How to add more Memory/RAM to your Laptop

So you read the specs for The Sims 3 and you have discovered that your poor laptop does not have enough memory sufficient enough to run the game.  Well, that’s not a problem as adding more memory to a laptop is so simple even a caveman can do it!  This tutorial will show you how.

What is the recommended memory for The Sims 3?

For those who are running on Windows XP, the minimum specs recommend that you should have at least 1GB (Gigabyte) of RAM.  Those who are on Vista will need 1.5GB of RAM.  I personally recommend having at least 2GB of RAM for your laptop.

Why do I say that?  Well increasing the RAM in your laptop will increase the computer’s performance.  Software and games these days demand so much processing from your computer.  You see, RAM (Random Access Memory) is used to store the data from the programs and software so the computer’s processor can access it faster.  If the RAM is full, then the harddrive comes in to try to meet the memory needs – and at this point it slows down your computer.  Adding more RAM will keep the data within the memory so the processor can grab the data quicker and thus speeds up your computer.

How do I find out what kind of memory my laptop supports?

A good start for this question is the manual that came with your laptop.  The manual should tell you what RAM the laptop takes (examples would be DDR2 667, DDR2 800, DDR3 1066 and so on).

The manual will also tell you how much RAM your laptop’s motherboard can support.  Some laptops can only support up to 2GB of RAM, while others support up to 4GB.

I learned this the hard way.  I didn’t read my manual but I knew what kind of RAM I needed.  So I order 2 sticks (memory is often referred to as sticks) of 2GB RAM to increase my laptop’s memory to a total of 4GB.  Well, when I installed my memory and booted it up, I discovered that it did not want to boot to my desktop.  After reading my manual, it occurred to me that my laptop could only handle 2GB of RAM.  So after removing 1 stick of RAM, my laptop booted right up and I was on my merry way.  But I did spend extra money on RAM that I couldn’t use…

When you go to purchase RAM, make sure you get the same kind of RAM and do not mix-n-match different types.  Stick with the same brand, size and type.  You don’t want to mix and match various kinds of RAM as it’s possible your machine will not work.

If you lost your manual, then there are 3 options.  First option would be to check out the Crucial Memory Advisor Tool.  Search for your laptop’s manufacture, product and model.  Hopefully it’ll have your type listed.  If it doesn’t, then you can check your RAM sticks themselves to see if they have a sticker or a label on them – they generally do.  If that fails and you are still lost, take your laptop to a computer specialist or a friend that is familiar with computers and see what they say.

Where do I purchase?

I love to save money, so online is the best place in my opinion.  My favorite site to order computer parts is Newegg.  Ordering online saves you a great deal comparing to buying the memory in stores.  I usually end up finding the same product on an internet retailers site for usually half off the price Best Buy or Circuit City carries!  However, if you live outside of the US, you’re going to have to find an another online store that ships products in your area.

Okay, I have my memory, what are the steps to install it?

  1. Turn off your laptop, unplug it from the wall if it is plugged in and then remove the battery.  Better safe then sorry!  Also remove any accessories from it if they are hooked up (headphones, mouse, speakers, USB drives)
  2. Flip your laptop upside down and look for a square/rectangle panel.  Depending on what kind of laptop you have, there might be more than 1 panel.  You should refer to your manual to see which one is your RAM panel.
  3. With a very small Phillips or flat-tip screwdriver, remove the screws from the RAM Panel and take off the cover.  Make sure you put the screws in a safe place, you do not want to lose them!
  4. Depending on how much RAM came with your laptop, both of your RAM slots may already be full.  If your laptop is equipped with 1GB, it’s possible that the sticks are 512MB each.  These are going to have to come out.  The RAM should be locked in place with little clips on the side.  You’ll need to pull these so you can take out the old RAM.
  5. Once the old RAM is out, it’s time to put in the new RAM.  Place the new memory in the machine by sliding it in and locking it down.
  6. Put your cover back on and hook everything back up.

I’m done, now what?

Clean up your mess, that is it!  If all goes well, when you boot up your computer and start running applications or games, you should start to notice that it performs better!