RAM is a funny thing. While in the past it was a lot more critical to a computer’s performance, it hasn’t quite been forgotten or forgiven. Having said that, these days, you can easily bag 8GB of RAM for under £70 for most systems, and for that kind of a price an upgrade is not worth missing out on.
Here we take a look at the Crucial 8GB DDR3 RAM, with the following specs:
- DDR3 PC3-12800
How to get the right RAM for your system
This is not an easy question to answer. There is quite a lot of choice out there, and there are a lot of many confusing numbers to deal with, a bit like the specs I have mentioned above. However, Crucial have made it quite easy on their website. The website offers a tool which lets you either enter your system name, or lets you download a tool which tells you which parts are compatible with your computer, and once you know them, you know what you can buy out of the choice. Of course, to put it simply, the higher the numbers, generally the better performance you’ll get out of your system.
The end result offered me a few choices of RAM, the highest of which was 8GB, which is the highest my system can take. Selection was made, and the RAM got to me within a matter of a day.
Crucial also provide instructions on how to install RAM on most systems, so this shouldn’t really be a problem. However, do be careful.
The RAM comes as 2 x 4GB inserts, so it means you have to install two of them in your system. My system already had 2 x 2GB DDR3 RAMs installed, which meant that I was getting a direct upgrade of doubling my RAM.
So, normally, after the battery, the RAM is the most exposed part at the bottom of your laptop, though it is normally screwed in.
Unplug your charger, and take out your battery before you do anything.
After that, locate the RAM slot on your laptop, and unscrew the cover.
DIMM slots are quite easy to take RAMs in and out of. Normally you find two clips on either end of the RAM, and if you slide them outwards, the RAM gets free and pops upward. You can then pull it out. Do the same with the slow below it. To push new ones, push them at the same angle as you pulled your old one out, and as you press down, the clips should clip in, and hold it in place.
Don’t worry, they only go in one way, so you won’t end up plugging them upside down.
This is where it gets interesting. The RAM I tried out offers me 8GB, and up to 1600 MT/s (Megatransfers per second). That is pretty good rate, and is in line with rest of the options available. It also runs on 1.35V, which is a lower voltage, which means it loads your system less, hence allowing it to run faster.
Now that we have got the boring numbers out of the way, how improved did I notice my system to be? That question mostly depends on what you do with your system. I immediately noticed my Windows Performance Index pushed up the ‘memory’ index to almost the maximum (7.3/7.9).
After that, it is up to your software on how well it uses memory. While general running may not prove to be any faster or smoother, you really begin to notice the difference if you watch videos, do any kind of rendering, run CAD systems (which I do), or play games.
So, the system really gives you an improvement if you are a heavy computer user, but if you were only in it to check the occasional email and watch videos of cats, you wouldn’t really be reading this now, would you?
So, is it worth it though? Definitely. While processors and graphic cards are getting higher in prices, memory has become a lot better value over the years, and it almost means there is no excuse not to have the best possible setup in your system.
An interesting test for me, as I have not reviewed RAMs for the website before, even though I have gone through many an upgrade in my life. Being a tinkerer and an engineer helps, but it is really down to the added performance that keeps bringing you back. The Crucial RAM upgrade experience gets a high rating from me, because of the ease of selection, simple installation (though you have to thank manufacturers for that), as well as simple improvement in performance.