April 1, 2023

Bare RAM modules with green circuit boards and gold connectors.

There was a time when the prescription for speeding up a slow PC was just to add more (or faster) RAM. These days, though, that’s not necessarily the best upgrade to choose first.

Do You Need a RAM Upgrade?

There are certain scenarios in which upgrading the RAM is obviously a good idea. A computer with regard to everyday uses, like web browsing, streaming videos, running Microsoft Office, and playing a game or two, should have at least 8 GB of RAM MEMORY, in our opinion.

That might come as a surprise, considering many mid- and low-end PCs come with 4 GB. However , they aren’t very responsive and tend to slow down as soon as a background process or three start running.

This is why we recommend at least 8 GB. If you have a laptop with 4 GB, check the manual to see if you can update the RAM yourself. Some laptops have the RAM soldered to the motherboard, in which case, a RAM improve isn’t possible.

Meanwhile, gamers who want to play the latest AAA titles are better off along with 16 GB of RAM MEMORY. Going above that really depends on what you would like to do with your system. An enthusiast-grade PC you want to use for 4K video editing, for example, would likely need something around 32 GB.

If these situations don’t cover your PERSONAL COMPUTER, below are some things in order to consider before reaching regarding those new RAM modules.

Check intended for Bottlenecks

The "In Use" and "Available" RAM stats in Windows 10.

If the shortage of RAM is the source of your own issues, you should be able to discover this by checking your system performance. To do so,   press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to  open Windows 10’s Task Manager , and then click “More details” to open the advanced view. Click the “Performance” tab, and then click “Memory. ”

Then, start using your PC as you normally would, while keeping an eye on the task manager.

When you experience a slowdown, check the particular “In Use” and “Available” sections under the graph that displays the RAM usage. If you frequently have a ton of RAM that’s still available, after that RAM is probably not the issue. However, if it’s maxed out during each slowdown, more RAM could improve things.

Is XMP Enabled?

An Aorus BIOS screen.
XMP profile information in the BIOS.

DIY desktop PC builders might not be maximizing the particular performance capabilities of their current RAM. Most people who build their own PCs have likely done this already. In the motherboard’s BIOS settings, you can activate something called an eXtreme Memory Profile (XMP) . If your PC has an AMD processor, you might see DOCP instead.

XMP is an Intel technology that’s, ostensibly, an overclocking tool. However, if you just turn it on in the BIOS without tweaking any of the manual settings, it’ll let the RAM run at the speed for which it is rated, rather than the slower default.

RELATED: How in order to Enable Intel XMP to Make Your RAM Run at Its Advertised Speeds

Check Your Rates of speed

Upgrading your PC’s RAM isn’t as simple as changing out the particular storage or graphics card. You have to choose the right type (the version to get modern motherboards is DDR4 ), and its speed has to be compatible with your own computer’s motherboard.

Additionally, if you’re keeping one RAM module and adding another, they must have the same speeds. Even then, some people prefer to use two identical RAM sticks instead of mixing and matching, just to become certain. Be sure in order to check your computer’s RAM speed   to determine how big of an upgrade faster RAM will really end up being.

When it comes to actual speeds, if your PC’s RAM will be a lower speed, like 2, 400 MHz, upgrading to 3, 000 MHz or higher should result in noticeable performance improvements. If you’re already rocking 3, 000 MHz, however, the performance boost from faster RAM might not really be as noticeable. This will vary depending upon your specific PC and how you use it.

RELATED: How to See How Much RAM Is In Your PC (and Its Speed)

Get an SSD Instead

A black Samsung 2.5-inch solid state drive.

If the bottleneck isn’t your own RAM, then you have a few other choices. The number one option is usually to upgrade to a solid-state drive (SSD) if your PC still has a hard drive. Even in case you do increase the RAM MEMORY, there’s simply no better upgrade for a PC than moving it through a hard drive to an SOLID STATE DRIVE.

Even an older SATA III SSD, like the Samsung 860 Evo, will provide the noticeable increase in response times and general overall performance. If the motherboard accepts NVMe drives , then the efficiency improvements will be even more noticeable.

Don’t throw out that old hard drive, either—you can use it as secondary storage if your COMPUTER still has room pertaining to it. You can also put it in an external hard drive enclosure plus use it that way (after copying your personal files and reformatting, of course. )

RELATED: How To Upgrade and Install a New Hard Drive or SSD in Your PC

Look at the CPU and GPU

An Intel CPU in a motherboard socket.

In case you determine that RAM isn’t the issue, and the SOLID STATE DRIVE upgrade is already covered, it might be time to upgrade your CPU or GPU, or, perhaps, to build or buy a new system.

To get a sense associated with how your CPU is definitely performing, you can go through the same steps we covered above on checking for bottlenecks. This particular time, look at the particular CPU utilization in the Task Manager.

Is the CPU maxing out frequently when you have multiple programs open or during a variety of games? Be sure a person try a few games plus see if this is consistent before you blame the PROCESSOR, as some games rely more heavily on the processor, to begin with.

If you haven’t got the money to update your rig, then, meant for the time being, simply be aware of your system’s constraints. Don’t, for instance, use too many programs simultaneously—before you play a game, shut down every background process you can. These are just stop-gap measures, but they’ll help.

If the CPU isn’t the issue, then look at the GPU, especially when yours is at the bottom end of a game’s minimum specs. Of course, once you get a brand new GPU, it might result in a CPU bottleneck, meaning you’ll need to test again.

Another alternative for those tight on cash is to try overclocking the components in order to squeeze a little more performance out of them. This comes with risks, nevertheless, including voiding your warranty, consuming more power, and, potentially, shortening the life of the particular CPU and GPU.

Still, for an older PC, where your choice is to either overclock or get something new you can’t afford, overclocking is sort of a built-in improve, and it might be the best choice.

For more info, check out our tutorials on overclocking , and how to overclock your GPU   or  Intel CPU .

In order to RAM or Not in order to RAM

RAM is a weird component within modern PCs. If you don’t have enough, adding more can have a dramatic impact on your computer’s performance. If, however , your system doesn’t use all its RAM on a regular basis, changing this won’t have the impact you need.

For those who don’t need the RAM upgrade, the much better choice might be getting an SSD, upgrading to a new CPU, or installing a new graphics cards.

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