The Best Upgrade you can give to boost your PCs performance
How to install RAM – Safety first
Ok here is our simple guide to how to install RAM.
This has to be one of the easiest upgrades that you can give to boost the performance of a flagging PC – and one of the cheapest too!
But before we go anywhere near that ailing PC, we must consider a few precautions first.
Memory is easy to install but you do need to handle those new sticks of RAM with care.
Memory or RAM (Random Access Memory), as it is usually referred to, is extremely sensitive to zapping by static electricity and needs to be handled correctly to prevent unseen damage occurring.
Make sure that you install your RAM with your PC sitting on a flat surface, a table top or desk will be fine, and avoid working on a carpet or surface where you may build up a static charge and accidentally zap your memory when you install it in your PC.
Preferably wear an anti-static strap to ensure that you do not build a static charge but if you haven’t got one to hand you can ground yourself by touching something that is connected to a good earth.
Your PC case will be fine but make sure that the power supply is OFF at the wall socket before attempting to open your PC case and certainly before adding your new RAM!
Always handle memory sticks by the edges of the PCB and avoid contact with the components and exposed pins and edge connector.
You can watch a video detailing how to install RAM in a desktop PC here:
How to Install RAM – PC Preparation
Lie your PC flat on its side and remove the side of your PC case by removal of the screws at rear of the side panel and sliding the cover away (some cases may have sliding catches to release the side panels in place of or as well as screws).
Locate the PC memory sockets which will be somewhere close by the processor.
If you are not installing memory in a new PC build but simply replacing old with new then you will need to remove your old memory first.
To do this you will need to unclip the brackets on either side of your memory modules by pushing the clips outwards away from the modules.
The module will then be lifted out of the socket by the action of lugs attached to the inside edge of the clips.
How to Install RAM – Module Fitment
Ensure the clips at either end of the memory socket are ready to receive the new modules i.e. clips angled away from the socket.
Your memory module will only fit in one way round.
If you examine the socket on the motherboard you will see that there is an offset blanking strip in the socket which together with a matching slot in the memory module edge connector will ensure correct orientation.
Gently guide the memory module into the socket and carefully push home.
The clips will close around the ends of the module as you push your RAM into the socket.
This will require a reasonable amount of force; make sure it is the correct way around before pushing too hard.
The clips will lock into place (the clips have lugs that locate into slots at the end of the memory modules) but check by pushing in from the side with your fingers to confirm they are seated fully.
How to Install RAM – Dual Channel
Most new motherboards support dual channel memory and if you have purchased two modules, i.e. 2 x 1GB sticks of memory then you should ensure that you install your memory sticks correctly to take advantage of this feature which will provide you with a significant performance boost.
Note that you will obtain better performance with two smaller identical sticks rather than one large one (i.e. two lots of 1GB rather than a single 2GB stick of RAM).
To do this you will need to ensure that your modules are inserted in sockets of the same color. Your dual channel compatible motherboard RAM sockets will be color coded to help easily identify which slots to populate for dual channel operation.
Check your motherboard manual to see if you need to populate a particular color first, i.e. both yellow sockets first etc.
If you have four identical sticks of RAM and there are only four slots then obviously it doesn’t matter!
Here is our example motherboard – you can see that there are two banks of color coded sockets. The manual instructs us to install the first stick of RAM in the first yellow socket. If we have a second identical stick we need to install it in the second yellow socket to achieve our dual channel operation.
You may only have one stick and if this is the case just fit it in the first socket as directed. This is an opportunity for an upgrade at a later date to obtain a performance boost.
How to Install RAM – Finishing Off
With our RAM installed we can re-fit the case side and power up our PC.
Your RAM will be detected by the system BIOS when you power up your PC.
Check that the correct amount of memory is displayed during POST (Power On Self Test).
If not you will need to check that your memory modules are seated in the sockets correctly.