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How To Install RAM in Your PC

How To Install RAM in Your PC

Computer memory (RAM) won’t have as big of an impact on your PC’s performance as your CPU and your GPU (for gaming) will.

However, RAM plays an important role in your PC and makes a big contribution to its overall performance. And, RAM is much cheaper and easier to install than both CPUs and GPUs. That makes it a popular upgrade option among PC users.

Whether or not you’re installing RAM into a new PC build or you’re upgrading (or adding to) your RAM in an existing build, the installation process is fairly easy.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to install RAM in your PC.

How to Install RAM

For new builds, it’s a good idea to install certain components onto your motherboard before you install your motherboard in your case. This will give you more room to work with and make the build preocess a bit easier.

Along with your CPU, CPU cooler, and NVME drives (if applicable), you should install your RAM on your motherboard before you put your motherboard in your case.

Here is the step-by-step process for installing RAM:

Install Memory

  1. Read your motherboard’s manual to see which slots your memory should be install in (see below).
  2. Unlock the clip on the side of the DIMM slot.
  3. Line up the notch on your memory stick with the divider in the DIMM slot.
  4. Lower the RAM into the DIMM slot and make sure it is lined up correctly.
  5. Apply pressure to the memory stick until it ‘clicks’ into place (the clip should lock back into place as well).

*NOTE: It can take a good amount of pressure to get the RAM to fully seat into the DIMM slot. There should be a noticeable ‘clicking’ noise (not a cracking or crunching noise) and the clip that you unlocked should click back into place. It can also help to apply pressure to one side first, then the other side right after in a sort of rocking motion. If you pay close attention you can see this in the GIF above.

Adding/Upgrading RAM in an Existing PC

Adding or upgrading RAM in an existing PC can potentially be a bit more difficult than just installing RAM in a new build.

This is because you will have to perform the installation inside the case rather than outside the case.

The installation process is exactly the same (except if you’re switching out RAM, then you’ll have to remove the old RAM first.)

In most cases, working inside the case only adds the minor incovenience of having less room to work with. However, in some scenarios where a bulky CPU cooler is installed, you may not be able to get your RAM out unless you remove the cooler first.

Removing your CPU cooler isn’t a difficult task, but it will add in quite a few more steps to the RAM installation process, as you’ll not only have to remove the cooler, but you’ll aslo have to clean and reapply thermal paste (in order to maintain adeqaute cooling).

Check Motherboard’s Manual for Correct Installation

Every motherboard manufacturer has a specific way they want you to install memory into their motherboards. And, that way is usually explained in the motherboard’s manual.

So, it’s important to read your motherboard’s manual before you install RAM in your PC.

Correct RAM Placement
This is taken from an MSI motherboard’s manual. This those you where you should place your memory if you have one stick, two sticks, and four sticks.

If you are installing a single stick of memory in your build, your motherboard manufacturer likely has a preference of which slot it needs to be installed in.

If you are installing two sticks of RAM on a motherboard that has four DIMM slots, you will have to install them in specific slots in order to take advantage of Dual Channel technology. If you just install your two memory sticks side-by-side, you won’t get the benefit that Dual Channel mode offers.

Also Read: Single Channel vs. Dual Channel: What’s the Difference?

In general, most motherboards with four DIMM slots (pretty much all standard ATX motherboards) require that you install two sticks of RAM in the 2nd and 4th position (starting from the slot closest to your CPU).

But you need to check your motherboard’s manual to make sure.

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building PCs and writing about building PCs for a long time. Through, I've helped thousands of people learn how to build their own computers. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.

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