Wednesday, 2 May 2018

How to add or replace PC RAM

Guide to choose and update RAM on PC, add new memory module or replace them on laptops and desktops

Adding RAM memory is one of the easiest and cheapest ways (even if a few years ago it was more) to increase the performance of any PC, both desktop and laptop.
Before, however, to update the RAM of the computer you have to check what kind of RAM you can mount and, above all, if the PC in use supports this increase and is able to benefit from the increase in memory.
We have talked several times about how important RAM is for any computer, because it is the fast memory, the one in which they are saved temporarily (until the computer is turned off), the processed data that have been loaded from the disk, which instead it is the permanent memory.
Basically, the more RAM there is in a device, the more it is able to manage multiple programs open at the same time without slowing down.

In this article we make a general summary of everything you need to know about the RAM topic, to understand how to update it, how to add or replace the parts inside the computer, what types of RAM to choose and buy .

How to choose RAM

As with most PC hardware parts, there are various models and sizes of RAM, so you have to take some things into account before making any purchases. 

How much RAM do we need more than today ? 

In general, the more RAM there is, the better it is. That said, not all computers are worth more than 8 GB of RAM, so to understand how much RAM it takes, you can apply the law of diminishing returns. 
If switching from 4 GB to 8 GB of RAM will make a big difference, going from 8 GB to 16 GB will still be good in terms of performance, but not so relevant. 

Going beyond 16 GB will be completely useless unless you use the PC for very heavy programs.
To date, the ideal amount for a mid-level PC is certainly 8 GB of RAM. 

For players and those who work with heavy data and video processing programs or virtual machines or other needs, you may want to get 12 GB, 16 GB or more if your computer allows it. 

How much RAM is currently installed now ? 

To know how much RAM is currently in the computer, you can open the task manager on a Windows PC (by pressing the CTRL-Shift-Esc keys together ). 

Then go to the performance tab to find, on the left, the indication of how much RAM is present and how much is in use. 

The one indicated, however, is the total quantity that can be the sum of two or more modules.
To find out how many modules there are inside the PC, you can use a program like Speccy, which is free and only to be downloaded and launched. 

In the RAM section you can see all the technical information on the RAM mounted in the computer, for each module that occupies a slot. 

RAM modules are chip cards that are bought and have a certain amount of memory. 
The slots are the spaces provided on the motherboard of the computer where you can insert the RAM. 

If we have two slots on four occupied, we can insert two additional RAM modules to add memory. 
If instead we had only two slots, we can increase the memory only by replacing the old modules with two new ones that have greater capacity.

How much RAM can the PC handle ? 

Wanting to pay no attention to expenses and add more RAM as possible, however, you must check that the computer used can handle it, because it is said that it is possible to go beyond a certain limit. 
On PC there are two limits to consider when it comes to RAM: the maximum memory that Windows can handle and the maximum amount of RAM supported by the motherboard. 

As for the limit of Windows the story is very simple: with 32-bit Windows (whatever the version) you can use maximum 4 GB of RAM. 

With 64-bit Windows you can get up to 128 GB in the Home version of Windows 10 and even 2 TB of RAM for Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise.

On Windows 7 64 bit, the Home Basic version can handle up to 8 GB, Home Premium up to 16 GB, while Windows 7 Professional handles up to 192 GB of RAM. 

As for the motherboard, we say that usually the amount of RAM supported will never be less than 8GB and, almost certainly, you can even reach 16 GB. 
To install more RAM you will need to check the motherboard data sheet by looking for the model name on Google (Speccy can tell us this model). 

What kind of RAM does the PC require ? 

The RAM that the PC can support also depends on the type. 

First of all, RAM for desktop PCs is usually supplied with DIMM modules .
Laptop RAM, laptops and some ultra-compact desktops are available in smaller, shorter SODIMM modules . 

In addition to the size, you must also check the RAM generation accepted by the computer motherboard, which is presented as a DDR version. 

