Simply explained: What is RAM?
The abbreviation RAM stands for “Random-Access Memory” and is a key hardware component of every computer.
- RAM is a short-term memory in which Windows caches all running processes and programs. If you are currently reading this article in your browser, your browser is also using some working memory. Only then can it run.
- Every computer has at least one RAM module installed (see picture). A RAM module usually has 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 gigabytes of memory. RAM with 32 and 64 GB memory are currently still quite expensive. For the operation of normal programs, 4 gigabytes of RAM are sufficient in most cases. More complex programs and games usually run much better with 8 GB RAM.
- If you open many programs at the same time and your computer has relatively little memory, it is usually overloaded and runs slowly. So the amount of memory you have also contributes to the speed and resilience of your computer.
- You can use the Task Manager to check the current usage of your working memory. Here you can also see which programs and processes are using a lot or little working memory.
- If you switch off your computer, the working memory is emptied again. For this reason, a restart can speed up a system that has become somewhat lame.
- For some years now, the classic DDR3 RAM has been replaced by DDR4 RAM. DDR4 has some advantages, but is currently still a bit more expensive. Here you can find a comparison between DDR3 and DDR4.
For what do you need 64GB of RAM?
With computer programs and applications becoming more complex and larger in file size, the need for more RAM also increases. Of course, if you are playing mainly Minecraft on your Laptop right now you don’t really have the need for 64GB RAM. 8GB RAM are totaly fine for running Minecraft smoothly. However, when you are editing and rendering video files on the go on your laptop you cannot have enough RAM in your PC. For these applications not enough RAM can actually bottleneck your whole system.
Also running games and many other appications simultaneously in the background uses a lot of RAM. If you want your laptop ti still work smoothly and run everything without issues you should definitely think about getting a laptop with 64GB RAM. Another advantage of getting a laptop now with 64GB RAM is that it is very future-proof. Future-proof means that your laptop will also be able to run newer programms, games, and applications in the future. New programs and games get larger with time as they get more sophisticated. Still having RAM on reserve on your laptop is definitely a good plan for the future.
Test Results: The Best 64GB RAM Laptops
Ranking First: Asus ROG Strix Scar III
- Great processing power
- Good performance
- Good sound
- Battery life
Asus delights gaming fans in quick succession with ever new notebooks. The ROG Strix Scar III is the manufacturer’s latest offspring, which has the fast display with a 3 ms response time and 240 Hz refresh rate on board as a highlight. And indeed, the matt panelin combination with the built-in RTX2070 from Nvidia shows its class.
Monitor and display quality
The image is sharp and quite bright, with the upper area being darker than the lower area. Mirroring doesn’t do anything, of course, and the display can also be seen well at an oblique viewing angle. The keyboard is individually illuminated and of consistently above average quality.
As there wasn’t any space left for a number pad on the right next to the keyboard, Asus has integrated it into the touchpad. It can be activated with the push of a button and allows for quick input of long number sequences. The keyboard layout is good, whereby the input key should be a bit larger.
The Strix Scar III, which weighs about 5.7 lbs., lasted a bit more than 1.5 hours in the PC Mark 8 Battery Life benchmark, which is quite a good value for a gaming notebook. However, if you play 3D games, you’d better not do so without a socket nearby, because it’s a lot faster here.
The interface equipment is quite good for a device of this category; Thunderbolt isn’t on board with the four USB ports, though. On the right there is the slot for the so-called keystone, an NFC-based chip with which a protected drive and personal profiles can be created.
If the keystone is removed, there is no more access to the shadow drive. This is handy when the notebook is left unattended at LAN parties.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar III is available in different versions, the one we tested is the best equipped with a Core i7 CPU and RTX2070 graphics. As expected, the benchmark results turn out excellent throughout, this combination doesn’t have any problems when driving the integrated Full-HD display. Only when a panel with a higher resolution is connected via HDMI, the graphic card reaches its performance limit in certain games.
