Hardware Guide 2013: How To Upgrade Your RAM

Written by Jon Sutton on Wed, Dec 25, 2013 5:00 PM

Memory upgrades are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to squeeze a bit more power out of your system. Provided you don't go overboard you can pick up enough RAM to easily match the recommended specs on today's games for not too much at all. We're reaching a point in fact where it's all too easy to get more RAM than you possibly need for now, as even a mammoth 16GB is available for around $125.

It stands to reason that with prices getting this low, memory is one of better and easier quick fixes you can do for your PC. Ideally you're going to be getting at least 4GB of RAM, meaning you're going to need a 64-bit operating system to go with it, otherwise you're usage will be capped at 3.2GB because of memory addressing limitations...

Depending on the type of system you have you're going to need to check what type of RAM you need. Look up your motherboard on Game-Debate and you'll find all the info you need on compatible memory. You're going to want to make sure it's a supported tipe, as well as the maximum capacity, pincount, number of DIMM slots (where the RAM slots into), and the supported memory speeds. It's also important to note whether you have a dual or triple-channel motherboard. This essentially boils down to installing your RAM in identical pairs or threes.

Once you've got hold of the memory you want, you're going to want to power off your PC and pop it open to install it. Check out the opening paragraphs of the CPU installation guide for the basic tips on accessing the internals of your rig, as well as info on grounding yourself to prevent static discharge, which RAM is VERY sensitive to.

Once you're inside your PC you're not going to need any other material than your bare hands. Preferably you're going to want to lay your rig down so your motherboard's sitting face-up. Finding the RAM slots on your motherboard should be fairly simple, there should be sticks of RAM similar to what you've bought in some or all of them already. 

If you're removing the RAM that's already in your PC you'll need to push down the two clamps on either end of the memory. This will unlock the RAM and let you remove, being sure to just touch the ends. Get your new RAM and, making sure to hold it by the ends again, and line it up with the DIMM slots on your motherboard. Push it down gentle but firmly until it clips into place. Repeat in the next-door slot if you're installing a pair. 

That's it, all done! Close up your PC and plug your power and monitor back in. When you boot your computer back up you should get a BIOS message letting you know it's detected the memory. Once you're into the operating system, press the Windows button and Pause on your keyboard to verify the RAM is working. And that, ladies and gents, is that. Happy benchmarking!

Have you upgraded your RAM recently?

How much RAM do you think you need to be comfortable will of today's games?

 

 

 

 

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08:37 Apr-22-2014

how much speed can i install...thinking for ram update.
mobo ga-b85m-d3h

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18:32 Mar-31-2014

Will 4GB be enough for a while? I would go for more but my motherboard only supports 4GB. Also I don't plan on doing any multitasking just pure gaming.

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23:39 Apr-01-2014

4gb is barely enough for nowadays gaming...telling you by experience, if yo ucan change mobo i would do that and get 8gb :/

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19:53 Apr-02-2014

Well new mobo it is then. Do you know a good and cheap mobo that I should get with a LGA 1155 socket?

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20:30 Apr-02-2014

i am only familiar with amd sockets...AM3+ and FM n stuff, i can't help you on that i am sorry

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13:15 Apr-17-2014

I think a total rebuild might be in order I could recommend some build ideas but the GT430 and pentium E5500 isn't going to cut modern games if you don't have much cash this is a link to 2 cheap builds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llY36--pt6Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkTTFq_8yfw

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16:13 Apr-17-2014

i think you should buy the ASRock H71M-DGS.it supports dual channel and up to 16 GB of memory,its quite cheap but lacks a few feature.the sound is only 5.1 channel,it doesnt have a faster sata3 connectors,and doesnt have any usb 3.0 slot

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18:04 Apr-23-2014

Ok thanks for all the help! +1 to all of you!

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11:24 Mar-29-2014

How long do you think it'll be before I require 16GB? When running multiple browser tabs, a few word docs, a temp monitor, music, sports news and powerpoint I only take up 27% of RAM. When playing modern games I don't even consume 2/3rds.

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13:23 Mar-31-2014

Well it really depends on what you do with your computer, for gaming I think it will be a few year before you need any more than 8 gigs. but really it just depends on what you play, if you see yourself needing more, get more, if not wait.

