How to choose the right RAM for your computer?


6 min 266

For a person far from the world of computers, choosing the right RAM is not an easy task. The article details what you need to pay attention to, and also has some useful tips from an expert.

The choice of RAM for your «iron friend» (in this case, a computer, not a car) is an extremely important matter. After all, it depends on this board whether your car will be able to “fly like a butterfly” or crawl like an old turtle, exhausted by life.

Let’s understand the terms

So what is RAM or RAM, as computer scientists usually call it. This is a small board that is integrated into the motherboard. RAM (the concept comes from the English Random Access Memory or RAM for short). While the computer is running, it stores the executable machine code (programs), as well as various data processed by the processor. All this is located inside the system unit or under the laptop keyboard.

Expert advice! As a rule, each motherboard has three slots for RAM, so if the computer does not please with performance, that is, it works annoyingly slowly, the amount of RAM can be increased.

Different computers — different RAM

Working memory is different. So first of all, you need to determine for what purposes the computer will be used. After all, it directly depends on whether it is worth spending money on buying super-efficient (and, as a result, more expensive) memory or even the simplest one will be enough.

For example, for a PC that will serve as a kind of «typewriter», a large margin of performance is not required. So, when buying a computer for bookkeeping or some office tasks, it makes no sense to spend a lot of money buying RAM “with a margin”. But to perform graphics tasks or run modern (often resource-demanding) games, there should be a lot of memory. Otherwise, using a computer and maintaining self-control will be simply unrealistic.

And here is the motherboard.

It should be borne in mind that different types of RAM are, as it were, «sharpened» for different types of motherboards. In simple terms: you can’t put outdated components on a sophisticated computer. It’s all about the connectors, or rather, the different number of contacts with which the board is connected.

RAM for a computer.  We choose wisely

In addition, in some computer models, the controller is located not in the motherboard, but in the processor itself. We are talking about the products of the most popular companies in this market. All AMD processors have this feature, as well as some Intel processors (Intel Corei3; i5; i7 and IntelXeon).

So, the more modern and faster the computer, the more you have to spend on its RAM.

RAM for a veteran computer

RAM is of several types. If you are using an outdated computer that Yeltsin still remembers, then you should not aim at the expensive boards displayed in the store in the most prominent place. You should most likely be looking for DDR SDRAM, as well as Registered DDR or DDR ECC. Get ready for the fact that finding such a RAM will not be so easy. Computer stores love to keep up with the times, and they don’t like to sell outdated goods at all.

Since a modern RAM simply won’t fit your motherboard, you will most likely have to search on radio markets or on the Internet.

Expert advice! To insure against mistakes when buying RAM, you need to know which motherboard model is installed deep in your system unit. The easiest way to find out is to look at the receipt, which is usually kept after buying a computer with all the other papers.

Newer memory

If, nevertheless, you use a more modern computer, but do not chase new products, most likely you have DDR2. These boards (DDR2, as well as DDR2 ECC and Registered DDR2) were the next step in the evolution of RAM. Finding them in stores is already much easier, although this development is hopelessly outdated. If the computer is relatively new, that is, it was bought about a year ago, then it most likely provides for a new type of RAM — this is DDR3, LV DDR3, or DDR3 ECC or Registered DDR3.

Frequency characteristics of the RAM

There is another parameter that significantly affects the performance of the computer. The fact is that RAM has a different bandwidth. Previously, all system units and laptops had PC-2100, or PC-2700 or PC-3200. In the first case, the frequency is 266 MHz, in the second it is 67 megahertz more, in the third we will add another 77 megahertz.

RAM for a computer.  We choose wisely

Then more productive memory PC2-3200 (DDR2 400 MHz), PC2-5300 (DDR2 667 MHz), PC2-6400 (DDR2 800 MHz), PC2-8500 (DDR2 1066 MHz), PC2-9200 (DDR2 1150) appeared on store shelves MHz), PC2-9600 (DDR2 1200 MHz). Some people still use it, but if you want your computer to work really well and quickly, experts recommend immediately putting something from this list:

  • PC3-8500 (DDR3 1066 MHz)
  • PC3-10600 (DDR3 1333MHz)
  • PC3-12800 (DDR3 1600 MHz)
  • PC3-14400 (DDR3 1800 MHz)
  • PC3-15000 (DDR3 1866 MHz)
  • PC3-16000 (DDR3 2000 MHz)
  • PC3-17000 (DDR3 2133 MHz).

It is not difficult to explain such a spread in performance. It’s just that the evolution of the PC has led to the fact that the amount of information that needs to be processed has increased greatly, as a result, the performance of RAM has also increased. Indeed, otherwise computers would have large hard drives, but would work extremely slowly because of this. The marking of the RAM indicates how much information the board can process. So PC3-15000, for example, is capable of passing fifteen thousand megabytes per second through itself.

RAM for a computer.  We choose wisely

Instead of an epilogue

In summary, for a computer to be as reliable and fast as an American supercar, a number of factors must be taken into account:

  • for office work, a large amount of RAM is not needed, as well as for the Internet or watching movies (one gigabyte is enough «with a head»). Large amounts of memory are purchased if modern games or graphic editors are launched on the PC
  • before buying memory, you need to know the model of the motherboard and processor
  • the numbers in the model name indicate how much information the board can process per second
  • if there is a shortage of RAM, the motherboard usually has additional slots


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