A DalyDose of…Memory

computer memory chip One of my revenue generating activities involves work as an independent computer consultant.  In this sluggish economy, I have noticed that more and more people are looking to save money by upgrading their currently technology vs. simply replacing it. With regard to computers, memory has always been the upgrade that has the biggest punch for the lowest cost. 

You can noticeably speed up a slow machine by adding memory to it.  This is true of ANY computer whether it be Windows or Linux or Mac.  The problem with just casually explaining this to people is that they assume that you are referring to storage space.  Most people have plenty of storage space, but will uninstall and delete a bunch of stuff in a mistaken effort increase “memory”.   Let’s end the confusion once and for all.

Let’s look at each in an effort to show the differences between these two very different aspects of the computer’s functionality.

Memory

Memory is like the workspace of the computer.  When you have a bunch of different programs open at the same time, you are utilizing a ton of workspace or memory.  This memory is technically referred to as “Random Access Memory” or RAM.  This is the same as if you were working at your desk in the office.  The space on your desk is your workspace.  You can reach everything on it with speed and precision.  You can effortless switch between the book on your left and the notepad on your right and the receipts in one corner and mail in the other corner.  You can work without having to physically get any “stuff” from anywhere else.  The “stuff” on your desk is obviously the “stuff” you can work with the fastest and easiest.ClutteredDesk

When you get really busy and have three books on your desk and the music player and three notebooks and your inbox in overflowing with paper, you can better organize by getting more space.  In this case, you would get a bigger desk.  Maybe you would even get a wrap around desk where you whip around in your chair and get to even more “stuff” without having to leave your desk.  

You would do a computer memory upgrade in just about the same way.  To increase your memory (workspace) you would increase the amount of RAM that you have (make your desk bigger).  The great thing is that memory prices have fallen and it is really cheap to upgrade a computer in this way.  It is also effective and you are likely to notice the speed increase.

Storagefile_cabinet_ars

Back to your desk in your office.  There isn’t always enough room on your desk to effectively keep everything of importance or significance.  For this reason we need places to store and file this “stuff”.  In the office you probably have file cabinets that you have to physically get up from your desk and transport yourself back and forth from.  These file cabinets are known as hard drives or disc storage in the world of computers.  When the machine needs to get a new document, it goes to the storage and gets it.   This is a normal and great use of storage.  The problem occurs when the memory is filled up and the computer has to compensate by physically going to the storage more often because the workspace can’t handle anymore “stuff”.

Getting Memory

There are various ways of seeing how much memory you have, how much memory your computer can hold and what specific types of memory.  Instead of going through all of that, I just head over to Crucial.com and choose to let them “Scan My System” and then I get a nice report telling me

  1. how much memory I currently have
  2. how much is the maximum that my computer will take
  3. suggestions and ways to buy online from Crucial.

If I am in a hurry, I’ll just print out the report and go to a local store and buy what I need.  Most of the time, I just order it online and wait for the memory to come in the mail.  Most of my clients do this as well since Crucial has great pricing and it’s so easy to get it right.

Once you have the memory in hand you just open up the machine, pop out the old and pop in the new.  If you are not comfortable opening up your machine contact a professional (I know a REALLY great guy here in Los Angeles!).

Conclusion

I hope this explanation was informative and easy to read/understand.  Please feel free to leave any comments, suggestions or questions in the comments area below.  Happy computing! 🙂

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About jeffdalydose

...a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole lot of awesome!

Posted on March 7, 2010, in Technology. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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