How to Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM + Best RAM Upgrade Recommendations for PC and Mac

Are you looking to upgrade your computer’s RAM? We can help. This article will give you a review of WHY you might want to upgrade your RAM along with 5 specific recommendations on RAM upgrade products for both a PC as well as a MAC.

I’ve updated my RAM on my computers multiple times – its not as hard as you might think, it doesn’t cost very much, and it DOES make a noticeable difference in computer performance.

Did you know? One of the most effective ways to give your computer a boost is by upgrading its RAM (Random Access Memory). Why? Because RAM plays a crucial role in multitasking, allowing your computer to run multiple programs simultaneously without slowing down.

Understanding RAM:

RAM is a type of computer memory that temporarily stores data and instructions that the CPU (Central Processing Unit) needs to access quickly. Unlike permanent storage devices like hard drives or SSDs (Solid State Drives), RAM is volatile, meaning it loses its data when the computer is turned off.

The amount of RAM your computer has directly impacts its performance, especially when running multiple applications simultaneously or performing memory-intensive tasks like gaming or video editing. Upgrading your RAM can lead to improved multitasking capabilities, faster program loading times, and smoother overall performance.

What you need to know BEFORE you try to upgrade RAM

Is your computer CAPABLE of a RAM upgrade?

Before purchasing new RAM modules, it’s crucial to ensure compatibility with your computer. Here’s what you need to consider:

a. Type of RAM:

There are different types of RAM, including DDR (Double Data Rate), DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, and DDR5. Check your computer’s specifications to determine which type of RAM is compatible.

b. Capacity:

Determine the maximum amount of RAM your computer can support. This information can usually be found in your computer’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website.

c. Speed:

RAM speed is measured in MHz (megahertz) and indicates how quickly data can be transferred to and from the memory modules. Make sure the speed of the new RAM matches or is compatible with your computer’s existing RAM.

d. Form Factor:

RAM modules come in different form factors, such as DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Module) for desktops and SODIMM (Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module) for laptops. Ensure you select the correct form factor for your computer.

Purchase the Right RAM:

Once you’ve determined the compatibility requirements, it’s time to purchase the new RAM modules. Consider factors such as brand reputation, warranty, and customer reviews when selecting the RAM. It’s also essential to purchase the appropriate amount of RAM based on your computing needs.

How to Install your new RAM

What follows is only a general guide but NOT a substitute for YOUR computer’s specific manual and recommendations…

Prepare Your Computer:

Before installing the new RAM, it’s essential to prepare your computer:

a. Turn off your computer and unplug all cables.

b. Remove the case cover to access the internal components. Refer to your computer’s manual for specific instructions on how to do this.

c. Ground yourself to discharge any static electricity by touching a metal surface or using an anti-static wrist strap. Static electricity can damage sensitive electronic components, including RAM modules.

Remove Existing RAM (if applicable):

If your computer’s RAM slots are already occupied, you’ll need to remove the existing RAM modules before installing the new ones:

a. Press down on the tabs located at either end of the RAM slot to release the existing RAM module. b. Carefully remove the RAM module from the slot by pulling it straight out.

c. Place the removed RAM modules in an anti-static bag or container to prevent damage.

Install the New RAM:

With the old RAM removed (if applicable), it’s time to install the new RAM modules:

a. Align the notch on the RAM module with the notch in the RAM slot to ensure proper orientation.

b. Gently insert the RAM module into the slot at a 45-degree angle.

c. Once the RAM module is fully seated in the slot, press down firmly until the retention clips on both sides click into place.

d. Repeat the process for additional RAM modules if you’re installing more than one.

Replace the Case Cover and Power On:

After installing the new RAM modules, follow these final steps to complete the upgrade:

a. Replace the case cover and secure it with the screws.

b. Reconnect all cables and peripherals to your computer.

c. Power on your computer and wait for it to boot up.

d. Once your computer has booted up, verify that the new RAM is detected by checking the system properties or using diagnostic tools.

Test Performance:

After upgrading your computer’s RAM, it’s a good idea to test its performance to ensure everything is functioning correctly. Open multiple applications or run memory-intensive tasks to gauge the improvement in speed and responsiveness.

