Are your applications running slow or the whole computer running a little sluggish? Chances are you might need some more memory.
So what is the ideal amount? What do I need to know before I start? In this guide we answer these questions. Read on.
First of all you need to think about what you are currently using the computer for because certain tasks use up different amounts of RAM resources. For example, typing up a word document causes very little drain on your memory so buying the fastest RAM out there would probably be a waste of money.
To make Windows XP run at a decent speed, you will need at least 256MB of memory (it will run on 128MB however it is almost unusable). If you are into the modern 3D games then you should be looking for something in the ballpark of 512MB to 1GB. If you are using the computer for something very memory intensive such as video editing then you should have 1GB or more.
Choosing your RAM
Changing the RAM in your system may sound hard however it is fairly easy for even non-techies. However, there are a few rules you will need to follow so that you avoid problems like purchasing the wrong type of memory.
First of all, you cant just go putting unlimited amounts of RAM into your computer as all computers have a maximum amount of RAM they can take. If your computer is old you may find that the upper RAM limit isnt very much. There are only a few physical slots (called DIMMS, Dual Inline Memory Modules) that you can place RAM on your motherboard. Also, there is a limit to the maximum amount of RAM (in terms of MBs and GBs) that your motherboard can handle.
For example, If you want to upgrade your computer to 512MB of RAM and your computer currently has a total of 256MB of RAM, made up of two 128MB sticks of RAM, and only two physical slots on the motherboard to put them in then you may need to throw out the two 128MB sticks of RAM to achieve 512MB (which can be made up of two 256MB sticks or a single 512MB stick).
Types of RAM and their Speeds
RAM not only comes in different sizes in regards to Megabytes or Gigabytes, there are also different types and speeds of RAM. On a desktop computer the most common types of RAM are SDRAM, DDR and DDR2. A common pitfall with RAM that people encounter is that you cannot mix different types of RAM. For example, you cannot run SDRAM and DDR together. Hell, you cant even run DDR and DDR2 together.
So what are the differences between each type? First of all, they look slightly different by having their “notches” in different places which prevent you putting the wrong type of RAM in a motherboard.
SDRAM has two notches:
Whereas DDR only has one:
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