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How to choose RAM for a laptop In this article, I will tell you in detail and in all the nuances how to choose the right RAM for your laptop, but first I want to warn you against a rash purchase. The fact is that the lack of RAM (hereinafter referred to as RAM or RAM) is the very first thing that most users sin when “brakes” appear in the laptop. In fact, this is not always the case. The best solution would be to first make sure that the reason for the brakes or slow operation is precisely the lack of RAM. To do this, at the beginning you need to ensure that the laptop starts to slow down, i.e. run those programs that, in your opinion, do not have enough RAM. If this is a game, then we launch it, if the laptop slowed down when working in a browser with a large number of tabs, then we launch the browser and open all these tabs, additional programs, etc. Next, do not close, but simply minimize all these programs and open the task manager: 1. In Windows, press 3 keys at the same time: ALT + CTRL + DEL and select the "Task Manager" item in the menu that appears. The second way - right-click on the taskbar (the bottom panel on which the "Start" button is located) on an empty spot, from the context menu that appears, select "Task Manager". 2. In the "Task Manager" window that opens, click on "Details" at the bottom, go to the "Performance" tab (in Windows 10 - Performance, in Windows 7 - Performance), select the item "Memory" in the left menu (in Windows 7 you do not need to select anything). How to open Task Manager in Windows And we evaluate the level of loading of RAM. If it is almost completely loaded, as in the picture below: Checking the load level of RAM And the processor (CPU) is not heavily loaded, then, most likely, it is the RAM that matters. If you see something like this: Checking the load level of RAM and processor That is, the memory is far from being fully occupied, and the processor (CPU) at the same time threshes by 100% or so (not lower than 90%) - it means that the point is not at all a lack of memory, but that the processor cannot cope with the tasks assigned to it . Increasing the amount of memory will not help here. If neither the processor nor the RAM is heavily loaded, and the laptop is still slow - check the Local C drive (or another one on which you have the operating system installed), it may be packed to capacity, while the computer can slow down in almost all tasks. In this case, you just need to clean the C drive, as well as clean the entire system and registry from junk files using specialized programs like CCleaner or the like. If you nevertheless noticed that your laptop lacks RAM, then read on, we will figure out how to choose and install it correctly. How to find out the size of laptop RAM There are several ways to find out the amount of RAM, the two most common are: 1. look in the "System" window; 2. check in Windows Task Manager. In order to view the amount of RAM in the "System" window, you need to right- click on the "This computer" (My Computer) icon and select the "Properties" item in the context menu that appears. The following "System" window will appear, in which the size of the RAM will be indicated: How to find out the size of laptop RAM using the "System" window It should also be borne in mind that a 32-bit operating system is not able to work with more than 3 GB of RAM (or rather 3.25 - 3.75 GB, depending on how much a particular hardware eats up, for example, an integrated video card). Therefore, if you have more than 3 GB installed in your laptop, be sure to install a 64-bit operating system. You can see the bit depth of the system in the same "System" window, immediately after the specified amount of RAM. If the previous method did not work, for example, the “This Computer” icon is missing on your desktop or there is a shortcut with the same name instead (it was not possible to carry out these actions with the shortcut), then you can determine the amount of RAM as follows: call the task manager ( ALT + CTRL + DEL or right-click on the taskbar at the bottom and click "Task Manager"), in the manager, go to the "Performance" tab (Windows 10) or "Performance" (Windows 7). This tab will display the total amount of RAM on your laptop. How to find out the size of laptop RAM using Windows Task Manager What affects the amount of RAM The amount of RAM affects the speed of the laptop. If there is not enough memory to perform some tasks, the laptop starts to work more slowly, “slow down”, because. instead of the missing part of the RAM, a hard disk or SSD drive starts to be used. If there is enough memory, and the laptop slows down, then it's not in it, and adding extra RAM will not fix the problem. How to check the amount of occupied memory - mentioned above. And now I will explain: the amount of RAM itself does not directly affect the speed of the computer. The speed is more influenced by: the power of the processor, video card, the speed of the permanent memory (for example, if the operating system is installed on an SSD drive, then the speed of the laptop will be noticeably higher than if the OS is installed on a regular hard drive). And the amount of RAM should just be enough for these components. And if you have a weak processor installed, then increasing the amount of RAM is unlikely to affect the speed of the laptop. On the other hand, if a laptop has a good processor (for example, an Intel Core i5 or i7 is not older than 3-4 years), and the amount of RAM is not enough for it (for example, 4 GB), then an increase in the amount of RAM can give a noticeable acceleration to the laptop. The same can be said about the video card, if it is weak, then an increase in the amount of RAM will not give an increase in performance in games. Therefore, with a lack of performance, first