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How To Upgrade Your Computer's Memory

May 25, 2008
Upgrading computer memory involves increasing the RAM of your computer, so the first thing you have to figure out is the type of RAM the system uses, how it's configured, and how many RAM slots you have available. A memory upgrade usually requires that you first check the computer's user manual, or the manual for the motherboard. Find out if the memory is parity or non-parity. You can also check the website of your computer to find out the memory you need for computer memory upgrades.

Now, find out what the speed of the PC memory is. When dealing with computer memory, you have to know this information. Next, does your computer use single in-line memory modules (SIMMs) or dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs)? When conducting an upgrade, it's also key to figure out if the computer uses regular, FPM, EDO, or Synch DRAM. How many pins are on the motherboard? 30, 72, or 168?

Computer memory upgrades require that you remove the cover from the computer so that you can determine the number of open RAM slots available. See if you can find between two and eight parallel sockets of the same size on the main circuit board. In most cases a minimum of two sockets contain RAM memory. You'll recognize RAM because it looks like ruler-shaped circuit boards with chips on one or both sides.

Buy more memory to match the specifications you currently have for your computer. There are plenty of guides online that will give you the detailed ins and outs of how to install the RAM memory specifically - it's not very difficult and almost anyone can do it if they learn how. There's no point in purchasing a whole new computer if all you have to do is carry out a computer memory upgrade. Also, if you don't want to do this all on your own it's possible to hire a computer expert to make the installation for you.

Take note that in most cases you have to install SIMMS in pairs.

A great tip is that you can check how much PC memory you have installed in your computer currently, before carrying out upgrades, by checking your My Computer properties in Windows, or selecting About This Macintosh from the Apple menu (depending on which computer system you own).

Installing new computer memory is different when it comes to laptop memory for one main reason - with laptop memory you can't open the computer yourself, so you'll have to have the upgrade installed by a professional or purchase a new computer. Notebook memory and desktop memory differ in this way. Again, notebook memory is inaccessible to the general public, while desktop memory can be installed by anyone with a basic knowledge of computers.

However you carry out these upgrades, make sure you know what you're doing beforehand. If you can't complete the process independently, consider having the memory installed by someone with more experience with computers.
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