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12:39 Mar-21-2014

Well, RAM isn't that cheap anymore :(

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06:42 Feb-17-2014

8GB is for 2014/15 but i think 12GB will be good enough ! :)

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22:38 Feb-08-2014

8gb is the sweatspot atm, 1600 is fast enough(unless you are on iGpu).
Try to have 8gb, 1600mhz and the lowest Cas latency :)

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21:35 Feb-07-2014

will ECC memory work on Non ECC mobo?? (i dont need the error cheking) i have read if i put ECC memory on non ecc mobo then eroor cheking will be only disabled.

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09:33 Mar-29-2014

ECC memory will not worth with a non ECC compatible motherboard (i've tried it and with my ASUS board it did not work, even though my xeon will support it)

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12:52 Jan-23-2014

I don't know where to ask this, but I guess here is the best place...
I have G.skill RipjawsX 1600 MHz, looking to OC it even farther.
is they away to do it. I know not by XMP. but if done manually what should I look for.

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09:48 Jan-25-2014

Anyone is free to correct me if I'm wrong, but overclocking your 1600MHz RAM wouldn't get you anywhere, considering that your CPU only supports DDR3-1333/1600 RAM.

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10:21 Jan-25-2014

officially, Intel tale us the CPU can support DDR3-1333/1600 RAM. but if you look at the motherboard it actual can support more than that.. all you have to do is enable the XMP profile. How much improvement you will see it depend on what app you use. usually games you wouldn't see much. if it dose only about 1-2 fps.

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18:18 Jan-20-2014

RAMs with higher clock; how much improve game experience?

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12:43 Jan-23-2014

not much... you wont see any change on game... to be save 1600 MHz is the sweet spot for gamer... but for APU system higher clock do make a different.

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15:21 Jan-23-2014

okey bro

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07:29 Apr-17-2014

I have 8gb ram dual channel at 667mhz and I have good performance :) but I hope upgrade at 1600mhz but don't really care

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13:28 Jan-19-2014

I really need atleast 4 GBs of ram more.

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09:20 Mar-18-2014

you needed to o.c your cpu more than gpu bro.

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20:21 Mar-31-2014

Wow talk about bottlenecking xD you need to buy a better cpu for that gpu
Or overclock it still thou i think it would be better if you would buy a new one

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05:26 Jan-11-2014

Hey guys should i Upgrade my ram from 800 mhz to 1600 mhz? does it make a difference when playing games or should i keep it as it is.

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06:35 Jan-14-2014

If you have Budget then you should Upgrade your ram. It will give you more performance in games.. :) But i think its fine not to upgrade.

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20:54 Jan-21-2014

I'm sure your ram is 1600Mhz as you can't find 8GB RAM that is that low MHZ. What software are you using to find your RAM speed?

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00:57 Jan-04-2014

I have no real problem with only 4gb of ram but I think that the idal is 8gb because its enough for heavier multiplayer games like BF and planetside 2. I think that a speed of 1.6Ghz is quite good. 16Gb or more are great but not everyone has the money to spent on ram when building or upgrating their pc.

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01:10 Jan-04-2014

I agree on the RAM part, however a powerful CPU seems to be more and more needed with time (i've never had problems with 4gb RAM, but the dual core i had before was giving me problems) thumbs up for ye xD

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01:14 Jan-04-2014

I was actually talking about the ram frequency. lol
But I agree that cpu is getting more important in the latest game releases.

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01:16 Jan-04-2014

psh hahaha, yeah i agree, sorry never heard 1.6 GHz in RAM before, too used to say 1600, on the other hand, 1333 works well for me :o

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01:20 Jan-04-2014

hahaha yeah... :p
I think that 1333Mhz is good but because I'm running a second monitor and so respectively more programs I occasionally run out of ram...

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08:14 Jan-02-2014

my ram Freq is 199Mhz.

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16:09 Jan-02-2014

do you have dual channel working (2 RAM sticks)? (by your ram size i can't tell) if so you gotta multiply the freq by 2 too

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03:28 Jan-03-2014

i do. the funny thing is, on the card, it says 400.
But every single monitoring program i have used says its 200, even GDs system checker.

