How to Buy and Install RAM

One of the best steps a computer user can do to improve their computer’s performance is adding more RAM. RAM, or random access memory, functions as a temporary storage unit for the thousands of processes a computer executes. More RAM means the computer can store and retrieve more information at a time, making performance smoother.

Although RAM certainly increases a PC’s speed, a majority of casual computer users are unsure of how to install new hardware. Thankfully, RAM is likely the single easiest component to install into a computer. A few simple steps are necessary to determine the correct RAM for a computer, and then it’s just a matter of plugging the sticks in.

To begin, figure out the type of RAM inside your computer. RAM comes in three varieties: DDR, DDR2, and DDR3, with each increasing number meaning a higher level of performance. Look for a label on the computer tower with a model number. With this information, you can use a search engine to see the specifications of the particular model’s hardware, which includes the correct type of RAM. If you cannot find this information, the memory company Crucial has an automated scanner that looks at your computer’s hardware and tells you what kind of RAM is compatible with your computer. In addition, you will learn the number of slots available and maximum amount your motherboard supports.

Once you know what type of RAM is needed, you can then begin shopping. In addition to being one of the easiest pieces of hardware to install, RAM is also one of the cheapest. Most casual computer users will notice significant performance improvement if they have 2GB of RAM, which can cost as little as $40. If you wish to have more RAM, you will need a 64-bit version of your operating system to make use of it.

Consider shopping for RAM on the Internet. The amount of flexibility and search customization available ensures that you can find the right kind of RAM with just a few clicks of the mouse. Once you find a product that you think fits your needs, check out some of the specifications. Be certain that the RAM is of the right variety (DDR, DDR2, DDR3). Furthermore, make sure your computer can support the amount of RAM you buy. For instance, if your computer only has 2 memory slots, you cannot have four 512MB memory sticks. Finally, check consumer reviews to ensure that the memory is of a quality make.

If all of these conditions are met, go ahead and make the purchase. The hardest part of the process is over. Once you get the RAM, unplug your computer from the power and unscrew the cover of your computer’s case. Ground yourself by touching the removed computer case cover, or invest in an anti-static wristband. Inside your computer you will find a stick (or more) of RAM inserted lengthwise along the motherboard in the memory slots. There are clips on the ends: release them by gently pressing them. Then, take the old RAM out.

While still grounded, carefully take the new RAM by holding its ends. Gently press it into the memory slots, then re-attach the clips. Finally, plug your computer’s power cord back in and start it up. If you hear any clicking or your computer does not respond, shut it down, unplug your computer from the power supply, and ensure the memory sticks are tightly fitted.

In all likelihood, however, the process of installing RAM will cause you no problems whatsoever. Adding more RAM, in addition to being incredibly easy, will likely give your computer the added boost it needs to perform to your expectations.