Standard upgrades for your laptop: RAM

Upgrading a laptop does not come in with a vast variety of options that are typical for desktop computers but rather limited. While this may vary from vendor to vendor, typically there are two upgrades which are common to all laptops. RAM and Hard Drive. Let’s look at at them.

Upgrading RAM: general overview

Generally every portable computers come in with minimum amount of RAM installed by the manufacturer. Which is enough for mundane task like, browsing, researching, writing, email and so on. Yet, like any other upgrades, a call for upgrade is gotten when you have heavy duty task which you are doing regularly or even occasionally.

Tasks could be from heavy gaming, working on animation, video editing, graphic intensive tasks or multiple application needs to be opened and so on. These are the cases when more RAM is required. You want to increase your RAM in this case to make sure you have enough RAM to go around.

RAM slots

Fortunately, most of the laptops come in with upgradeable RAM slots. The slots differ in terms of the pin and RAM type. So, determining the RAM type and your slot is the first thing you want to do. For instance, on older system 200-pin DDR and DDR2 SO-DIMMs dominated while recent systems are 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMMs or newer ones like 260-pin DDR4 SO-DIMMS dominated. If you are not thus familiar with RAM, better to leave it up to the experience tech and let them handle this for you. In case, if you know your RAMs, then go ahead and upgrade them by yourself. Just a point to take away, desktop and portable RAMs may have same specification but their pins may differ. Watch out for that.

Steps to remember while upgrading your RAM

Upgrading and installing the RAM requires just couple of steps. First thing, refer to the manufacturer’s Website for the manual or the physical manual you might have got upon purchase and see the kind of RAM you need for your system. Once you determine the RAM type, make sure you know about the existing RAM configuration. Keep in mind of the RAM channels. For instance, if you have 4GB or RAM inside the system and planning to upgrade it to 8GB, determine whether the port has one 4GB module or two 2GB modules.

Challenges you might face

Every portable comes in with unique challenges for the tech wanting to upgrade the laptop RAM. This is because there is no standard location for RAM placement in portables. Even the RAM slots may not be in the same spot and reside on the different corner of the laptop. More likely, you will also have to unscrew or pop open a panel on the bottom side of the laptop.

Still, before you get down to open up the bottom panel, you need to take some extra measures such as putting on an anti-static wrist strap and right tools. Right tools have been explained earlier. Then make sure to remove the battery first and DO not keep the laptop plugged-in. Remove any source of power.

Now you want to be extra careful while prying open the bottom panel. One impatient move and there goes the panel and it may break easily. Sometimes there are hidden screws. Again, check on with the manufacturer manual without forcing the cover to open. Once you made it inside, look for the latch and how to open it. Then slide the RAM out and slide the new RAM in gently.