Upgrading Your RAM
…The Right Way
So, your PC isn’t exactly operating with the speeds you would like it to.
Let’s cut to the chase, it’s time for an upgrade.
Not necessarily an upgrade to the entire system, but an upgrade to the RAM within your machine.
Not sure where to start?
Follow our simple step by step process of upgrading your RAM… the right way.
First Things First.
There is a HUGE difference between desktop memory and laptop memory.
They’re NOT interchangeable!
This is the first step to the upgrade, selecting the right type of RAM.
The two factors that will influence the type of RAM you choose are the motherboard and the operating system.
The motherboard has a limited number of slots to plug the RAM into.
The operating system has limits on the amount of RAM you can use.
We will address both of these separately.
Your computer’s motherboard will regulate the amount of RAM that can be installed.
Simply put, the motherboard has a limited number of slots that the memory can be plugged into.
The slots, otherwise known as dual in-line memory (DIMM) slots, are different from laptop memory slots.
Laptop motherboards and RAM use SO-DIMM.
Many older computers also use single in-line memory modules (SIMM).
Refer to your computer’s user manual to determine the amount of RAM your motherboard can handle.
The motherboard also establishes what kind of RAM you should chose. Most PCs use the following types of RAM:
- DDR2 SDRAM(double data rate synchronous dynamic random-access memory) –Found in computers made before 2007.
- DDR3 SDRAM(double data rate type three synchronous dynamic random-access memory) – Found in computers made after 2007.
- DDR4 SDRAM(double data rate fourth generation synchronous dynamic random-access memory) – The newest generation of RAM that is found in the latest PC builds.
The Operating System
The operating system that your computer runs has a direct affect on the RAM that you can use.
The OS has an influence on the amount of RAM that your computer uses.
For example, the maximum amount of RAM that a PC running a 32-bit Windows 7 operating system can use is 4GB.
Other Windows 7 RAM limitations include:
- Windows 7 Home Basic: 8 GB
- Windows 7 Home Premium: 16 GB
- Windows 7 Professional: 192 GB
- Enterprise: 192 GB
- Ultimate: 192 GB
The maximum amount of RAM that a PC running a 32-bit Windows 8.1 operating system can use is 512GB.
Other Windows 8 RAM limitations include:
- Windows 8.1: 128 GB
- Windows 8.1 Professional: 512 GB
- Windows 8.1 Enterprise: 512 GB
The maximum amount of RAM that a PC running a Windows 10 operating system can use is 2TB.
- Windows 10 Enterprise: 2TB
- Windows 10 Education: 2TB
- Windows 10 Pro: 2TB
- Windows 10 Home: 128GB
Other RAM Specifications
The memory speed is measured in MHz.
If you’re measuring your computer’s performance speed will be noticeable.
Otherwise you probably won’t notice the difference between an 1866 MHz memory module and a 1333 MHz memory module.
Measuring performance speed is more important for server workstations that handle larger computing loads.
Timing, also known as latency, is represented by four numbers separated by dashes.
A rule of thumb is the lower numbers correspond with better performance.
Some motherboards support multi-channel memory.
A multi-channel memory kit enhances performance.
In order to accommodate these kits, RAM can be bought on a system specific basis.