Increasing the RAM of my PC is one of the most effective updates that we can physically do to our computer with better storage results. This is responsible for temporarily storing the data of running programs, and will also be crucial for games, multimedia content and web browsers.
But there are several ways to increase or at least optimize it without having to invest in new memory modules, so we will see all of them in this article. Do you think any of them will work for you? Let’s just start.
Obviously, installing more modules
Although it is logical, we will take the opportunity to give some advice on memory use and how to know the current and maximum capacity of our system.
To know the current capacity of our equipment we will not need any type of external program. Just by going to This Team , right-clicking on it and choosing properties , we will know this information. In the characteristics shown we will find that of “ Installed RAM ”, and it is possible that the usable one will also appear next to it in parentheses . We will explain later what this means.
The next step would be to know the type of memory and the slots available in our equipment. This is usually easy to tell, as all desktop PCs have 4 DIMM slots on their motherboard to install at least 64 GB of RAM. Then there will be the Workstation computers such as the Intel Core X or AMD Threadripper that will have 8 slots, but it is not usual for normal users.
To be more accurate, we are going to download CPU-Z , a free software that never fails when analyzing the hardware and characteristics of the equipment. We run the program in the x64 version and we will go to the Memory tab . There we will know the type of memory installed, the total amount and its clock frequency.
In the SPD section we will find the available slots in the equipment, in this case there would be two, only one of them being occupied. It shows us the specific information of the installed module, something important if we plan to buy another one to take advantage of the Dual Channel.
If we wanted to buy more RAM for the computer in this example, we would have all the information we need:
So we would opt for a Kingston DDR3 module of 8 GB at 1600 MHz SO-DIMM, easy.
The best way to increase the PC’s RAM memory is to buy the modules, since it is a physical increase, and therefore, infinitely more effective than any method that we will see in the following sections.
Before we touch on anything, it’s worth explaining the differences between installed and used RAM . This doubt occurs when Windows shows in parentheses that the usable memory is less than the installed memory. Why?
The answer is because the system is dedicating part of the capacity to other components such as the graphics card integrated into the CPU . Any laptop that does not have a dedicated card (Nvidia or AMD) will need part of the RAM to use as graphics memory. In principle, this memory cannot be released, and it must necessarily be dedicated to this task.
In our case we are effectively using integrated graphics, so why does all the available RAM appear? Well, there is a little trick that we could do and it is the following:
For us, this little trick helped us so that the usable RAM memory was no longer limited. But keep in mind that the system will take the necessary space for graphics when 2 GB is required, which it will have reserved in case they are not necessary for RAM. We can verify this from the Windows task manager.
Configuring Windows Virtual Memory
If we don’t want to use such far-fetched options to increase the PC‘s RAM memory, we can make use of the function that every system brings, virtual memory or SWAP in Linux. This is a certain amount of space set aside on the hard drive to be used as swap memory when the system runs out of physical memory to work with.
This memory has the advantage of expanding, so to speak, the RAM at the cost of space on the hard disk . This virtual memory will be as fast as the drive it is used in, so an NVMe SSD will be much faster than an HDD. But it has another drawback, that of increasing the number of writes and erases of the cells, thus wearing out the unit more than it should.
Natively, Windows has the use of Virtual memory dynamically activated , that is, it will allocate the space it requires if necessary. We can freely change this configuration and assign a fixed space, or directly disable the option.
We could leave the current option, but we are going to disable the automatic management to set a custom size on the unit that we have selected
Having a RAM of 8 GB, we could start from an initial size equal to this, that is, 4096 MB. The rule would be to assign between 1.5 or 2 times the capacity of our RAM, but in our case, 16 GB seems excessive and meaningless
Increase RAM memory using a USB flash drive
Another resource to use a hard drive or SSD is to allocate a flash storage unit as memory space . This option is natively implemented in Windows, and is called ReadyBoost .
Again, ReadyBoost will be more powerful the higher the transfer speed of the flash drive, with the best case being an external SSD. But this function will only be available on the equipment that needs it, that is, if we have 8 GB of RAM and we still have plenty, ReadyBoost will not be available to us.