Monday, 15 February 2010

Why You Should Install Extra Computer Memory During the Computer Building Process

Welcome to Building Computers for Beginners where you can learn how to build a PC step by step using this guide. In days of old, computer memory used to be a rather complicated and very confusing component to configure in a new build. These days installing memory into a motherboard as part of build or an upgrade is as easy as can be. First of all it would probably be a good idea to establish exactly what memory is, what it is made of and what it does inside the computer. The type of memory used in most computers is called Random Access Memory. RAM is a type of memory that stores data in a way that allows it to be accessed in any order (or randomly). There are other types of memory that will only allow stored data to be accessed in a sequential order. A memory module or chip is built in a similar way to a microprocessor and is an integrated circuit made from transistors and capacitors. Double Data Rate DDR (also DDR SDRAM or DDR RAM) is a type of fast computer memory. DDR is based on the same memory architecture as standard SDRAM but uses the clock signal in a different way to transfer twice as much data in the same amount of time. If you really want to know the ins and outs of it you can read about computer memory architecture in Wikipedia. There are lots of articles on the internet that explain (amongst other things) how computer memory works. In very basic terms when the computer uses a program the data is held in memory.

When an application or computer program uses a lot of memory the computer system’s performance can slow down. This type of performance slow down can be considerable in machines that do not have enough computer memory installed. Computer memory size is measured in megabytes (Mb). It is not the size of memory that is the most important factor. The idea is not to go for the largest computer memory. It is more important to consider the speed of data transfer. To reiterate it is better to go for speed rather than for the biggest computer memory available. When it comes to internal computer memory it is worth paying for good quality components. Good computer memory can be quite expensive in comparison to cheaper brands of memory but it is far more reliable. Motherboard manufacturers will usually specify which brands of computer memory they recommend for their products.

Something that you may need to consider when you build a new computer is how much memory to install. A simple way to think about computer memory is to assimilate it to a desktop or table. Imagine that you want to lay documents flat on the desktop. The larger the computer memory the more open documents you can have at the same time. Memory upgrades are one of the most popular ways to speed up older computers that are beginning to lag. When you build your own computer it is a good opportunity to add extra computer memory during the initial build.

Computer Memory Installation Guide
Computer memory installation could not be easier. Remember to take anti-static precautions when handling the memory modules (even when removing the packaging). Installation is no different whether you are interested in how to build a media PC, how to build a gaming PC or simply how to build a new computer system from scratch. The technique of installing the memory is largely the same for all types of systems. Place the memory module or unit into the memory slot on the motherboard. The memory will be notched so that it can only fit into the slot the right way round. Press the module down gently but firmly (do not force it down as you could damage the module or motherboard). When the memory module is pressed down firmly it the retaining clips will click down and lock it into position. The motherboard manual will provide installation information for installing dual or triple channel memory correctly. In general the memory banks are installed into matching banks on the motherboard. The memory banks (or slots) on the motherboard are usually colour coordinated which makes this task straightforward.

It may not be imperative but it is good practice to install PC memory in pairs (or in triplet). This will take advantage of dual or triple memory channel architecture. Computer supplies and component retailers sell memory module kits that are aimed at this type of installation. The principle is to install the exact same size, speed and brand of memory into the available memory banks. This has been proven to provide a more stable computer system and reduces the time spent troubleshooting, repairing or upgrading the computer in the future. If your budget allows, install more computer memory than you think you will need to run your programs. It is better to have too much than too little. Another major advantage of dual or triple channel memory modules is that they assist with system cooling. In some motherboards the memory modules act as small walls directing airflow towards other components. This greatly assists the cooling of the machine by drawing cool air into the system box. The technology is more down to the clever design of the motherboard rather than the memory modules themselves. In saying this, the memory modules are also very advanced technology. When the two technologies are brought together in the PC their individual strengths can be realised.

To conclude, we have established that there is a lot more to computer memory than meets the eye. PC memory is a very important component within the computer system. Modern computer are not just built to perform faster and faster, they are built to do cope with the workload of taking on more tasks simultaneously.
Some of the top brands of computer memory are Kingson, Corsair (this is the brand that I use in my computers), OCZ, Crucial, Samsung, Elixar and G-Skill.

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