By Bob Rankin
My computer only has 1GB of RAM, and is really slow when I,./i open more than one program. I want to upgrade my RAM to 4GB, but I’m not sure what kind to buy or where to get it. Can you help?
Actually, we should first make sure we’re asking the right question. Don’t make the mistake of confusing “computer memory” (RAM) with “hard drive space.” RAM memory refers to the working memory that your computer uses to run programs and manipulate files. When you turn off the computer, everything in RAM is gone. Only the files that are saved on your hard drive remain permanently stored. And RAM memory is what this article is concerned with.
RAM consists of many millions of microscopic circuits packed together on a memory chip. The design of RAM circuits has improved rapidly, leaving several incompatible designs on the market. Designs called SRAM, DRAM, and DDR RAM are the most common, with the latter being the latest and fastest form of RAM. You can’t just buy “latest and fastest,” though. You must determine what RAM design(s) your computer and motherboard will support.
RAM chips have metal pins on their bottoms that plug into slots in your computer’s motherboard. You have to match the number and arrangement of pins to your machine. The shape of the RAM chip also matters. Some of the form factors available include DIMM and SODIMM. The latter is a more compact form factor often found in laptop memory, where conserving space is critical.