Which RAM works with my PC

RAM upgrade: How does it work and what do I have to consider?

Over the weekend, I expanded the RAM on my gaming laptop from 8 gigabytes to 16 gigabytes. The installation was still the least of the evils. At first it was tricky to get the right memory Find, because there are a few things to consider here. So that you don't have to spend a lot of time looking for the right memory, I'll tell you what you have to consider when buying RAM and of course how to install it.

Attention: Not all RAM can be exchanged

Not every notebook allows the RAM to be expanded or replaced. Especially with ultrabooks and unibody models, the RAM may be firmly soldered. In any case, find out in advance whether an upgrade is possible. You can find information on this in the technical data in the manual and in the product data sheet, which you can search online on the manufacturer's support pages.

The term "on board" stands for an integrated RAM on the mainboard. This cannot be exchanged. However, many manufacturers offer combination solutions. For example 8 GB RAM on board and 8 GB on a free slot. You can exchange the latter.

Find the right RAM

There are different types of RAM modules and not all of them fit into every PC. Fortunately, figuring out which RAM will fit in your PC is not that difficult. First of all, you have to know which mainboard you have, because that determines which RAM types are compatible with your system.

The easiest way to find out the name of your mainboard is to use a freeware analysis tool called CPU-Z. You download that and start it. You will now find the “Model” section under the “Mainboard” tab. This gives you information about the model number of the mainboard.

You have now successfully completed the first step. With this information you can find out which RAM is compatible with your PC. In the manual of the mainboard or on the manufacturer's website you can now read which RAM modules are compatible with your mainboard.

Variation two

If this is not possible for you for any reason, there is a second option to find the right RAM module for you. To do this, you have to find out what RAM you currently have in the system. To do this, you use the CPU-Z-Tool again.

In the "SPD" tab you can see which RAM module is currently installed in which slot. You can also see how many slots you have and whether any slot is still free. If you don't have a free slot, you can't install a new RAM module without replacing the old one.

What numbers do you have to pay attention to now? On the one hand, the type of RAM is crucial. At the very top you will most likely see either DDR3 or DDR4. You remember that. You can see the size of the RAM in GBytes, for example 8 GBytes, at the top left. You can also see the maximum bandwidth, in my case 1200 MHz, and the last key figure is the voltage at the bottom. In my case 1.20 V.

Take my PC as an example. In the first slot I have a RAM module of the DDR4 version with 8 GBytes, a maximum bandwidth of 1200 MHz and a voltage of 1.20 V. If I buy a second RAM module with the same key figures, I can be relatively sure be that this will work. But be careful: this is not a guarantee. It is better to check beforehand which RAM modules are compatible with the mainboard.

Install memory

If you have found the right module and a free slot, you can now install the new RAM in the PC or laptop. It's actually relatively simple. The location of the RAM slot, however, differs from system to system. Let's take the example of my gaming laptop, an Alienware 17 R4.

The slots are relatively easy to find here. First, I unscrewed and removed the cover on the back. Before doing this, however, you should remove all cables from the laptop, especially the power supply. Now you can already see the two slots for the RAM. There is already a bolt in one, the other is still empty.

Danger:If you still have a warranty on your laptop, it will most likely expire as soon as you open the lid. That is why it makes sense to only expand the RAM after the warranty has already expired.

Before you touch anything inside a laptop, you should first detach the cable from the battery. Now you take the RAM module and push it into the empty slot. Then you just have to press it down until it clicks into place. and that's it.

When you've done everything, reconnect the battery cable. Then the flap comes back on the back and you can screw the laptop shut. If everything went well, you should get a message at startup that the amount of memory in the PC has been changed. You confirm this, and you already have more memory available.

With other laptops it is often not so easy to find the RAM slots, so you should find out where they are on your model and how you can get them. The same goes for desktop PCs, of course. Again, you should know beforehand where your RAM slots are and how you can get them. With desktop PCs, however, the search is often much easier.

Expanding the RAM is one of the fastest and easiest ways to give your PC or laptop a little more power. With these tips, you should also be able to expand your RAM. If there is still anything unclear, or if you don't know whether the RAM is really compatible, please contact me in the comments.

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