Upgrading RAM is a big question. Most of us wants to upgrade the RAM to achieve a much better execution speed with increased capacity to multi-task.
But, does the increase in RAM always helps? And will upgrading RAM, make your machine faster. All of these questions will be answered today.
Before, we move on, we need to understand the importance of RAM and also need to understand ram workings in layman’s terms. Ram(Random access memory) points to that part of the computer, which stores all the data/information of the running apps on your machine. This type of memory is generally volatile in nature and all the information is lost, once you restart or unplug the machine.
RAM is important from the fact that all your running apps use it to work optimally, without crashing or lagging.
Let’s discuss different scenarios for upgrading RAM for your PC or laptop.
1. Are you running an age-old machine?
By any chance, if you are running an age old machine, for example, a dual-core Intel 1.8 GHz or much older CPU coupled with 512 or 1 GB of RAM. Then, you need to understand that the current generation application is dependent on both the RAM and the CPU processing power.
An application can throttle on both the RAM or the CPU, so it is always wise to understand what your machine needs before upgrading the RAM. The RAM in some cases might help, but adding a better CPU can turn your PC from a crawler into a monster.
Understanding the need is quite tricky, and I would request the readers to have a decent configuration before thinking about RAM upgrades as it in the end can only increase the stored memory with much performance benefit. The reason being is the CPU bottleneck.
2. Is your Operating System 32-bit or 64-bit?
To know which architecture your operating system is using, try to navigate to “My Computer” >> Right click and then choose “Properties”. Once in properties, you can easily find the architecture of the OS in the system tab.
If you have a 32 Bit system, then your machine will only support RAM up to 4 GB. The reason is quite mathematical, and that’s why we will skip the explanation for now. On the other hand, if you have a 64-bit operating system, then you can harness the extra RAM, as the 64-bit architecture can read and use the extra memory for the running applications.
3. Understanding the Virtual Memory Concept
I do not want to make things complicated, but without understanding the virtual memory concept offered by the OS, there is no point in moving forward.
In layman’s terms, Virtual Machine is a space on hard disk that is used by the operating system when the RAM runs out of space. This leads the OS to swap the running (inactive) app on the hard disk, swapping it back after it becomes active.
The process of swapping in and out are slow and eventually hampers the performance of the machine.
In other words you can say that if your computer lacks the random access memory (RAM) needed to run a program or operation, Windows uses virtual memory to compensate. Virtual memory combines your computer’s RAM with temporary space on your hard disk. When RAM runs low, virtual memory moves data from RAM to a space called a paging file.
To eliminate or minimize virtual machine swapping, ensure that your system has enough RAM and in case you find that your machine has a low ram and does frequent virtual machine swaps(i.e., become slow), getting a RAM will surely increase the performance of your PC or computer.
4. Running RAM intensive applications
Some applications require tons and tons of RAM. Most of these applications require huge RAM to swap app elements in and out the RAM all the time. If you are using photoshop, CorelDRAW or any graphic intensive application, then you should upgrade your RAM without any second thought.
The current generation browsers such as Google Chrome eats a lot of RAM and is not RAM friendly. You can solve this issue by either choosing a much sleeker and faster browser such as Firefox, Opera or upgrading your RAM.
Other things to keep in mind
1. Upgrading RAM is a serious issue. So, you need to first see if you have an extra slot left in the motherboard. If all slots are taken, try to sell the old RAM and get a bigger RAM module.
2. Know the frequency and RAM manufacturer and always choose the RAM with the same frequency and manufacturer(if possible). Running Two RAM sticks at a different frequency can slow down their hashing capabilities.
3. RAM goes into the motherboard with only one orientation. Be extra careful, when fitting the new RAM. Forcing RAM un-naturally will cause the RAM to be damaged.
RAM upgrades are a serious business if you do not know what are you doing. So take a step back and go through the points discussed in this article. With the right hardware combination, RAM upgrades can surely increase the performance of the machine, keeping other factors as same.
If you have any questions regarding RAM upgrade, comment below. The guide will be updated accordingly to new queries we solve here.