General Notes on RAM
I also like to note that you should wear an anti-static wrist strap and unplug your PC before you start. Hold theÂ RAM moduleÂ by its edges “the green” parts. Check your motherboard manual to make sure you bought the right kind of ram. Contact your computer manufacturer if you can not find what type and speed of ram your PC uses, and make sure you install your RAM in the right slot if you are using a motherboard which has a dual channel memory mode. Also, make sure your RAM is the same size, type, and speed as the RAM that is already installed on your PC.
It is also worth it to check out if your power supply can handle more RAM since a lot of computer makers these days install inexpensive and poorly made power supplies on their computers which do not have enough power for major upgrades to your computer. Having a bad power supply and a lot of power hungry devices can cause your computer to break.
I recommend Cooler Master, Fortron, Antec, Sparkle, Thermaltake, Silverstone, Enermax power supplies.
A regular computer should have atleast a 350W power supply.
A Mid-end computer should have a 400W-500W power supply.
A High End Computer should have a 600W-1000W power supply.
I recommend using an online power supply calculator to calculate how much Wattage you need forÂ your power supply.
Power Supply Calculator: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jspÂ
Finding out what type of RAM you need to buy for your computer, and information on Dual Channel MemoryÂ mode
Read your motherboard, or computer manual to see if your computer can handle the amount of RAM you are buying, and you have to buy the right speed and sizeÂ of RAM like pc2100 since most newer computer mother boards are dual channel, so you need to install the same speed and size of RAM, so dual channel works otherwise your RAM will work, but will only work in single channel mode which is slower then Dual channel mode.
For example, if you have 1Â module ofÂ 512MB DDR 2 667MHz PC2-5300 installed in one of yourÂ RAM slots then you need to get another RAM module which is also Â a 512MB DDR 2 667MHz PC2-5300 and install the RAM module on the same coloured RAM slot for Dual Channel to work.
Dual channel mode for RAM makes your computer run faster.
More info on Dual Channel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual-channel_architecture
Make sure your computer’s motherboard can handle the amount of RAM you are installing.
For example, if you have 2Â RAM slots and each ram slot can only install 1GB ofÂ RAM per slot, then your computer only can have a maximum 2 GB of RAM unless you upgrade your motherboard, too.
Upgrading a motherboard can be really time consuming and costly.
Common types of RAM and form factors
The most common type of RAM is Dimm (Dual In-line Memory Module).
168 pins has 2 notches at the bottom of the RAM module. Uses PC-XXX naming convention like PC133
have black rectangular RAM chips.
184 pins has only 1 notch at the bottom of the RAM module. Uses PC-XXXX naming convention like PC-2100
have black rectangular RAM chips.
240 pins has only 1 notch at the bottom of the RAM module. Uses PC2-XXXX naming convention like PC2-5300
have black rectangular or square RAM chips.
240 pins has only 1 notch at the bottom of the RAM module. Uses PC3-XXXX naming convention like PC3-8500
have black rectangular or squareÂ RAM chips.
The higher quality, more expensive, faster and cooler RAM usually have metal plates attach to the sides of the RAM to cool it down better. The plates are called heat spreaders and they work as heatsinks to draw heat away from the RAM module and dissipate the heat into the air.
RAM brands I recommend : Crucial, Kingston, Samsung, Micron, OCZ
How I install RAM Leave your RAM Module in the packaging or anti-staticÂ bagÂ until you are ready to install your RAM since the packaging prevents damage from static. The same rules goes for expansion cards, motherboards, CPUs, hard drives, etc.Â
1. Open your case. You may need a Philips, flatheadÂ or other kind ofÂ screwdriver to unscrew the screws to open the case.Â Â
2. Ground yourself, and clip your anti-static wrist strap to an unpainted metalÂ part on your computer like the Power supply case.
3. Line up the notches of the RAM Stick with the keys on the RAM Slots, and push the plastic tab at the ends of the slotÂ open if necessary.
4. Gently push the ram into the slot which is the same colour as the Dual channel slot (if another RAM module is already installed in a yellow slot, thenÂ install the new RAM stick in a yellow slot as well) until the plastic tabs automaticallyÂ lock onto both sides of the ram module. If you don’t have a dual channel motherboard, you can install the RAM in any empty RAM slot.
5. Un-clip your anti-static strap from your computer, and closeÂ your computer case cover.
6.Â Plug in your computer, and turn on your computer.
7. Your computer should display that you have moreÂ RAM now when it starts up.
8.Â Â http://www.cpuid.com/Â makes a software called CPU-Z that also can display how much ram you have on eachÂ RAM slot.
Congratulations, you now have more memory on your computer. Your computer should be faster now.
If you are experiencing random restarts, or other problems like lock-ups, instabilityÂ after installing your ram, I recommend testing yourÂ RAM for errors with : MemtestÂ . If an error is found during memory testing, you got bad ram. You need to ask for a refund and buy new RAM.
My RAM recommendations for most popular Desktop Operating Systems for best performance without overspending on RAMWindows XPÂ 512MB-1GB or more
Windows VistaÂ 2GB-3GB
Ubuntu 9.04 or other Linux DistrosÂ : 384 MB-512MB or more
Note,Â if you are using a 32bit OS like XP, and Vista do not install more then 4GB of ram since 32 Bit OS can only see 4GB of memory.
If you have a video card with 768-1GB of Video ram then only install 3GB of ram.
I don’t recommend buying a lot of RAM at once. Install one module at a time since there is no point in buying a lot of RAM if you are already happy with your computers speed and performance after a RAM upgrade. Save your money for something fun like video games instead.
Other ways to increase performance while playing computer games, etc
BuyÂ a nice video card made by ATI or NvidiaÂ that costs around 200-500+ USD or more to play most newer games at high quality or medium quality settings.
Also, If your CPU is an Intel Celeron, AMD Sempron, or a slower CPU, you might not notice the speed increase much because the slower CPU is making your computer slow. I recommend upgrading your CPU.
You might also have to upgrade your motherboard since most newer faster CPUs do not work on older Motherboards.
When buying a CPU try buying a Dual-core CPU. If you have a lot of money then buy a Quad core CPU. Intel and AMD both make fast CPU.
Gigabyte, and Intel make good motherboards.
If you have to upgrade a lot of parts for better performance, you might as well buy a new computer, or build one yourself.
Thanks, Howstuffworks for making this awesome video!