If your laptop suddenly starts lagging or responding slowly to commands, the RAM might be full. In this article, we cover how to upgrade RAM on a laptop.
Basically, if you want to know how to upgrade RAM on a laptop, you need to:
- First, check the amount of space occupied on your RAM
- Confirm that you can upgrade the RAM on your PC
- Determine the amount of memory space you will need for the type of activity you do
- Ensure compatibility with your system
- Install new RAM
However, before you can think of upgrading your RAM, you need to purchase a replacement. There are certain qualities needed for replacement RAM.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a New RAM
When it comes to time to make a buying decision on a new RAM for your system, you need to ensure it fulfills the following criterion:
- Made for your system: different RAMs fit different PCs. Therefore, ensure that the manufacturer has your system included as part of the compatible laptop models
- Cool: some systems like gaming laptops tend to overheat. You do not want to add a RAM prone to overheating to your system. So, ensure you read the properties of the RAM you are about to buy and how it functions against overheating.
- Latency: is there an interval before the RAM responds to given instructions? A RAM needs to fast so ensure you check the speed of processing.
Major Steps to Take Before Upgrading Your RAM
Before starting the upgrade process of your RAM, you need to do the following:
How to Check the Amount of Space Occupied By Your RAM
One thing you should never do is assume that the cause of your laptop’s slow performance is the RAM. Therefore, it is always best to check the space occupied before making any changes.
Checking Space Occupied on Windows RAM
To check for occupied RAM space on Windows, follow these steps:
Step 1: Go to “Start on Windows”
Step 2: Type “Task Manager” in the search bar
Step 3: Select “Task Manager”
Step 4: Select the “Performance tab”
Step 5: Go to “Memory” and you will see the amount of space in use
Checking Space Occupied on Mac RAM
To check for occupied RAM space on Mac, follow these steps:
Step 1: Open the “Finder” window
Step 2: Search for “Utilities” and open it
Step 3: Double-click the “Activity Monitor”
Step 4: Select the tab for “System Memory” and you will see the amount of space in use
How to Confirm If You Can Upgrade The RAM On Your PC
There are two ways you can confirm if the RAM of your PC is upgradeable:
- Check if your laptop has a sealed bottom: if all areas at the bottom of your PC is sealed, this means you cannot open it. Any attempts at opening the PC without professional help might damage a component.
- Check if the RAM is soldered to the motherboard: soldering the RAM to the motherboard prevents it from becoming loose within the PC. However, any DIY attempts to change the RAM will be greatly hampered. As you may not be equipped with the necessary tools.
But, even if your laptop bottom is not sealed or the RAM is not soldered, that does not mean you can upgrade your RAM. You need to perform another check by:
- Checking the Manufacturer’s website: for in-stock products or newly released laptops, the manufacturer’s website usually contains details of whether the RAM is upgradeable.
- Making use of a third party website: You can head over to a website like Crucial. Fill in the necessary details and check if your laptop falls into the category of upgradeable.
Determining the Amount of RAM Suitable for Your Activity Level
Before purchasing a laptop, the first thing you should always consider is whether the laptop can meet your demands.
However, sometimes, budgets can affect your ability to get your first-choice laptop. In turn, this leads to settling for a suitable alternative, but, in the process, you might end up sacrificing the features.
In such a situation, a large RAM might be one thing that is disregarded until later on when it affects the performance of the laptop.
So, to rectify the first mistake, ensure you consider your primary use of the system. Then factor how much RAM will be sufficient to enhance performance.
How to Find the Maximum RAM Capacity For Your PC
So, we have already established the fact that the amount of RAM space you have determines the programs you can run at once. It also affects the response time of your system to commands.
But, one thing most individuals do not know is that the RAM of your computer is set by the manufacturer based on two things:
- Operating System
To know the amount of RAM you can add to your PC, you have to assess both.
