Last time we discussed refreshing your windows PC using software. If you are still looking for more performance then you have two choices – upgrades or buy a new system. Before you decide ask yourself this question – what exactly do I want my system to do? If you just use word processing and some internet browsing then maybe installing some more RAM would be enough for you. If however you are into your gaming then we are talking graphics cards, RAM and maybe even your processor. Be warned however that upgrading your system in some cases can be as expensive as buying a new system. Way up the cost v performance prior to starting out.
OK lets talk about upgrading RAM. RAM is your memory, the more you have the faster your computer can access resources on your system. So we just install as much RAM as possible right? Not quite, your motherboard will support a maximum amount of RAM. After this point is reached any more you install is a waste because the motherboard will not be able to use it. Check your motherboard documentation first. If you don’t have the documents then check on the internet.
First thing to check is to see which type of RAM you have and how much. This is where a screwdriver will come in handy as we are going inside the case. WARNING Never touch any component inside the case until you have discharged your static electricity or you will fry the components!!! Best way to do this is to wear an anti-static wristband or if you don’t have one touch a piece of metal prior to going inside the box.
Always touch the two ends of the RAM module and never the middle. The RAM module will be identified by something similiar to PC133-333-520 512Mb 133MHz CL3. The CL3 stands for the latency and goes from CL1 -3 where 1 is fastest and 3 is slowest. You can’t use CL3 in a system which requires CL1 for instance. The 512MB is the amount of RAM installed on the system but the most important information however is the PC133. The 133 stands for 133 MHz and is the bus speed of your motherboard – essentially how fast your motherboard operates. Therefore this system requires RAM which can operate at that speed so it uses PC133 and you have 512Mb of it. RAM modules come in different sizes from 64Mb (very old) to the newer 2Gb varieties but always replace your RAM with the same type or your system will have problems.
Once you have identified what type and how much you have it is time to go shopping. One of the best places is ebay. Brand new memory can be found at very reasonable prices – approx £20 for £1Gb is not unheard of. Then it is time to switch them over. There should be two slots for your RAM to sit into. You release the clips either side of the RAM module and slip it out, doing the reverse when placing in the new RAM.
And that is it!! More performance for not a lot of work or money. Next time graphics cards.
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