How to Match RAM to the Motherboard

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When you're upgrading or replacing random access memory, it's vital that you buy RAM that is compatible with your motherboard. If you don't, the RAM may not work and it may even damage the RAM, the motherboard, or both. Fortunately, it's easy to match RAM to your motherboard.

Things You'll Need

  • Motherboard user manual
  • Check your motherboard user manual and look in the section on memory or RAM.

  • Read how many sticks of RAM it can hold; four is a common number. You can't install more sticks of RAM than you have slots available.

  • Check the maximum amount of RAM that the motherboard supports. This figure is typically given in gigabytes. Any extra RAM capacity beyond that will go to waste.

  • Determine how large the RAM slots are. This number is given in pins, often 240. You'll have to use memory sticks of this size.

  • Check the memory speed and standard. This will be a series of letters and numbers like "DDR3." Make sure the RAM you buy is the same.

  • Note the frequencies that your motherboard supports. This will be given in megahertz, and sometimes there will be more than one supported frequency. Any RAM you buy must match one of the supported frequencies.

  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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