Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Upgrading RAM

John Marine | 9/01/2010 10:01:00 PM | |
Last month, I performed my first-ever RAM upgrade. I bought a 1 GB RAM module for my PC based on what I've read when visiting a few different websites. You can't just go out and purchase a RAM module without knowing exactly what you need, though. Purchasing the wrong RAM module will just mean a waste of money. You may even have to return the RAM module (sometimes with a re-stocking fee).

An example of where you can find out how much RAM you can install is if you visit the website of a RAM module maker. Almost any computer or laptop made within the past 5 to (maybe) 15 years can be found at a site like Let me talk you through my own adventure in RAM upgrading.

(hover over the image to get some extra advice)
RAM module
^ from: - a RAM module.

My Upgrading Story.

I had to check out my computer's specifications. I have an HP Pavillion a1213w. I visited to get a good idea as to what kind of module I should buy. My PC supposedly has 512 MB RAM. However, when I checked out how much RAM I was really using, the display said that I have only 381 MB of RAM. I visited (but you can visit any reputable RAM module maker's website to see what you need) to see how much RAM I can upgrade to. There is an exact science of knowing what you need and how much you need. My PC came stock with a 512 MB RAM module. I read information about my PC's specifications. There are basically two RAM slots to my PC, and one was empty... until I visited an Office Max (or Office Depot?). Crucial had recommendations to max out my PC's memory. It stated that each slot can carry a RAM module with a maximum of 1 GB. I also checked to see if there were any other things I needed to know, like if I needed to buy identical pairs, does my PC support dual-memory? Purchasing the 1 GB RAM module cost me about $82 USD.

Installing the Module.

Ready to take on a new task, I went ahead and opened the tray to dig inside my PC. I saw the available port to install RAM to. I had to unclamp the area where the available bay was. I then went ahead to slot in the RAM module I had just bought. It didn't clamp down all the way. So then, I had to push down on the edges a bit more just to get the RAM module to finally connect. I also had to make sure not to push it down too far to where I'd break it. The RAM module eventually snapped into place. I went ahead and put the cover back on the PC. The next thing I did was enter the PC's setup to make sure the RAM module installation was successful and compliant. It was. In fact, I noted that the ram was boosted from 381 MB RAM to 1.37 GB RAM. If I could I'd purchase a second Crucial 1 GB RAM module to replace the 512 MB RAM module to boost my PC to the 2,048 MB RAM maximum.

How Much of a Difference Does More RAM Make?

The differences can't be felt in broadband connections, but programs run faster and smoother. More RAM on board means you can complete more of your tasks more efficiently than with your current setup. It takes anywhere from half an hour to almost an hour for my PC to start up and run smoothly with my previous setup. But after I installed that 1 GB RAM module for my PC, it takes about five to fifteen minutes to have my PC start up completely each day.

Upgrading RAM opens the possibility of adding new programs and games to your PC and be able to run them efficiently. That's why when I installed this RAM module, I wanted to buy some fairly recent games for my PC. One of them being RACE 07 from SimBin. I may even want to get a few more games within specification. For most of my existing games, they run much smoother on just a simple RAM upgrade. rFactor has never looked and played better on my PC.

RAM Recommendations and Considerations.

I want you to be able to find the RAM upgrade you're looking for. If you are unsure as to what you need, here are some recommendations:

* Consult your PC's specifications. It's best to visit your PC's home page to find out what RAM options are recommended.

* It is best you go with quality companies like Crucial, Kingston, or even modules supplemented from your PC's maker. At least, since I own an HP computer, there are modules for HP computers.

* Visit the website of a RAM module maker. I recommend Crucial's website. Do not necessarily get your module from Crucial, but get an idea as to what kind of module you will need for your PC. I chose Crucial's website because it details a lot of elements to help you pick the RAM module you'll need to buy including what's the best module (if available by Crucial in this case) available to max out your PC's memory.

* Take notes of what advice is offered to you. Write down everything from the basic specifications of your PC or laptop to a brief synopsis of what is needed for your PC. These are the important aspects to take note of:
  • Graphics support
  • Maximum Memory
  • Slots
  • Standard Memory
  • USB Support
  • Package (how many more pins and what kind of memory module you have)
  • Feature (integrated circuit class and the speed of the module)
  • (any other information supplemented on your PC's/laptop's memory)

Make sure not to purchase a RAM module that isn't the same speed as what is recommended for your PC. Also, be sure to get answers to questions on the following (these topics are from the description):
  1. Will my system recognize the maximum upgrade?
  2. What memory goes into my computer, and will a faster speed be backward-compatible?
  3. How much memory can my computer handle?
  4. Do I have to install matching pairs?
  5. Does my computer support dual-channel memory?
  6. Does my computer support ECC memory?
Some of these other questions help you to think of other considerations as you prepare to make your RAM upgrade(s). The questions all come from when I looked on Crucial's homepage. It tells you everything you need to know and consider when shopping for RAM modules for your PC or laptop. Take note of all of these things. If need be, write them on a piece of paper or print out the information. Then when you go shopping, take that piece of paper with you for reference to help you shop for that RAM module you're looking for.

DON'T spend money on ANY RAM module until you know EXACTLY what kind of module you'll need and what your PC/laptop can handle!

* Once you have the information you need and when you're ready to purchase a RAM module... go shopping!

I hope this helps you in trying to establish what RAM upgrades you will need for your PC or laptop. When you know what RAM module you need, feel free to go shopping. The RAM module you're looking for MAY be on Amazon. So please be sure to use this widget to shop for the kind of RAM module you're looking for:

You can change up the search text to include a brand of module, a certain speed of a RAM module, a certain capacity of a RAM module, or things like that.

Thank you for reading! I hope this blog entry is to your liking.
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