Upgrade your Computer Memory: Install Extra RAM for a Faster PC

DIY Computer Memory Upgrade

Now days the programs we run on our computers are becoming larger and larger every day. Some games are as big as 500MB or sometimes more. For example, Microsoft recommends at least 128MB of memory for Windows XP; 256MB is better, however, I think you need 512MB at the minimum..

The thing is, who has Windows XP now days anyway?

But if you want to speed up your computer, adding more RAM is a great way to help your PC process tasks faster. But first you should find out how fast your computer is as the slowness of your computer might not be a hardware problem.

This is a simple way to upgrade your computer to cope with the programs you are using. However some computer technicians charge pathetic amounts of money to perform this relatively easy procedure. I have seen some crazy rip offs in my time.

Don’t waste your hard earned money on a task that a monkey can perform. Just follow the steps below to do it yourself . It’s inexpensive,  easy to do, and it can dramatically improve the performance of your pc.

Please note: If you are a tech disaster or have no clue about how to follow instructions you should steer clear from these steps. Get a geeky friend to help you out and show you the ropes. It is much safer for you and your computer. :)

Upgrade your Computer Memory To Speed Up Your PC

RAM counts twice towards your speed. First there’s the speed of your RAM, usually measured in MHz. The closer the speed of your RAM to the speed of your processor, the more efficient your computer can be and the less it matters how many megabytes are in your CPU cache. Second, there’s the amount of RAM you have—the more RAM you have, the more data you can keep in RAM instead of on a slow hard drive.

  1. Before you perform any upgrades involving “Do It Yourself “, I recommend you read  How To Open a computer case safely
  2. Follow the instructions closely to safely open a computer case. It is very important for your safety and your computer components health!!!  Continue at own risk!
  3. Then you need to determine what kind of RAM your computer takes and whether it has enough open slots to hold it.
  4. Release the clips on either end of the ram which is holding it in place. Then remove the ram. Take note of which slot it was in so you can replace it back correctly.
  5. Usually there is a sticker with the ram type and brand on it.
  6. The new RAM should match the existing RAM’s specifications and configuration to gain the best performance. See Below for different types.
  7. Insert your ram into a slot. It only goes in one way, so you know its right if it fits in. Gradually push it in evenly and the clips on the sides will snap into place.
  8. Make sure everything is still in it right place. If you have removed something to get to the memory slots, replace it now. Put the computer case cover back on.
  9. Plug in your Computer, turn the power on, and see if it recognizes the new RAM. If the computer starts up you have done well.
  10. If you didn’t notice, go to Systems Properties to see how much ram is installed now. This will also tell you if all RAM is being noticed by Windows.

Installing ram

The Most Common RAM /Memory Sticks

We do not need to get too technical here. After all, you just want to add more memory, not build a new computer.

It is important to find out what type of ram your computer has in it so you can match the new piece with its specifications. If you have Pc2100 ddr ram in your computer you should put more PC2100 in the other available slots. It really doesn’t matter what size it is, but I do prefer to match everything precisely. So I like to match the brand if I can, the type, and the size.

SD Ram:

Pre- Pentium 1.4ghz computers usually take either PC100 or PC133.

Also known as SDR which means single data rate. It might not be that easy to get hold of a SD Ram stick and if purchased new, the prices have sky rocketed. PC133 256mb sd ram is around $20.00 second hand but who knows how long that will last. If it is used RAM it must have been around for many years.

See how much this old [easyazon-link asin=”B000068IKV” locale=”us”]SD RAM is on Amazon.com[/easyazon-link].

Notice the SD RAM has one slot at the bottom and the DDR RAM has two. (shown below)

DDR Ram:

The more modern PC’s take anything from PC2100 (266MHz), PC2700 (333MHz), PC3200 (400-MHz).

You can get PC2100 256mb ddr memory for around $25.00, which is pictured below. See how the notch is in a different place to the sd ram. This is one way to tell them apart. The stickers on the ram have their specifications and serial numbers.

DDR stands for double data rate as opposed to SDR which is single data rate.

