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A Consumers Guide To Buying Computer Memory What You Should Know.
What is Computer Memory / RAM ?
Computer memory is often the most overlooked part of a computer system. To little memory will create a huge bottleneck that will slow down everything from opening your favourite application to browsing the Internet. Computer memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) is used for short terms storage. It is different from hard drives and flash memory in that when the machine is rebooted everything in RAM is lost. Computer Solutions can supply and fit RAM for most makes of PC.
These days RAM is measured in Gb or Gigabytes. A Gigabyte is equal to 1024Mb or Megabytes. You should expect your new PC to have at least 2Gb memory and in some cases 4Gb as standard. 32 bit operating systems like Windows can only utilise up to 4Gb of memory.
However with the advent of the 64 bit versions of operating systems, up to 128Gb of RAM can be used. Some manufacturers are shipping their new systems with 6Gb and sometimes 8Gb of RAM as standard. It is therefore true that you can not have too much RAM memory.
What is SODIMM RAM Memory?
SODIMM stands for Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module and this refers to the type of memory found in most modern laptops. This memory is about half the size of a standard DDR memory module. Everything else about this type of memory in terms of speed and arrangement is the same as for standard DDR modules. It simply means that the memory is smaller and designed for laptops.
What is DDR, DDR2 & DDR3 memory?
The term DDR stands for double data rate. This means that the memory is read twice on each refresh cycle in effect allowing the memory speed to be doubled. The current standard is DDR3 which means that we are currently on the 3rd generation of double data rate memory. DDR3 cannot be used with DDR2 or DDR. They will not phsically fit into the motherboard.
What about memory speed?
Memory speed is usually measured in MHz or Megahertz. Older memory will run at 400Mhz, 533MHz or 667MHz The newer DDR3 will operate up to about 1600MHz. The motherboard manual will indicate which type of memory the board can safely operate with. As a rule of thumb it is always best to have matched pairs of memory purchased together. You can in some cases mix and match two different memory speeds but the motherboard will detect this and run at the speed of the slower memory.
Most computer memory manufacturers like Micron, formerly called Crucial and Kingston memory have configurators on their websites to determine which memory should be used in your system. In out experience however these utilities often make mistakes and do not read the number of memory slots available correctly. While they are useful they cannot therefore be always relied upon.