How to upgrade computer memory

How to upgrade computer memory
by Michael Cottier

Copyright 2006 Michael Cottier

Computer memory, also known as Random Access Memory (RAM), is just like your short term memory in your brain. It stores everything you are currently working on and recently worked on. As you can see that makes it a very essential part of your PC because it stores vital information that you are using and need access too immediately. No matter what the data is, pictures, sounds or just text, if you get a good amount of memory your computer will load that data much faster and store it better.

Many people want to do a RAM upgrade there selves, but always run into the problem of figuring out which type of memory to buy and installing it. If you didn’t already know, there are many different types of RAM available on the market, and you need to get the type that corresponds with your motherboard. If you don’t know what a motherboard is, it’s the big circuit board inside of your computer that connects everything together.

First, let’s talk about the two main types of RAM that are in use today, SDRAM and DDR. SDRAM stands for Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory, and is the most common among PC’s today. Most likely your desktop computer uses this type of RAM. I use to have SDRAM, and I thought it was okay because it got the job done. I have switched though to DDR RAM, which is replacing SDRAM. The speed of DDR RAM is twice that of SDRAM, so you can imagine the difference. If your motherboard currently only has SDRAM slots, then you have no choice but to get that type of RAM. If you want to change to DDR RAM, then you have to buy a whole new motherboard and install it. To find out what RAM your computer uses just look at the instruction manual that came with it, or if it is custom built, look at the motherboard’s instruction manual.

For all you laptop and PDA owners out there, the type of RAM in your laptop or PDA is called SODIMM. Available at the same memory store you purchase your desktop computer RAM from, just a little more expensive and harder to install.

Now that you know the different types of RAM, you need to know where to buy it from and how to install it. To buy it, I suggest your local computer store because there will be a person there to help you and they will make sure that you buy the correct RAM. Here’s a tip to, bring your computers instruction manual with you to the store and they will definitely know the correct type of memory you need. If you want to buy online, then and are two great online computer stores that will deliver your RAM into your mail box.

And last but not least, you need to install your new RAM. Believe it or not this is the easy part. First shut down and unplug everything from your computer and then remove your computer’s case cover, to gain access to the motherboard inside. Once you can clearly see the motherboard, locate your RAM. You should know what it looks like since you just bought some and you can look at that. When you find it, you will notice a latch connected to the slot that holds it on each end. Push down both of the latches to unhook them, and then gently pull the RAM stick out. It should slide out with ease, but if it doesn’t, then wiggle it a little bit while pulling.

After that you just need to insert your new RAM. First count how many slots you have available for RAM and how many of them currently have RAM in it. Sometimes you will see 2 slots occupied and 1 open, or all three slots could be used. Either way, you have to insert your new RAM into an open slot, or if all are used then remove the oldest and least amount of RAM to clear a slot. Then gently insert your new RAM and pull the latches back up on both sides, securing your memory into place. After that just screw your case cover back on, hook your computer back up to everything and then power it back on. Your computer will automatically detect the new RAM and no further installation process is needed.

Well that is about it, I hope I have helped you. Just remember to keep your computer clean plus maintain properly, and it will live a long life.


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