RAM: What is it and how to replace/upgrade

Chances are, you’re wondering: why do I need RAM on my computer? What does it do and why is it essential when building a system unit? And if my PC is slow, how do I replace or upgrade my memory? Let’s find out!

RAM or Random Access Memory is a type of computer memory that is used for short term data access on your computer. It allows your computer to perform day to day tasks like editing documents, surfing the internet, and playing media content. Random Access Memory also enables your computer to switch quickly through these tasks running on the background.

Unlike hard drives and solid-state drives, RAM only stores temporary data from your computer and erases it completely when you close a program or when you turn off your computer.

Sodimm VS Dimm

Now, maybe you would often hear Sodimm and Dimm when you shop for computer RAM. These are types of RAM that functions the same. But serves different purposes.

The main takeaway between these two RAMs is their size. Sodimm memory modules have a measurement of 67 millimeters. While Dimm sticks have a length of 133 millimeters.

Sodimm sticks are also used for small notebook computers and laptops. On the other hand, Dimm RAMs are normally used on desktop computers.

Also, Dimm memory modules pack features that are not normally found on Sodimm sticks like ECC compatibility and Registered memory modules which are often used to secure important files and prevent data loss on servers.

DDR3 RAM vs DDR4 RAM

After knowing the difference between Sodimm and Dimm memory modules. Let’s discuss the key differences of DDR3 and DDR4 memories.

To start off, both RAMs are still being used today on most computer systems. However, DDR4 memory is the latest version of RAM. It has a higher clock speed compared to DDR3 memory modules.

You can easily recognize the difference between these two RAMs as the placing of their notch is different. DDR3s notch is placed slightly to the left of the memory module. While DDR4 memory has its notch slightly placed at the center.

Check out the image below for reference.

ddr3-vs-ddr4-ram

Now, in terms of capacity, DDR3 modules are maxed out at 16 GB while DDR4 modules currently have no limit on its capacity.

How to Know What Type of RAM You Need?

If you want to upgrade your computer’s RAM but don’t know where to start. Well you have come to the right place.

To get started, the first thing that you should check is wether you are upgrading a laptop or a full size-desktop. As stated above, laptops or notebooks usually use Sodimm memory modules and Desktop PCs use Dimm sticks.

After determining the right type of memory module that you need, the next thing that you should do is to check what version of RAM does your system use.

To check what version of RAM do you need, you can follow the steps below.

  1. First, download and install CPU-Z on your computer.
  2. After that, open the program and click on the Memory tab.
  3. Lastly, it would display the memory type, size, and frequency that is currently installed on your system.
cpu-z-screenshot

Now, take note of this information and look for the same specification when you buy a new memory module for your system.

How Much GB Do You Need For Your System?

In order to answer this question, you would first need to identify what would you be using your computer for. It is important to determine what programs and tasks would you run on your computer.

For normal day to day home or office use, an 8 GB memory stick would be enough to handle your programs. On the other hand, if you are going to use your computer for intensive tasks like rendering, video editing, and gaming. We recommend that you install at least 16 GB of memory on your system to ensure that you won’t experience any hiccups while using your computer.

Also, keep in mind that your system would benefit from higher frequency memory modules. So, if you want to maximize your system’s performance make sure to get a RAM with a frequency of at least 2133 MHz.

How to Replace Your RAM

To replace your memory module, check out the step-by-step guide below.

  1. Make sure that your computer is completely turned off. Then, unplug your system unit from the outlet and press the power button for at least 5 seconds to ensure that there is no current flowing on your motherboard.
  2. After that, locate your computer’s RAM slots which is typically placed at the right side of your processor.
  3. Now, you will find a latch at the top and bottom part of the RAM slot. Push it away from the RAM module to unlock it.
  4. Next, remove the current RAM installed on your motherboard.
  5. Lastly, get the new RAM stick and carefully align it to the RAM slot and press it down gently to the slot until you hear it lock in to place.

Now, in case your motherboard has 4 RAM slots and you would just install two sticks of RAM. Make sure that you insert it on the 1st and 3rd RAM slots so that you would be running it on dual-channel mode.

To further boost your gaming experience, check out our review of the best gaming hard drives that you can get in today’s market.

This sums up our beginner’s guide on computer RAMs. If you find this article helpful, we would highly appreciate it if you share it with your friends. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comment section below and we would try our best to help you out.

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