1. Memory checking.

example memory chip

Memory is probably one of the most important factors determining the perceived speed of your computer. A simple memory upgrade will often greatly improve your PC's performance. An example of a memory chip is shown above. These can be found within your PC on the computer's main board (also known as the motherboard).

In order to assess your memory requirements, it is essential to understand two things. Firstly, the memory module capacity of your motherboard, and secondly, the specific types of memory modules needed.

This information is available from your motherboard manual, but quite often this manual has been lost. Thankfully, there is an easy way to identify this information. A very useful tool provided by memory manufacturers Crucial Technologies, which can be found here : (this link will open up in a new browser page).

Downloading and running the Crucial System Scanner is easy.

1. First, agree to the terms and conditions.
2. Click the "download the scanner" button, and choose "Save File" when prompted.
3. Save the file to your desktop, or anywhere you prefer.
4. Navigate to this saved CrucialScan.exe file and open. If you get a security warning, click "Run" to allow the download.
5. It will take several moments while your browser is updated with your scan results.

This will provide you with information similar to that shown in the following screen capture. This tells you 4 things which I have highlighted below:

1) The motherboard model (and a quick search on Google will reveal the manufacturer, if not shown as is the case here).

2) The number of available slots in which memory can be insserted, and the number already in use (in this case, 2 x 1GB modules occupy two slots, with two more slots unused)

3) the type of memory used by the motherboard - again, in this case, it shows two diferent speeds of memory 2700 or 3200 of type DDR. It also shows that DDR PC3200 modules are currently present.

4) Motherboard specification.

It may be that you already have filled your motherboard, and that an upgrade will require new higher capacity memory modules to replace your existing configuration. For instance, your motherboard may have two slots which supports a maximum of 1GB, but you already have 2 x 256MB modules installed (512MB total). Therfore you will likely need to fit 2 x 512MB modules to replace the existing 256MB modules in order to achieve this maximum capacity.

I hope this helps in understanding the basic needs of memory module selection!

Please keep checking back for other hints and tips!


The HG Computer Services team