All other tasks can easily be done with the Strix Scar; this of course also includes editing large amounts of data, movies or photos. Since both a fast SSD in NVMe format and a conventional hard disk are available, the memory space shouldn’t run out that quickly. 64GB of RAM make editing of large files very easy.
- 3D Mark Cloud Gate: 37,578 points
- PC Mark 8 Work: 4214 points
- Cinebench R11.5 (CPU): 16.5 points
- Read HD-Tune HD transfer: 813 MByte/s
- PC Mark 8 Battery Life: 167 minutes
Processing, lighting & sound
The notebook’s workmanship is absolutely fine; whereby a bit less plastic and a bit more aluminum wouldn’t have hurt for our taste.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar III can measure up to any competitor in terms of case illumination. This also applies to the crystal clear and very powerful sound that comes out of the speakers.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar III can convince with its good performance values and a very well thought-out equipment. If you are looking for a future-proof gaming notebook with 64GB of RAM, you can get the Scar III without hesitation. For us it is the number one by performance in this test.
Second: Dell G7
- Sufficient power
- Good choice of connections
- Great price-performance ratio
- Fan noise under load
- Lots of plastics processed
At first glance, the mid-range device does not win the Design Prize. Where other manufacturers give their devices an angular, aggressive and colourfully illuminated look, the Americans are conspicuously reserved in these points. This might even appeal to some, but objectively, the G7 17 looks rather boring. In addition, the entire construction is made of plastic, which is noticeable. The display already bends noticeably when opened, and the device starts to creak even with slight movements.
This is one of the reasons why the computer only weighs just over 5.7 lbs., but the complete renunciation of more stable and higher quality metal is also not the solution. Meanwhile, the keyboard convinces us with a crisp pressure point and good key size. This also applies to the touchpad, which reacts snappily to input.
Dell doesn’t economize in terms of connections and gives us all the ports we need. On the left side there is a USB type C port, a USB 3.1 and a jack socket for headphones. On the right there is an SD card reader, which is really seldom found on current gaming laptops, as well as a further USB 3.1 port. At the back, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB 3.1 and a mini display port are lined up. All in all, this selection leaves practically nothing to be desired and we don’t miss an additional connection type in use, neither for gaming nor for office applications.
Large display, large battery
With the display, Dell relies on standard quality. The G7 17 has a 17.3 inch screen with an IPS panel, which has a resolution of 144 hertz in Full HD. Especially the combination of 1.080p and the high refresh rate seems quite modern. Meanwhile, you can’t complain about color and brightness. The display radiates relatively bright with almost 300 nits, colors turn out accurate and not too overexposed or colorful. There is a respectable hardware package under the hood of our test configuration. An Nvidia GeForce RTX 1060 is used as the graphic unit, which is equipped with six GByte VRAM.
Our test unit doesn’t make use of the latest Intel core generation in terms of processors. An i7-8750H, which still comes from the eighth generation, is at work here. The six-core clocks up to 4.1 GHz in turbo mode. 64GB RAM are provided to the computing unit. This is a good combination on its own, even though there are of course other gaming calibers with considerably more power. In practice, the built-in hardware is still sufficient for smooth gaming in Full HD.
In our test, the Dell G7 17 in Rise of the Tomb Raider could achieve an average of 55 fps in maximum details. In Hitman 2 we steered the killer of the same name through the levels with around 51 fps. That the Dell G7 17 heats up properly in these results shouldn’t be a surprise. The cooling system distributes the heat over the keyboard surface, whereby the case never heats up so much that you couldn’t press individual buttons. The palm resting areas around the touchpad remain pleasantly cool, so that the laptop can be played with well over a longer period of time.
By the way, this also applies in wireless operation, where competing products quickly run out of breath. The G7 17 shows itself to be quite enduring in both office and gaming mode. We can surf and watch videos for just over eight hours on the flat screen, and it only runs out of breath after just over three hours of gaming. Especially models with even more powerful graphic cards often drain their batteries in two hours. During operation, however, the fan often turns on very loudly – even if we’ve only just answered e-mails with the computer.
