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Is your PC low on memory? You could try fish oil – or just install more RAM!

There are a number of different components that could be slowing your computer down, and it’s important to identify and fix them to optimize performance. If you think your memory is what’s slowing you down, RAM is easy to upgrade and install.

Before you get started, it’s important to protect against electric discharge. Static electricity will fry your RAM quickly, so make sure to use an anti-static wristband, or touch the bare metal inside your case frequently to ground yourself.

You’ll also want to make sure your motherboard is capable of supporting the speed, type, and size of the RAM you’ll be installing. Most modern motherboards support DDR3 at up to 1600MHz, but you’ll need to check your manufacturer’s instructions to know for sure. Common manufacturers like MSI and Gigabyte list these with the specifications of your component on their sites.

Some motherboards also support dual or tri-channel memory, meaning they split your memory use across two or three sticks of RAM at once. If your motherboard is equipped with this feature, it will affect the capacities and type of memory you buy, so make sure to check your computer’s manual. If you do have dual-channel support, you’ll want to buy a matching pair of memory sticks to make the most of it, if you have tri-channel, you’ll want to buy a matching set of three. You’ll mount matching RAM in the slots with matching colors.

If there’s already RAM in your system, eject it by pressingly firmly on the tabs on the motherboard at either end of the slots. The memory sticks will pop out and you can remove them gently.

To install the new RAM, line up the notches in the bottom of the sticks with the gaps in the slot on the motherboard. Make sure the wings at either end of the slot are pushed back, so they’re tilted away from the RAM. When you’re sure it’s lined up properly, push down firmly and evenly on the top of the stick at either end until it clicks into place. As it does, the wings will clamp in and hold the memory in place.

The good news is that if something went wrong, you’ll know right away when your computer doesn’t start up. Once it does, make sure to check that you have the correct amount of RAM displayed in your system profiler.

If it still isn’t working, verify that you have compatible memory. After that, try ejecting the RAM and reseating it, using the other slots if necessary.