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How to Upgrade or Replace Your System’s RAM

So, your computer’s not running as smoothly as it used to? Is it having trouble performing tasks that other people’s systems seem to find menial and untaxing?

It might be time to upgrade your system’s Random Access Memory, or RAM. This’ll give your system that extra ‘oomph’ and go a very long way towards helping it more effectively run a multitude of programs.

Don’t worry – it’s actually not as overwhelming as you might think it is.

  1. Figure out what type of RAM your computer needs: Before you do anything, you’re going to need to work out exactly what sort of RAM your computer accepts: Currently, the three types are DDR, DDR2, and DDR3. The primary difference between the three lies in memory bandwidth- but that really only comes into play if you’re running a server or some other high-intensity, technical programs [1]. Chances are pretty good that if you’re planning on doing that, you won’t really need this guide. Chances are fairly high that if you purchased your system at any point in the last four years, it uses DDR3. Just to be safe, though, check the manual that came with your system, or check the manufacturer’s website. If neither of those seem to work for you, you can always use Crucial’s System Scanner [2] to determine what kind of hardware your system’s packing.
  2. Buy your RAM: Usually it is a good plan to purchase RAM in packs of two since the majority of systems now accept them as such. How much RAM you want to get is entirely up to you. Currently, the largest available RAM stick is 8GB.
  3. Purchase an Anti Static Wrist Strap: You can pick one up on Amazon [3]. Make sure you’re wearing it before you start fiddling with your system.
  4. Turn off your system and unplug it: This is self-explanatory. Trying to replace the RAM when it is turned on or plugged in is, quite frankly, stupid.
  5. Open up your case: Chances are, you’re going to need a #2 Phillips Head Screwdriver, depending on your model. Make sure you do this in a clean area that’s clear of dust. Note that if you’ve got a laptop, there’s a good chance that the RAM can be accessed by unscrewing a panel at the bottom of the system, at which point the only thing you need to do is pop out the old, and pop in the new.
  6. Remove the old RAM: This is simple. Locate the RAM on your motherboard, and make sure there are no obstructions. To remove the old RAM, simply press down gently on either side of each stick, and the modules should pop out.
  7. Install the new RAM: Gripping the new RAM gently on the sides, push on the latches on either side of the slot (the same ones you pressed on to remove the old RAM) and slide it into the slot until you hear a click. With notebooks and laptops, it’s a simple matter of sliding the RAM in- but make sure it’s facing the same way as the old RAM was.
  8. Close your case and turn on your system: If you did everything correctly, it should boot up, recognize the new RAM, and be good to go.

Via PC World [4]