Dell really offers a solid product for the price with the G7 17. The performance of the combination of the GTX 1060 and the Intel core processor together with 64 gigabytes of RAM is completely sufficient to be able to play all games in a high graphic quality according to the current state of the art and edit high quality videos. Even the connection variety doesn’t stand in your way when connecting headset, mice, hard drives and other accessories. We can emphasize the battery life, which turns out above average. However, buyers must also be able to live with the not to be underestimated noise level, which the computer likes to display out of the blue. The Dell G7 wins our “Best price-performance ratio” Award.
Third: Asus TUF Gaming FX705DT
- High processing speed
- High gaming speed with Full HD resolution
- Comparably quiet for a gaming notebook
- 4K games are jerky
- Few connections
Bold cases with an aggressive look, lush displays and lots of LED blinking – most gaming notebooks can be seen from a distance. What you can’t see at first, but every gamer knows: nine out of ten current devices contain an Intel processor and an Nvidia graphics chip. The Asus TUF FX705DT looks like a typical gaming notebook, but rather untypical components work under the hood. And the black gaming part still has a few surprises in store, as the test shows.
Asus TUF FX705DT: Technical specs
Thus, the price of 1,450 Dollar for a gaming notebook is surprisingly low. After all, there is a full-grown specimen with a 17.3-inch display for this, which at 5.9 lbs. isn’t too heavy for a gaming notebook, but is still quite thick: 1.2 inches are quite opulent in 2020, even for mobile gaming computers. The Asus – like most of its congeners – does without the fattening DVD drive; as a rule, gamers don’t have to deal with silver discs anyway thanks to online platforms like Steam.
Asus TUF FX705DT: The engine
However, gamers need strong technology, as most current games are extremely resource-hungry. If you loosen the eleven screws on the bottom and remove the cover, you can let your eye wander over the following components:
- Processor: The quad-core Ryzen 7 3750H from AMD, which was introduced on November 6, 2019 at the CES in Las Vegas, is responsible for the drive.
- Graphics chip: Instead of the graphics processor housed in the CPU, the separate Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics chip calculates the image reproduction on the display.
- Working memory (RAM): The graphics chip and main processor have a generous 64 gigabytes of working memory (RAM) available for fast data transfer.
- SSD: Operating system, programs and data are stored on a fast SSD with an effective 980 gigabytes of memory.
Asus TUF FX705DT: Lots of steam – even when playing!
The naked data didn’t promise any miracles before the measurements – the more astonishing the results: Thus, the Asus TUF scratched a “very good” subnote in the speed measurements with office and internet applications. Even more astonishing, however, is that it also showed games on the built-in Full-HD display smoothly in full detail rendering. But the Asus isn’t as fast as notebooks with separate graphic chips, like Nvidia’s RTX models. Thus, the rendering on connected monitors jerked violently – the graphic chip Vega 8 is definitely too weak for 4K games.
Asus TUF FX705DT: Orderly display
In return, the Asus is 600 Dollar cheaper than RTX notebooks, but by no means made cheap. The display was also convincing: It showed figures, environments and objects nicely sharp and with almost original colors. The image change was done in under 14 milliseconds without ugly streaks.
Verdict: Asus TUF FX705DT
And we experienced another surprise: a full battery charge lasted between three and a half and almost four hours. These are very respectable values for a gaming notebook. In addition, the processor and graphics chip develop little waste heat. The notebook stayed pleasantly cool on the bottom side even after two hours of gaming. But it wasn’t only the built-in fans that provided for the low operating temperature, because the Asus didn’t annoy with loud fan noises neither during gaming nor under full load – it remained nice and quiet. With 64 GB RAM the Asus TUF FX705DT is definitely future-proof and highly recommended by us.
Fourth: HP Envy x360
- Strong performance
- Good battery life
- Display too dark and poorly coloured
HP Envy x360 15 in test: Noble, chic and glossy
The dark aluminium housing looks very elegant and chic even when unpacked. So the device pleases from the first moment on and as a buyer you are glad not to have a plastic bomber in your fingers. Fortunately, the input devices don’t spoil this impression either: The keyboard is good and thanks to the crisp counterpressure, even the short stroke distance is easy to get over. The clickpad also shares this impression: The surface doesn’t look cheap and the finger glides pleasantly over it.
