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Upgrading Your Computer's Memory Like a Pro

If you find you simply must buy some memory now, I'd personally recommend that you shop around for vendors willing to sell stock on hand at merely 100-200% profit margins. They are out there.

Increasing the total memory on your computer will contribute to the overall performance of your system. Memory decreases the requirements of your CPU (central processing unit), enabling it to handle a larger workload.

Unfortunately adding memory cannot speed up your motherboard. I may delve deeper into this topic in a future article.

Your new software applications often require more memory consumption than your older applications. If your system has only 32MB of RAM (Random Access Memory) you should be running to the store to increase it to at least 64MB of RAM. If your OS (operating system) is Windows 98, 96MB of Ram is more appropriate.

Heavy game playing consumes RAM, as do large multi-tasking operations. If you are such a user, consider minimally 160MB or more. For serious memory upgrades, buy the largest pieces of memory for each available memory slot on the motherboard as is charted out by the motherboard manual.

Yet another reason to buy more memory, or to upgrade to bigger and faster memory types, is to solve mysterious system problems that can be attributed to "bad memory" after all other possible causes have been ruled out.

There are a multitude of other considerations to think about before purchasing memory; I have only touched upon a few! In the interest of brevity...

You will need to check your motherboard manual to see what types of memory can be purchased and installed in your system, and in what combination(s). Specific memory types and their respective combinations should be clearly charted for you in the manual to equal the total memory possible for your system. Have your motherboard manual handy when you make your memory purchase.

Next you must visually inspect the memory already installed to determine its type and amount. If you are unable to identify it, bring it with you.

Remove memory carefully! Turn off the computer, ground yourself with a static wrist strap, remove the computer case, carefully release any clips that may be retaining the memory modules in place, then lift out the memory while noting its orientation for when you're ready to install new memory.

If your system is older, you may be dismayed to learn that SIMM memory, for example, is no longer readily available. Intensive searching of memory vendors may produce some sticks for you to buy, but their cost may exceed simply discarding the old memory and filling your DIMM slots with large memory modules.

Memory types cannot be mixed. If your motherboard does not support a memory type (it will be described in the manual), it is not recommended to try to install it. If you do not have a motherboard manual, you may opt to remove the case to visually inspect the memory slots available to you.

Simply described, shorter 72-pin banks are for SIMM memory modules. Longer 168-pin banks are DIMM slots. For accurate evaluation of your memory options available, it is advisable to check your motherboard's website where you may find pictures of motherboards and manuals available for download.

To install memory, unplug the computer, ground yourself with a static wrist strap, remove the case, orientate the memory correctly. (Observe the notches in the module with the notches on the motherboard). Insert it at an angle into the slot; press firmly until it is seated. Inspect it to see if it is seated in an upright position.

Boot up. If your PC (personal computer) refuses to boot up or fails to recognize the new memory, enter the bios on older systems to specify the amount of RAM in kilobytes. Try rebooting to see if the memory is finally recognized.

Uninstall and re-install the memory modules methodically, booting up after each installation to see if the memory is recognized. Don't despair, I've had to re-install memory 3x before the system recognized it. Each time I believed the memory was installed correctly, but obviously the motherboard thought otherwise.

Disclaimer: Mr Tweaks and the writer can assume no responsibility for the results if you attempt to install the memory yourself. If you are unsure about working on your own computer, it may be best left to a qualified technician.


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