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Caleb's Tech Tip

Most people buy ram (also known as memory, memory chips, etc.) without paying attention to several important factors. Ram is the name for special chips in your computer that store information (memory) until it can be accessed. More ram generally means that your computer can run programs faster because the program information can be stored in the fast memory chips (ram), instead of having to be written to, and read from, the comparably slower hard disk drives. However, putting the wrong memory in you computer can slow the computer down. There are many types of memory chips out there. Make sure you buy the right kind for your computer by following these few helpful tips:

  1. Always buy the correct type of ram (DDR2, DDR3, SDRAM, etc.) by checking with the manufacturer, or calling one of our friendly techs here at Crystal River Computers.
  2. Install matching memory pairs. Don't mix manufacturers because the ram chips may run at different speeds.
  3. Buy the right amount of ram! Installing more ram than you computer can handle may slow down the computer, as well as damage the chips. Installing less than you need will mean that your computer is not being properly utilized. People running Windows XP should use at least 1 gigabyte of ram, and users of Vista/Windows 7 should install a minimum of 2 gigabytes. The amount of ram you need depends on what you do.
  4. Always check the clock latency ratings on you ram before buying. Clock latency measures the number of processor ticks that the ram requires before the ram will respond. Try to get a lower CL rating because higher numbers equal a slower computer. A CL of 1 or 2 is great for SDRAM, but DDR ram will probably have a rating of 2.5.
  5. Test your computer's existing memory. Just because your computer turns on and doesn't give you any errors doesn't mean your ram is good. (Well, ok..."running slow" is a warning message of it's own right?) If you notice a dramatic change in your computer's speed it may be related to a failing ram chip. Testing your ram is an inexpensive way to determine when an upgrade is neccessary.

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to selecting your own ram, and getting you computer running faster.
Of course, for those of you who need to speed up your computer, but don't want to deal with the learning curve right now, Crystal River Computers is just a phone call away. Call us at (970) 963-3815 and we can upgrade your machine for you. Most ram upgrades cost between $50 - $100 including labor. Just call us and we will match the ram to your computer for the best results. So give us a call now and mention this tech tip to receive a FREE basic tune-up when you order.