Chapter 2. Adding RAM to Your Hot Rod

In This Chapter

  • Determining which type of memory you need

  • Understanding the myth behind "minimum RAM"

  • Installing additional memory

What's not to like about a memory upgrade? As I discuss in the previous chapter, the dinero required for extra random access memory (RAM) is a mere pittance compared with a new CPU (or CPU-and-motherboard combination). Plus, RAM is easy to install, requiring only that you remove your PC's case and plug in the modules. Your PC should recognize additional RAM immediately, with no silly drivers required. Also, additional RAM makes everything run faster in Windows — both the applications you run and the operating system itself.

"Mark," you say, "there's got to be a hitch somewhere." True: The problem is that you have so many different types of RAM modules to choose from. Read this chapter before you buy RAM modules, and keep these pages handy when you upgrade.

Defining the Different Types of RAM

To begin this primer on memory, review the different types of RAM available for PCs made within the past five years or so.


Before I begin: If you're considering installing a new motherboard and CPU on an older PC, double-check that the new motherboard will use the same RAM type and speed as your current motherboard. (Visit each manufacturer's Web site to compare the specifications for your existing motherboard and the new toy, or refer to the documentation for both motherboards.) If not, the RAM that you add won't do you any good ...

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