If you’ve ever upgraded your PC or laptop, there’s a very good chance that the process involved adding more RAM. Improving hardware performance with more or faster memory is always a smart option.
But when you upgrade, something may remain: old RAM.
So what can you do with your old RAM modules? Can they be reused? Or redesigned? Should they be thrown in the trash? Here are seven ways to find a new use for old PC memory.
Dispose of old RAM chips
It’s unusual to get such promotions without having anything else. Often you will find that one or more RAM modules had to be removed in order to install new ones. Memory modules are usually installed in pairs, both with the same amount of memory, speed, and from the same manufacturer.
After all, your system can run as fast as your slowest RAM module. This physical necessity means there can be quite a bit of wasted RAM.
1. Use Old Ram to upgrade old computers
In most cases, RAM removed from a PC or laptop can be reused on an old machine. If you take the time to check compatibility with the target device, it should be easy. When replacing RAM, you will need to take the same anti-static precautions.
But what kind of RAM are you using? And how can you know if the target machine will accept modules?
Several tools are available online to help you. You can use the Crucial Advisor Tool to select the target computer’s motherboard and processor combination. The tool will then advise which RAM modules to install.
You can also use the Crucial System Scanner, an automated version of the above. Your best bet is to run this on both computers and look for matches in RAM module compatibility.
If you have friends or family with an old PC or laptop that are in desperate need of a replacement, expanding your RAM is a great way to quickly increase your speed. You should also consider the lightweight Linux operating system.
2. Donate to a local school or Makerspace
However, the benefits of your old RAM modules may not just be tech relatives. Budget cuts mean local institutions (eg schools, churches, community centers) need whatever equipment they can get their hands on.
Naturally, there are processes to follow when donating hardware. In the case of RAM modules, this should be easy since they are volatile. This means that any data stored on them is lost when the power is turned off, unlike hard drives. (Discs require thorough cleaning and removal before sale or donation.)
Hobby spaces (also known as «makerspaces») are also great targets for RAM. There are many ways to reuse RAM modules, from learning the basics of building a PC to completely repurposing modules.
3. Connect old RAM to Arduino
In keeping with DIY or makerspace principles, why not plug RAM modules into an Arduino hobbyist board for extra storage?
Using solder, wires, breadboard, and code, RAM modules from the 1980s were successfully adapted for Arduino storage.