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Find the Right Memory Module

See how much RAM your computer can manage

Check the specifications for your computer to find the maximum amount of RAM it’s capable of managing. Most modern computers sold to consumers can handle no more than 4GB; paying for and installing more than the maximum is a waste of money and could cause problems in some machines.

To find out what kind of memory modules you already have installed in your PC (and need to purchase), use one of these methods:

  • Choose Start@@-->All Programs@@-->Accessories@@-->System Tools@@-->System Information. The System Information window opens, displaying a report on memory (among other things).
  • Visit your PC maker’s Web site, which may have a feature that will scan your system or tell you what memory was installed at the time of purchase.
  • Visit a computer retailer’s Web site, and look up the parts you need by entering the manufacturer and model number of your computer. The System Information window displays the manufacturer name and model.
  • Get an online memory scan. Several companies that sell memory modules offer an online scan of your computer that identifies the kind of memory you need. One example is Micron Technology’s Crucial System Scanner at


Do you really need to know the difference among SDRAM, DDR, DDR2, and DDR3? Not really, except to recognize that these are four of the most common types of memory modules for modern PCs. How about the speed difference between, say, PC2-5200 and PC2-5300? Same thing applies. If your system is designed to use DDR PC2-5200 memory, that’s what you should shop for.

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