Sunday, February 24, 2008

Do It Yourself: Adding RAM to your PC

To find out what kind of module you will need, you can also open up your computer.

  • First, turn off the computer, but leave it plugged in, because then it's automatically grounded, . (Computers that should not remain plugged in will be clearly marked.)
  • Place the computer on a clean workspace and remove the cover carefully (you may need to use a screwdriver).
  • Touch the case to ground yourself. Some manuals recommend anti-static wrist straps.
  • Locate the RAM modules, which are green with black tubes, on the motherboard.

  • Now determine the type of module you have.

RDRAM is paired up (you have to put in two at a time) and has metal casing on one side;

DDR SDRAM is the most popular and looks like regular RAM, but has one notch;

SDRAM (which is being phased out) has two notches.

Note your RAM speed, which is usually written on the side of the existing chip (either 266 or 333).

  • If you don't have a free slot, remove one of the memory cards to check the number of notches on it. You'll be replacing the smaller of the two RAM modules.


Installing the RAM

  • Turn off the computer and touch the metal casing.
  • Locate the RAM modules. Find the empty one you plan to replace, or remove the RAM module you will replace.
  • Line up the notches of the new RAM module and apply firm pressure to attach.
  • Once you're sure the RAM module is snugly in place, close the latch at either end. If you have clips, they should snap back in place.
  • Reconnect all the cables, but leave the casing open until you're sure everything is working right.
  • Turn your computer back on. If the machine starts to beep, the memory is either incompatible or not in correctly installed . If you've installed everything correctly, the system will detect the new RAM.
  • Check the system properties to see how much RAM you now have. If you replaced a 128 MB with a 512 MB module, then you should have 512 minus 128 equals 384 MB more RAM than you did previously. If you added the RAM but didn't remove any, then you'd have 512 MB more RAM.
  • Try one of your programs that wasn't working up to speed. If it still isn't working, unplug everything again and get back into the computer to check that the RAM modules are firmly secured.


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