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Laptop Memory buying guide

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Laptop Memory Guide - An Introduction

Consumers should consider the amount of memory, type of memory, and system compatibility when purchasing laptop memory. Memory starts with 512MB and progresses upward 2GB, 3GB, and more. Consumers should verify that the memory pin package and size is compatible to the laptop computer.

There are two types of memory for laptop computers: volatile and non-volatile. Volatile memory is primarily Random Access Memory (RAM). Most internally installed laptop memory is Static Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM) and Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM). Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) is primarily reserved for cache applications. Other types of RAM access memory exist. Manufacturers are constantly making new technological strides to improve the speed of data access from memory.

External flash memory is also available to consumers for data transfer and storage. External flash memory is erasable and reprogrammable. External memory is inexpensive and provides consumers with additional storage options. Most of external flash memory can be found on USB drives. This memory option is small and compact. External memory also saves consumers installation time and costs.

Memory is located on silicon computer chips encased within black boxes with pins for connectivity. Integrated circuits comprise memory and store data. Engineers are constantly improving technology to develop faster access, a smaller footprint, and lower costs. The smaller the silicon chips the more streamline the laptop can become.

To install a memory chip board, consumers will need an anti-static wrist band, the memory card, and a laptop screwdriver. All power sources should be removed prior to installation. The small screwdriver will be used to remove the cover. Locate the memory slots. In some laptops, the slots may be full. In other laptops, manufacturers leave memory slots available for expansion. If there is a memory card currently installed in the slot, simply eject the memory card and remove it while wearing an anti-static wrist band. Install the new memory card in the slot and replace the cover.

Some consumers feel comfortable with this process. Other consumers do not. If uncomfortable, hire someone to install the device for you for a minimal fee.

Tips to consider before buying Laptop Memory

  • Decide the amount of memory necessary for the applications that the consumer will use. Some applications require more memory than others. Know the memory requirements for the applications installed on the laptop.
  • Select enough memory to accommodate the applications that will be used on the laptop.
  • Verify that the manufacturer’s memory is compatible with the laptop.
  • If the consumer is not technologically inclined, hire someone to install the memory into the computer.
  • If the consumer installs it him or herself, be certain that the individual is grounded. One shock could ruin the computer’s hard drive or the laptop memory card.
  • Know the maximum amount of memory the computer can handle. Only install this amount of memory.
  • If the consumer upgrades the computer to the maximum amount, the operating system (OS) may need upgrading also. Consumers should refer to the specifications to determine if this is necessary.

Types of Laptop Memory

Volatile

Volatile memory requires power to store and maintain data storage. Memory uses a series of 1s and 0s to store data for consumer access. Static RAM (SRAM) and Dynamic RAM (DRAM) are two types of volatile memory.

  • DRAM

    Dynamic Random Access Memory (RAM) loses data when the power is shut off. Static Random Access Memory (RAM) can store less data than dynamic RAM. This type of memory is described as “random access” memory because the data can be recalled in a non-sequential order. DRAM needs refreshing on a periodic basis with an electronic charge. This process occurs every millisecond, generally. DRAM is the memory commonly used in laptops.
  • SDRAM

    Synchronous dynamic random access memory possesses a synchronous interface and DRAM does not. The technology synchronizes the memory’s timing with the laptop’s microprocessor. This allows the data to be accessed faster than a typical DRAM.
  • SRAM

    Static Random Access Memory is a type of volatile memory that does not need to be refreshed on a frequent basis. This is why it is referred to as static. This type of memory uses current similar to alternating current, which switches direction periodically. An example of SRAM is used in cache memory.
  • Z-RAM

    Zero capacitor Random Access Memory is a new technology that offers the consumer similar speeds to the SRAM. This type of memory is also used in cache applications. However, ZRAM is less expensive than SRAM. ZRAM also consumes less space than SRAM. This technology is in developmental phases.
  • TTRAM

    Twin transistor RAM offers consumers more data capacity in a smaller footprint for less money. It is a new developmental technology that should offer the consumer more data access flexibility.

