Thursday, January 21, 2010

To RAM or Not to RAM

I can’t tell you how many time people come in my store and say “I NEED MORE MEMORY”. I usually just say “Drink plenty of water, take 2 ginko bilobas, and call me in the morning”. Of course, if they say their COMPUTER needs more memory I take a more technical approach.

Most of the time when a computer slows down, people listen to some “guru” that says “add more memory”. Those “gurus” remind me of the old man on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where when someone burns their finger he always says “Put Windex”. For you who do not know, RAM is the same thing as memory. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. RAM is a volatile memory on the computer. Volatile memory means it is “Temporary” - it does not require an ongoing power source. That means when you turn off your computer, it is erased. Non-volatile memory would be like your hard drive, where all your programs, pictures, and stuff are saved.

So, how do you know if you need more memory? If your computer formally ran fast and you were happy with it and you have not added a lot of programs or games on your computer, then you probably don’t need more. If your computer is slowing down there are several issues that can be the culprit.

1. Virus – it doesn’t matter if you have a virus protection or not (but you better), if you do certain activities on your computer, such as go to those Web sites your momma wouldn’t approve of, open “FWD: etc” email, open email that is considered “SPAM”, then you are more likely to have your antivirus disabled and a virus will be installed on your computer. You DON’T need more memory here.

2. Overload – if you have loaded a lot of programs or games on your computer you are likely to slow it down. Of course the more you have opened up at one time the slower it can get. You DO need more memory here.

3. Too much stuff – if you have a lot of pictures, music, movies, and/or data on your computer and your hard drive is getting close to 80% capacity, then it will slow down. It can also crash. You DON’T need more memory here.

4. Hardware issues – you can start having hardware problems such as video, hard drive, power supply or any other components of your computer if they deteriorate. Of course if it is the memory going bad then you definitely need more memory. Any other components, you DON’T need more.

5. Aging – an old computer is like an old man. It starts to slow down naturally. Electronic parts DO wear out. How would you like to have a bunch of electrons running through your body all day? Sometimes more memory will help but most of the time not.

If you are in question if you need more memory, drink plenty of water, take 2 ginko biloba, and bring your computer to me or any other QUALIFIED technician. That “guru” probably doesn’t know what he is talking about.

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