Other comforts are the display that can be opened with one hand and the two-stage, white keyboard illumination. The display is equipped with a 360 degree hinge, which allows you to use the device either as an oversized tablet or in tent mode as a presentation device. Nice gimmick: On the side of the case there is a small slider that completely deactivates the webcam – for one or the other anxious fellow human being surely a bonus point.
Heart of the HP Envy x360 15: The mobile Intel i7-10510U processor
The Intel i7-10510U not only offers similar specifications to AMD’s processors on the datasheet, but trumps comparable CPUs especially in terms of graphics performance. That’s why the test device – equipped with 64 GByte RAM and a fast 2TB NVMe SSD – ranks high in the performance rating.
Fortunately, Intel customers don’t have to accept any major cuts in terms of mobility. The processors are almost as economical as their AMD counterparts and thus the HP Envy x360 15 offers good battery life, also thanks to the 53 watt hour battery: It lasts for 8 hours in pure video playback and 6 hours in productive work. Unfortunately, the Intel driver dims the display considerably in battery mode, so that users have to increase the brightness in the driver’s shallows.
HP Envy x360 15: Unspectacular display
Unfortunately, in the end the display spoils the partly very good overall impression. The Full-HD-resolution panel offers touch input, but the device has difficulties fighting against reflections due to the strongly reflective glass. This is especially noticeable because the display is quite dark with a maximum brightness of only 227 cd/m². Additionally, it only offers a pale color reproduction with a standard RGB color space coverage of a meager 65 percent. After all, it is an IPS panel that is stable in terms of viewing angle. Thus, the poor colors and low contrasts don’t decrease even more when viewed from the side.
The HP Envy x360 15 proves class and versatility in the test. The well-finished case with a noble look cuts a fine figure in every scenario. The given performance is top thanks to the current intel processor. The 360-degree hinge allows the 15.6-inch display to be used in many ways. The thin case and the battery life speak for the device. Only the display does not quite fit into the otherwise upscale appearance. With 64GB of RAM it makes for a great editing, gaming and working laptop.
Fifth: HP Envy 17t
- Solid battery life
- Glossy display
The HP ENVY 17t comes with a 17 inch IPS display in Full HD, Bang & Olufsen speakers and a DVD drive. Even a fingerprint reader is built in for quick and secure access. On board is the Intel Core i7-8565U, a quad-core for up to 4.0 GHz. In addition, the notebook has an NVIDIA Geforce MX250 as a graphics card for a 4 GB video memory. 64 GB RAM are built in as main memory, a 2TB m.2 SATA SSD ensures fast boot times and offers extra space. The silver aluminum housing is particularly appealing. In addition, the multimedia laptop with a high battery life of up to 10 hours is ideal for on the go.
Performance of the HP ENVY 17t
The processor is a Quad-Core (four cores) of the 8th generation from Intel. It is clocked from 1.6 GHz in the base, at the same time there is a 6 MB cache and energy-efficient operation at 15 watts.
For more performance, the i7-8565U achieves up to 4.0 GHz in boost, Hyper-Threading is also supported.
For example, you can get more performance with the HP 17t, which has a fast Core i9 for up to 4.6 GHz.
With the Geforce MX250 you can play in the mid-end gaming area. Old games of course run smoothly, but it’s not enough for modern AAA titles. For example, Fortnite runs quite smoothly at medium quality settings and is often above 100 FPS. 64 GB RAM are built in as RAM. It is a dual channel with two 4 GB modules with 2400 MHz clock speed. The M.2 SSD hard disk with a 2 TB storage capacity enables fast boot times.
