Memory RAM or Random Access Memory is one of the important components for your computer, so knowing how to buy RAM is very important. RAM serves to store all the programs that you run on the computer. For example, when you open Microsoft Word, the program is temporarily stored in RAM. When you finish using Microsoft Word, the program will stop using RAM. Before buying RAM, there are various kinds of information that you must understand first. Like buying a smartphone, RAM also has its specifications so that it can be suitable to be installed on a computer.
When do we need to add or upgrade RAM?
Because it is in charge of storing running programs, the more Memory RAM capacity you have, the more programs you can run at one time. If you are a person who often opens many programs at once, adding RAM is the solution.
If your RAM is limited, the operating system especially Windows will start using your main data storage as rams like HDD or SSD. For example, your current RAM has a capacity of 2 GB and all of that memory has been used. When you open another program, Windows automatically moves one or more programs that you rarely use to your HDD or SSD. The process of moving programs that are in RAM to the HDD or SSD in Windows is commonly referred to as the Virtual Memory process.
The above process makes your computer feel slower when opening new programs because your HDD or SSD is not as fast as your RAM. That’s why RAM capacity helps you open more programs. Indirectly, your computer becomes faster because Windows does not need to frequently use your HDD or SDD as Virtual Memory.
Immediately, let’s discuss how to buy the right RAM for your computer together.
Check your current Memory RAM configuration
You don’t need to disassemble your computer or laptop to check the current condition of your RAM. You only need additional software. Here I recommend the Speccy application. This application can provide information about your computer’s current specifications, including RAM.
As shown above, in the RAM section, you can see your current RAM configuration information. For starters, please check how many RAM slots are on your computer and how many are being used. In the “Memory Slots” section, Speccy provides information that this computer has 2 slots and only 1 has been used.
This means, you can buy new RAM and install it on your computer, so there is 2 RAM on your computer. If only one or all of your computer slots have been used, it means that you can only upgrade or replace the existing RAM with a higher capacity.
Check the DDR version of your RAM
RAM using DDR or Double Data Rate as a method of how to transfer data in 1 cycle. Checking the DDR version in your current RAM is very important. Because you have to buy RAM with the same DDR version. DDR consists of 5 versions namely DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, and DDR5.
DDR4 RAM is the newest type of RAM, it’s fast and you can get it now easily. While DDR5 is still in the development stage and has not been sold freely. If you just bought a computer in the last 1 or 2 years, the chances of your computer using DDR4 are even greater.
But you don’t need to hesitate, because the Speccy application can check the type of DDR in your RAM. Just click “Slot #1” to see information about the RAM in the first slot. It can be seen in the picture above if this computer uses DDR4 type RAM. Automatically you have to buy DDR4 RAM and don’t let you buy DDR3.
Slots for RAM are usually not backward compatible either. This means that DDR3 RAM cannot be installed in the DDR4 slot or vice versa. Although several motherboards support this, I recommend using the same type of DDR for the stability of computer use.
DIMMs and SO-DIMMs
DIMM or Dual In-line Memory Module is an integrated circuit component for devices such as RAM. However, you don’t need to know completely about DIMMs or SO-DIMMs (Small Outline DIMMs). In essence, DIMM-type RAM is used for desktop and server computers. While SO-DIMM is used for laptops or notebooks. So if you want to buy RAM for your laptop, make sure you ask for SO-DIMM RAM. RAM for laptops is also smaller than RAM for desktops so it’s easy for you to identify.
Memory RAM Speed
The next way to buy RAM is to check the speed of RAM. How fast a RAM can be identified easily by reading certain numbers in the RAM specifications. Look again at the image above. The RAM cycle speed in this computer is 1200 MHz. Because all RAM uses DDR, it means that the data transfer rate can be known by multiplying by 2 (Double) the cycle speed. 1200 MHz times 2, the result is 2400. That means the data transfer rate of the RAM is 2400 million or 2.4 billion.
If you want to replace RAM, paying attention to the speed of data transfer can improve the performance of your computer. However, this performance increase may be less significant because you are still using the same type of DDR, namely DDR4. The capacity of RAM remains the first reason if you change your RAM.
So when you buy RAM, pay attention to the number after the DDR name. If it says DDR4-2400, then the specifications are the same as this computer. DDR4 itself has a maximum speed of up to DDR4-3200, but of course, the price is more expensive.
Dual, Triple, and Quad Channel
Imagine if you work, it will be faster if it is done by 2 or more people. This also applies to RAM. Using 2 RAM or faster than just 1 only. RAM with Dual Channel, means you use 2 RAM in one computer. Triple means 3 and Quad means 4 RAM.
So that your computer can take advantage of this Dual, Triple, or Quad Channel, the RAM must have the same specification criteria for high performance. For example, currently, you have a DDR4-2400 of 4 GB, please buy more RAM with the same specifications. You don’t need to buy RAM with the same brand to apply it, the important thing is the specifications are the same.
As in the picture above, I have a computer with a Dual Channel configuration, which uses 2 RAM. The specifications are the same, only the brand is different. The first RAM uses the Micron brand, which is the default from the computer. The second RAM uses the Adata brand. Both have the same specifications, namely DDR4-2400 with a capacity of 4 GB each.
Since the amount of RAM has something to do with speed, you should buy 2 RAM with a total capacity of 8 GB instead of buying just 1 RAM with a capacity of 8 GB. By buying more RAM, the computer can access the data in RAM faster because there are more paths.
Many manufacturers sell RAM in kit form or pairs. They don’t sell just 1 RAM, but 2 or even 4 in one package at a time. Although the price is more expensive than buying 1 RAM with a larger capacity, the performance will be faster if you use this channel.
Checking how much RAM is the most for the computer
The more RAM capacity, the better. But you need to note that all computers have a limit on how much capacity they can use. You can not immediately buy RAM with a capacity of 32 GB and directly install it on the computer.
Although previously this article explained about the operating system and processor architecture where 64 bits can support up to terabytes of RAM, not all computers support it. In addition to architectural factors, motherboard compatibility factors also have a role in how much RAM can be used. Here’s how to find out the maximum RAM that can be used on your computer.