Choosing The Right Memory Upgrade for Your PC

Working on a PC with slow speeds can be daunting, mainly because it is time-consuming. You are also bound to feel drained and exhausted by projects waiting to get done.

Updating the RAM on your PC or laptop may seem like an easy task. You can, however, get confused over which is the most suitable for your machine.

With various brands like Micron, XtremeDDI, and Skrill, available on the market, it's important to understand what you are looking for to help you save time and get you the most suitable RAM for your device.

Can I expand the RAM on my laptop?

With less physical memory, your computer pushes data to your SSD or hard drive. This ultimately makes it slow. You can upgrade the performance of a slow performing computer by either:

  • Replacing your internal memory with one that has more room.
  • Increasing/expanding the existing memory using memory slots.

Laptops are not as easy to upgrade as PCs are. However, with more RAM, a hard drive, or cloud storage, this can be made possible.

Can I expand memory and keep my 256 MB memory stick?

The ideal amount of RAM on your computer is highly dependent on your usage. Generally, your PC requires between 4 GB and 32 GB with room to expand for heavy users.

Expandability happens when you have more memory slots that let you add a combination of memory DIMMs to give you a high total capacity. For instance, you can use four 512 MB to provide you with 2GB instead of two 1 GB storage chips.

You, however, cannot use 256 MB memory slots, otherwise known as dual in-line memory (DIMM) to expand from 1 GB to 2 GB. You will have to lose all the 256 MB card to replace it with DIMMs that will pair and add up.

How can I know what RAM interface my PC uses?

It is important to understand what type of DIMMs your computer uses before making any purchases. This is because you can only use the same specification as your PC. To check the RAM your machine uses, go to the upper-right side of your PC's task manager. There are different types of DIMMs, namely:

  • DRAM - This is the official name for a random access memory (RAM).
  • Double data rate (DDR or DDRAM)
  • DDR2 SDRAM - This is another version of the DDR.
  • DDR3 SDRAM - This is also another variation of the DDR
  • Extended data out (EDO).
  • Fast page mode ( FPM) - This works faster than the DRAM with an improved access time.

Note, however, that some PC task managers, like Windows 8 do not display the SDRAM part, hence will show DDR2, DDR3, etc.

Does it matter what frequency my memory has?

It is important to note the frequency on your PC's motherboard before selecting a memory stick. This is because if your RAM frequency is lower than the minimum set on the motherboard, it will get damaged. On the other hand, a RAM stick with a higher frequency than what the motherboard offers will work just fine.

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