Double data rate SDRAM (DDR) was a later development of SDRAM, used in PC memory beginning in 2000. Subsequent versions are numbered sequentially (DDR2DDR3, etc.). DDR SDRAM internally performs double-width accesses at the clock rate, and uses a double data rate interface to transfer one half on each clock edge. DDR2 and DDR3 increased this factor to 4× and 8×, respectively, delivering 4-word and 8-word bursts over 2 and 4 clock cycles, respectively. The internal access rate is mostly unchanged (200 million per second for DDR-400, DDR2-800 and DDR3-1600 memory), but each access transfers more data. Source: Wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_RAM

DDR Ram 2 +3

This is the new DDR dram that all new computers have now. Of course it is faster and better than it’s predecessors.

The size of Ram ( Random Access Memory)

Both SD memory and DDR come in various sizes. Starting from 128mb ram, 256mb ram, 512mb ram, and now 1gig, 2 gig, and now 8gig and more. In the earlier days they were also available in smaller sizes, however now days the bigger sizes are the most popular.

You also have to remember that each Windows operating system version has a limit on how much RAM will be noticed. So if you install too much it will not be utilized by Windows.  See this article that shows Memory limits for different Windows versions.

When you Upgrade your computer memory it increases system performance, lets you run more applications, and improve graphics and video editing. It is always an improvement to your computer when you add ram. But just make sure you research how much ram your operating system will allow and be able to utilize.


  1. Abdulbaki says

    Hei, Mitz thank you for the easy step by step Tutorial :)
    i just have one Question :
    I’m Running Windows7 64-bit but my System doesn’t Recognize the whole 3 gigs ?

  2. Annie says

    Hi –

    How do you know how much ram your operating system will allow and be able to utilize? I have an older computer and just upgraded to Windows 7 (32-bit since I only have two 512MB of RAM) but it’s getting really slow and it just gave me a total black screen on start up! Ugh. Actually, the screen was really dim once when I turned it on, and then the next time I know that it turned on (because it backed up to my external hard drive – yay!) but then the next couple times I turned it on, it was all black – no boot screen, no flashing cursor. And then an hour later, it turned right on! So I’m thinking it might be the RAM… Anyway, how do you figure out how much your computer/OS can handle?



    • says

      All 32bit verisions of Windows Xp x32 and Vista x86 supports up to 3gb of ram.
      All 32bit verisions of Windows 7 except the starter supports 4gig of ram. The starter supports 2gig.
      Vista Basic x64: 8 GB
      Vista Home Premium x64: 16 GB
      Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate x64: 128 GB
      Windows 7 Starter x64: 2 GB
      Windows 7 Home Basic x64: 8 GB
      Windows 7 Home Premium x64: 16 GB
      Windows 7 Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate x64: 192GB.

      • Tyler says

        Mitz, I thought any 32 bit OS could support/recognize up to 4gb of RAM. and 64 bit had no current limit, I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but everything I’ve read and heard is 32 bit=4gb and 64bit = as much as you can cram in there.

  3. Maria says

    I am trying to upgrade my memory and having a hard time gettng to the memory slot inside my tower pc, which is an HP Pavillon. I have successfully opened taken off the side panel, but when I get there, the memory slot area is underneath all these wiring and contraptions that I can’t seem to move out of the way. How do I get to the memory slot in this case? Any suggestions?


    • says

      Have you got the power unplugged..?
      then touch the side of the case..the metal part to discharge static electricity from your body.
      Then you are ready to touch things.
      You can unplug a few things but take note of where they are coming from and make sure you put them back in the same spot. If this is too difficult then I suggest you take it into our computer repair guy and ask first, how much it will be to insert your piece of memory. The job takes about 1 min and surely they can’t rip you off for that?

  4. Kath says

    Hello. I upgrade my netbook Asus 1005PE with a 2GB Crucial RAM which is compatible with my original netbook’s RAM. I follow the guide provided by Crucial step by step. However, my netbook doesn’t boot, it has a black screen but the lights are on and the fan is running. I tried many times to clean the RAM, to reboot,… but nothing works. Please help me! Thank you very much.