Content is displayed in Full HD at 1920×1080 in the resolution. The IPS panel offers a wide viewing angle with high quality colour display. It’s a pity here that the display surface is mirrored, which can lead to some reflections depending on the surrounding lighting. It can already reflect more strongly in the sun, so you should consider whether you want to work outside with this laptop. The drive is a DVD burner.
The Bang & Olufsen speakers provide a good stereo sound. These are located just below the display on top of the laptop, which gives a more direct and clearer sound. There is also a handy keyboard backlight, which can make it easier to work in the dark.
On the right side at the edge there is the fingerprint sensor. With this you can quickly log into the system without typing in a password. Those who are on the road and have sensitive data stored on their device will appreciate this additional security measure.
Handsome, fast and with a good battery performance, these are the plus points of this 17 inch notebook. Add to this the modern design. What slightly bothers us about the HP ENVY 17t is the glossy display. It doesn’t really make working on the device any easier. Especially with a model of this size, you would like to be able to do without a monitor, as the screen is already a reasonable size here. But a glossy display isn’t a real plus point. In difficult lighting conditions, you can indeed turn up the LED backlighting of the screen, but this reduces the battery performance in battery mode. If the display type doesn’t bother you, you’ll have fun with the HP Envy 17. Performance-wise it is well equipped, especially with 64 GB of RAM
RAM explained: Everything you need to know about RAM
The terms “working memory” and “RAM” are heard over and over again. But what exactly is it, why do you need it and why is it so expensive? We will address these questions and many more in the course of this article. Even for experienced PC users there is certainly a lot of interesting information.
What is RAM?
RAM (“Random-Access Memory”), also called working memory, is like a short-term memory for a computer. When you run Windows or a program, all the data that the processor needs for calculations is stored in memory. The computer also “remembers” rounding numbers or interim results in memory, and can recall them from there at any time. Access speed and memory capacity of the working memory play a decisive role in the overall performance of the system.
The history of the working memory
Ever since the first precursors of today’s computers were invented, the basic idea of the working memory has existed: a storage for data and intermediate results that can be accessed extremely quickly.
The current form of RAM for PCs has basically been around since 1999, i.e. for 20 years now. It is remarkable that both the design and the technical side have hardly changed since then: The pin numbers are a bit higher nowadays, the capacity as well as the speed has increased many times over – but the form as a bar has remained the same until today. While 184 pins were the norm in 1999, today the number has increased to 288.
The forefather of today’s main memory has a very simple structure: A ring made of a magnetisable (iron) core encloses a write and a read line. Based on the orientation of the magnetic field, two different states, i.e. 0 and 1, can be stored.
The orientation can be changed by applying an electrical voltage to the write line. If you want to know more about the toroidal memory and similar concepts, we recommend googling this.
The big difference between normal read-only memory and main memory is the design. While you read a read-only memory block by block and have to “fast forward” to the right place, a main memory is optional. So you can access any place in the memory directly and without detours. This also explains the significant difference in price (hard disk: approx. 4ct/GB, RAM: approx. 5$/GB), since a modern RAM is much more difficult to design and produce than a conventional hard disk.
How much working memory do I need?
The current minimum requirement for Windows 10 is
- 1 GB RAM for the 32bit version
- 2 GB RAM for the 64bit version
However, since the main memory often represents a bottleneck for the overall performance of the PC or laptop, one should not save too much here. Windows itself virtually extends the available working memory via a paging file on the hard disk. However, even with SSDs this is much slower than real RAM.
How much RAM you need depends on your own requirements and purposes. It is therefore difficult to make a blanket statement. For a tablet that is mainly used for surfing, 2 GB RAM can be sufficient, while PCs for professional use sometimes have 128 GB or even 256 GB RAM installed.
For orientation, we recommend the following minimum configuration:
- 4 GB RAM: Sufficient for laptops and 2-in-1 devices that are mainly used for Internet, e-mail, and office applications
- 8 GB RAM: A recommendable size for those who use their PC a lot and like to have more than one window open. For gamers the minimum to play halfway current games.
- 16 GB RAM: The optimum size for demanding home users and most gamers. Common in high-end laptops and well-equipped desktop PCs. Anything over 16 GB is generally no longer profitable for private use.
