install your RAM. Four slots are available on this particular motherboard, as is common today.
First, find out what type of motherboard you have. So that you don’t have to disassemble your PC to do this, you can use a third-party tool like Speccy by CCleaner, which will show you all of your computer’s core information without you having to search for it. Identify the make and model of your motherboard and look up the maximum RAM capacity online or in your owner’s manual.
RAM modules are available in different capacities. Even if you only have a few RAM slots, you can reach your motherboard’s RAM maximum by purchasing higher capacity RAM modules. For example, if your motherboard has four RAM slots and the maximum available RAM is 32GB, you can install four 8GB RAM modules.
Make sure the memory you buy is compatible with your motherboard. Modern memory is known as DDR4, while the previous generation is known as DDR3. A motherboard with DDR4 slots is not suitable for DDR3 RAM modules and vice versa.
Find the RAM maximum for your operating system
All 32-bit Windows operating systems are limited to 4 GB of RAM. Even if your motherboard has the space, your operating system can’t use the memory and it’s wasted.
64-bit operating systems can handle more RAM. However, the limits vary from operating system to operating system. The 64-bit version of Windows 10 Home can access a maximum of 128 GB of RAM, while the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium can access up to 16 GB of RAM. Check online how much RAM your operating system can handle.
What kind of RAM should I get?
If you’re looking for RAM online, you’re likely to get confused by the various descriptions. Here we explain some of the more complex terms so you know exactly what you’re buying.
DDR4-XXXX (e.g. DDR4-3200): This is the frequency of your memory. The cheapest and most commonly used RAM currently runs at 2133 to 2666 MHz. Gamers and content creators may want more performance – 3200, 3600, 4000 MHz or more.
A higher frequency, or “clock speed,” means the RAM can do more calculations per second – i.e. that is, it can handle more activity than RAM with a lower clock speed. For example, based on numerous internal tests, we can say that our average gaming performance increased by around 15% with the blazing fast power of 4266MHz RAM compared to more leisurely speeds of 2666MHz.
CLXX/Timings: This is your memory’s latency: the time it takes for RAM to output data to its pins (the pieces of metal that connect to your motherboard). For example, descriptions such as CL16-18-18-38 are displayed. Here the RAM takes 16 clock cycles to complete a task. For more information, see this full technical breakdown of storage times and their impact.
Remember: Less latency is better. You’ll also find that super-clocked memory – 4600 or even 5000 MHz – has higher latency, which tends to be detrimental to performance. The sweet spot for many gamers is between 3600 and 4200 MHz. Personally, I went with a 4266MHz system with a decent latency of 19.
Dual Channel vs. Quad Channel: When you buy RAM, you usually get two modules in a package as a dual-channel version, essentially doubling the data transfer rate. You even get quad-channel on professional workstation PCs, typically with an Intel Core X or AMD Threadripper CPU.
Once you’ve determined the type of CPU or motherboard, you’ll know if you can use the dual or quad RAM configurations. There is a slight difference in overall performance when using a dual channel. It is therefore always advisable to buy this kit if you can. The quad-channel memory, on the other hand, has a limited impact on speed.
How to upgrade RAM on a desktop PC
Once you have purchased an appropriate amount of memory, you can upgrade to desktop memory. To upgrade RAM on your desktop:
Shut down your computer and wait until it has completely cooled down.
Disconnect all cables, lines and accessories.
Open the computer case. For instructions specific to your PC, see the user guide. You’ll probably have to unscrew it. So remember which screws go where. There are probably different types and sizes of them.
Touch an unpainted metal surface inside your computer to discharge static electricity from your body. This helps protect your computer’s delicate internal components from accidental damage.
Locate RAM. Your user manual will help you.
Carefully remove your current RAM modules. If your computer uses clips to hold the RAM modules in place, slide them aside. This should also raise the RAM module so you can easily remove it.
Carefully insert your new RAM modules by inserting the side with the gold connectors into the RAM slot and snapping the module into place. Align the notch in the RAM module so that it slides fully into the slot. Only touch your RAM modules by the corners and edges, not the top, and never touch the gold connectors!
Reattach the computer case.
Reconnect all cables and connectors.
How to upgrade RAM on a laptop
Is there a way to increase the memory of a laptop? As long as you haven’t reached the maximum memory of your system, yes! The same rules for upgrading desktop RAM also apply to your laptop’s RAM cap.
Also, some laptops may not even lend themselves to a RAM upgrade. Sometimes the RAM modules are soldered directly onto the motherboard, so you can’t remove them yourself. Check online if your laptop has removable RAM.
If your laptop can handle more RAM, add it like this:
Shut down your laptop, close it and let it cool.
Disconnect all cables, lines and accessories.
Turn it over and place face down on your work surface.
Open the bottom of the case or remove the part covering your RAM. The details here depend on the type of laptop you have. If you need to unscrew the case, remember which screw goes with which thread, as the screws can be different sizes.
Touch an unpainted metal surface inside your laptop to discharge static electricity from your body. This helps protect your laptop’s sensitive internal components.
Remove the old RAM modules by gently sliding aside the clips that hold them in place. Each RAM module should stand up at an angle. Here’s how to pull it out of the RAM slot.
Pick up your new RAM modules by the edges or corners. Do not touch the gold connectors or other components on top of the module!
Correctly align the notch of your new RAM module with the RAM slot. Then use them. Push the module down until it snaps into place.
Press down on the RAM module so it lies flat in your laptop. The clips should snap back into place.
Replace the back of the laptop case, turn the laptop over and reconnect all cables and wires.
Perform a RAM upgrade check
After installing the new memory, turn on your computer and check the memory again to make sure everything is working properly. You can return to Task Manager as above, or right-click This PC on your desktop and select Properties.
Look for your computer’s memory information and make sure the total memory shown matches the amount of RAM you just installed. Congratulations – you have successfully upgraded your RAM!
You can purchase more RAM here
You can either buy your new RAM online or directly from a computer retailer – but in either case, do your research first. RAM is expensive and you should be sure you’re protected by reliable warranties and return policies are in case you buy the wrong RAM or something is not working properly. Always buy RAM from a reputable seller.
Using only new memory is the safest, but also the more expensive option. You can also buy RAM from someone who refurbishes RAM. This means the memory has been restored to like-new condition. However, keep in mind that while it’s cheaper than new RAM, your warranty protection won’t last as long. Of course you can also buy used RAM, but then often at your own risk and without any after-sales service.
Good PC performance depends on more factors than just RAM
Although many think so, RAM isn’t always the most important aspect of PC performance. You can have all the memory in the world – or at least all the memory in your computer – but if the rest of your PC isn’t optimized for effective performance, you’re still in trouble.
AVG TuneUp removes all useless software and other junk data to speed up your PC and get it back in shape. Before you open your computer up for a RAM upgrade, you should find out what it will do when it’s running at its full potential. And even after installing new memory, AVG TuneUp makes sure you maximize the performance of all new memory.
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