What to know before upgrading RAM?


A very important question is ‘What to know before upgrading RAM?’. Read on…

If you previously had 8GB or less of RAM, it is recommended to upgrade to 16GB at the least if you are using Windows 10/11. There are some new laptops and notebooks that only have 4GB as a standard option which is not safe for today’s technology.

Upgrading your RAM can seem like a daunting task, but with a little preparation, it can be a breeze. Here are some things you should know before upgrading your RAM:

  1. Check your compatibility

Not all RAM is compatible with all computers. Before purchasing new RAM, make sure to check your computer’s specifications to ensure that the new RAM will be compatible. This will save you time and hassle in the long run.

Make sure you get the right type of RAM for your system and check if new firmware needs to be flashed first. This information should all be included in a product specifications table somewhere before buying. Newer motherboards require different types of memory than older ones do, which means not all brands or models may work with each other. Some people use one brand while some prefer another so they may not always work together as well as you think.

If you plan on using the new RAM with your DIMM slot (rather than in DIMM Slots), then make sure that there is at least 1 empty slot between where your old RAM lies, and where the new lies. When upgrading RAM, it is advisable that you go online or check manufacturer’s manuals to see what type of motherboard or laptop your specific model has before deciding on how much RAM (and which speed) you need. This way, if there is a problem after you have installed the RAM, then at least there will be a way to know how to handle it.

  1. Check RAM Speeds

Before you buy, make sure the RAM speed is compatible with your motherboard. The easiest way to check this is to look on the motherboard for a sticker that shows what kind of RAM it can support. They should also list speeds on the product page if you’re shopping online.

If your computer takes DDR4, then upgrading to DDR4 2666 MHz is advised as it performs just as well as higher speeds but costs less.

  1. Determine your system’s maximum RAM capacity

Not all computers can handle the same amount of RAM. Before going out and buying new chips, find out how much memory your system can actually handle. This is usually found in the computer’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website.

  1. Choose the right type of RAM

There are 3 main types of RAM at the time of writing this article – DDR3, DDR4 and DDR5. Your computer will likely only support one or the other, so make sure to purchase the correct type. You can also check your motherboard’s specifications to be sure. You can find this by a software called Speccy.

  1. Find the right price

Just like any other hardware, RAM can vary in price greatly and it’s not always necessary to purchase the most expensive kit on the market. Do some research to find what is the best deal for you without compromising quality or specs.

  1. Check your computer’s bit

If you are planning of purchasing 8GB of RAM, it is very important that you have an updated BIOS. It is also advised to have a 64-bit operating system installed for more memory support.

  1. Back up your data

Before upgrading any component in your computer, it is always a good idea to back up your data. This way, if something goes wrong during the upgrade process, you won’t lose any important information.

  1. Shut down your computer

No matter what kind of upgrade you are doing, it is always a good idea to shut down your computer. This will help to avoid any potential issues during the upgrade process.


  1. Open up your case

To install RAM on most systems, opening up your case will allow you to easily access the memory slots where new chips can be inserted. There are typically two types of cases – a standard desktop tower case or what’s called a “barebone” system which typically has less expandability options but generally features less maintenance over time due to better cooling capabilities. If you are not sure how to open up your specific case or are uncomfortable doing so, please consult the computer’s manual or contact the system’s manufacturer.

  1. Remove the old RAM chips

Once you have located the memory slots on your motherboard, use a small Phillips head screwdriver to remove the cover over each one. On most systems, there is a small latch that holds the cover in place – simply push down on it and then pull up to remove. The covers will typically be labeled A and B (or something similar), indicating which slots are which.

If you are not sure which slot is which, you can refer to your motherboard’s documentation or look for markings on the underside of your current memory modules. With the cover removed, you should see your memory chips. If you are planning to upgrade, then these will be the chips that came with your motherboard. The chips in the slots should all be identical (i.e. they should all be DDR2 800Mhz) – if this isn’t the case, don’t worry too much about it, but make a note to upgrade them when you get new ones.

  1. Align the new RAM

Carefully line up the new RAM with the empty slots and press down until it is fully seated in the connector. You should hear a “click” when it is properly in place, if you do not then re-check that it is installed correctly and try again.

  1. Replace screws and cables

Once everything is back in place, replace any screws you removed and reconnect any cables you unplugged. Plug the computer back into power and turn it on. If all goes well, you should see an increase in performance and be able to run more programs at once.

  1. Check your work

Once you’ve installed all of your new RAM, it’s always a good idea to give your computer a quick restart and check that everything is running smoothly. If all is good, you can now start enjoying those performance boosts!


RAM is an important part of any computer system – this is especially true when it comes to gaming or intensive tasks like video editing. Upgrading your RAM can give your system a much-needed performance boost.

However, if you are looking to upgrade your RAM because you feel that your computer is running slowly, you might be surprised to find that a simple upgrade may not be the solution. In some cases, a lack of hard drive space or an inefficient processor can cause a computer to appear slow. Before upgrading performing any hardware upgrade on your computer, you should check for software updates and run a virus scan. If everything is up-to-date and your computer is still running slowly, then you will need to get in touch with us.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...