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Computer memory aka RAMBad memory can cause an assortment of different issues on your computer. Below are just a few of the possible issues you may encounter. It is important to remember that the below issues can also be caused by more than just bad memory.

  1. Computer does not boot, and you are getting a beep code. See the POST and beep code page for additional information about them.
  2. Random computer crashes causing BSOD, General Protection Fault error messages, Illegal Operations, Fatal Exceptions, etc.
  3. Random computer reboots.
  4. Windows or other program installation failure.

Note: Before testing your memory, if you have recently added any new memory into the computer, we suggest you temporarily remove it to make sure it is not the cause of your issue.

Software

  • There are several software programs available that are designed to test your computer’s hardware, including the computer’s memory:
    Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 10 have a Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool that can be accessed by clicking on the Start Orb and typing “memory” in the run line. Running this command opens the Memory Diagnostics Tool with two options: “Restart now and check for problems” or “Check for problems the next time I start my computer.” Choosing either of these options runs the computer through a memory test the next time it starts up.
  • Memtest86 – Our recommendation for testing computer memory, Memtest86 is an x86 compatible, free memory tester.
  • DocMemory – Another great software solution to test the status of your computer’s memory.

Below is a listing of some other great products for you to check out.

Memory testers – Companies offer different hardware solution for testing computer memory. These are the highest quality methods for testing memory, but likely only to be used at a computer service center because of their cost.

PC-doctor – Another fantastic, but not cheap solution often used by service centers and technicians to diagnose computer hardware issues including memory issues.

PC Diagnostics –
Another company that offers both hardware and software solutions for testing the majority of computer hardware in your computer, including memory.

Ultra-X – Another great collection of products that can help test computer hardware, including memory.

Swap and remove memory

If you have access to compatible memory from another computer, you can swap that memory into your computer to see if it’s the issue. Using memory known to be functional in a computer that may have a memory problem is a good method of checking.

If your memory works in another computer without issues, you’re likely encountering a motherboard, PSU, or other hardware issue.

Replace memory
If you have found the memory to be bad, we suggest replacing the memory with new memory.

There are several components within a computer that help make it faster and more powerful. Below is a list of the main hardware components that help contribute to the performance of a computer. Keep in mind that even the software running on the computer may impact the speed of a computer.

Processor (CPU)
Computer CPUThe overall speed or clock speed of the computer and how fast it is capable of processing data is managed by the computer processor (CPU). The computer will be much faster and more powerful when it is capable of executing more instructions every second. For example, the first computer processor was the Intel 4004, which was only a 740 kHz processor and capable of processing approximately 92,000 instructions per second. Today’s processors are multi-core GHz processors capable of processing over 100 billion instructions per second.

Cache
Although today’s computers can execute billions of instructions every second, the processor is usually waiting for those instructions from the slower types of memory in the computer. Because RAM and the hard drive are slower than the CPU, computer processors and motherboards use cache to transfer data between the processor, memory, and components in the computer. Cache is the fastest type of memory and a computer with more L2 cache or L3 cache is capable of storing more instructions and send those instructions to the processor more efficiently.

Memory (RAM)
A computer with more memory (RAM) will be capable of storing more programs that are currently running in memory. If your computer runs out of memory, the computer must swap unused data stored in memory to your hard disk drive until it is needed again. By adding this extra step and because the hard drive is the slowest type of memory your computer can become much slower if it does not have enough memory.

BUS speed
The bus speed of the motherboard can increase or decrease the speed at which data is being transferred between all the hardware components in the computer. For example, a Front Side Bus (FSB) of 66 MHz is going to be much slower than a 400 MHz FSB. If the computer has a slow bus, the processor has to wait longer for the instructions, which makes the computer run slower.

Hard drive
Crucial SSDThere are several components of a hard disk drive that can make it slower or faster, which makes your computer run slower or faster overall.

For example, a hard drive can cause a computer to be slower because of the moving parts inside the hard drive, which results in slower read and write times from and to the hard drive. However, a newer and faster solid state drives (SSD) have no moving parts, which results in faster read and write times from and to the hard drive.

Below is a list of different factors that contribute to the speed of a hard drive.

  • An SSD drive has no movable parts, which makes it much faster than a traditional HDD.
  • Older computers use EIDE (ATA) cables and ports to connect the drives, which have a much slower transfer rate than the SATA cables and ports used in newer computers.
  • The RPM of the HDD is how fast the platters inside the hard drive spin. A 5400 RPM hard drive will be much slower than a 7200 RPM drive.
    Since cache is the fastest type of memory, a hard drive with a larger cache allows data to be handled more efficiently when it’s transferred between the computer and the hard drive.

Video card
If you play the latest computer games, a powerful video card with its own CPU (GPU) and its own memory makes the game run faster. These types of video cards help with the performance of the computer by taking on the responsibilities of processing the 3D rendering and other complex tasks. The more powerful the video card is, the better it can render the 3D graphics and the faster it can handle the overall processing of graphics for the game.
The interface of a video card is also a contributing factor to the performance of the video card. For example, older AGP video cards are much slower than newer PCI Express video cards.