If you’re anything close to a computer nerd, you must have wondered about the RAM. Being a critical component in the CPU, the RAM effectively plays the role of the computer’s safety locker.
For every task your PC performs, the CPU looks into the RAM for guidance about completing the job. The larger the RAM in the CPU, the faster the PC is. The RAM is located close to the motherboard inside the CPU.
You must have wondered if you can upgrade your RAM on your own. Well, great news coming in; you can very quickly change, replace, and upgrade the RAM in your PC all by yourself. Read on below to find out how.
Check Motherboard Compatibility
The Motherboard Has Its Limits
It is vital to know and understand the capacity of your motherboard before handling any new hardware. Unfortunately, memory support is neither standardized for every PC nor universal.
Therefore, you should take a look at your motherboard’s manual before you purchase new RAM components. If you cannot get your hands on one, look at the motherboard’s product details, and check for it online.
The most critical part of these manuals is finding out your motherboard’s processing abilities and speed limits.
These details could be any clearer. Speed limits are, in fact, limits. You cannot make your PC run any faster. Now that you know these upper limits, you can purchase RAM hardware. However, ensure that these upgrades do not raise the ceiling on the motherboard’s limits.
Most modern motherboards, manufactured in the last decade, support DDR4 memory. This specific kind produces speeds ranging from 2133 MHz – 4700 MHz. On the other hand, if you have an older PC, you can look for DDR3 or DDR2 memory options.
Of course, these are not the fastest components globally, but you have to run in the old PC-limitations lane for this one.
Necessary Precautions Before Handling RAM Upgrade
It is paramount for you to take a few standard precautions before handling this major PC upgrade. Firstly, you should know that static electricity is a concern when working on PC upgrades and repairs. Therefore, wear an anti-static wristband before you begin.
Alternatively, you can ground yourself by touching a metal surface continuously as you work. Another option is to wear rubber-soled shoes and complete the RAM – change on the bare floor.
Now you’re all set to handle electronic equipment. First, disconnect the main power cable.
You might also want to remove other subsidiary cables plugged into the CPU for ease of access. That would also enable you to rest the system on its side, making your task easier.
Here’s the tricky part. You need to gain access to the complete interior of the CPU for the best results.
So, open the left side panel (generally) of the CPU, and you will be able to see the whole picture. Here, you will be able to see the motherboard. You can easily remove the existing RAM sticks.
How To Place RAM Perfectly
You can open up your CPU sometimes to find out precisely what RAM looks like. Most hardware retailers will sell you RAM sticks. You will also notice a slot next to the motherboard, specifically designed for these sticks to fit in perfectly.
It is essential to know that you need to place RAM sticks perpendicular to the CPU surface, resembling a wall.
Your CPU will have slots labeled for the RAM sticks to attach to. Simply put, your CPU may have two or four slots. All you have to do is place the proper stick in its corresponding space. The tricky and challenging aspect of the maneuver is that RAM slots are not in order.
For example, some CPUs might have slots in the order 1 → 3 → 2 → 4, whereas some might have the order 2 → 1 → 4 → 3. Now, fret not. Your PC will still work if you put the sticks in the wrong slots. However, there is a good reason behind the motherboard labeling its RAM slots. If you mix up these slots, you might lose out on optimum performance and multi-channel capabilities.
The best way to place your RAM sticks is to have two of the same company having the same RAM.
That way, your RAM slots are always equally balanced. For example, you can have two slots of 2GB each, making your device RAM 4GB. However, it would be safe to avoid 6GB RAM using 2GB sticks because that would imbalance the slots. So, while that setup would work, it would be functioning at sub-optimal levels.
Now that you’ve armed yourself with the RAM sticks, it is time to fit them incorrectly.
First, take a look at your RAM slots. You will notice that each space has two tiny clips on its ends. Gently press each clip down to get the slot in the open position. Mind you, these clips are not the strongest things in the world, so make sure you press them down gently.
Good job getting the slots open. Now, take a quick peek at your RAM sticks. You will notice that they have a keyed shape, i.e., they can enter the slot on one side only. You can figure out which side enters the RAM slots with ease.
Generally, when you hold its brand name the correct way, the bottom of the stick is the keyed end. First, line up the RAM stick over the slot so that it fits the space perfectly. Next, when the RAM sticks have been placed the right way, the clips at the ends of each slot will fall back into place smoothly.
That is an indicator of whether or not you’ve inserted the sticks correctly. If you have the slightest of problems pulling the slot clips back into position, you haven’t placed the RAM sticks the right way.
What Can Go Wrong In This Process?
The good news from the center is that if anything goes wrong throughout the replacement process, your PC won’t boot up. That way, you can run through the entire plot again and clear up the mistakes.
The most common issue that people face is that the RAM sticks do not fit in perfectly. You need to have no room for error when filling the RAM slots on the motherboard. If the RAM sticks do not latch into the slots perfectly, you create a loose connection.
And like with every loose connection, you it cannot transfer power to the right place. Since memory is the most integral part of the PC, it will refuse to start up without RAM.
Sometimes, even with proper installation or replacement of RAM sticks, your system can pull up a few errors. For example, there might be cases where a newly updated RAM shows up on your PC as having data worth 3.2 GB only, despite having a much more significant upgrade.
The cause behind these errors is a 32-bit operating system. To reiterate something that we mentioned above, you should know the limits of your system before making an upgrade.
In some cases, you need to install a few software updates into your CPU to get the new RAM upgrades working. For example, if you use Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) RAM in your upgrade and want to use it to its optimum performance, you might have to enable it manually. For this, you will have to visit your BIOS (Basic Input Output System) screen.
When your PC is booting up after the upgrade, keep pressing the Delete key when a new screen pops up. That is generally the path to a BIOS screen. While every motherboard is different, you will most probably find the option to enable the XMP RAM on the BIOS screen itself.
Upgrading or replacing the RAM in your PC is an easy task.
However, it can be tricky if not done correctly. For starters, every user needs to know how much RAM they are currently running. You can generally locate this information in the Settings menu. After that, the user also needs to know how much RAM their system can handle smoothly.
These details are available on product manuals, manufacturer websites, or other blogs and resources on the internet. Next, the user must also understand how much RAM they need. That is an essential factor since you do not want to be stuck with unnecessary components.
As little as 4GB RAM is enough for users looking to use MS Office most of the time.
While higher RAM leads to better processing speeds, many users have noted that there isn’t much difference between clock speeds while using 8GB RAM on a laptop and 16 GB RAM on a desktop, both running the same chipset.
However, it is abundantly clear from electronics principles that a higher RAM would allow users to multitask more efficiently.
The procedure to install new hardware is tricky for any component. For fitting in new RAM sticks, you only need to ensure perfection.
If the installation is off by a millimeter even, your PC will refuse to start. So, ensure you get the proper components and install them perfectly in their designated spaces and grooves.
Martha Davis is a computer hardware specialist who works extensively in designing and manufacturing hardware devices, researching advanced computer technology. She built GadgetGangster.com as a platform to share her insight on computers and PC assembly with the web. Currently, she is carrying out her research on Robotics and Computer Vision and working privately to deliver services. Martha makes sure that readers of GadgetGangster.com master the basics of setting up computer components like motherboard, CPUs, and GPUs through the informative articles that she writes.