Top 5 RAM Upgrades for Personal Computers/Windows

Now that we’ve know HOW to upgrade our RAM, let’s take a look at some of the best picks for RAM upgrades for a PC…

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200MHz

  • Pros: High performance, reliable brand, excellent heat dissipation with aluminum heat spreader.
  • Cons: Slightly more expensive than other brands.
  • Review: Corsair’s Vengeance LPX is known for its stability and performance. The 3200MHz speed is great for gaming and heavy multitasking. It’s also XMP 2.0 ready, making it easy to overclock.
  • Price Check: Corsair’s Vengeance LPX 16GB

Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 16GB (2 x 8GB)

  • Pros: Competitive pricing, reliable performance, attractive design.
  • Cons: May not fit in smaller cases due to height.
  • Review: Crucial’s Ballistix series offers solid performance at a reasonable price. It’s designed for gamers and performance enthusiasts, providing reliable speed and performance.
  • Price Check: Crucial Ballistic 3200

G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200MHz

  • Pros: Good value for money, solid performance, sleek design.
  • Cons: Basic heat spreader.
  • Review: G.Skill Ripjaws V is known for its excellent price-to-performance ratio. It offers reliable speeds and compatibility with most motherboards, making it a great choice for budget-conscious users.
  • Price Check: G Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB

Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB (2 x 8GB) 3200MHz DDR4

  • Pros: Auto-overclocking, reputable brand, reliable.
  • Cons: May be slightly more expensive than other similar options.
  • Review: Kingston’s HyperX Fury series is praised for its plug-and-play overclocking and stability. It’s a reliable choice for both gamers and professionals.
  • Price Check: Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB (2 x 8GB) 3200MHz DDR4

TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan Z 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200MHz

  • Pros: Affordable, decent performance, good heat spreader design.
  • Cons: Less known brand.
  • Review: TeamGroup’s T-Force Vulcan Z offers good performance at a lower price point. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to upgrade without breaking the bank.
  • Price Check: TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan Z 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200MHz

Top 5 RAM Upgrades for Macs

You have a MAC and want to upgrade your RAM? I’ve done that too. Here’s some good RAM upgrades to consider…

Crucial 16GB Kit (2 x 8GB) DDR4 2666 MHz SODIMM

  • Pros: Highly compatible with Mac, reliable, good performance.
  • Cons: Slightly higher price.
  • Review: Crucial is known for making reliable RAM, and this kit is specifically tailored for Mac systems, ensuring compatibility and performance.
  • Price Check: Crucial 16GB Kit

OWC 16.0GB (2x 8.0GB) DDR4 2400MHz SODIMM

  • Pros: Excellent Mac compatibility, lifetime warranty, good customer support.
  • Cons: Slightly slower speed compared to 2666 MHz.
  • Review: OWC (Other World Computing) is a well-regarded brand among Mac users, known for high-quality, Mac-specific memory upgrades.
  • Price Check: OWC 16GB Mac

Timetec Hynix IC 16GB KIT(2x8GB) DDR3 1600MHz

  • Pros: Affordable, good performance for older Macs, reliable.
  • Cons: Not compatible with newer models requiring DDR4.
  • Review: Timetec offers a cost-effective upgrade for older Mac models using DDR3. It’s a great choice for extending the life of an older machine.
  • Price Check: Timetec Hynix IC 16GB Kit

Samsung 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 2666MHz SODIMM

  • Pros: High performance, reliable brand, compatible with newer Macs.
  • Cons: Premium price.
  • Review: Samsung is a leading name in memory, and this kit offers excellent performance and reliability, making it ideal for demanding applications on newer Mac models.
  • Price Check: Samsung 16GB SODIMM Kit

A-Tech 16GB Kit (2 x 8GB) DDR4 2666MHz SODIMM

  • Pros: Affordable, good performance, lifetime warranty.
  • Cons: Lesser-known brand.
  • Review: A-Tech provides a budget-friendly option with good performance and a lifetime warranty, making it a solid choice for those looking to upgrade their Mac without spending too much.
  • Price: A-TECH 16 GB Kit

These RAM upgrades represent a range of performance and price points, catering to different user needs whether for general use, gaming, or professional applications. Each of these options is well-reviewed and reliable, ensuring a significant performance boost for both personal computers and Macs. I hope you find one that works for you.

Links to Learn more

  1. How to Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM – PCWorld
  2. RAM Upgrade: How To Upgrade Your Computer’s Memory – Crucial
  3. How to Upgrade Laptop RAM and How to Install Laptop Memory – PCWorld
  4. A Beginner’s Guide to Upgrading Your PC – TechRadar

Putting it all together on RAM Upgrades…

Upgrading your computer’s RAM is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to enhance its performance and productivity. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully upgrade your computer’s RAM and enjoy smoother multitasking, faster program loading times, and overall improved performance. Remember to prioritize compatibility and handle the RAM modules with care to avoid any damage during the installation process. With the right approach, you can breathe new life into your computer and optimize its capabilities for years to come.

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