What is RAM? RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Data is typically stored in RAM for use by the processor while the computer is operating. RAM is considered random access because the location of the stored information does not affect the access speed. The more RAM that’s available, the more applications you can have running simultaneously without slowing your system down.
I. The Simple way to find out how much RAM your Windows Desktop PC has Installed
First, let us explore the simplest and fastest way to find out how much RAM your Windows PC has. This approach provides very little detail about the RAM’s specifications and does not indicate how many individual RAM / DIMM modules are installed. However, it should provide you with accurate information concerning the exact amount of total RAM installed.
Approach #1: Click on Start and right + click Computer and choose Properties. This will bring you to a screen showing basic information about your computer.
Approach #2: Click on Start and choose Control Panel then Systems & Security and then System. This will bring you to a screen showing basic information about your computer.
Below is a screenshot showing basic information about your computer including total installed memory (RAM). In this case, my computer has a total of 6 Gigabytes of RAM installed. Of course, this does not help me to know how many individual memory modules are installed, and/or how much memory each individual module contains. This information is also pretty useless for finding out ANYTHING in regard to upgrading RAM myself if I wanted to. Skip down to Part II if you are interested in knowing more about your PC’s RAM modules. This can be helpful if you want to install more RAM yourself.
II. How to find more detail about your RAM like how many RAM / DIMM modules are installed in your PC and how much memory each RAM module has
Let’s review the key questions NOT ANSWERED within Windows basic computer information that you should ask yourself:
1. How many individual RAM / DIMM modules does my PC have installed right now?
2. How much memory is contained within each RAM module on my PC right now?
These questions are easily answered if you utilize a free program like Sandra 2014. You can click here to learn more about Sandra 2014 or just go to their main download page and choose the free version. I was able to install and run this program and in about 3 minutes and quickly found the information I needed. See below:
Using Sandra’s “Hardware” tab I chose to scan Mainboard by clicking on the designated icon within the application. As you can see from the example image to the left, under Logical/Chipset Memory Banks there is now a listing of my PC’s current RAM setup. Sandra indicates I have three (3) RAM modules installed at 2 GB each.
This correlates to what we saw earlier inside Windows basic information screen with a total of 6 GB (all modules combined). What’s key here too in the Sandra tool is that it tells me a little more about the type of RAM I have. These appear to be DIMM DDR3 RAM modules. This is extremely important to know especially in my case since I will be purchasing and installing more RAM.
Sandra also shows me total Maximum Memory for this motherboard. But, this still is not the complete picture, or maybe I just don’t know how to decipher all of Sandra’s information. For example, I still don’t know how many total “unfilled” physical slots I have available for additional RAM. I could simply open up my PC’s case and look at the motherboard to determine how many slots exist. Yes, this will work, but I surely will not know the maximum memory allotted for each slot because that’s ALWAYS capped at a certain amount. Altogether, I would feel a lot better knowing what the manufacturer recommends before purchasing and installing more RAM. So, using Sandra we can determine the make and model of the motherboard to then possibly find the motherboard’s user manual/user’s guide.
To learn about the motherboard’s make and model, I went back to Sandra’s Hardware tab and chose Computer Overview. As you can see from the image example below is that the Motherboard / Mainboard is EVGA 131-GT-E767. There are also more details concerning the RAM revealed here under Memory Modules. We now know the model name and numbers of the RAM currently installed if I felt compelled to stick with the same brand (Super Talent STT-WB160CL0901 DIMM). In my case, this isn’t necessary since I don’t really care as long as the RAM I purchase comes from any of the reputable, top manufacturers.
Okay, now that I know my motherboard’s make and model, it’s time for a Google search. And, yes, here it is — sweet! The EVGA 131-GT-E767 User’s Manual has all the information I need concerning the type of RAM, number of slots, and even a diagram showing the ORDER of RAM / DIMM modules. The user’s manual specifies which slots to use depending on how many DIMM modules are installed.
Below are the RAM 240-pin slots on the motherboard for DDR3 memory that support 1GB, 2GB, 4GB DDR3 DIMM. Based on this information, the true maximum amount of total memory I could install would be 24 GB and not 48 GB as Sandra had indicated. So in my case, I will be installing a maximum of six (6) 4 GB RAM modules.
III. Other ways to learn more about your RAM with Crucial’s System Scanner
Crucial is one of the leading providers of computer memory for various computer manufacturers such as Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, Gateway, HP-Compaq, Lenovo, and Toshiba. But, I’m not here to promote their DIMMs or other products. I simply stumbled across their site because they have a really useful and free system scanner that I’d like to share. You can get Crucial’s System Scanner here.
Crucial’s System Scanner will show your motherboard’s make and model, RAM / DIMM Memory type, Maximum Memory, Installed Memory, Total Memory Slots, and Available Memory Slots. In fact, this tool is better than Sandra for showing correct Maximum Memory at least in my situation. This is actually an excellent tool whether or not I decide to purchase my DIMM modules from them.
IV. Top Reputable Companies that Manufacture RAM / DIMM Memory Modules
Below I have put together some of the top rated and reputable RAM / DIMM memory module manufacturers that I am currently reviewing. This listing is assembled according to manufacturers that had the best user reviews on Amazon and appeared to be the most favorably discussed across the Web. You can browse them to learn more.