RAM is a fundamental part of any contemporary device such as the computer. It is responsible for a unique function that allows our computer to store dynamic data. When you open a computer program such as Paint the executable file loads all the information into RAM where it will remain temporarily until the program is closed. This also allows the use of dynamic-link libraries, which are essentially libraries of functions which programs can share simultaneously without having to reload them into memory again.
RAM is a rectangular green chip that connects to your motherboard. They come in various capacity limits such as 500MB or 1GB. Depending on your motherboard, you may have some additional RAM slots empty. Those slots can be used to upgrade your computer by adding extra memory. If all of the slots are taken then you can simply remove the old RAM and replace it with a more powerful one.
Unlike what many may believe, adding more RAM will not always speed up your computer. Remember, RAM is responsible for how many programs you can run simultaneously. If you are not going over the limit then you do not have a RAM problem. Often times, if you start loading your RAM to 80% or more you will find that your computer starts to slow down. However, it's not the RAM that causes it – it's the CPU. All the information in your memory gets processed by the CPU and if your processor can not handle it, then upgrading RAM will not solve the issue – you will need to upgrade your CPU.
Often times when the RAM usage approaches or exceeds the limit the computer will store some of the information on the hard drive and swap it in and out whenever needed. This can put a damper on your computer performance as your hard drive is much slower than RAM.
In today's fast paced technological world any computer equipment older than 2 years can be considered outdated. If you are using a computer older than 3 years you should consider upgrading your RAM. It's the cheapest and quickest way to improve your computer without having to purchase a brand new one.
There are many websites where you can buy computer RAM online or you could visit a local computer hardware store and pick up the latest model from there. Typically, the price variations in RAM depend on a few factors. First, RAM capacity can range anywhere from 256MB to 8GB per slot. Also, RAM speed (how quickly it loads / links data) can also affect performance and it ranges anywhere from 266Mhz to 2400Mhz. The average RAM stick will probably be a 1066 to 1333Mhz DDR2 or DDR3 card.
Compatibility is important as not all RAM cards will fit your motherboard. Not just that, but motherboards are limited to how much RAM it can support so be sure to find out the limit before buying computer memory.
Computer RAM price will range based on the capacity, speed, and of course, brand. My current computer uses 2 x 4GB Kingston memory cards which is more than enough for any amount of computer use.