Everything you need to know to expand a computer’s RAM memory

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Everything you need to know to expand a computer's RAM memory
Everything you need to know to expand a computer's RAM memory

Along with the SSD the RAM It is the component that a user thinks of most when it comes to it Renew or improve the performance of your laptop or desktop, As with SSDs, however, it is useful to know exactly which memory contributes to the performance of our devices RAM types, selection of the most suitable and characteristics of a RAM in which we have to search for our devices before buying.

How much RAM do I need for my PC?

If a user is considering buying a new PC or upgrading the existing one, the RAM size It is one of the most important decision-making factors. Finding the right amount of RAM for a computer is not easy.

There’s no magic formula, but think that for a simple user who only edits documents or surfs the web, 8 GB of RAM is already a minimum to try to expand if the budget allows it, Currently we would keep 8 GB as the recommended storage, except for professionals or gamers who need 16 GB and more. Ultimately, it depends on our budget, the software to use, and the experience we want to have with using the devices to select the RAM size.

If we don’t buy a new PC, but expand the existing one, we should try it. Determine if your computer needs more memory And how much could it be. It would be a good idea to check the usual tasks with the PC, how much memory we use. Both Windows, Mac and Linux have options for checking, e.g. B. the Task Manager or the Activity Monitor.

Once decided how much memory we would like to buy to expand the base of our team should choose the same modules (Better than 4GB than just 8GB if that’s the maximum we’re going to place, and we’re not planning on expanding), so use the dual-channel (or even quadruple) systems of our devices if possible.

The maximum amount of RAM that our PC supports

When we think about expanding our computer’s memory, the predictions you make may not be a simple fact: The maximum amount of memory we can place on our motherboard brand computer both desktop and laptop as well as the operating system. In the latter case, the version depends on SSOO and if it’s 32 or 64 bit We may not have more than 4 GB of RAM. If the system has 32 bits, as much as we want to expand from that 4 GB, it won’t help us.

The expansion of the working memory in laptops is no longer possible with many of the most common devices, since these are integrated and can only be selected when purchasing

Depending on the model and chipset of the motherboard, one or the other type of RAM is supported, as is the other Number of modules (and each the maximum capacity) that we can install on our computer. The memory modules installed should be the same, so you have applications like CPU-Z with which you know all technical details of the components of your PC.

RAM memory slots
RAM memory slots

Another important consideration when looking for RAM for a laptop or desktop (or the amount we can expand) is that depending on the chipset on the motherboard, we need the following Specific memory type in terms of number / capacity of the internal chips, If this number is limited, you will have to try to find this data on the number of chips and their capacity in the manufacturer’s technical documentation, although they do not always appear there.

We should then look at each other the memory image to count these chips (if they’re in the air), but make sure it’s the real thing they’re selling. It is best to always check this on site with the module in hand.

8 chips per area can be counted in this RAM
8 chips per area can be counted in this RAM

Types of RAM and how to identify them

When it comes to expanding the memory of our computer, the first thing we should do is Kind of memory that we can place and with which our motherboard is compatible. There is an important distinction to be made between DIMM and SO-DIMM memory, The second, smaller ones, are usually found in laptops and some all-in-one devices. If we buy a DIMM type for a laptop, we cannot place it.

Size differences between the DIMM (top) and SO-DIMM (bottom) modules
Size differences between the DIMM (top) and SO-DIMM (bottom) modules

At the moment the reference RAM is DDR4, although there are devices that may “generations“Earlier than DDR3, DDR2 … These different generations have a different number of contacts and distribution of the same, so that they are not compatible with each other. It must be clear which team we can connect with like everyone else cannot insert them directly. You can get this information from the operating system by viewing the information on the motherboard or using third-party software.

In today’s equipment (with motherboards and modern processors), DDR4 memory support is already common and will bring more advantages, although in general, apart from very specific software, there is no jump in consumption or speed between DDR3 and DRR4 according to the price difference ,

DDR4 RAM memory
DDR4 RAM memory

Another feature associated with RAM is the part of dissipation, The models for desktops and high performance have models that add a loss share to the memory itself, which is responsible for the best possible cooling of these hardware components. This is important as it can affect the placement of other elements on the motherboard.

The frequency or “speed” of RAM

Once we know the type of memory we need to buy for our computer and the amount we’re going to install, it’s time to take a look at it Main technical features of the working memory,

The most important a priori is that operating frequencyHere at more MHz better theoretical memory performance, so in principle we want the number associated with the type of RAM we are going to buy to be as high as possible. The speed of work increases with the new generations of RAM memories.

However, we need to pay attention to the maximum working frequency with which the motherboard is compatible. Yes, again this component will be the one that determines us very much What RAM can we include? to expand it also important Check that the BIOS is up to date to take advantage of this better working speed of memory.

If we did not bother about this option or did not configure it properly (as we will see later), we would not use this additional MHz, for which we certainly paid an additional fee.

Corsair Ddr4 CPU-Z
Corsair Ddr4 CPU-Z

Latency and other memory features

Along with the maximum working frequency of a RAM, the other parameter that directly measures the performance / efficiency of our module is latency, This value, which is assigned to the acronym CL (CAS Latency), the better the lower the value.

In the specifications of the RAM we have to identify numbers like CL9, CL8 or CL7. In these cases CL7 memory is better than a CL9 if we refer to the same working frequency for both.

Another reference value in RAM modules is voltage. For consumption it is recommended to keep the value as low as possible. When overclocking, we can change one of the parameters to improve performance.

Configure the RAM in the BIOS

As soon as you have installed the new working memory on the PC, the maximum operating frequency may not correspond to the modules you have purchased.

The motherboard will not have configured it correctly, so you need to take action. A straightforward way to accomplish this task is to use the Intel XMP profile so that the motherboard, if compatible, automatically configures the frequency, voltage, and other parameters to take full advantage of your newly installed RAM ,

RAM configuration
RAM configuration

If you continue to having problems with this method, you will need to manually configure all of these parameters.

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