How to expand the RAM memory of a computer: everything you need to know
With go SSD, the memoria RAM is the component that a user thinks most often when it comes to renew or improve the performance of your laptop or desktop. But as with SSDs, it is convenient to know very well what RAM memory contributes to the performance of our equipment as well as the types of RAM, how to choose the most suitable one and the characteristics of a RAM memory in which we must look before buying it for our equipment.
How much RAM do I need for my PC?
When a user considers the purchase of a new PC or the improvement of the one they already have, the amount of RAM it is one of the most important decision factors. Getting the amount of RAM you need for a computer is not easy.
There is no magic formula but think that for a basic user with hardly any document editing or browsing the Internet, 8 GB of RAM is already a minimum on which to try to expand if the budget allows it. Currently then, we would stay at 8 GB as recommended memory except in the cases of professionals or gamers who need to reach 16 GB and more. In the end it will depend on our budget, software to use and the experience we hope to have using the equipment to choose the amount of RAM.
If we are not buying a new PC but expanding the one we already have, we should try to determine if we need more memory in our computer and how much could it be. A good idea would be to check in the usual tasks we do with the PC, how much memory we consume. Both in Windows and in Mac or Linux there are options to consult it, such as the Task Manager or the Activity Monitor.
Once we have decided the amount of memory we want to buy to expand the base of our equipment it is advisable to choose equal modules (For example, two of 4 GB are better than a single one of 8 GB if that is the maximum that we are going to place and we do not plan to expand) and thus take advantage of the dual channel (or even quadruple) systems of our equipment if that possibility exists.
The maximum RAM memory that our PC supports
If we are thinking of expanding the memory of our computer, the forecasts you have made may not be correct for a simple fact: the maximum memory that we can place in our computer is marked by the motherboard both the desktop and the laptop and the operating system. In the latter case, the SSOO version depends and if it is 32 or 64 bit, we may or may not have more than 4 GB of RAM. If the system is 32 bits, as much as we want to expand from those 4 GB, it will not help us.
The expansion of the RAM memory in laptops is no longer possible in many of the most current computers as it is integrated and it will be the one we choose in the purchase process
Depending on the model and chipset of the motherboard, the type of RAM supported will be one or the other, and also the number of modules (and maximum capacity of each one) that we can install on our computer.
HyperX FURY Black HX426C16FB3/8 Memoria RAM 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 CL16 DIMM 1Rx8
Installed memory modules should be the same, so keep apps like CPU-Z with which to know all the technical details of the components of your PC.
Another important consideration when looking for RAM for a laptop or desktop (or the amount that we can expand) is that, depending on the chipset included in the motherboard, we will require specific memory type in terms of number / capacity of internal chips. If that number is limited, it will be necessary to try to find that data of the number of chips and their capacity in the manufacturer’s technical data sheet, although even there it does not always appear.
We should then look at the memory image to count those chips (if they are on the air), but making sure that it is the real one they sell. It is always best to check it on the spot with the module in hand.
RAM memory types and how to identify them
When it comes to expanding the RAM memory of our computer, the first thing we must take into account is the type of memory that we can place and with which our motherboard is compatible.
Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3200 MHz C16 XMP 2.0 High Performance Memory Module, Black
An important differentiation must be made between DIMM and SO-DIMM memories. The second, smaller, are those that are usually included in laptops and some all-in-one computers. If we buy a DIMM type for a laptop we will not be able to place it.
Currently the reference RAM is DDR4, although there are computers that may require “generations“Previous such as DDR3, DDR2 … These different generations have different numbers of contacts and their distribution, so they are not compatible with each other. We must be clear about which one we can connect to our equipment as any other We will not be able to physically insert it directly.This information can be obtained from the operating system, looking at the information on the motherboard or with third-party software.
In current equipment (with modern motherboards and processors), the support of DDR4 memories is already common, and they will get more out of it, although in general, except for very specific software, between DDR3 and DRR4 there is no jump in consumption or speed according to the price difference.
TECMIYO 16GB Kit (2x8GB) DDR3 RAM PC3-12800U 1600MHZ PC3L-12800 DDR3L 1600 UDIMM CL11 1.35V/1.5V 240Pin Non-ECC Unbuffered 2RX8 Dual Rank Desktop Memory Ram Module
Another characteristic associated with RAM memories is the part of dissipation. In the models for desktop and high-performance computers, there are models that add to the memory itself a dissipative part responsible for the cooling of these hardware components is as adequate as possible. This is important because it can interfere with the placement of other items on the motherboard.
The frequency or “speed” of the RAM
Once we know the type of RAM that we should buy for our computer and the amount that we are going to install, it is time to look at the RAM main technical characteristics.
The most important a priori is the operating frequency, measured in MHz. Here, the more MHz the better the theoretical memory performance, so in principle we want the figure associated with the type of RAM that we are going to buy to be as high as possible. With the new generations of RAM, the operating speed increases.
However, we must attend to the maximum working frequency with which the motherboard is compatible. Yes, again that component will be the one that determines us to a great extent what RAM memory can we include to enlarge it. Also important check if BIOS is up to date to take advantage of the better memory operating speed.
If we do not attend to this option or do not configure it correctly (as we will see later), we would not take advantage of those extra MHz for which we have surely paid an extra.
Latency and other characteristics of RAM memories
Along with the maximum working frequency of a RAM memory, the other parameter that directly measures the performance / efficiency of our module is latency. This value, which is associated with the acronym CL (CAS Latency), will be better the lower the figure.
In the RAM memory specifications we must identify figures as CL9, CL8 or CL7. In these cases, CL7 memory will be better than a CL9 if we refer to the same work frequency for both.
Another reference value on RAM modules is voltage. For consumption it is recommended that the value be as low as possible. In the case of overclocking, it is one of the parameters that we can modify to improve performance.
Viper 4 PV48G300C6K DDR4 3000MHz C16 Memory Module XMP 2.0 High Performance Red 8 GB (2x4GB)
Configure RAM in BIOS
Once you install the new RAM in your PC, the maximum operating frequency may not be what the module you purchased promised.
The motherboard will not have configured it correctly, so you will have to take action. A straightforward way to accomplish this task is to use the Intel XMP profile so that the motherboard, if supported, automatically configures the frequency, voltage, and other parameters to take full advantage of your new installed RAM.
If you still have problems with this method, you have to resort to manual configuration of all these parameters.