- 32 GB or 64 GB RAM: For editing videos or running several application at the sa,e time you should consider getting a laptop or PC with at least 32GB RAM, better 64GB RAM to be future-proof.
- If you are dependent on special programs for private or professional use, it is advisable to consider the corresponding recommendations or minimum requirements before buying a PC.
How much RAM does my smartphone need?
Nowadays, at least 3GB RAM is common even on cheaper Android smartphones. For the vast majority of users this is absolutely sufficient. A current Android operating system alone, i.e. without apps, takes up more than 2GB, the rest is left over for apps. With 8GB RAM one is already in the absolute premium segment.
With iPhones you usually don’t need to worry about this, because the hardware here is optimized by Apple for the requirements of the supported iOS versions. The 3GB of the current iPhone XR are more than sufficient for the next 5 years of major updates.
Which applications consume a lot of memory?
A lot of RAM is usually needed for complex image editing, video editing, CAD, graphics-intensive games or working with very large databases / tables. But even if one leaves many programs or browser windows open, the RAM can fill up and slow down the PC.
In Windows 10, to check which applications are using a lot of memory, use the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Ent and then open the Task Manager. There you can see all open processes and the system resources they are using.
Different types of RAM explained
Here we will explain the differences between the following types of RAM modules:
- GDR and EEC
- Buffered and registered
- DIMM, SO-DIMM and NV-DIMM
What is the difference between DDR RAM and ECC RAM?
Normal RAM for the PC has the type “DDR”. This abbreviation does not stand for the East Germany before the reunification but for “Double Data Rate”, which means nothing else than that the data speed in the data bus (the connection between processor and RAM) can be doubled. The number behind it indicates the respective generation. The latest generation on sale is DDR4, with the successor already in the starting blocks for 2020.
In addition to the “normal” working memory for the PC, there is also “ECC RAM”. ECC stands for “Error Correcting Code”, so such RAM can independently correct errors in the data. This type is used almost exclusively in servers and professional workstations. In the professional environment it plays a major role, for example in banking systems, because an amount of money must also arrive at the right destination.
However, the difference is not only in the software that recognizes and corrects errors, but also in the pin assignment. This differs from that of the conventional main memory, which is recognized by suitable mainboards. If you see a picture of a memory module, by the way, there is an easy trick to distinguish the types: While normal non-ECC memory always has an even number of chips (2, 4, 6, 8, 16 or 32), an ECC module always has 9, 18 or 36 modules. The additional chip per 8 memory modules is needed for error detection.
Buffered and registered RAM
Another important distinction is between unbuffered (unregistered, UDIMM) and registered (formerly: buffered, RDIMM). Especially memory for servers is often of the registered type and has two register chips mounted on the latch itself. Such a register has the task of always selecting the correct memory locations for the requested data. Normally this task is the responsibility of the chipset of the mainboard itself, which is not a problem at first if the amount of RAM is small. However, since each RAM bolt needs the same number of address lines, the load on the chips of the mainboard increases with each additional bolt.
So the goal of this technique is to reduce the (electrical) load on the chipset on the mainboard and to leave the “selecting” of the exact memory locations to the RAM itself. Due to this circumstance, the modules themselves are organized differently and require compatible hardware. Visually you can also see the difference, because these register modules look different from the other chips on the board.
The advantage is also reflected in the price: An RDIMM module usually costs a multiple of a normal UDIMM module for a PC.
DIMM, SO-DIMM and NV-DIMM
DIMM is another abbreviation and means Dual Inline Memory Module. What sounds complicated at first, means nothing else but that the golden contacts on the bottom of a RAM module transmit different signals on the two sides, i.e. they are not electrically connected to each other. It is mainly necessary to enable the high speeds in communication between RAM and processor (more data lines = more speed = more fun and less waiting). The first RAM modules were so-called SIMM’s, i.e. Single Inline Memory Modules, where the contacts on the front and back side were connected to each other.
