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In this lesson we are going to show you how to add memory to another desktop computer and a laptop computer.
Upgrading a Desktop Computer's Memory
For the desktop computer I'll begin by going to Crucial.com and running the System Scanner. The type of memory in this computer is DDR2. The computer can except PC2-5300, 6400 or 8500 memory and is capable of running in Dual Channel mode. The system has 4 memory slots, 2 are occupied by 512MB stick of memory for a total of 1GB. The maximum memory capacity per slot is 2GB and the maximum capacity overall is 8GB.
To get more specifics about the memory in the computer I'll install and run CPU-Z and go to the Memory tab. The type is DDR2, the size is 1GB and the memory is in Dual Channel mode which matches what the System Scanner showed us. The speed is 400MHz which again is doubled do the Double Data Rate of the RAM to DDR-800MHz also known as PC2-6400 and the CAS Latency is 5. I'll go to the SPD tab to get the voltage of the RAM which is 1.8V.
If I get another 2 sticks of memory, 512MB in capacity each, with the same specifications, I can double my system's memory capacity to 2GB. I could instead add 2, 1GB sticks of RAM that would triple it to 3GB, or I can max out the remaining two memory slots with 2, 2GB sticks of memory which will bring the system up to 5GB of memory.
I decided to add 2, 1GB sticks of memory to the system. I took the specs I got from Crucial.com's System Scanner and the CPU-z and went to a local computer store to find compatible RAM. I'll shut down Windows, disconnect the power cable from the back of the case along with all the other connections so I can get to the tower. I'll remove the case cover and lay the tower on it's side. I'll touch an unpainted part of the case to discharge any static electricity in my body. I need to add these 2 DDR2 sticks of memory to the empty memory slots in the system so I'll open the tabs on the slots. Then, one at a time, I'll match up the notches on the memory and the slot, insert the sticks into the guides on each side of the slots and press down at the same time on each side of the memory sticks until they snap into place and the tabs come up to hold them in place. If your system takes DDR or RAMBUS memory you follow the same procedure. It is the same as installing the DDR2 or DDR3 memory we've shown here.
I'll close up the system, reconnect all of the cables to the back of the case and power the computer on. The BIOS information screen is showing the full 3GB of memory in the system. I'll verify this in Windows by going to the Start orb, right clicking on Computer or My Computer in Windows XP and then clicking properties. Remember to make sure the page file is System managed by going to the start orb, right click on Computer, Properties, Advanced System Properties, Settings, Advanced tab and Change. Make sure System managed size is selected and in Windows Vista or 7 that Automatically manage paging file size for all drives is checked and OK out of the dialogs. Let Windows restart if it asks to.
Upgrading a Laptop Computer's Memory
The process for gathering information about the memory in a laptop is the same as with a desktop. I've already run the Crucial.com System Scanner and CPU-z. The memory type is DDR2 and it is running in Dual Channel mode. This laptop currently has PC2-3200 also known as DDR2-400. It has 2 memory slots, both are occupied by 256MB sticks of RAM for a total of 512MB and the maximum capacity per slot is 1GB making the overall maximum capacity 2GB. The CAS Latency is 3 and the voltage is 1.8V.
I've purchased 2, 1GB sticks of RAM with matching features and specs. To upgrade the memory on a laptop computer you first need to shut down the computer. Disconnect the power adapter and turn the laptop over. Next you need to remove the battery. On most laptops there is a locking slider you need to move to the unlocked position and a separate slider to disengage the battery. Then slide the battery out and set it to the side.
On most laptops there will be two covers that are meant to be easily removed. One for the hard drive and the other for the RAM. These are held in place by philips screws. You need a small philips head screw driver to remove the screws. A small flat head screw driver will also work. The screws are very small and easy to loose so keep track of them and put them all in one place. Once they are all out, find a indention around the cover and use your screw driver or finger nail to lift up and remove the cover.