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(Pocket-lint) – If you’ve noticed that your desktop or laptop slows down when you have many tabs open, or when you run multiple programs at once, it may be time to upgrade your RAM. Maybe you just want some flashy RGB RAM to make your gaming rig look cooler, no matter what, then we’re here to help.
Upgrading your RAM is a fairly easy task. In fact, we think it’s one of the easiest PC upgrades for beginners to try. So let’s get to the heart of the matter.
How to determine if you need more RAM
If you have performance issues, the first step is to check if increased RAM will resolve your issue. And if you are upgrading for cosmetic reasons, it is always worth checking if you are also eligible for a capacity upgrade.
The most obvious indicator is Google Chrome’s dreaded “Memory Mount” error. If you see it popping up, it’s almost certainly time to upgrade your RAM.
For more detailed information, open the Task Manager. To do this, right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager. Then go to the Performance tab and click on Memory. For even more details, click Open Resource Monitor at the bottom of the window.
In the resource monitor, you can see exactly how much memory is being used and which programs are using it. On our screenshot you can see that only half of our memory is used, so we do not really need to upgrade it. But if you find that most of your memory is used up, or at worst, all of it, it’s time to increase RAM.
How to find the right RAM
First we need to check what kind of RAM our system uses. Most advanced modern PCs use DDR5 memory, but you are more likely to have DDR4 or DDR3. The easiest way to find out is to Google your system specifications. These types of memory are not compatible with each other, so even if they are similar, the wrong type of RAM will not physically fit in your motherboard slot – and it would not work. He did.
Next, we need to determine the form factor of your RAM. There are a number of forms on the market, but two are by far the most common:
Almost all desktops use the DIMM form factor. These sticks are about 5.5 inches long, and if you look inside your PC case, they should be pretty easy to see. Gaming memory often comes with a fancy heatsink like the one shown here, but cheaper memory tends to come in just PCB form, usually green, blue or black in color.
If you have a laptop with upgradeable memory or a mini-PC, you will probably find that it uses SO-DIMM memory. They are most often found as bare circuit boards, without heatsinks, as they have to fit in increasingly thinner laptops. They are much smaller than DIMMs, being only 67.6 mm long.
How to install RAM on a desktop PC
Installing RAM on your desktop PC is simple and easy, and it should hopefully only take a few minutes.
First, turn off the power (if possible) and unplug the PC.
Remove the side panel from your case, which usually involves removing two thumbscrews from the back.
To remove your old RAM, press the handles on each end of the socket.
You can then remove your RAM by pulling it up from the socket.
To install, first place the gap between the pins and the notch in the bottom. Be sure to use the same slots that you removed the memory from, as this will give you the best performance. If you use all slots, the order in which they are placed does not matter.
Gently but firmly push the stick into the holder until it clicks into place, try to press equally on both sides of the stick.
The handles click into place to secure the memory when fully inserted.
Replace the side panel on your case, turn on the power and you’re done.
How to install RAM on a laptop
The hardest part of installing memory on a laptop is getting in, but once you’re there, it’s as easy as on a desktop computer.
First, make sure the laptop is completely off, not just in sleep mode, and that it is unplugged from the wall.
Next, it’s time to remove the back panel of your laptop. This differs from model to model, but usually involves the removal of a few screws. There can be as few as four or more than twenty-four depending on the model. If in doubt, see your laptop manual.
Once the screws are removed, the hard part is finished. Remove the back panel and locate the SO-DIMMs.
If you are removing an old key, gently pull the handles on each side of the key.
The RAM is then lifted at an angle and can be removed.
To install, first place the gap between the pins and the notch in the bottom.
Insert the key at an angle of about 30 degrees until the gold connections disappear under the plastic, then slide the key down until it clicks into place.
Snap the back panel of your laptop back into place and you’re off.
Get the most out of your RAM
If you have followed the instructions above, your system should be up and ready for use. However, if you have chosen a high-performance memory set, enable XMP to get the most out of your RAM.
This process differs between manufacturers, so it’s best to consult your motherboard or laptop manual. But to give you a quick overview, see here how the process works:
- Enter the BIOS, usually by pressing Del, Backspace or F12 at startup.
- Find the XMP profile setting, which is often set to Off by default.
- Change the XMP setting to Profile # 1.
- Save and restart your PC.
- When you are back in Windows, open Task Manager.
- Go to the Performance tab and confirm that your memory is running at the desired speed.
Written by Luke Baker. Edited by Adrian Willings.