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04:26 Jan-03-2014

well that's why, dual channel works that way, when i check it says 667 MHZ of RAM, but as you can see i have 1333, if you got dual channel and it says half of the freq it should have, it's OK XD, hope this helps

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04:55 Jan-03-2014

ah, thanks for that :P

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05:00 Jan-03-2014

you're welcome :)

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08:27 Jan-03-2014

Even if you had single channel RAM it would still say 200MHz, it's DDR which stands for Double Data Rate so your 200MHz RAM is double date rate which is 400MHz.

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14:48 Dec-30-2013

Quqesion....is it worthy to change one of my 2gb sticks for a 4gb stick (ddr3 and 1333MHz), or should i stay with 4Gb, i really can't upgrade to 8 Gb (2x4 sticks) because RAM here costs almost double and i have no way to buy online T_T

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14:49 Dec-30-2013

My MB is the 760 GM-P21 if that info is needed

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14:50 Dec-30-2013

hmm it should be possible to use 2+4 GB sticks, in most cases the faster clocked one just gets slowed to same speed, so might work well....

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14:53 Dec-30-2013

Interesting, thanks :D, (and how did i write question bad D:)

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12:28 Dec-27-2013

Which is better : 1 x 8GB RAM or 2 x 4GB RAM
(Saw something like dual channel in my motherboard manual)

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12:35 Dec-27-2013

1 8GB stick, makes it easier to upgrade later on and just get another 8GB stick.

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08:54 Dec-31-2013

Thats why I buyed 1x 8 GB RAM

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13:41 Dec-27-2013

2×4GB if you mobo supports dual-channel ram, it gives noticeable performance increase.

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08:57 Dec-31-2013

I really don't think the performance increase would benefit me also if needed i would buy another 8GB stick if required ad my mobo supports dual channel ram

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08:58 Dec-31-2013

that's true, but then why not get discounted 16GB ram kit at once? save problems with compatibility...

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12:25 Dec-27-2013

I have windows 7 professional 64-bit & 8GB ram, but why windows says that only 7.89GB is usable?

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12:41 Dec-27-2013

Your system might be reserving memory which is why not all of it is usable, I wouldn't worry about such a small amount not being usable though.

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13:42 Dec-27-2013

some memory may be reserved for integrated audio chip and such :)

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18:47 Dec-28-2013

Isn't it like usb? 8GB = 8000 mb
8000/1024=7812,5 mb
Windows counts 1GB as 1024 MB (1 byte = 8 bits)
And the producers count 1GB as 1000MB

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16:22 Dec-29-2013

nno, RAM should be sold in "correct" capacities, for ex. 4GB ram you should get 4096MB ;)

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11:35 Dec-27-2013

Shall i add 1 GB or 2 GB if my OS is 32 bit and my mobo have 2 DIMM DDR3 slot?

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12:43 Dec-27-2013

Try and get the same RAM as you've already got or a very similar one so they are compatible, a 32bit OS can only take 4GB so another 2GB DIMM should be fine.

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23:02 Dec-26-2013

seeing the comments below, imho having more than 3GB DDR2 ram is overkill and quite expensive, so if someone wants 8GB ram, then only if mobo has DDR3 slots, and then get 2×4GB DDR3 kit :Đ

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19:51 Dec-26-2013

8GB should be the minimum I think.

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12:45 Dec-27-2013

Minimum for what? Most games don't use more than 4GB but newer ones are starting to use more and more, BF4 uses more than 6GB of RAM when I monitor it while playing.

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18:49 Dec-28-2013

Well, for video editing, multitask, games.
Most newest games have for max graphics 8GB recommed, so start from the max should keep the system running good for the next years.

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12:31 Dec-26-2013

i got 1x4gb ddr3 1600mhz and 1x8gb ddr3 1600mhz, but outside of gaming it's not performing too well, i'm suspecting it's due to my s*itty processor...

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12:34 Dec-26-2013

how many ram slots does your mobo have? if you have 4, then it matters in which slots do you put the ram sticks ;)

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19:53 Dec-26-2013

Your processor is fine man. Even mine. It should keep some games up.
Maybe you need a bigger PSU (not sure what you use). Because hardware gets limited if it doesn't get the amount of energy that is needed.

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