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Should I Upgrade My RAM?

Ericuse165 found some memory at a great price. He asked the Laptops forum if he should update his laptop.

Ericuse165 found some memory at a great price. He asked the Laptops forum if he should update his laptop from 4GB to 8.

If the money is right, you probably should. But you need to consider a few things before you pull out your credit card.

First, can your PC take that much RAM, and is the RAM that you can buy at that great price the right type for your PC? For the answer to both of those questions, try the Crucial System Scanner. This small, free program examines your hardware, then tells you--via a web page--how much RAM you have, how much you can have, and what kind you need.

Crucial, the Web site that hosts the scanner, is in the RAM retail business, so if you're going to buy RAM, they're hoping you buy it from them. But they also give you enough information to look for good prices elsewhere.

Second, more RAM may not make a huge difference. PC World Lab tests done earlier this year indicated that adding RAM adds little improvement. As Christopher Null explained in Hardware Speed Boosts for Your PC, "if your PC already has even a moderate amount of RAM, you likely won't see much of a speed increase from adding more...[a test computer's] performance im­­proved by just 3 percent when we moved from 4GB of RAM to 8GB."

Read the original forum discussion.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum. Follow Lincoln on Twitter, or subscribe to the Answer Line newsletter, e-mailed weekly.

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