It is unfortunate that people’s memory can get worse with age. Computers, too, tend to lose memory as they get older. Fortunately, upgrading computer memory is an easy task, and not an expensive one, either. If your computer is slowing down, or if you’ve installed a program that needs more memory to function smoothly, don’t fret, because it takes just minutes to install memory.
It’s not difficult to install memory, but you’re going to have to do a bit of research. Hopefully, you still have the owner’s manual for your computer, because you’ll need to consult it to find out where the memory slots are, what type of memory is required, what the maximum amount can be, whether the modules have to be matched sizes, whether every slot has to be filled and so on. If you’re not comfortable determining any of this yourself, then it’s best to let a professional do the job.
The first step in upgrading memory is to find out how much your computer already has. Sometimes you’ll see the amount of memory listed when a computer boots, but you can always find out how much memory is installed by looking at the system information. The process of bringing up the system information varies slightly depending on your operating system, but you can always find out how to do it by searching for “memory” in the operating system help menu.
Depending on your operating system, there’s a recommended minimum amount of memory that it should have. If you have installed a program that needs more memory than your computer has, you have to consult the software’s documentation to find out how much memory is required.
A good rule of thumb is that you should have at least 1GB of RAM, or Random Access Memory, and 2GB is always better and should be more than sufficient for most users. If you’re running any programs that benefit from increased memory, such as photo editing or video rendering, or if you often run multiple programs at once, go with 4GB or more.
B&H sells computer memory to fit just about any system, and offers several different brands. The majority of it is made by Crucial Technology. And as it just so happens, Crucial Technology has a free system scanner that will tell you what kind and how much memory your system has, and recommend an upgrade.
Regardless of the type of computer, be sure to turn it off before beginning. If you’re adding memory to a desktop system you have to remove the cover, usually requiring a screwdriver. Tower systems will be easier to work on if you place them on their side. Notebook computers have a panel on the underside to grant access to the memory modules.
Once you can see your memory modules, you can remove them to determine exactly what you have. Before handling the memory, touch something metal inside the computer to discharge any static electricity built up on your body.
Memory modules are usually held in place by a clip on either end that must be pulled away from the module to release the module from the socket. Notebook memory modules lie flat in the socket but pop up to about 45 degrees when you release the side clips; the module then pulls right out.
You can identify memory modules by their appearance. RDRAM has a metal casing on one side and you have to install it in pairs. DDR SDRAM has one notch along its edge, while SDRAM has two notches.
If there’s an empty memory slot in your computer you can probably just add another module to increase the count. If there is no free slot you’ll have to replace one of the modules with a larger module. Again, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual to determine exactly what your system requires. There is usually a maximum amount of memory your system can accept, and it’s possible that it already has that much.
If you are able to get the memory out of your computer but still aren’t sure what to replace it with, feel free to call B&H at (800) 606-6969 and speak to an expert Sales Associate who can help you with your purchase. You can also go to www.bhphotovideo.com and click on the “Live Chat” link in the upper right hand corner where you can also receive help from an expert by instant messaging. If you happen to live near the B&H SuperStore in New York City, you can bring in your computer and get help at the B&H computer service center.
When reinstalling the memory, again remember to touch some metal inside the computer to discharge static electricity before handling the memory modules. In desktop computers, you simply push the memory modules down into the sockets and snap the side clips in place to secure them. In notebook computers, just insert them in the socket at an angle and push them down flat until the side clips click into place. When you power up the system, it should recognize the new memory and put it to good use whenever necessary. If you were experiencing slowdowns, the system should now run quickly and smoothly.