Have you noticed your machine slow down over time? Do programs take forever to open? Are you seeing system notifications that say “low memory” or “out of memory”? Tried clearing and defragmenting the hard drive and got no results? This is a common issue that plagues most older computers. Back then, if your machine came with 512MB RAM it was considered blinding fast. These days though, with 2 or 4GB RAM coming as standard, the legacy machines have just become slow as molasses. The good thing is that RAM has become cheaper over the years. We remember the time when a 256MB RAM chip would cost you over $500! That’s just insanity. These days you can buy a new machine for that price. And it isn’t just the amount of RAM that has increased, their speed has too.
Before we go on, just a brief lesson here: Random Access Memory, or RAM for short, is the hardware installed directly to the motherboard which provides system memory for loading programs. Depending on the size of the program being loaded, your amount of RAM can speed up or slow down the program while it runs. Just like with the CPU, the faster the memory, the better. With RAM, you have to look at memory capacity BEFORE speed however. There are four different types of RAM: SD, DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 with DDR4 on its way. Ok, so now you know what exactly the RAM is used for.
Not everyone can just afford to throw away an old machine and pick up a new one despite the price of new machines starting around $500. What if you only had a $100? Or a $50? Is that enough to bump up the performance of your machine? It most definitely is. For the interest of this article, we are going to assume that all junk software has been uninstalled from the machine, the hard drive has been defragmented and the processor has NOT been overclocked and is not overheating (there are apps that can tell you if it is). Overclocking is one way to speed up your machine but chances are you will kill the life of processor in the long run. We’ll stick to upgrading the available RAM on the machine.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be too tech savvy to know what RAM your machine needs. There was a time when you would have to take apart the machine, pull out the RAM chip and see what exactly you needed. Not anymore. Crucial is one of the most famous memory makers in the market. They have been around for a while and know what they are talking about. Crucial has a System Scanner tool that you can use to determine the kind of RAM your machine needs and how much it supports, all with the click of a button. Sure you can choose your machine make and model from a bunch of dropdown boxes and see the recommendations, but why go through all that when an app can do all that for you. Included below is a video from Crucial that describes the process (or lack there of!):