Topics and tasks in this chapter
Buying the right memory
Installing memory into a computer or laptop
Diagnosing failing memory
Adding memory is one of the most popular upgrades today, especially for people upgrading to Windows 7. It's also one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades around. Years ago, memory cost more per ounce than gold; computer stores doled it out to the highest bidder. Today, you'll find cheap memory chips sold at your local discount warehouse store, hanging next to the bulk-pack blank CDs.
What exactly is memory? When your computer's CPU (central processing unit) tells your computer what to do, it needs a scratch pad for taking notes. Memory works as that scratch pad. The more memory you stuff into your computer, the larger the scratchpad, letting you run more programs more quickly.
This chapter explains the many types of memory, their unfortunate acronyms, how to buy the specific type of memory your computer needs, and how to snap the new memory into the right spot inside your computer.
Although manufacturers have created many types of memory over the years, all the memory today looks pretty much the same.
For a desktop computer, memory comes on a fiberglass strip about four inches long and an inch tall, with little notches in its sides and edges. Most computers hold from two to four strips.
Laptop memory is about half the size of a desktop computer's memory; most laptops can hold one or ...