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Computer Memory

If you are building a computer, or you want to buy new computer memory to expand your RAM, you have to make sure the computer memory you buy is compatible with your motherboard.

To find out what RAM will work with your computer, check the manufacturer’s manual. If you cannot find the information there, check the motherboard manual. If the motherboard is manufactured by a different company, its technical specifications may be in separate documentation to the computer manual.

If there is no motherboard manual, and you cannot find out what type of RAM you need from the computer manual, check online at the motherboard or computer manufacturer’s website. 

Before buying RAM, make sure that the module size is compatible with your motherboard’s slots. The RAM must be able to physically fit in the slot. Also take note of your operating system’s maximum RAM usage. There is no point in buying extra memory modules if your operating system will be unable to see it. For example, many 16-bit operating systems cannot use RAM above 4gb.

Compatibility is one of the most common problems that people run into when adding their own RAM. Most motherboards can only work with one type of RAM, and if you use two or more types your system may fail to boot. There are motherboards that let you choose between two RAM types, but you cannot mix them. In other words all your RAM modules must be of the same type.

If your computer is running slowly, adding computer memory can often solve the problem. However, you should be aware that if you have more than one RAM module, the combined speed will be equivalent to the speed of the slowest module. If your existing RAM is old, you may want to replace it at the same time as you expand.