of all, you need to look towards the processor, video card (especially in the case of games), replacing the hard drive with an SSD drive. And only if you make sure that your processor and video card really cope with the tasks assigned to them, then you can think about increasing the amount of RAM. But in any case, if the laptop has very little RAM installed (1 or 2 GB), then an increase in volume should have a positive effect on the speed of the laptop, no matter what processor is installed. How to find out the maximum amount of laptop RAM You can determine the maximum amount of memory supported by your laptop model using the AIDA64 program. It has a 30-day free limited version, but that's enough for our purposes. We download the program only from the official site - https://www.aida64.com/downloads. Download the AIDA64 Extreme program from the official website Next, click on the download.aida64.com server, or on some other server if this server is not available. Select server download.aida64.com Install, run, go to the "Motherboard" - "Chipset" section. The maximum amount of laptop RAM in the AIDA64 program In this example, the laptop officially supports up to 16 GB of RAM. Also, the maximum supported amount of RAM can be found on the official website of the laptop manufacturer, in the technical specifications of the model or series of interest (some manufacturers do not provide detailed specifications for a specific laptop model, but provide specifications for the series as a whole - all types of processors in the series, all possible options picking from memory, etc.). You need to understand that the maximum amount of RAM indicated by the manufacturer is the amount that the manufacturer has tested in this laptop and guarantees the operation of the laptop with the specified amount. As a rule, the specified maximum volume is set by the manufacturer from the factory to the richest and most expensive equipment from this series. But in practice, it often happens that laptops can work with more volume than indicated by the manufacturer. You can find out either on the Internet - on forums, in reviews, in the question and answer blocks of some online stores, such as Citylink or CSN / Technopoint, or by experience. But it’s not reasonable to buy RAM for the sake of experiment, but what if it doesn’t “start up”, you have to take the memory back, and here difficulties may arise ... Therefore, some users go straight to the store with their laptop and agree with the sellers so that they are allowed to check for compatibility before buying new memory (larger than officially supported). Sometimes sellers go to meet customers and allow them to check the compatibility of memory with a laptop, because it is profitable for them to sell larger memory, because it costs more. The check is very simple - insert the memory, turn on the laptop. If it turns on, the operating system sees the entire amount of RAM and the laptop works fine - it means it “started up”, you can buy it. If it doesn’t turn on, then it’s worth trying modules from another manufacturer with the same volume (and preferably with the most similar timings as in the already installed memory). If the memory from another manufacturer does not start, then, perhaps, it's not fate ... Try smaller modules. If a separate small cover (hatch) is provided for replacing RAM in a laptop, then checking one module or a set of modules of 2 pieces takes less than 5 minutes. But in most modern models, for the sake of economy, they stopped making separate hatches for replacing RAM and a hard drive / SSD. In this case, you will have to unscrew and remove the entire bottom cover (about 15-20 bolts), then the check can take 15-20 minutes. The bolts themselves are unscrewed quite easily and quickly, but quickly and carefully snapping off all the latches around the perimeter of the cover so as not to leave visible traces of parsing is a bit problematic if “the hand is not stuffed”. It is better to do this slowly so as not to break the latches, and preferably with a plastic object, and not with a metal one, for example, a plastic card. What RAM to choose for a laptop RAM for home computers and laptops comes in two form factors (roughly speaking, sizes): • DIMM - for stationary computers; • SO - DIMM - for laptops (also used in monoblocks). Visual comparison of two RAM form factors: DIMM (for PC) and SO-DIMM (for laptop) As you can see in the picture, the SO-DIMM memory stick is much shorter than the DIMM stick, so they are not interchangeable. So, for a laptop, we select only SO - DIMM modules. But that's not all you need to know about choosing RAM for a laptop, as there are still different generations and other nuances. Generations of RAM RAM, in addition to the form factor (size), varies by generation: • DDR4 (appeared in 2014) - by far the most modern type of RAM, installed in all modern laptops (but DDR5 is just around the corner); • DDR3 (appeared in 2007) - an older generation, not installed in new laptops, but quite often found in used laptops, has a partially compatible variety - DDR3L (this is a version with a reduced power consumption of 1.35V, instead of 1.5V in DDR3); • DDR2 (appeared in 2003) is a very ancient type of RAM, I do not recommend purchasing used laptops with such memory, because. laptops with DDR2 are very old and slow equipment, and how long they will last is unknown. There are even older generations, but it is unlikely that you will already meet them, so we will focus on those listed. Each new generation is faster than the last, and also consumes less energy, which positively affects the battery life of the laptop (although the difference is not very big). All these generations are not compatible with each other, that is, if your laptop has DDR3 memory installed, then installing DDR4 or DDR2 in it will not