A basic guide to RAM upgrades

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Apr 30th 2012 - by Fix My PC FREE in: Blog Hardware Fixes | 0 Comment

A basic guide to RAM upgrades

Whether you’ve had troubles with RAM in the past, or you simply want to make an upgrade, it’s important to know how RAM works. Today, we’re going to teach you the basic information you need to know about upgrading or repairing RAM.

The RAM on your computer is critical because it is directly related to how much data a computer can read at a given time. When you have more RAM, you can run more applications without encountering the dreaded “memory overload” system error. However, if something goes wrong with the RAM in your computer, then it’s important to repair it as soon as possible. A RAM error can be incredibly serious and needs to be looked after immediately.

First, check to see if your computer is detecting the RAM you have installed. To do this, run an application called dxdiag by either searching for it in the Windows 7 search bar, or opening a run dialogue box in previous versions of Windows. Under the ‘System’ tab, you’ll see a line that says Memory, after which will be a number. If that number approximately matches the amount of memory you have installed on the computer, then your memory is being detected properly and should be working without a problem.

If your computer is not detecting the RAM, or if you’re not noticing a significant performance boost after a RAM upgrade, then you’ll have to troubleshoot your PC repair problem.

Motherboard errors

First, check to make sure that you have the right type of memory installed. Each stick of RAM has its own memory type, memory speed, and size in gigabytes. While it is possible to mix and match different kinds of memory, your RAM will automatically be downgraded to the lowest common denominator in terms of speed. This can provide a lower than expected boost to your computer’s performance.

It also helps to see if one’s computer can work with two different sticks of RAM. Some computers, for example, will not be able to handle different types of memory. This could lead to errors in detecting the memory as well as computer slowdowns.

It is also important to check how much RAM a motherboard can handle. Sometimes a motherboard that uses more than it can handle will not read certain RAM modules. In some cases, the motherboard may even overheat if you’re using more RAM than the recommended amount.

To see if your computer can handle different types of RAM, check your motherboard manual or laptop handbook.

Improper installation errors

Sometimes, your RAM may not work simply because it has been installed improperly. RAM can sometimes slip out of its slots in the motherboard, for example, which would make it difficult for your computer to detect the stick. To make sure this isn’t the case, remove each stick of RAM from its slot and reinstall it by pressing firmly down. Make sure that the two clips at either end of the DIMM slot clip down, securing the stick of memory in place.

Before reinstalling your memory, be sure to check for any visible damage on the outside of each stick, and pay close attention to the connectors where it hooks up to the motherboard. If there is any damage to these areas, your memory may not be able to function properly.

Making RAM upgrades easier

RAM upgrades are a lot easier when you use RAM with the same speed, type, and data standards. If possible, try to choose RAM that has the same model numbers. In fact, instead of upgrading your computer’s RAM, you may want to simply replace your memory with standardized sticks of your choice.

Once you’ve found the right RAM for your computer, simply insert it and lock it into the motherboard. Start up your computer and perform the dxdiag application once more to see if your RAM is being detected properly.

Ultimately, this part of computer repair should not be too difficult to handle. By paying attention to what kind of RAM your computer has – and what kind of RAM it needs – you can easily improve the speed and performance of your computer.

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