With DIMMs, a distinction is made between different types:
- UDIMMs: these are unbuffered modules without a register (see above)
- RDIMMs: main memory of type registered (see above)
- SO-DIMMs: The SO stands for Small Outline. Such modules are usually more economical and much smaller than conventional RAM for PCs and are used in notebooks and very small computers. Due to the smaller design, there are also fewer contacts.
- NV-DIMMs: The NV stands for Non-Volatile. Everything that is stored is stored even after disconnecting the power supply and is available again when the power is turned on again. This is not common with any other type of RAM.
What information can be found on the signs on a RAM bar?
On a RAM bar there is usually a sticker attached, which usually reads something like this:
8GB 2Rx8 PC3L 12800S
This designation here belongs to a SO-DIMM module.
The first digit gives information about the capacity, which in this case is 8GB.
2Rx8 gives information about two different information: 1R is for single-rank modules, 2R for dual-rank modules. There are also 4R (Quad-Rank) modules and even some with 8 or more, but these are relatively rare and often extremely expensive server hardware. Behind this is nothing else but the size of the blocks that are accessed. For single-rank modules these are 64 bits, for dual-rank modules 128 bits and for quad-rank modules 256 bits. It is important that only one access per data block at a time is possible. 1R modules and 2R modules are compatible with each other (at least theoretically) and can be mixed, but you should first read the manufacturer’s compatibility information. But this does not allow a dual-channel mode. More about this later.
The x8 means that this module has 8 different memory banks per chip. The higher the number of memory banks, the higher the capacity of the individual chips, the less chips are needed and the more reliable and power saving the whole module is.
The next block tells you what type of design you have. PC is an industrial standard, similar to ISO standards or IP certifications. Since its initial introduction in AMD K6/Pentium times, several revisions of the standard have been released, the more recent ones being PC3 (DDR3) and PC4 (DDR4). The suffix L stands for low-power, i.e. chips that run at lower voltage and can therefore save even more power (normal 1.5 Volt, low-power chips only need 1.35 Volt). It is important to note that low-power modules cannot be combined with conventional ones, even if the motherboard supports both standards in and of itself according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
The last block gives you a statement about the maximum possible speed of a RAM bar. In our case this is 12800MB/s, that is 12.8GB/s. The S at the back stands for SO-DIMM, so it is the smaller design. So make sure you get the right type when buying it.
Memory (RAM): clock and speed
For most PCs, the capacity of the main memory is the decisive factor in system performance. If you want to get the maximum performance out of it, you should also pay attention to the clocking. There are many different specifications, with DDR4 these range from 2400MHz up to 3400MHz. As a rule of thumb: the higher the clock rate, the faster the memory.
But there are also limiting factors: Not every mainboard supports the maximum frequency of the respective generation, the same is true for processors. Especially the entry-level models often have some shortcomings and only support the basic speed. You can still use faster bars, but they can’t develop their full potential and are set to the maximum possible. It is also possible to mix bars with different speeds, but then the mainboard automatically sets the lowest clock for all bars together. All bars in a system basically run at the same speed.
Operating modes: What do the colors of the RAM slots mean?
If you’ve opened your PC for cleaning, you’ve probably noticed the color of the RAM slots. There are always pairs of the same color.
The sense behind this is a special operating mode, the so-called dual-channel operation. If you have two RAM modules with identical specifications (clock, design, capacity etc.), the processor can address the two bars together faster. All you have to do is plug the bars into two slots of the same colour, and the rest of the magic happens by itself.
The difference to the single channel mode, in which all bars are addressed individually, is not that big. It is generally recommended to use a kit of two or four bars, because 1. they are cheaper than a single bar of the same size and 2. the Dual-Channel Mode has a slightly higher performance, which is especially useful for demanding tasks.
You want to upgrade your laptop? No problem! Look out for this
Before buying, please check how much RAM your motherboard/processor can handle at most. As a clue you can use the different configurations of the manufacturer for help. If a PC model is sold with up to 16GB RAM, you can usually upgrade to at least 16GB.