Remember RAM

If your PC’s hard disk goes bananas every time you quit an application or try to multitask, it’s a good sign that your machine is in need of more memory. Read on as Windows explains what type of modules to buy and how to fit them in your rig...

  • E-Mail
By  Cleona Godinho Published  May 1, 2006

|~||~||~|Depending upon how much RAM you have installed in your PC, you’ll be able to either multitask and work across different programs with ease, or you’ll gradually watch space on your hard drive be used as ‘virtual memory’. When this happens a swap file (a type of temporary file) is created on your hard disk by the OS or an application to store data that it can’t fit into RAM. This means apps can keep on running even when your physical memory is full. It also means that performance slows, because hard drives are nowhere near as fast as actual RAM. If your software continues to munch up hard disk space to use as virtual memory, eventually you run the risk of filling the whole hard disk, at which point you‘ll likely see ‘Out of memory’ messages when software has nowhere left to go. Figuring out when virtual memory is being used is easy. Simply load up an application or game. Then, when you exit back to Windows, if you notice your hard drive’s activity LED (normally on the front of the case) blinking frantically or you hear your hard drive grinding away long after the software has terminated, it’s due to your drive clearing the contents of the swap file (though this doesn’t always occur). If you want to avoid this situation and boost performance, the solution is to install more memory. The right RAM Choosing the best memory for your rig is simple if you own a branded PC, as a quick look at the user manual or a search of the vendor’s site should reveal exactly what sort of memory your motherboard is compatible with. If you own an unbranded machine however, you’ll probably need to do a little more. Either ring your PC’s supplier or track down your motherboard manual, as that will tell you what sort of memory you need. If you don’t have the manual, you'll need to open up your machine and do some investigating (before you do, ‘ground’ yourself by touching a metal screw on the back of your PC). Then peek inside your system’s chassis. Take a close look at your motherboard to see if you can find out which make and model it is (the model number is sometimes printed near the memory slots or in between the expansion slots). Once you have that, Google the name of your motherboard and its model number. At your motherboard manufacturer’s site, look for the manual or spec sheet as this should help you figure out what sort of memory you’ll need. Once you know what sort of memory you want for your PC, it’s time to decide how much of it you need. This amount can differ greatly depending on the sort of work you perform on your PC, but whatever you do, don’t cram in as much as possible just for the sake of it, as you’ll just be wasting your hard earned money. For suggestions on how much memory you should invest in, check out the box below. Before you buy, don’t forget to check and see if you’ve actually got free motherboard slots into which this RAM will fit.||**||How to install RAM in your PC|~|PicA.jpg|~||~|Step 1: From the ground up Once you’ve purchased your RAM, it’s time to slot it in. Before you get cracking, ground yourself by touching a metal screw on the case itself. Then, remove the side panel, which in most cases is just a matter of removing the screws and pulling it off. ||**|||~|PicB.jpg|~||~|Step 2: Search and unplug Next, it’s time to locate your motherboard’s memory slots. These are normally placed close to the CPU socket, which is generally identifiable by its large fan sitting on top. It’s worth noting that if your PC was put together in the last two years, the motherboard’s chipset probably supports dual-channel memory technology. For this technology to work however, you have to install modules in a particular configuration (see your motherboard’s user manual for more information on this). It’s worth doing this, as the performance boost is appreciable and free, plus it’s easy to do too, as motherboard manufacturers generally colour code slots to indicate which two (or more) slots make up one channel. If you can’t get a clear view of the slots in question, remove any cables that are in the way. If you have a close look at the memory module and the slot, you’ll notice that the module has a small empty space (notch) somewhere in the middle, while the slot has a small raised portion. Fitting the module is essentially just a case of lining up the notch on the module with the raised portion in the slot. ||**|||~|PicC_2.jpg|~||~|Step 3: Guide ‘em home On each side of the memory slots are guiding paths that you need to line the module up with before you slot it in. Once you’ve done this, simply push down one side of the module until the lock on that side ‘clicks’ into position. Then, do the same on the other side. If the module isn’t fitting properly and the lock doesn’t close, you’ve probably inserted the module the wrong way. Simply flip it and try again. It’s a good idea to then verify if the memory you’ve installed is working properly. To do this, reconnect any cables, fire up your machine and boot into Windows. Then click on Start/Settings/Control Panel and click the ‘System’ icon. Click the ‘General’ tab and look for how much memory the OS is detecting. If the amount reflects your original amount plus however much you just installed, the operation was a success. If not, try installing the modules again or even try fitting them to another PC if possible to make sure they actually work. ||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code