Not sure if you can update the hardware yourself? Don’t worry, it’s probably not as difficult as it might seem. While not every part of a laptop is easily accessible, laptop RAM is often very easy to replace. Check if your laptop has a RAM access hatch on the back or if the back cover or keyboard can be easily removed to open it. If this is not immediately visible, refer to the manual or the manufacturer’s website. Once you know how to physically access the RAM, the hardest part is figuring out how much RAM you need and what type of RAM is compatible with your laptop. So let’s go over the basics and see what you really need before we dive into the real craft.
What is laptop RAM and do I need more?
RAM means R andom A ccess M emory. This is also known as physical memory; Virtual memory is explained in the next paragraph. RAM is used to temporarily store information about running processes and tasks. The more RAM available, the more processes can run at the same time.
Performance issues occur when available RAM is exhausted. To free up memory for active processes and tasks, the system starts writing redundant data, that is, information about idle processes or tasks, to the hard disk (virtual memory). When the user returns to an inactive process or task, the system must first free up RAM, then fetch the requested item’s data from the hard drive and load it into RAM. Since the read/write speed of the hard drive is much lower than the read/write speed of RAM, the user experiences lag.
If you often experience lag when you want to switch from one program to another, adding laptop RAM will probably boost your system a lot.
How much RAM do I need?
It depends on what you do with your computer and the amount you can add is limited by the type of operating system you have.
All 32-bit Windows operating systems support up to 4 GB of RAM. Windows 7 Home Basic 64-bit is limited to 8 GB of RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit can use up to 16 GB of RAM. All other 64-bit versions of Windows 7 support up to 192 GB of RAM. The regular 64-bit version of Windows 8 is limited to 128 GB of RAM, while the Professional and Enterprise editions support up to 512 GB of RAM. A full overview can be found on this page Memory limits for Windows editions.
Now that you know the maximum amount of RAM supported by your operating system, let’s find out what you currently have. On Windows, press the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [ESC]to open Task Manager. Go to the » Performance and check what it says under » Physical Memory (MB)» . Total shows the amount of RAM installed on your system.
If your total RAM is less than what your system supports, you have room to upgrade. And if your RAM is depleted, you have a reason to upgrade. Keep Task Manager open and see how your RAM works over time as you continue to use your computer.
You can evaluate how much information is being written to virtual memory by using Performance Monitor. On Windows 7 go to START enter execute in the search field and open system monitor . In chapter » Monitoring Tools» click » Performance Monitor» then click the green icon +, to add another variable. Select swap file from the list and click the button Add >> at the bottom. Click OK and look. This will give you an idea of how much RAM you really need.
As a general rule, 2-4 GB should be enough for normal web browsing and text editing. 8 GB if you run multiple programs at the same time and/or leave many browser tabs open. More only if you run memory-intensive programs.
What type of RAM do I need?
Before you can upgrade memory, you need to find out what type of RAM is compatible with your laptop. The most convenient way to look into your laptop and determine what will fit is to use memory tips. or Crucial system scanner. For the first one, you need to specify the manufacturer and model of the laptop, and the first one is an executable file that scans your system and automatically detects the corresponding hardware. Both tools are available on the Crucial home page.
Kingston offers a similar service for finding the type of memory you need. You can search by system/device, memory part number or memory type. Unlike Crucial, Kingston actually listed my laptop model and recommended a compatible module.
If you are unsure of your laptop model, I recommend running the Crucial System Scanner. It will show you what type of memory card you are using right now and recommend a new module based on it. My laptop, for example, has one 4 GB memory card, so one of the two slots is available.