One of the easiest and most performance enhancing upgrades you can make to your PC is adding more ram.
To do this, you will need to open your computers case and either add additional memory modules to what your system already has, or replace the original ones with larger new memory modules.
Always try to buy memory modules in pairs. This is not essential, but if you want your motherboard to run in dual channel mode, which is 2x as fast, matching pairs are needed.
To find out how much ram your PC has now, you will need to click on the “Start” button in Windows and then right click on “Computer” and select properties. A window will pop-up displaying some basic information about your PC, including the amount of ram install on your PC.
Choosing The Correct Ram Type For Your PC
If you have a PC that’s made by one of the large manufactures like Dell or HP, all you have to do to find out what memory your PC uses is to go to the manufactures support website, enter your computers model number and check the ram specifications.
You will also see how many memory slots your motherboard has. Most have either 2 or 4 slots. If you have 2 slots, you are going to have to replace the old ram modules with new larger ones.
If you have 4 slots and 2 are spare, you can add extra ram modules to the existing ones increasing the overall memory of your PC.
If your PC is custom made or for whatever reason you cannot find your ram information, you can open you PC and physically take out a ram module and read its label.
There or free software programs available that displays your ram information, but I have found them to be relatively inaccurate.
Most modern PC use various types of either DDR-2 or DDR-3. Make sure you order the correct ram type as incorrect modules will not fit the ram slots in your PC.
DDR-2 ram comes in DDR2-400, DDR2-533, DDR2-667, DDR2-800 and DDR2-1066 variants.
DDR-3 ram comes in DDR3-800, DDR3-1066, DDR3-1333, DDR3-1600, DDR3-1866 and DDR3-2133 variants.
Installing Your New Ram
So you have ordered the new ram for your PC and you now need to install it on the motherboard. First things first. Unplug you PC from the mains power supply. This is so you don’t electrocute yourself!
When touching PC components, you need to be careful not to fry them with static electricity. To prevent this you need to make sure you are properly earthed. This is best done by wearing an anti-static wrist band, or if you don’t have one of those, make sure you touch something that is conductive and grounded such as a radiator.
Now that you have unplugged your PC from the mains, you can unscrew and remove the side panel from you PC.
Find the ram slots on the motherboard and remove the old memory modules (if you are replacing the ram) by pushing the two latches down and away from the ends of the module to the unlock position (see the images to the right). The old memory modules should pop out easily.
Now making sure you line up the notch on the memory module with the notch in the ram slot, and with both latches in the unlock position, you can slowly apply an even downward pressure to the memory module until you hear a click. This means your new module is in place. Just make sure both the latches at each end are in the locked position.
When I first attempted this, I was worried at how much pressure is required. You do have to apply quite a bit so don’t be to gentle.
Occasionally, once you have installed your new memory modules, your PC might fail to boot up and your computer will make a series of beeps. Don’t panic! It’s probably one of a few things.
- You have not installed the modules correctly. This will cause a bad connection hence the error. Just try reseating the modules again by popping them out and back in again. Double checking the latches at either end of the modules are set to closed.
- Sound stupid but double you have purchased the correct ones.
- You might have bought faulty ram modules. Also, if you have bought two, try them individually as it would be highly unlikely you have two faulty ones.
Here is a video that’s worth watching that gives you a visual idea of what is involved…