Non-Volatile

  • ROM

    Read Only Memory is primarily used for data storage applications in laptop computers and is often the memory solution for software applications. This type of memory is erasable.
  • Flash Memory

    Flash memory is erasable and reprogrammable. This type of memory is commonly used in USB drives or flash drives. These drives allow consumers to save data on the drive and transfer it to another if desired.  

 

Brands of Laptop Memory

Acer

Acer Aspire can accept 1GB of memory per slot. Other Acer models vary in memory requirements. Consumers must know this specification before purchasing laptop memory. Consumers may buy 1GB of DDR2 memory with 200 pins for Acer laptop computers. Prices begin at £17.

Apple

Apple offers consumers 4 GB of DDR2 memory in a 200 pin packaged for £65. Apple computers can accept other amounts of memory. However, this is an example of what is available to the consumer.

Asus

The ASUS laptops have at least 2 memory expansion memory slots that accept 204-pin memory cards. Consumers can select 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB RAM memory. Consumers can buy memory in online UK stores for as cheap as £16.

Clevo

Some of the Clevo laptops possess expandable DDR3 memory slots up to 8GB. The memory packages are typically 204-pin and 64 bit wide. Prices range from £33.

Dell

Dell offers consumers 512MB, 1GB and 2GB of DDR2 memory in a 240 pin package. Prices for 2GB of memory start at £50. The prices vary by the amount of memory. Therefore, consumers can expect for the prices to decrease as the amount of memory decreases.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu offers consumers 1GB and 2GB DDR3 memory in a 204-pin package. Prices for 2GB of memory start at £43. Prices vary by the amount of memory provided to consumers.

Sony

Sony supports 4GB of memory. Some Sony laptops have the option for expansion. Memory cards with 512 MB, 1 GB, 2GB and more are available for purchase. Consumers can purchase laptop memory in online stores for as little as £16.

For brevity sake only a few brands of laptop memory are discussed in depth. Other memory options are listed below:

Hynix
Nanya
Packard Bell
Samsung
Toshiba
Transcend

Advice for Purchasing Laptop Memory

Consumers purchasing laptop memory should know the specifications of their laptop computer. Once the consumer knows the maximum memory and the type of memory that the laptop will accept, then consumers can make a selection.

Most consumers will opt to purchase laptop memory developed by the original equipment manufacturer. Other economical options are available that are compatible with laptop systems. However, experts suggest that consumers research the companies to ensure optimal performance.

Experts recommend installing the maximum amount of memory that the computer will allow. Extra laptop memory will only allow the computer more options for data storage and allow the computer to perform operations faster.

Verify that the operating system and the memory are compatible. Often consumers overlook simple optimization opportunities. Upgrading the operating system may increase the operating speed of the memory card installed in the laptop computer.

Jargon Explained

Double Data Rate (DDR2)This type of memory is typically SRAM or Synchronous Random Access Memory. This allows the data to be processed faster at a lower voltage requirement.
DRAMDynamic Random Access Memory loses data when the power is shut off. It can store more data than static RAM because of this feature. The memory is referred to as random access because the data can be recalled in a non-sequential order. DRAM needs to be refreshed on a periodic basis with an electronic charge, typically every millisecond. DRAM is commonly used in laptops.
SDRAMSynchronous dynamic random access memory possesses a synchronous interface and DRAM does not. The technology synchronizes the memory’s timing with the laptop’s microprocessor. This allows the data to be accessed faster than a typical DRAM.
SRAMStatic Random Access Memory is a type of volatile memory that does not need to be refreshed on a frequent basis. This is why it is referred to as static. This type of memory uses current similar to alternating current, which switches direction periodically. An example of SRAM is used in cache memory.
Z-RAMZero capacitor RAM is a new technology that offers the consumer similar speeds to the SRAM and is used in Cache applications. However, ZRAM is less expensive than and consumes less space than SRAM. This technology is in developmental phases.
TTRAMTwin transistor RAM offers consumers more data capacity in a smaller footprint for less money. It is a new developmental technology. 

Buying Guide to Laptop Memory
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