There are different operating systems for laptops, but the most popular include:
Checking Operating System on Windows
For a Windows system, you need to check whether it is a 32-bit or 64-bit processor. If you have more RAM than is allowed by the system, it will not be used. The following are the acceptable options for each:
- Up to 4 GB of RAM for 32-bit
- Up to 128 GB of RAM for 64-bit on Windows Home
- Up to 2 TB of RAM for 64-bit on Windows Pro, Enterprise and Education
Checking Operating System on Mac
In Mac systems, the model determines the amount of RAM that the system can handle. Therefore, if the model does not support it, you cannot install it on your PC. The acceptable RAM for some of the popular models are:
- Up to 32 GB of RAM for iMac late 2013 model
- Up to 16 GB of RAM for iMacs from 2010 to late 2012
- Up to 4 GB of RAM for iMacs from 2006 to 2009
Your operating system might support a lot of RAM space, but if your hardware does not allow it, purchasing more would be a waste. To know the space supported by your hardware, you need to use either of these options:
- Check the documentation of your motherboard
- Check online if you do not have access to the documentation
- Use a system scanner
How to Upgrade RAM on a Windows PC
After going through the actions of finding out if your laptop is upgradeable and the extent you can upgrade it too, the next step is to install the new RAM. First, you need to get the right RAM and the necessary tools. Then, you can start the upgrade purpose.
Types of RAMs
In today’s world, these are the RAMs that you are likely to find in your PC:
When buying a new RAM for your PC, consider the properties of the above before selecting one.
Tools Needed to Change Your RAM
You need to be equipped with the right tools to ensure the installation of a new RAM goes smoothly. We recommend the following:
- Screwdriver: different laptops have different screws covering the back panels. However, the most popular screw is the star screw. But, to be on the safe side, you can get a screwdriver set like the EFFICERE 9-Piece Set
- RAM: the new RAM you purchase should also be handy to ensure you can carry out the upgrade process at a go. Some of the best RAMs on the market that perfectly fit our criteria for a replacement include:
- Corsair Vengeance: DDR4 RAM which is very fast and has coolers that prevents overheating
- Kingston HyperX Predator: DDR3 RAM combines both latency and speed perfectly together.
- Adata Spectrix D80: perfect RAM for gaming as it ensures your system temperature is balanced with its liquid cooling.
- Corsair Apple Certified: best for Mac PCs
Safety Tips When Changing Your RAM
- Stay away from a wet environment
- Wipe your laptop with a soft cloth to clean dust and dirt
- Wear an ESD strap or touch the metal areas on your laptop to clear static discharge from your body
Steps to Take When Changing Your RAM
To change the old RAM and replace with the new one, use the following instructions:
Step 1: Ensure your PC is powered off
Step 2: Turn your PC upside down with the battery bottom facing you.
Step 3: Remove the PC battery
Step 4: After removing your battery, you will notice that there are certain screws around the panel. Get your screwdriver that has the same end as the screws
Step 5: Remove all screws around the battery panel area.
Step 6: Use a screw with a flat mouth to carefully remove the panel unscrewed.
Step 7: Next area you will see is the RAM. Carefully remove it using your fingers
Step 8: If the RAM is tightly stuck within the enclosure, you can use the flat screwdriver to carefully pry it out
Step 9: Replace the old RAM with the newly purchased one by finding the correct orientation
Step 10: Ensure you hear a pop sound as you insert the new RAM
Step 11: Replace all the panels previously removed and screw them back in.
Step 12: Wait for at least 5 minutes to ensure your system reorientates itself with the new RAM
Step 13: Power on your PC to test the new RAM.
Step 14: Go to “Start on Windows”
Step 15: Type “Task Manager” in the search bar
Step 16: Select “Task Manager”
Step 17: Go to “Memory” and you will see the new RAM space
Is Upgrading a RAM Worth It?
Yes, upgrading a RAM is definitely worth it. But, this depends on why and how you go about upgrading it. It is important that you consider whether your system needs the upgrade and whether the upgrade planned for your system is compatible with it.
If your system does not need the upgrade that is, there is still a lot of RAM unused on it. Or, if the replacement RAM purchased does not fit your laptop model, then these are scenarios where the upgrade might not be worth it.
Can I Mix RAM Brands On My System?
On paper, mixing RAM types is possible. However, in practice, this is not without problems. Different manufacturers can make a DDR2 RAM, but their compatibility will not be fluid.
You can have problems such as system not booting or even actions and tasks not saving. If you must have different RAMs on your system, ensure they are from similar brands to guard against such.
When upgrading the RAM on your laptop, ensure you have the right tools on the ground and you exercise the necessary safety tips. In the right conditions and with the right tools, the upgrade process need not take a long time.