Buying and Installing RAM

It is impossible to have too much RAM. The more RAM you have, the more applications you can have open at the same time. Not only can you run more applications, but your current applications will most likely run more smoothly. That means that you’re far less likely to run into the spinning beach ball of death during day-to-day computer use. Since I finally now own the behemoth that is Adobe’s Creative Suite 3, I decided to up my RAM from one gigabyte to two gigabytes.

Due to the positive reviews that I have read from many sources, I decided to buy my RAM from Crucial. Ordering RAM from Crucial’s website is, thankfully, a very simple process. The steps are as follows: First, select who made your computer. If you’re on a Mac, select “Apple” as the manufacturer. Secondly, select what kind of computer you have. For example, my computer is an iMac. Thirdly, select the exact model of your computer. The third step is not to be taken lightly. In order to assure that the RAM is compatible with your computer, you must select the exact model that you own. If you don’t see your exact model, pick a model that was built in the same time frame. However, you should take care to compare the details of the RAM on the site with the information given to you in your computer’s manual or System Profiler. If all of the details match up exactly, then it is safe to purchase and install that RAM. Lastly, continue through the purchasing menus until you complete the transaction.

When you finally receive your RAM, please check your receipt carefully to make sure that you received what you wanted. After that, you can move onto the modules themselves. They will come in mylar packaging to protect them from static electricity. You can now carefully cut one end off of the packaging. For installation, you will need the following: A dry, stable surface; a large towel; a phillips screwdriver; and a dish to store the screws. Depending on what computer you have, the exact details about where your RAM is housed will change, but fear not. The exact instructions on how to install RAM in your computer will be in your Owner’s Manual. For this guide, however, I will be showing you how to install RAM in an iMac. Besides getting to the RAM, just about everything else applies to any computer.

On the stable surface, spread your towel out large enough to cover the surface area of your machine. You can now turn off and unplug your machine. If you have an iMac, lay the machine down on the towel (Screen down) with the bottom facing towards yourself. Now take your screwdriver and remove the two screws holding the center plate in place. Once the screws are safely in the dish, remove the plate, and set it along side the dish. Inside the of the panel on the iMac, you will see two levers on the sides, and two slots behind them. Pull the levers outward, and whatever RAM you currently have installed will become loose. If you’re replacing your current RAM, you can take this moment to remove the RAM, and place it alongside the dish. If you are merely adding a second module of RAM, there is no need to touch the current RAM. Now inspect your RAM to find a notch among the pins. Look inside the slot to find which direction the notch must face. Once you match the notches on the RAM and the slot, you can slide the RAM into place. It may take a small amount of force to get it to slide back, but be very, very careful. If it feels like it won’t fit, don’t force it. Pull it out, and make sure that you have it in properly. Once you have all of your RAM in place, push the levers back into place, and return the plate and screws. If you removed any RAM from your machine, put it in the left over mylar sheaths, and put them in a safe place.

Now that the installation is over, it is time to make sure everything went alright, and your machine recognizes all of your RAM. Plug your machine back in, and then start it up. Once it comes up, and you are in your account, click the Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner, and then select “About this Mac.” A small window will pop up, and will tell you the version of your operating system, what processor you have, how much memory you have, and the name of your start-up disk. Look at the “Memory” section to see if your computer recognizes your new RAM. If it does, congratulations, you just installed new RAM in your computer. If it doesn’t recognize it, don’t panic. Check your system’s specifications on Apple’s website to make sure your system will recognize the amount of RAM that you installed. If it does, double-check your receipt for your RAM to make sure it matches what your computer requires. If everything checks out, but your computer still doesn’t recognize your RAM, send an e-mail to the distributer of the RAM your ordered with all of the relevant information. If they sold you a bad stick of RAM, they will (In most situations) be more than happy to exchange the bad stick with a working stick. Manufacturing difficulties happen from time to time. Don’t get upset if it happens to you. Simply discuss the situation rationally with a representative until your situation is dealt with.

I hope this little guide helped you understand the process of ordering and installing RAM. If you have any questions, I would be glad to help you out. Please leave a comment below.

Grant Brunner

Grant is a writer from Delaware. In his spare time, Grant maintains a personal blog, hosts The Weekly Roar, hosts Quadcast, and writes for video games.