Thursday, December 4, 2008

Upgrade your PC by installing RAM - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

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Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

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Upgrade your PC by installing RAM

QMy computer is running slow. I don't have the budget to buy a new computer. So, I'm planning to add RAM. I know this will boost my speed. But I'm not sure how to install RAM. Is it too complicated?

AAdding memory to your computer is one of the simplest upgrades available. If you're low on RAM, you should get a noticeable speed boost. Adding RAM is pretty easy on the wallet, too. Because you're on a budget, this is a really good idea.

Adding RAM isn't very difficult. You'll certainly be able to do it yourself. But first, you'll need to do some shopping.

How-to ThursdayNot all RAM is created equal. When shopping for RAM, you'll run into three types. These are DDR1, DDR2 and DDR3. These types are not interchangeable. Your motherboard will dictate which type you need. Check out this tip for more on the types of RAM.

If you don't know what you need, visit memory manufacturer Web sites. Crucial's site can scan your system and offer up the correct type.
PNY and Kingston can match RAM to your computer model.

Installing memory

Shopping for the right RAM really is the hard part. The actual installation is fairly simple.

First, unplug all the connections on the back of your computer. Then open the computer's case. Ground yourself by touching the computer's frame. Otherwise, static electricity could damage your computer.

Find the motherboard. It's the large circuit board into which everything plugs. Locate the memory slots near the microprocessor. There will be two to four slots, about four inches long. At least one memory module will be installed, standing on its side.

To install the RAM, pull back the retaining clips at the slot ends. The slot will have one or more raised pegs. These line up with notches in the stick of RAM. Push the memory firmly into the slot. You may have to push hard. When it's in properly, the retaining clips will snap into place.

You may have several sticks of RAM with varying capacities. For example, your computer may have a 512MB module already installed. And you're installing two 1 GB sticks. When mixing capacities, you'll have to install them in specific slots.

Always install the largest capacity module in the 0 bank (computers count from 0). The next largest goes in bank 1, and so on. The above example would look like this: 1 GB in bank 0, 1 GB in bank 1 and 512 MB in bank 2.

That's it for installation. Now, just check to make sure it's working.

Check your new RAM

Your computer should recognize and start using the new RAM automatically. But you'll want to check to be sure. So, start up your computer.

In Windows Vista, click Start>>Control Panel. If necessary, click Classic View in the left panel. Double-click System. Find the “Memory (RAM)” label. You'll see the accessible RAM.

In Windows XP, click Start>>Control Panel. Double-click System. Select the General tab. At the bottom of the window you'll find the accessible amount of RAM.

The memory reported by your computer may not be what you installed. This can happen for a couple of reasons. First, make sure the RAM is properly seated in the slots. This often clears up the problem.

The other possibility is tied to how Windows handles memory. A 32-bit operating system can only use so much RAM. To make sure you're not wasting money, read this important tip.

More tips for boosting speed:

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Tip on the site: Just like your attic, over time your PC fills with stuff. You'll eventually need to add some storage. I'll show you how.

Kim :)

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