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How to correctly install RAM

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This Tutorial addresses:
RAM is an integral part of any modern PC, and without it your PC would be simply known as a ‘paperweight’. As RAM is such an important piece of hardware it should be treated with care and consideration and installed in the correct manner. I shall now explain how to install and remove a DIMM safely.

RAM types

One of the common mistakes I see people make is them trying to install a DDR2 DIMM into a DDR3 socket. While this is perfectly possible with the correct application of brute force and charisma, you will find yourself severely disappointed when your computer fails to boot afterwards. It is imperative that you first check that you have the correct RAM for your system. This is very easily done by simply looking at your motherboard manual. It will have a section dictating the motherboard specifications, and here you will find information about what type of RAM your motherboard supports, (DDR, DDR2, DDR3) and the speeds it supports. More on speeds further on. Below is an example of the information you are looking for:



(The information highlighted in red is the information you are looking for, in case you hadn’t figured this out. XD)

If you do not have your motherboard manual, Google your motherboard’s make and model and you should find the manufacturers technical specification page for that motherboard as one of the first results. If you do not know your motherboards make or model, you can do one of two things. Either download CPU-Z and click on the motherboard tab, where you will find your motherboards make and model, or look at the motherboard itself, as both the make and model will be printed on it. Below is an example of this:



Upon determining what type of RAM your motherboard supports, you must now check that the RAM you plan on installing is the correct type. If you have bought some RAM from an online retailer, it will say on the packaging what type of ram it is, along with other information relating to your new RAM.

If you do not have the packaging, try taking a look at the DIMM itself. There is usually a sticker on one or both sides that will show some information, and you can normally find out the type there.

If there is no sticker or packaging, then take a look at the position of the notch(es) that are found where the contact pins are. Below is a diagram showing where the notch(es) can be found depending on the type of RAM.



Providing the type of RAM you plan on installing matches that of the type in your motherboard manual, you’re fine. If it is not the same type, then DO NOT attempt to install it!

RAM speeds

Now, you may or not be familiar with the fact that RAM can come in different speeds. These speeds dictate how fast the RAM can transfer data, and therefore how well the RAM performs.

Your motherboard and CPU will both have a maximum supported RAM speed, and while it is not imperative you ensure these match, it is not always advisable. If you do happen to have RAM that runs faster than the maximum speed of the motherboard and CPU, your motherboard will automatically downclock the RAM to the maximum speed, so it’s not that big of an issue. Besides, if you buy RAM that can run faster than your motherboard and CPU can support you have just wasted money, as the faster the speed, the more it costs.

To determine the fastest RAM speed your motherboard and CPU support, simply look at their respective manuals. If you do not have the manual for your motherboard, simply follow the same steps as you did for determining your motherboards compatible RAM types. If you do not have the manual for your CPU, then either use CPU-Z to determine your CPU’s make and model, or look on the CPU itself for this information, and then Google it. Again, the top result should be from your CPU manufacturers technical specification page.

Installing the RAM

Providing you have got this far and your RAM is compatible with your motherboard, you can now install your RAM.

Warning!

When handling any PC components it is always imperative that you carry out the correct ESD prevention methods. While it may not be immediately noticeable, ESD ‘s can cause irreversible damage to your hardware, and can VOID your warranty. Ensure that you use an anti-static wrist band and are working in a clean, dry environment. If you do not have an anti-static wrist band, then ensure that your PC is plugged into the socket but that the socket is switched off. Now all you have to do is touch an exposed piece of non-[painted metal inside your PC case to earth yourself. This will remove the static electricity in your body.

First of all, take a look at your RAM sockets on your motherboard. Do they have one or two clips?



(Left: 2 clips Right: 1 clip)

The reason for checking this is apparent at the end of the installation.

Take your DIMM and ensure that it is oriented correctly. This can be determined by ensuring that the notch(es) we talked about earlier align with the notch(es) in the RAM socket. Now, holding the DIMM parallel to the socket, gently insert the DIMM until you feel resistance. Now place your fingers on either end of the DIMM and push until you feel it lock. (You may also hear a click when this happens.) Now, if your RAM sockets have one clip, ensure that they are properly securing the DIMM by ensuring that they are fully depressed, and are not sticking away from the DIMM at an angle. IF they are not properly secured, simply press down until it locks the DIMM in place. Follow this same procedure for sockets that have two clips, but, for obvious reasons, do it for both clips.

Well done!

You have now successfully installed your RAM! To check that it is all working properly try booting up your PC. If it enters Windows properly with no errors or blue screens, then you have been successful! If an error message or blue screen appears try removing the RAM (By first unclipping the clips and then gently pulling the DIMM out of it’s socket) and installing it again. If it fails a second time you may have faulty DIMM’s and you may either want to return them or take them to a computer technician who will have a DIMM tester.

I hope you found this tutorial both informative and helpful, and if you have any suggestions or changes please do not hesitate to PM me and I will consider the validity of the information and make the necessary changes if applicable!

Thanks for reading!
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