What is the role of RAM?
RAM (acronym for Random Access Memory) aims to temporarily store data so that the processor, and to a lesser extent the GPU, can access it quickly.
This volatile memory has access times that can be counted in nanoseconds, times much greater than those of a hard drive or optical media such as DVD, Blu-ray or even an SSD.
It’s a bit like the short term memory of your LAPTOP, HDD and SSD being rather long term.
The acronym for RAM is misleading because “random” access does not mean random, quite the contrary.
Hence, the term sequential memory sometimes used because the information is perfectly organized and stored in a RAM bar but accessible at any time and in any order.
What Type Of Memory Module Is Used In Laptops
This volatile aspect is fundamental. Especially since, as soon as the data capacity of the memory, expressed in gigabytes, is full, the processor processes the stored information to integrate new ones from the hard disks, which slows it down.
The quantity but also the quality of the memory ( see the chapter characteristics ) must therefore be considered together .
The Different Versions and Evolutions of LAPTOP Memory
There is not a Laptop memory but Laptop memories!
The term RAM or random access memory has for a long time been opposed to ROM (Read-only Memory) or ROM, the latter designating non-volatile storage.
If the term ROM has become rare, the RAM family remains large. A distinction is thus made between static random access memory (SRAM) and dynamic (DRAM). Less bulky, less expensive but also slower, Drams are those that equip our Laptops today.
But even within DRAM, there is a split, with one side DDR-SDRAM (or DDR for Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) and the other SDRAM.
The first type indicates that at equal frequency, this type of memory doubles the transfer rate of reads / writes compared to conventional SDRAM.
This is, for its part, of the synchronous type, i.e. its frequency is synchronized with that of the system bus as opposed to asynchronous type memories which have their own clock but which require a short waiting time.
Due to synchronization with the system bus.
It was with the North wood architecture of Intel in 2002 that DDR-SDRAM appeared, which has since undergone 3 major developments to increase data throughput from the original 200 to 400 MT / s.
DDR2-SDRAM is the second generation of DDR memory.
The naming principle is to clearly show the doubling of the theoretical flow rate at equal real frequency. Indeed, DDR2 memory has the same clock frequency as DDR but thanks to a doubled bus frequency, the memory has a theoretical throughput that is also doubled.
DDR3-SDRAM, the third generation of DDR memory, arrived on the market in late 2007 and provides twice the throughput of DDR2.
The fourth and current generation of DDR memory, born at the end of 2014, is called… (drum roll)… DDR4 !! And guess what? It provides twice the speed of DDR3 .
Add Memory to your Laptop
By increasing the RAM of your laptop, the hard drive, which is slower, will be less strained when you open several windows or tabs at the same time, when you handle large files, when you launch your software, etc. In the end, you will therefore benefit from an improvement in the performance of your Laptop and increased working comfort .
Prefer 1 GB (1024 MB) of RAM to work comfortably under Windows XP and do not hesitate to push up to 2 GB (2048 MB) of RAM if you have Windows Vista or if you use your laptop for demanding tasks ( games, video editing, etc.)
Adding memory to their laptop is accessible to everyone. You first need to check the type and characteristics of the memory used by your Laptop (SO-DIMM format) in order to know which modules to buy and how much memory can add . The number of memory connectors on laptops is indeed limited.
Then, through a simple hatch under your laptop,you can easily add your new module and expand your Laptop’s RAM capacity. Finally, you just have to check that the module is recognized by your Laptop and Windows.
How to detect and diagnose a RAM problem?
Aside from the time of purchase, there are two situations in which you will have to consider the purchase of RAM: when you run out of memory or when a module is defective.
There are several things that can put you on suspicion about a lack of RAM.
The first is almost found in the name: if the RAM is insufficient, your LAPTOP will… row ! This slow-motion operation is due to the fact that when the RAM is full, your LAPTOP will call on the virtual memory of the Laptop or even go directly to fetch information from the hard disk which leads to longer loads.
Other ways to identify a lack of RAM are system information – which will tell you the total to compare with what you’ve installed – or your OS’s task manager.
By starting the latter and in particular by going to the performance tab, you can view the amount of memory used and what remains. If you are just in time, it is better to add more.
The CPU-Z utility also provides detailed information about your entire system including RAM.
Memtest86 allows you to finely test your memory modules to detect a failure or anomaly; it also facilitates access to the technical parameters of the RAM in the context of adding strips.
If it is not a lack but a defect in the RAM that affects your Laptop, the symptoms can be more varied with in particular repeated crashes, blue screens (the famous screens of death, BSODs, Blue screen of death) and first the lack of initialization of the LAPTOP with different beeps depending on your BIOS version.
On some motherboards, beeps are emitted to diagnose various faults or problems including memory: if your LAPTOP does not emit its usual beep at startup, this means that the processor or memory are incorrectly installed or out of service .
To check, it can always be useful to restart your LAPTOP with more RAM modules or by removing them one by one to identify the fault (s).
Since Seven, Windows also integrates a utility which will allow you to test your RAM : it is enough to launch the application “Windows memory diagnostic” (with a short test and a long, more thorough) and to follow the procedure to check the memory integrity.
Other utilities, including online ones, are available free of charge to analyze its memory modules. Memtest history remains a reference.
How to install a RAM memory?
When building a LAPTOP , installing RAM is probably the easiest thing. DIMM slots are easy to locate, the colors being there to identify where to connect RAM that should operate in interlaced or dual channel mode.
Therefore, prefer these locations if you use technically identical bars.The slots are also equipped with keying and the notches of the bars prevent any error.