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Whether you’ve got an outdated budget device and want to improve the speed, or you need better overall performance with gaming, creative tasks, or CAD tools — more RAM can (often) help.
However, there are some things you should know before upgrading.
This article will explore if you really need more RAM and whether you can add it to your laptop externally. We’ll also talk about what kind of external RAM for a laptop you should get and how to know if your device supports it.
Intrigued? Read on!
Table of Contents
- What is External RAM and Can We Use External RAM on Laptop?
- Why You May Want to Increase RAM on Your Laptop
- Does My Laptop Support More RAM?
- What Kind of RAM Should You Buy for a Laptop?
- How Can I Install RAM on My Laptop?
What is External RAM and Can We Use External RAM on Laptop?
Unlike storage, RAM stores the data in your system short-term and keeps it easily accessible for the processor. This way, your computer can perform many everyday tasks, such as loading applications, browsing the internet, or playing the latest game.
RAM is an internal component and you cannot add it externally.
The reason is simple – it needs a specific interface and power supply. These are only available on the motherboard and not through any USB ports.
Some confusion regarding external RAM comes from earlier Windows Vista OS. Back in the day, Windows computers had the option to add a little bit of extra simulated RAM power through USB sticks called “ReadyBoost”. The boost was insignificant and the RAM stick is useless with any modern laptop.
Why You May Want to Increase RAM on Your Laptop
Adding more RAM is a way to increase your device’s computing power. Still, the decision on whether to upgrade depends on what you want to do.
For example, laptops with 8GB of RAM should comfortably see you through most office work and other basic tasks, as well as some light gaming. If you’re looking for a video-editing or high-end gaming laptop, you’ll need more, even up to 32GB.
However, upgrading your RAM can only be helpful up to a certain point. Adding too much RAM can even slow down the laptop in some cases.
Can I Add Another 8GB RAM to a 4GB RAM Laptop?
Technically – yes, you can add 8GB to a 4GB laptop. However, there are a few caveats.
Add the wrong type of RAM, and you will destabilize the performance and the system – so make sure that both the 4GB and 8GB RAMs come with the same voltage rating. The added RAM sticks also need to have the same frequency, DDR version, latency, and socket.
Still, the extra memory may not matter, if the tasks themselves require more RAM.
Does My Laptop Support More RAM?
This depends on the laptop brand and the model. There are different ways to check whether the RAM on your device is upgradable.
For example, you can check out the reviews, manufacturer’s specifications, or simply open the laptop and check for an extra RAM slot. You should be careful, though, as this may void the warranty.
However, there is another way – you can run software such as Crucial System Scanner or CPU-Z on your system. Those are free tools that display information about your existing RAM and if there are extra RAM slots in your laptop.
What Kind of RAM Should You Buy for a Laptop?
First, check if your model allows for user upgrades. Some laptops come with soldered memory (fixed to the motherboard and can’t be upgraded), or they rely on SODIMMs (can be inserted and removed, similar to desktop RAM).
Next, see which type of RAM is compatible with your device. There are 3 main types of RAM – DDR3, DDR4 and DDR5. Your computer will likely only support one or the other, so make sure you get the right one. You can use compatibility tools such as the Crucial System Scanner or the Crucial Advisor to check the type.
Prices of RAM for Laptop
The RAM price can vary greatly depending on the brand, capacity, and needs. Yet, you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality solution. For most uses, adding an extra 8GB of RAM should do the trick and it will generally cost you around $25-$55.
How Can I Install RAM on My Laptop?
Once you’ve made sure your laptop’s RAM is upgradable and chosen the right memory to add, there are a few easy installation steps.
1) Open the Back Panel
Before you open your laptop’s back panel, don’t forget to turn it off and remove the battery. Then, unscrew the back with a compatible screwdriver. Make sure you ground yourself in order to avoid electrostatic discharge. Once you open the back, locate the RAM module.
2) Add the New RAM
If you already have an extra RAM slot, just plug in the additional RAM module. If not, you can remove the existing RAM and replace it with a higher-capacity RAM. Once the new RAM is in place, put back the back panel and the battery. When you turn on the laptop, it should automatically detect the new RAM module.
3) Can I Use a USB Drive or SD Card for Readyboost?
ReadyBoost was used with Windows Vista as a way to increase RAM. If your device still runs this OS, you can use a USB drive or SD card for ReadyBoost. However, it will only work if your USB drive or SD card has free space available.
There are some laptop components that can function as external devices like eGPU.
However, when we talk about RAM upgrades, we always mean adding it to the motherboard. There is no such thing as external RAM.