DDR2 : introduced in 2003, no longer used for years and only supported by very old PCs. 

DDR3 : the most widely used version of RAM on PCs of the last 6-8 years, introduced in 2007 and still used by cheaper motherboards. 

DDR4 : The latest version of RAM, introduced in 2014, found on the newer computers.

Motherboards are designed for only one specific generation of RAM, so if you buy a DDR3 for a PC that supports DDR4, it will not be compatible and will not even fit into its slot because of a different shape. 
Also to know what kind of RAM is compatible with the computer in use you can check Speccy, in the RAM category 

Other features of the RAM memories (which can be found on Speccy and on the purchase labels) are the speed and latency of the RAM (also called timing ). 

RAM speed is expressed in MhZ

The latency, which means the speed at which the RAM module can access its hardware, is presented with a series of 4 numbers. Low latency means faster access to data. Latency times are presented as a series of four numbers like 5-5-5-15. 

These two characteristics are not, in fact, so important, because they are not too influential on performance. 

We must also take into account that the motherboard or the PC may limit the speed of the RAM if it does not support the maximum speed of the RAM used. 

Other features such as heat sinks and RGB leds are just expensive, but not too influential in most cases. 

To buy RAM at good prices and have as many choices as possible, you can look at Amazon and look for the one compatible with your PC or motherboard.

Install the RAM

Can I upgrade the laptop's RAM? 

Updating the RAM in a laptop always depends on how it was built. 

Some laptops have an access panel that can be opened to easily replace the RAM modules. 
In other notebook models, however, it may be that there is no way to get to detach the RAM modules present or that are soldered to the motherboard without the possibility of updating. 
For laptops you have to do a search on Google to know if and how, that particular model, can be improved by replacing the RAM.

Most laptops allow RAM memory to be updated via a small access panel on the back or by performing a certain level of disassembly (sometimes removing the entire bottom, sometimes removing the keyboard, sometimes a combination). 

You will then have to consult the user manual of the laptop or do some research on the internet to find information about the model in use. 

How to update the memory of the Desktop PC? 

Replacing the RAM or adding a new module is quite simple on desktop PCs. 
After opening the case, it is easy to locate the RAM slots on the motherboard, which have their interlocking levers in which to insert the modules.

Obviously, you have to remove all the cables and external accessories from the computer and, before opening it, place it on a table or desk, being careful not to get the shock by touching the metal parts. 
Remove the screws at the back by holding the access panel in place. You are about to remove the access panel from the left side of the PC (assuming you are looking in the foreground). In some cases, the entire coverage must be removed. Then set the case on the side with the exposed interiors. 

To remove the existing RAM, look for the plastic tabs at the ends of the RAM slots, then press these sticks down (away from RAM) until they click. The module should move slightly upwards, ready to be extracted.

Before connecting the new RAM, the only thing to check is the composition of the slots. 
In some PCs the slots are all black, in others they are colored in pairs representing the dual channel mode to optimize the performance of the module pair. 

If there are these pairs, it is better to put the RAM of the same amount of memory in the slots with the same color, two by two. 

To install the new RAM, align the electrical contacts with the memory slot by putting it in an oblique position, inserting the foot and then moving it vertically, making sure that the notch in the connector is correctly positioned (the modules can only be inserted in one direction).

Once the modules are inserted and pushed gently downwards, they can be locked by moving the two levers upwards to the ends, which fit perfectly if the RAM has been inserted correctly. 
At this point you can close the case and turn on the computer- 

Check the RAM: installation After installing the new RAM, make sure it works properly, you can look in the BIOS, or start Windows and check the amount of RAM recognized in Speccy or in the task manager. 
If the PC shows less RAM than it should, it may be that one or more modules are not completely inserted into the slots and the installation must be repeated.

It may well be that the RAM is not compatible with the motherboard (maybe the wrong generation), or that a module has been installed that has a capacity greater than that allowed by the slot. 

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