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How to upgrade RAM and what need to take care before buying new RAM?

Written by Techview

January 6, 2022

What is RAM?

Before we step in the guideline of how to upgrade the RAM, let have a quick introduction of what is RAM. RAM in computers stands for Random Access Memory. It processes all the programs you are using and holds a temporary instruction like our short-term memory. For many people, upgrading RAM is the first step when they want to make their computer faster. It will help boost performance in your CPU, for instance, switching between programs and browser tabs becomes easier and multitask without any noticeable slowdowns.

Understand the RAM

1. Motherboard slot: 2 DIMM, 4 DIMM, 8 DIMM

Depending on your motherboard, you may have 2, 4, or 8 DIMM slot on your board. Majority of us is using 4 DIMM slot motherboard. 8 DIMM slot board usually found in workstation or super high-end PC.

2. Channel mode: single channel, dual channel

You can populate a single slot, two slot, three slot or four slot. Single slot and three slot (1 or 3 sticks of RAM) population will put your RAM into single channel mode, which will result a half memory of bandwidth of dual channel.

Dual channel mode (2 or 4 sticks of RAM) is effectively double your memory bandwidth and offer greater performance over single channel. Therefore, you will find it is common to use at least 2 sticks of RAM to build a PC.

3. RAM type: DDR3, DDR4, DDR5

If you have a PC that built prior 2016 or 2017, you are most likely using DDR3.

The current memory type in Malaysia is DDR4. The base memory speed (default speed) of DDR4 RAM has 2133MHz. There are many in market available higher than the default speed. However, the RAM speed will be capped at the maximum speed of your motherboard that can support.

DDR5 is the latest type of RAM that will be soon widely available in market.

RAM types
RAM standard type (image source: learncomputerscienceonline)

How do you choose your RAM?

The speed and capacity you choose is depends on your preference. What you want is to the get the fastest memory that your motherboard supports as well as fits into your budget. For instance, motherboard support DDR4 2666MHz, RAM at 3200MHz will result the performance only cap at 2666MHz.

Gaming PC is recommended to install 16GB (8GB x 2) of RAM as many games utilize more than 8GB of RAM. You may refer to your motherboard manufacturer’s support page to check and find your motherboard memory support like qualified vendor list (QVL). The QVL is the list RAM tested by your motherboard manufacturer that fit to your specific motherboard. Here you can sort out the brand and budget that fit your preference.

In general, it is advised to use the same brand, speed, and capacity for dual channel RAM to minimize the possibility cause the system crashes.

How to install RAM?

  • Get ready:

a. Phillips screwdriver

b. New RAM

  • Shut down your PC and open the panel

First thing first, shut down your PC and unplug from the power source. Then put your PC on its side and open the side panel.

  • Ground yourself

To begin, it is recommended that you equalize the static charge between you and the PC by touching the metal part of your PC chassis/case. This step is to avoid static electricity on your hand that could possibly ruin your components.

  • Remove RAM module

Unlock the latches on either side (or both side) of your RAM by pressing them. The existing RAM module is released and just take it out.

  • Install RAM module

RAM modules can only be installed in a single direction. Therefore, you need to align the notch of your new RAM module with the divider on the motherboard RAM slot and slide the module into the socket and pressing down firmly. The latch is locked when you hear a click.

  • Testing and troubleshooting

Before close the panel, you will want to ensure your system is running normal, place it standing up as usual and power on your system.

There are some common errors you might have:

(i) Motherboard beeping or receive error message: your RAM may loosen from its socket. Turn off your computer and reinstall the RAM.

(ii) System is not boosting: there might be some cable disconnected, check and ensure all connection inside your PC is secure in place.

(iii) Other error message: try to refer to the manual and find the error. Or you may contact expertise to guide accordingly.

  • Close PC

Once everything is running normal, you may close the panel and enjoy the performance of your upgrades.

Ready to upgrade? check out our pricelist at here.

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