work, all generations have different keys (a special slot in the contact group), which simply physically will not allow you to install strips into the connector of the wrong generation. Visual comparison of generations of RAM Regarding the compatibility of DDR3 and DDR3L, I would like to give one piece of advice. On the network you can find information that DDR3 and DDR3L are fully compatible. But in practice, people often encounter the fact that these types of RAM are not compatible. For example, DDR3 modules require a voltage of 1.5V, and by inserting them into a laptop designed only for working with DDR3L (1.35V), such a module simply may not have enough voltage and the laptop will not turn on. If you do the opposite, i.e. insert a DDR3L (1.35V) module into a laptop designed to work with DDR3 (1.5V) - then it can work normally (after all, many DDR3L modules can work both at a voltage of 1.35V and at a voltage of 1.5V), or maybe not earn money ... In general, the advice is this - first find out what type of memory is installed in your laptop (DDR3 or DDR3L), and then buy a module of the same type, How to view the generation of RAM In order to see which generation is installed in your laptop, it is not necessary to disassemble it at all, you can use the task manager in Windows 10 or special programs if you have an older version of Windows installed. How to enter the task manager was described earlier (via the key combination ALT + CTRL + DEL), so, go to the “Performance” tab, select “Memory” in the left menu. RAM Generation in Task Manager As you can see in the screenshot above, our laptop has DDR3 memory installed, but you can have another generation of RAM installed. Sometimes the task manager for some reason does not display the generation and you have to resort to third-party programs. One of the most popular free programs for these (and not only) purposes is CPU-Z, you can download it from the link from the official website - https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html. Download, install, run and go to the "Memory" tab, here in the first line in the "Type" field, for example, "DDR3" will be indicated. Generation of RAM in CPU-Z This means that the laptop has DDR3 memory (not to be confused with low- voltage DDR3L), and in order to increase the amount of memory, you need to purchase brackets of this particular generation. Accordingly, if it is indicated - DDR4, then we purchase memory only of the DDR4 standard, etc. Each of the standards: DDR2, DDR3, DDR4 - can operate at different frequencies, therefore, in order to choose the right RAM for a laptop, it is not enough to know only the right generation. How to increase the amount of RAM on a laptop So, in order to increase the amount of RAM, you need to clearly understand: 1. what module form factor is needed (for laptops, this is SO-DIMM); 2. what generation of memory you need to purchase - DDR2, DDR3 or DDR4 (depending on the processor and motherboard of your laptop); 3. modules of what frequency you need (it is desirable to purchase with the same frequency as the current modules already installed in the laptop); 4. what size modules do you need (so as not to exceed the maximum allowable size supported by the memory controller); 5. which manufacturer of RAM should be preferred. After the necessary RAM is purchased, it will need to be installed in the laptop. This can be done on your own (if it is not clear how to do this, I advise you to watch a video specifically for your laptop model on YouTube), or for a small fee at a service center. Sometimes, (if you ask nicely), they do it for free right in the store where the RAM modules were purchased. Here is a video showing how RAM changes on most laptops (but this does not mean that it changes in your laptop in exactly the same way, I repeat - it’s better to find a video with your specific laptop model or at least disassembling a laptop of the same series). What else you need to know about RAM When installing brackets from more than one set, you may encounter incompatibility of memory modules. This happens quite rarely, but it still happens, and it is impossible to determine in advance whether memory sticks from different kits will be compatible. If memory modules have different characteristics - frequency, timings, etc., or they are from different manufacturers - then the chances of running into incompatibility increase. Therefore, it is better if the bars are from the same manufacturer and with the same characteristics. And ideally - that the memory was from one set. In stores, you can often find ready-made memory kits of 2 and 4 sticks, in which case the manufacturer guarantees that all sticks from the kit will be 100% compatible with each other. It looks like a set of RAM for a laptop But kits tend to be a little more expensive, so I personally just buy two bars from the same manufacturer, the same model (with the same characteristics) and immediately in the same store on the same day. This increases the chances that these bars were produced around the same time from the same components. After all, it also happens that today a manufacturer assembled strips from some components, and tomorrow it concludes a better deal with a supplier of other components and, roughly speaking, the next day starts releasing the same model of RAM, but on other components. And such slats, with different components, may already have incompatibility (although the model of the slats is the same). Therefore, you can 100% insure yourself against incompatibility of modules only by purchasing the strips as a set. But in my practice, when buying the same piece models of planks in one store on the same day, I have never run into incompatibility, so all this is a matter of chance... Congratulations! Now you know everything about how to choose the right RAM for a laptop.