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Tired of staring at one of these? Read on!
Now that tablets and smartphones are all the rage, people are making their PCs last longer by improving them with strategic upgrades. But choosing the right upgrades can mean the difference between a faster, better system, and throwing your money away.
Adding more RAM to a PC or Mac is, short of replacing the entire system, the best way to improve system performance and gain more mileage out of your existing hardware. If that alone doesn't make you happy, what if I tell you that RAM upgrades are also cheap, and also really easy to do?
NOTE: The only caveat with RAM upgrades is that in order to be able to make use of more than 4GB on either the PC or Mac, your system MUST be running a 64-bit operating system. If you are on a 32-bit platform, you are stuck at 4GB.
You can add RAM to most systems. Some systems might already be at their limit for the amount of RAM they can take, and other systems – such as tablets and notebooks such as Apple's new MacBook Pro – can't be upgraded because the RAM is soldered direct to the motherboard, however, most of the time you're going to be in luck.
The best way to find out what RAM your system needs is to visit one of the online vendors. Two of my favorites are Crucial and Kingston. These websites not only tell you what RAM you need, but also how much you can add to your PC, and also give you handy hints on how to carry out the upgrade.
Bear in mind that not only can you add more RAM, but you can add faster RAM, again, depending if your system supports it. However, in most cases upgrading to faster RAM (say PC3-10600 to PC3-14900) doesn't offer much in the way of real-world gains, but it will help to bump up benchmark scores, if you're into that sort of thing.
If you know what your system takes, then visit your favorite retailer, where you will undoubtedly get a cheaper price, but you will be on your own if you make a mistake.
I recommend that for system with 4GB or more that you consider doubling the amount of RAM (assuming a 64-bit operating system). For systems with less than 4GB then you might be better off going up to 8GB immediately.
4GB of RAM will set you back about $30.