If you find that your PC is grinding to a halt on even the simplest tasks, or gets unstable when you have a number of different applications running, then it might be time to upgrade the amount of memory it has. This is one of the simplest ways of boosting the performance of your computer, but despite its simplicity, there are still plenty of things to consider before you start.
These days, the absolute bare minimum of memory that you should have in your machine is 512MB of RAM. Resource hungry graphics applications that you might use with your digital camera will require this much to process filters and create pretty effects on images. Also, Windows Vista, the latest Microsoft Operating System needs this as a minimum to run.
For the latest games, you should consider even more, at least 1GB of RAM onboard the motherboard, and more on a dedicated graphics card to free up to processor to run the game or other software.
Having more memory will also allow your computer to run more processes at any one time. This will speed up every action, from initial boot up through to ripping CDs onto your hard drive, and navigating the web.
The first step in increasing your onboard memory is to open your PC up. Most motherboards have a number of parallel slots close to the main processor which you insert the memory chips into.
The simplest way of finding out exactly what kind of memory chips your motherboard is compatible with is to use Google or another internet search engine. Generally you will need to get DDR memory, as this is the most common type.
Memory is sold in fixed amounts, most retailers will stock 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB packs. The pack contains a circuit board with the actual chips attached which will slot directly into your motherboard. You should buy the best chips your budget runs to, and be sure to check with the retailer that the memory you buy is compatible, as many stores do not offer cash refunds on components if you make a mistake.
The actual installation of the new memory is simple. Make sure your PC is turned off and grounded, and then carefully slide the memory chip into place on the motherboard. It will click into place. If you have more than one chip to install, simply repeat the process until you are finished. Then switch your PC back on, and you should notice the difference as soon as you start working again.