Do you need to expand the RAM of your laptop? In this article, we will teach you how to know if you can do it and, in case you can expand it, how to choose the right RAM for your laptop.
It is a valid guide for all types of Windows laptops, so we are sure that you will find the answer to what you need. Let’s go there!
How to Expand the RAM of a Laptop – Easy Steps to Follow
The first thing you should know about the RAM you have already installed in your laptop. You can do it in two ways.
The first way is through SO-DIMM memory slots. This means that the memory installed in slots, which can be opened very easily, being able to replace the RAM with another.
The format used is always called SO-DIMM, but you should worry about choosing the right type of memory (DDR, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, DDR5…) with the correct characteristics.
If you don’t use SO-DIMM slots, then it means the RAM is soldered to the laptop’s motherboard. In this case, RAM that is not replaceable. But it is true that you can replace the entire motherboard, or try to unsolder the memories.
So, first method is too expensive, and a second method is too difficult and requires very special equipment.
So, let’s talk about the third option, which are laptops that integrate SO-DIMM slots to expand the RAM, but at the same time include some soldered memories.
We can consider this case to be equivalent to using only SO-DIMMs, as good expansion opportunity.
Do I have a Laptop with Soldered RAM or Not
The fundamental point to expand the RAM of a laptop is to know if it is soldered or not. To do this, we could directly ask you to open the laptop and discover it “by surprise”, but it is not necessary, at all.
It is really easy to know, especially if you follow our steps, which work for any laptop.
Let’s start with a simple but unsophisticated method for which you just have to open the Task Manager.
You can do this by searching in the start menu, with the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Del or, better yet, with the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
Once inside, click (if necessary) on More details to see all the tabs, and enter the Performance tab.
There, select Memory in the left column. At this point, you should look at two parts: Used Slots and Form Factor.
In Form Factor it indicates “Row of chips”, then you have a fully soldered memory. “SO-DIMM”, then it means that there are slots present, which can be upgrade to RAM.
Task manager doesn’t know if all the slots are SO-DIMMs, or if instead we have a hybrid configuration of soldered RAM and one SO-DIMM slot.
Therefore, we are going towards method. It consists of using the CPU-Z program, which you can download from its official website.
This is one of the most used methods in the world to get information about a computer’s hardware, and here it will give us everything we need to expand the laptop’s RAM.
Once you have installed and opened the program, go to the SPD tab. Where you will find information about the occupied memories in each memory slot.
See Also: How do I know how much Ram my PC has
Basically, when SPD slot shows up with information, you can count on it being a busy SO-DIMM slot. On the other hand, for slots that appear empty, two things can happen:
- There is no replaceable physical slot, but a soldered slot. CPU-Z detects them as slots, but without giving any information.
- There is indeed a free slot in which we can install a memory module without any problem.
So, we can only reach one conclusion: if information appears in the two SPD slots, we can replace it without any problem.
But what happens in the other two possible cases? If there are two free slots or one free slot and another empty.
How do we know About the slot in which, we should install RAM?
1 – If no information appears, then we may be dealing with 1 soldered slot and 1 empty slot, or 2 soldered slots. To discern it, check in the “Memory” tab if “Channel #” shows “Dual”.
If “Single” appears, then it is probably a soldered slot and an available slot. You can also take advantage of the task manager method that we indicated above, it is easier.
2 – If information appears in one SPD slot and not in another, then:
- Check the capacity of the slot for which information does appear. For example, 8GB. If it corresponds to the total memory of the laptop, then you have 1 occupied SO-DIMM slot and 1 free slot.
- If the capacity of that slot is not the full capacity, it means that you have 1 SO-DIMM slot occupied and the rest is soldered memory.
Now we just need to remember that, wherever there is an SO-DIMM slot, we can replace it. But where there is a soldered memory slot, we cannot do it.
How do I know what RAM to buy before Upgrading
Let’s now see the most important thing to know what RAM memory to buy to expand your laptop.
How many Modules to Install
The first question is how many RAM memory modules we should buy for the expansion. This all depends on two things: the type of update you want to perform and how many are free on your system.
For example, if you have both memory slots occupied, it may be worth buying a new 2-memory kit, and selling or dedicating the ones you currently have in the laptop to another purpose.
This way you will ensure maximum compatibility that allows the dual channel to work well, etc.
On the other hand, if you have a slot available, a good idea is to buy just 1 more module to install in the laptop.
When expanding the RAM of a laptop, what we must always clear about is that they should work under dual channel.
There should be two working memory slots, not just one. This will improve your laptop performance.
What type of Memory is Appropriate
As we mentioned before, there are several types of Double Data Rate RAM on the market. You must choose modules of the right type and, if possible, of a correct speed.
We recommend that you should consult the “Memory” section of CPU-Z, where the type of memory will be indicated in “Type”.
See Also: Can we Use SSD as RAM
The most common today is DDR4, with DDR3 as the technology that is becoming obsolete, and DDR5 as the future of memory.
What if Memory is not Compatible
Of course, it can always be the case (unlikely if you choose it properly) that the memories you install are not compatible.
In that case, you should not worry as it will not cause any irreversible problem on your computer. It just won’t boot with the new installed memory.
A very important point of incompatibility and where you really have to be careful is in the RAM capacity that we install.
Just because a 16GB or 32GB module seems compatible with your laptop doesn’t mean it is.
And it is depending on the processor you have. You will have to face one memory limit or another. To know this, it is best to check the RAM limits of your processor.
Taking advantage of the fact that you have CPU-Z, check the “Specification” section of the “CPU” tab, and look for the processor on the internet, on the official Intel or AMD website as appropriate.
There, you will be able to know the maximum amount of RAM to install.
With all help of these tips, you can choose the right memory module. Be careful, because there are even more ways to find out what is necessary to expand the RAM of your laptop:
- Consult the specifications of the laptop itself on the manufacturer’s official website, in an official PDF of information, etc.
- Take advantage of RAM manufacturers’ tools to choose compatible modules. For example, the Crucial website allows us to scan our current laptop or search based on model.
How to Open your Laptop to Expand its RAM
Now, all that remains is to open the laptop to install the RAM memory. This process can be more or less difficult depending on the laptop.
Look at its lower part, because some incorporate a small specific part to change the RAM memory without any complication.
In other cases, it will be necessary to unscrew the entire lower part of the laptop, and remove the entire casing.
RAM is very easy to locate inside the computer. You have already seen DIMM slots several times.
Expanding the RAM of a laptop is a very simple process if we have things clear. In this article, we have explained to you in depth what you should know in order to update the memories of your laptop.
The main thing is to discern if your laptop has soldered RAM or it has SO-DIMM slots. If the latter is the case, you can replace it, either completely changing all the modules or just those you need.
To check it we have shown you two very good methods, using the Task Manager and the free program CPU-Z.
Once you have determined how much memory you are going to be install, you have to decide from where and how to buy, find out what type the memory has to be (DDR3, DDR4, DDR5…) and make sure to replace it.
Zahid Khan Jadoon is an Interior Decorator, Designer and a specialized Chef and loves to write about home appliances and food. Right now he is running his interior designing business along with a managing a restaurant. Also in his spare time he loves to write about home and kitchen appliances.