The fastest, lowest-cost way to speed up a slow computer is to add RAM memory, or Random Access Memory to your machine if it will take it.

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RAM Chip

RAM memory chips are where your computer puts the programs and information that it is working on RIGHT NOW. This is what I call working memory, and it is very, very fast at transferring data to and from your processor chip.

Granted, having a faster processor chip (CPU) will make your computer run faster, but not like increasing RAM memory. In most cases, the time to think about how fast your processor chip is when you are buying your computer. Processor chips are far more expensive than RAM chips, and are much more difficult to replace – although not impossible.

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Central Processing Unit chips (CPU)

What happens to your computer if the RAM chips get full of data? Back in the early days of computers, a full RAM chip or chips could cause your computer to freeze up, crash, or even corrupt the files you were working on. In today’s computers, and for several years now, it’s not quite so severe.

Operating system creators like Microsoft (Windows) and Apple (IOS) created a technique that is known in the Windows world as Virtual RAM. Virtual RAM is basically empty room on your hard drive. The operating system uses vacant memory addresses on the hard drive as memory space to process work when there is no RAM available for additional tasks.

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Hard Drive with its case opened up

The problem with this technique is that it is v..e..r..y…s..l..o..w…to…g..e..t…d..a..t..a to and from the hard drive for your CPU chip. RAM chips are WAAAAAY faster at transferring data to the CPU.

Insufficient RAM is one of the most common causes of a slow computer.

So, instead of the crashes and file corruptions of yesteryear, you get freezes, and the spinning hourglass (Win XP and other earlier Microsoft operating systems) or spinning blue circles. (Windows 7 and later.) This is the digital equivalent of your CPU chip sitting there drumming its fingers on the tabletop waiting for the speech to end…or actually data to transfer.

Insufficient RAM can slow down everything on your computer, including starting up programs, clicking on buttons, loading and displaying websites, clicking on internet links, or anything else you expect your PC to do.

Here’s a little video from Crucial, a RAM chip manufacturer, that explains it another way:

As you can see, RAM is very important. The good news is that RAM memory is relatively cheap and easy to install. You can buy RAM chips for anywhere from $20.00 to $100.00 depending on what type of chip your computer takes, and most are on the lower end of that price scale. Speeding up that slow computer doesn’t have to be expensive or hard!

*Beware!* Your computer takes one specific type of RAM chip, and that type only. That is controlled by what type of RAM (And how big it can be) that your motherboard and CPU support. All PC’s have a specific type of RAM they can use, a maximum amount of RAM that can be installed, and a maximum per-chip RAM capacity. You MUST get the correct size and type of RAM chips for your computer if you are going to upgrade!

The good news is that you can use Google to look up the specifications for most computers on the web to see what the maximum RAM your computer can handle is, and what type of chips it supports.

Most modern PC’s have either two or four slots on the motherboard where RAM chips can go. Most PC’s are sold with less than the maximum RAM capacity installed. Upgrading the RAM to maximum is THE FIRST THING I do whenever I buy a new PC for myself or my wife or family. I do it right away.

Installing the chips can usually be done in under 30 minutes or so, depending on the type of computer you have. You just open the cover, (with the cord unplugged!) and either pop in another chip or four, or swap out the existing chips for bigger-capacity ones. Close the case, plug the PC into the power cord, and power it on. Your PC should be quicker and able to handle more open tasks immediately if you got the correct chip type and capacity.

Of course, we at Temecool Computer Repair can help you with determining how much RAM you have, what type your machine takes, and installing them, IF your machine supports more RAM than it has.

Say goodbye to your slow computer and be happy with your machine again!

Dan S.

Tech Tip: THE Fastest, Lowest-Cost Way To Speed Up A Slow Computer….

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