Upgrading RAM for a Faster Computer
Upgrading your RAM is one of the best upgrades available for your PC, and the difference is always obvious - a speedier computer.
If I add more memory (RAM) to my computer, will it run faster?
The obvious response is always – YES, however, this depends on several factors: The age of your computer, your operating system and the capacity of your motherboard. An older motherboard may not be compatible with newer RAM chips. If RAM is your problem, you may end up buying a new motherboard needing new RAM. You need to weigh that cost against the purchase of a brand new machine.
What is RAM?
Random Access Memory (RAM) provides space for your computer to read and write. The CPU (central processing unit) accesses this data. When you add more RAM to your computer, you reduce the amount of times your CPU must read data from your hard disk. This allows your computer to work quicker. Why? Because RAM is abundantly faster than a hard disk. When you buy a computer, your motherboard has a limited capacity for RAM – how much can be used and recognized is specific to very model. Today, most of what we look at is graphic intensive. Whether you are on the internet or using Microsoft Office, graphics and animation intensive sites are becoming more popular each day. You not only need a computer that can run all your programs, but has the extra burden of working with the new and always changing, graphic and animation intensive technology.
Video Card Memory
Video Memory is memory (like RAM) (separate card) that your graphics card uses for display purposes so your CPU resources can be free to run other applications. It is located on your graphics card. This is what your monitor uses to open animation, graphics and pictures. Having a more powerful graphics card will increase the ease in which graphics and pictures open. As stated above, this a separate card and will most definitely add to the speed of your applications. If you can upgrade your card, getting at least a 128 Mbs of memory is good, but 256 Mbs is the best. Again, it all depends on what your motherboard can handle as well as the age of your machine.
Please note: If you have an older operating system such as Windows 98 or even lower, Windows 95, your computer will not be able to recognize nor use any added RAM over 256Mbs. You will need to upgrade your operating system to Windows 2000 or Windows XP before buying new RAM.
How much RAM do I need?
That depends on what you use your computer for. Normally, if your computer is older than two years, it will be to your best interest to upgrade your memory. If your computer is new or less than two years old, you still may want to consider upgrading. At the time of purchase, you may have understood the amount RAM you needed. Today, having at least 2Gbs of RAM in your computer is the minimum. If you need to check how much RAM you already have installed do the following: Right click on “my computer” – left click on “properties” below – you will now see a window with several tabs. Under the General Tab look at the bottom of the window –Several lines of information are displayed. The last line usually shows you the amount of RAM installed.
Knowing what category you fit into below, will help determine how much RAM you need.
° Typical User: you use your computer for e-mail, word processing (Microsoft Word), opening up photos and surfing the internet. It is safe to say that 2-3 Gbs of RAM will be enough.
° Website/Graphic Designer/Photographer: If you use Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop or Fireworks you are a High-End user. You will need to consider not only adding more RAM (at least have 4 Gbs) but should consider an upgrade on your video card, as well.
° High-End Gamer. There are special computers made just for you. The graphic intensity and processing speed needed for high end games is a different consideration calling for a different type of computer. You would need a high-End video card, a large amount of RAM and a super fast processor. One of the two greatest names in gaming machines is Alienware and Cyberpower PC. Do your research.
Whether upgrading your RAM or video card the difference is always noticeable - a speedier computer – with a faster application response.