How to Install RAM: Basic QuickStart Guide


This is a basic overview on installing RAM and may be all the guidance you need if you're already fairly confident with PC hardware and just want a basic overview, or if you've already built a PC before and need a quick refresher. See our full tutorial on building a gaming PC for much more detailed instructions on how to install memory modules (and all your other parts) that includes clear, high-quality images taken from our latest 2018 real-life build to help you more easily and precisely follow all the steps

Installing your RAM modules is typically one of the easiest and quickest PC components to install when building a computer, but there are some things to keep in mind when doing so. It's straightforward and quick to do, whether you're assembling a brand new custom PC build or when upgrading the RAM of an existing gaming desktop. 

Just one note on upgrading - if you're installing RAM into an existing desktop PC that you bought as a pre-built system, double check to see that adding new/more RAM into it won't void the warranty as sometimes it may, and also always check that your new RAM will be compatible with your motherboard which also applies if you're upgrading the RAM on your custom existing system that you built yourself.

Checking compatibility means checking the maximum RAM capacity of your motherboard, checking type and speed compatibility (use the same speed and type of RAM), and checking if the module/s will fit with all your other components as some modules can be quite large and/or tall - if you have limited space in your build then you may need to buy what's called low-profile RAM which has lower clearance.

Before explaining how to install RAM, you need to locate the memory modules on your motherboard, and figure out which modules you need to install the RAM into as some motherboards will require you to install them into specific corresponding modules (and using the wrong modules won't work). For example, if you're installing 2 sticks and are running dual channel memory, you want to find out exactly which 2 motherboard slots you need to install them into. 

Refer to your motherboard manual to be sure you use the correct motherboard RAM slots as the manual should specify what goes where.

Now that you've located which modules go where on your motherboard, you can remove your RAM module/s from the anti-static bag they should have come in. Keep in mind that you should practice safe anti-static practices before touching any hardware components, and before accessing the inside of your case (so, use an anti-static wrist strap or regularly ground yourself by touching metal such as your case). Also, if you're adding more memory to an existing PC, make sure to turn it off and unplug any power connections to be extra safe.

RAM/Memory isn't the most delicate of hardware parts and fairly sturdy overall, but still try to only handle your memory modules by their edges and avoid touching any bits that look like circuitry etc.

Now to actually install the RAM, you simple line it up with the correct memory bank and slide it in carefully until it is secure. Some motherboards will have little clamps on either side of the motherboard's RAM slot that you need to push down to fully secure the RAM in place (and these may need to be unlocked to begin with before you can install the module).

Note that this is how you install DIMM RAM. If you're installing SIMM you will need to place the RAM into the memory bank slot at a slight 45 degree angle, and push it forward until it's perpendicular to your motherboard.

That's basically all there is to installing RAM. The confusing bit may be finding the correct motherboard slots to install them in the right order when using multiple modules and/or multiple channels such as dual-channel memory.

See our eBook on building your first PC for more comprehensive detail and multiple photos on how to install RAM modules, which includes more guidance on checking compatibility, installing modules, installing in the right modules, handling RAM, safety precautions, and how to install all your other parts.