RAM is like a computer’s digital countertop. It stores and re-enforces data for lightning-fast access. It also helps programs load faster.
Adding more RAM will help your computer run smoothly and efficiently. You can check your PC’s RAM with programs such as CPU-Z and Speccy. Both apps provide a sorted list of information including memory size, type, and frequency.
What is RAM?
RAM is short for Random Access Memory and it provides a place for your computer to store data on a temporary basis. RAM is volatile, meaning that information stored in it disappears when the computer is turned off or rebooted.
Computers need RAM to perform tasks like opening programs and browsing the internet. When a program is launched, it’s loaded into RAM so that other components can use it almost instantly, rather than having to read the same data from a slower storage device such as a hard drive or solid-state drive1.
The best way to think about RAM is as your computer’s short-term memory. The more RAM a computer has, the more it can handle multiple programs at once. This is also known as multitasking. For example, you’d need a lot of RAM to be able to open Netflix and Photoshop simultaneously without significant slowdown.
How much RAM do I need?
For general computing purposes like web browsing, checking emails, word processing and managing digital photos you should be able to get away with 4-8GB of RAM. However, more RAM will be useful if you want to run multiple programs at once or play demanding games.
Generally speaking, most PC gamers need 16GB of RAM. That’s enough to run most AAA titles at high settings without much trouble, and it won’t break the bank too much.
For more advanced workloads, like editing 4K video or working with 3D models, 32GB will be more than enough for most people. It’s also worth considering dual-channel RAM for your build, as it’ll improve performance by running memory more efficiently. Ultimately, it’s important to balance your system’s components to find the best possible combination of value and performance. This can take some time, but it will be worth it in the end. It’s not possible to download RAM at present time, so don’t bother looking for sites that promise to do so.
How do I check my RAM?
RAM is a vital part of your computer, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. Unfortunately, like any other PC component, RAM can eventually fail. Faulty RAM is most often experienced as a sudden blue screen of death or frequent system crashes and restarts.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to check your RAM’s status in Windows, MacOS, and Linux. You can use the built-in Windows Memory Diagnostics tool, your operating system’s file menu, or your computer’s Task Manager.
On Windows, you can open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc or right-clicking the taskbar and selecting “Task Manager.” Click the Performance tab and then select “Memory.” The list of processes will be sorted in ascending order by their current memory usage, with the biggest hogs showing up at the top. The Memory type, Capacity, and Configured clock speed are also displayed. If your RAM is faulty, you can try swapping it for a fresh one.
How do I upgrade my RAM?
Upgrading RAM is a simple and inexpensive way to give your computer the performance boost it needs. It can prevent crashes during photo or video editing and breathe new life into old computers.
Before starting the upgrade process, turn off your laptop and unplug it. Unscrew any screws and gently open your laptop case, or consult your owner’s manual for instructions. If your laptop has clips that keep the RAM modules in place, push them up slightly to make it easier to remove them.
Next, determine what type of RAM your motherboard supports. You can do this by using Speccy or Crucial’s free scanning tool (links above). Once you know what type of RAM your computer needs, purchase it and install it. It’s best to use the same brand and form factor of RAM for your system, but mixing is fine if the modules have different capacities. When installing the new RAM, line up its notch with the slot and press down until you hear a click.