One of the very best upgrades you can make for your computer is to install more memory. Usually it's more cost-effective than almost any other upgrade you might look at. And isn't that the purpose? To get the most bang for your upgrade buck.
The fact is that upgrading the memory on your computer is one of the cheapest, most effective upgrades you can do. It generally provides for faster processing of all essential tasks. Swifter and more efficient multi-tasking. You can do more than one thing at a time without the computer grinding down to a halt.
The amount of memory you'll need depends on what you use the computer for. So called power users who are playing games, creating videos and DVDs aren't going to be happy with less than a few gigabytes of memory. But, at the very least, you should shoot for at least 512MB of memory, and 1GB if you plan on using Microsoft Vista.
The problem is not all computers are made equally. You can't just run down to your neighborhood computer store, and buy any old memory and expect that you're going to be able to get it to work with your computer.
When you have a laptop the problem is especially apparent. Laptops are notorious for not having much space for memory, and being picky about the memory that will run in them. Usually the users manual or the website of the computer company can help you determine what type of memory you need to upgrade.
So, once you have the right size figured out, you have to go one step extra. You have to find out if you have the room to install more memory in your computer. Each computer has a limited amount of physical space to install the memory, and a limit to how much memory can be used. So, you'll have to find out how much physical space is available, and what the impact will be if you have to switch smaller chips with bigger chips. For instance if your computer has two slots filled with 256MB chips for a total of 512MB, and you bought two 512MB chips. You would only have 1GB of memory, and the old 256MB chips will not be able to be used. It's a little complicated, but worth the trouble to figure out.
A fantastic resource for looking up what kind of memory you should use is www.crucial.com. They have many of the makes and models of all major manufacturers, and provide guidelines for purchasing and installing more memory.
Dollar for dollar, buck for buck upgrading the computer memory is the most efficient upgrade path for most computers. And rather than going out and buying a new computer every few years, a good defrag and an increase in memory is often enough to do the trick.
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