- If you were to come up to me and go, "Mike, my computer's running slow. What's the one thing I can do to make my computer run faster?" Well, first I'd say clear all that malware off (laughs), but really what I'd say is add more RAM. It's amazing to me how adding RAM to a system can improve performance and if the CompTIA A+ asks you a question like that, be sure to answer in kind. Adding RAM is easy, it's simple, and it's a great benefit. RAM's cheap and if you want to look like a hero, go up to somebody who's computer is running slow, slap some more RAM in there and all of the sudden they're like, "Wow! Mike you're an amazing computer technician." (laughs) Yeah, whatever, so let's talk about adding RAM to your system.
The first thing, the most important thing you can do is grab your motherboard book. If you don't have a motherboard book go online, find it online. If you just have a manufacturer and you don't know what your motherboard is, go to your manufacturer's website. If you're using a laptop, get the model number. Whatever it is, somewhere there is documentation, very clear documentation that says exactly what kind of memory your computer can support. So, if we take a look on this guy here we'll see it can support up to 4 DDR3 DIMMs and it gives me all the different speeds it can support and, although it's a little tricky to read, you'll see it says 32 gigabytes max so I can tell by looking at this I've only got four slots and a maximum of 32 gigabytes.
The most RAM I can put into this system is 8 gigabyte sticks. No one ever writes these really well, but it gets you to the right spot. So we know what kind of RAM we need. Now you'll notice that this motherboard allows us to use a number of different types of speeds so what's the right speed for you to use? Well, how much money can you afford? In general, the faster the RAM the better so I always go for as fast a RAM as I can afford. Not necessarily because it'll make this system run a lot faster, but a lot of times if I want to do upgrades on another system and steal things from another system, pretty much everybody's using DDR3 these days so I can swap and go crazy all day long.
Most DDR memory is what we call dual or quad channel. When we say dual or quad channel what we're saying is that you have to put in two or four sticks. There have been even triple channel RAM, but that's not quite as common. The important thing to appreciate here is that if you take a look at a RAM stick there's nothing about this RAM stick that makes it dual channel or triple channel or quad channel so people will sell you, like, these quad channel packs that's got four sticks of RAM in it. The important thing about channels that you have to remember is that every stick in the channel has to be the same speed and the same capacity.
So what I'm gonna do right now is I've got two sticks of two gigabyte RAM and it's DDR3 and I've already looked in here. I've got the right speeds for this system so I'm gonna go ahead and install it. In front of me I've got a motherboard. It has four RAM slots and supports dual channel memory. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna put in the RAM. Notice how carefully I'm holding the RAM. If I touch this metal stuff or if I rub against these chips there's a pretty good chance I can smoke the RAM and so I'm being extremely careful.
Push down the little ears. Oop, got it backwards. (snaps) I drop in the RAM. It's not that big of a deal. I'll get those ears out one more time. (snaps) And the RAM's in. Now take a look at this. Notice that they're nice and even. Nothing's askew or twisted or anything like that. It's pretty easy to tell when RAM's in. The ears are well snapped in on the sides. Everything's nice and level. You've installed some RAM.
The thing you've gotta remember about RAM is that you really can't break anything by messing up at this point. For example, let's just say you only put in one stick of RAM. You won't break the RAM if the computer doesn't recognize it. It just won't work. So you can be kinda gutsy when it comes to playing with RAM or experimenting. Say you don't have a motherboard book, you know, a lot of times I'll just go in there and try stuff until it works. Installing memory's pretty easy. All you have to do is snap it in and you're pretty much home free. The trick is when your computer boots up.
If it sees all the memory, fantastic. Move onto the next step, but there are two cases where, if you've messed up, you're gonna see it. Number one, the computer may not boot up at all. That's a big clue you've messed up with your RAM installation. And number two, you won't see the RAM that you've just added. The important thing you need to understand at this point is that you will not destroy the RAM or the motherboard by doing this wrong. It just won't work so you pull it out and try something else so don't be afraid to experiment here a little bit if you're unsure. Now, once the system is installed, watch out for a couple little basic gotchas.
For example, don't be putting different size RAMs within the same channel. Also, watch out for things like, for example, when someone asks you to install, this is a great example, this happened to be like a hundred times actually, a friend of mine, he's got four sticks of one gigabyte memory in his computer and he says, "Mike, I have four gigabytes of memory. I need eight gig," so I'm like, "Fine, I'll go in and I'll buy two four gigabyte sticks." And I look in there, he's got four one gigabyte sticks so I pull two sticks out and I put my two four in.
When it counts up, he's gonna have ten gigabytes of memory. That always trips people out a little bit. You know what? Just take the extra memory and put it in your pocket. (upbeat music)
The CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam is comprised of six key parts. The first, core processing, is covered by this course. Instructor Mike Meyers explains the fundamentals of PCs, microprocessors, RAM, and BIOS. He also shows you how to set up, connect, maintain, and troubleshoot the main components of a computer.
Note: The six courses designed for the CompTIA A+ (220-901) exam preparation include core processing, core hardware, peripherals and building a PC, displays and printers, networking, and laptops and mobile devices.
We are now a CompTIA Content Publishing Partner. As such, we are able to offer CompTIA exam vouchers at a 10% discount. For more information on how to obtain this discount, please download these PDF instructions.
- How do personal computers (PCs) work?
- What is a central processing unit (CPU)?
- When is random access memory (RAM) used?
- What is a basic input/output system (BIOS)?
- Installing a CPU
- Working with extensions and sockets
- Troubleshooting RAM
- Setting up a BIOS