The computer's RAM, or random access memory, is space that is used temporarily by the computer to process all of the data it is running. For example, when a browser window is open, the computer requires some memory in order to read, write, download, and run that data. When the browser window is closed, that memory becomes available for whatever other programme is run next. The more programmes that are running, the more memory is required. This is why desktops and laptops start getting sluggish and taking longer to execute commands where people are multitasking and have a lot of things running at once.
RAM is separate from the computer's hard drive which stores permanent data such as pictures, videos, music, and documents. No matter how information is permanently stored on the computer, how fast it runs is not affected. What slows the computer down is people downloading large software programmes that require a lot of memory to operate, an aging computer, not enough RAM installed initially, viruses, and too many programmes open at once.
A quick and easy fix for a slow computer is to install more RAM. The majority of the desktops and laptops can be expanded. However, not all netbooks are expandable.
Before shopping for extra RAM, people first need to figure out how much memory, if any, the computer can support. Laptops and computers that can support more memory have extra slots for the memory cards. Desktops and larger laptops usually have four to six memory slots. Most laptops tend to have two to three RAM slots.
The memory can be installed with a few smaller memory cards, or one large one. For example, a system with 8 gigabytes (GB) of memory may have four 2 GB cards, or two 4 GB cards. When upgrading it is always best to go with fewer cards that have more memory on them.
When it comes to RAM, there is no such thing as having too much. However, what people use their computers for is the deciding factor on whether or not buying a lot of memory is worth the cost. Only those who use highly sophisticated programmes need the maximum amount of memory, and people who only use their computers for basic functions find that they need less RAM.
There are no set rules about how much RAM to upgrade a computer with, but computers do need certain amounts of memory to operate smoothly. Anything below 2 GB is going to be slower and as the computer is used more, it quickly gets even more bogged down. Windows Vista can't even be installed on a computer that has less than 2GB.
The biggest problem with having only 2 GB on a PC is that Windows is set up to keep certain programmes running at all times. It does this so that when people click to run the programme, it loads really fast. The only problem with this is that it unnecessarily uses up half of the memory for things that are not even being used.
Basic users are able to function with 2 GB of RAM, but there will be a large drop in performance. However, many people buy computers with just 2 GB because they are cheaper. Luckily, it is easy to upgrade to 4 gigs or more depending on what people want.
For those who are looking between the perfect balance between performance and an affordable price, 4 gigs is often the best solution. Basic computer functions along with some of the semi-larger programmes operate just fine with 4 GB. With this amount of RAM, games, photo editors, videos, and music can all run smoothly.
Keep in mind that those who currently have 2 GB of memory do not have to go out and by a 4 GB card unless they think their own card is defective. A computer can be expanded to 4 gigs by simply buying another 2 GB card, which is cheaper than replacing the existing card with a 4 GB card.
Upgrading to 8 gigs is a good solution for those who want a higher amount of performance as well without breaking the bank. Many people say that they do not notice a difference between a 4 gig system and an 8 gig system. However the increase becomes apparent when large programmes that utilise a lot of memory are running.
Having 8 gigs is almost a necessity for avid gamers who either play online or have large games installed on their machine. Eight GB is also handy for anyone with professional video or picture editing software. Large, high definition graphics and the programmes that edit them take up a lot of space on a computer.
In addition to this, having more memory actually adds to the lifespan of the computer. This is because it is not having to struggle as hard to keep up with the all the things running on the computer at once.
Memory cards have to be compatible with the brand and model of the computer. Each machine has memory slots that are slightly different so there is no such thing as a universal memory card. In addition to this computers vary in the kind of technology used to build them. If the memory cards use a different technology than the computer, they will not work.
One way to determine what kind of RAM to purchase is to check with the manufacturer or read the instructional manual. If the machine is a laptop, sometimes the information is written on the bottom of the device where the memory slots are.
SD RAM, or synchronous dynamic RAM, is a card that synchronises itself with the computer system to provide smooth transitions between the processor and the RAM
Double data rate (DDR), is an older technology that doubled the rate at which data is transferred
DDR2 is the newer and more advanced version of the DDR technology; runs on less power and is twice as fast; can run as fast as 400 MHz and above
The DDR3 SDRAM card is the most advanced one currently on the market; not compatible in with any computers that are not built with the technology; can be bought in sizes between 512 MB to 8 GB.
Another way find compatible cards is to do an online search for extra RAM by including the computers make and model in the search. For example, search for "Samsung Series 3 extra RAM", or "extra memory for Dell Inspiron 15.6".
The installation process is easy enough that anyone can do it even if they have little knowledge about computers or electronic devices. On laptops, there is a panel that covers up the memory slots. It can be removed with a small screwdriver. The new cards can then just be placed into the empty slots. Desktops are simple as well. All of desktop computer components can be reached by taking off the large access panel.
Since there are so many sellers and distributors of memory cards, it is hard to know where to shop for them. Instead of going from shop to shop, try using eBay where all of the distributors sell their items in one place. This allows you to shop and compare the products on one website rather than searching all over the internet or in stores.
The way that eBay is set up also makes it easy to navigate. Simply type the product name into the search bar and the site populate a list related to your search. If you are unsure of what to look for, you can do a general search such as "computer RAM". If you already know what you want, you can enter the specific product name and then compare all the ones that are for sale.
Be sure to research the brands that make RAM cards so that you have a better idea of which ones function the best. You can do this by reading reviews from past customers or looking up brand comparison charts online.
Buying extra memory for computers is one of the most common upgrades that people make. They are fairly inexpensive and having more RAM helps the computer to run faster and smoother, therefore, taking stress off of computer users.
People have the option of getting nearly as much extra memory as they want. How much extra RAM to get is dependant upon how people utilise their computers and the amount that they want to spend. Low amounts of memory, like 512 MB, is very inexpensive. However, the 8 GB cards can cost quite a bit, but improve the computer's performance significantly. Anyone who enjoys games or sophisticated software may find that having a lot of RAM is invaluable.
Choosing the right kind of memory cards is as simple as looking at the computer's manual, contacting the manufacturer, or doing some research online. Anyone can figure out what they need with very little time invested.