Random access memory, also called RAM, is a computer component that comes in the form of a strip. Its role is to temporarily store the data which passes between the hard disk and the processor. More RAM increases the speed and smoothness of the system. But it is also possible that your memory will give up the ghost, in which case it is interesting to know how to replace it!

Replace a RAM in a few steps

Step 1: Take the motherboard out of the computer

The slots for live memory are located on the motherboard . These are elongated connectors, always organized in pairs:

Configuration Single Channel (2 slots).
Configuration Dual Channel (2 x 2 slots).

The Dual Channel motherboard above has four DDR4 RAM slots: DIMM_A1, DIMM_A2, DIMM_B1, and DIMM_B2.

To change the RAM, you will have to extract the motherboard from the computer. First, you need to turn off the tower and unplug the power from the AC outlet. Then place the PC case horizontally on a flat surface. Unscrew the side panel, then remove the screws that hold the motherboard inside the case.

Extract a motherboard from a desktop computer.
Take the motherboard out of the PC case.

Warning: opening the tower to intervene on the RAM voids your computer's warranty!

Step 2: Prepare the memory module

RAM is a fragile component, which is particularly sensitive to static electricity . This is why we do not recommend rubbing the bar with a cloth or on your clothes. Small tip before handling the RAM: touch a metal object to get rid of your static electricity.

Example of a DDR4 2666 MHz memory module from the Transcend brand.
2666 MHz Transcend DDR4 RAM bar.

Step 3: insert the memory card into the slots

Now let's move on to setting up RAM. Each slot has fixing levers at its ends; they must first be reassembled.

The mounting brackets for the RAM slots.
The fixing levers for RAM are the little white legs.

To nest the RAM correctly, the notch of the memory module must be aligned with the key of the slot . You just have to look on the module which side of the connector is the shortest to find the right direction.

Photo to illustrate the installation of a RAM bar.
The notch on the memory card is aligned with the key.

Gently press down on the bar until you hear a small “click” . Finally, straighten the fixing brackets with your fingers so that the bar is well maintained.

Step 4: restart the computer

Place the motherboard back into the PC and be sure to tighten all screws properly. Finally, close the case, plug in your computer, then restart the tower.

If Windows displays a blue wallpaper with an error message when starting the PC, this means that the RAMs are incorrectly installed or that the two RAMs used are incompatible.

The error page that appears in Windows 10 after installing new RAM.
Error page in Windows 10 after installing new RAM.

Your computer will not be damaged, however you will have to start the entire installation from scratch. If you follow our tutorial carefully, everything should be fine! 

Configuration Dual Channel ou Quad Channel

Most motherboards offer Dual Channel. This multi-channel architecture allows two memory modules to be installed. The bandwidth of the two memory modules is thus combined, in order to optimize the performance of the system. When the RAM is managed in When Channel, it is possible to install four memory modules.

The possible configuration of a RAM: single channel, dual channel or quad channel.
The different possible configurations.

In Dual Channel, it is recommended to place the RAMs as far as possible from the processor . Thus, we will use the DIMM_A2 slot for the first strip and the DIMM_B2 slot for the second.
Ideally, always choose two identical memory modules: same capacity, same frequency and same brand.
For example, when installing several RAMs of different frequencies on the same motherboard, the speed is limited by the less powerful RAM.

How to choose the right RAM?

DDR3 or DDR4?

Before purchasing your RAM modules, it is essential to know the maximum memory capacity supported by your motherboard .

Today, the benchmark standard is DDR4 type RAM . This offers a high frequency (between 2666 and 3200 MHz) for low energy consumption.
Processors compatible with DDR4 RAM: AMD AM4 socket (Ryzen), Intel socket 1151 (Coffee Lake, Kaby LAKE and SKYLAKE) and Intel socket 2011-3.

If you have an older computer, manufactured before 2007, the motherboard may support the older DDR3 standard (between 400 and 1066 MHz).
Processors compatible with DDR3 RAM: AMD AM3 + socket, Intel 1150 socket (HASWELL) and Intel 1155 socket (Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge).

Capacity and frequency

High capacity and high frequency will allow the computer to run programs quickly and smoothly . Here are the recommended capacities by type of use:

  • Entertainment, YouTube, Mails: 4 GB to 8 GB
  • Office, Excel, Word: 8 to 16 GB
  • Video games or even intensive gaming: 16 to 32 GB
  • Video Editing and Streaming: 32 to 64 GB

Here are the frequencies we recommend for daily personal use:

  • Office and leisure: between 1600 and 2666 MHz
  • Video games: between 2666 and 3000 MHz
  • Gaming intensif et Streaming : 3200 MHz

As we mentioned earlier, a 2400 MHz RAM can be combined with a 3000 MHz RAM, but the speed of the system will then be limited by the lower frequency , i.e. 2400 MHz.

What brand and at what price?

Choose RAMs from well-known brands such as Kingston , Crucial , Corsair or Transcend . They are more reliable than the bars without brands, called "noname", which can be found at reduced prices on the net.

The price of RAM sticks varies by model, brand, capacity, frequency, etc. Keep in mind that the more expensive model may not be the most suitable for your needs . We invite you to compare the prices of different sellers to guide your choice.

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