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.
- Computer does not boot, and you are getting a beep code. See the POST and beep code page for additional information about them.
- Random computer crashes causing BSOD, General Protection Fault error messages, Illegal Operations, Fatal Exceptions, etc.
- Random computer reboots.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The two main categories of processors are 32-bit and 64-bit. The type of processor a computer has not only affects its overall performance, but it can also dictate what type of software it uses.
The 32-bit processor was the primary processor used in all computers until the early 1990s. Intel Pentium processors and early AMD processors were 32-bit processors. The operating system and software on a computer with a 32-bit processor is also 32-bit based, in that they work with data units that are 32 bits wide. Windows 95, 98, and XP are all 32-bit operating systems that were common on computers with 32-bit processors.
Note: A computer with a 32-bit processor cannot have a 64-bit version of an operating system installed. It can only have a 32-bit version of an operating system installed.
The 64-bit computer has been around since 1961 when IBM created the IBM 7030 Stretch supercomputer. However, it was not put into use in home computers until the early 2000s. Microsoft released a 64-bit version of Windows XP to be used on computers with a 64-bit processor. Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 also come in 64-bit versions. Other software has been developed that is designed to run on a 64-bit computer, which are 64-bit based as well, in that they work with data units that are 64 bits wide.
Note: A computer with a 64-bit processor can have a 64-bit or 32-bit version of an operating system installed. However, with a 32-bit operating system, the 64-bit processor would not run at its full capability.
Note: On a computer with a 64-bit processor, you cannot run a 16-bit legacy program. Many 32-bit programs will work with a 64-bit processor and operating system, but some older 32-bit programs may not function properly, or at all, due to limited or no compatibility.
Differences between a 32-bit and 64-bit CPU
A big difference between 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors is the number of calculations per second they can perform, which affects the speed at which they can complete tasks. 64-bit processors can come in dual core, quad core, six core, and eight core versions for home computing. Multiple cores allow for an increased number of calculations per second that can be performed, which can increase the processing power and help make a computer run faster. Software programs that require many calculations to function smoothly can operate faster and more efficiently on the multi-core 64-bit processors, for the most part.
Another big difference between 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors is the maximum amount of memory (RAM) that is supported. 32-bit computers support a maximum of 3-4GB of memory, whereas a 64-bit computer can support memory amounts over 4 GB. This feature is important for software programs used in graphic design, engineering, and video editing as these programs have to perform many calculations to render their images.
One thing to note is that 3D graphic programs and games do not benefit much, if at all, from switching to a 64-bit computer, unless the program is a 64-bit program. A 32-bit processor is adequate for any program written for a 32-bit processor. In the case of computer games, you’ll get a lot more performance by upgrading the video card instead of getting a 64-bit processor.
In the end, 64-bit processors are becoming more and more commonplace in home computers. Most manufacturers build computers with 64-bit processors due to cheaper prices and because more users are now using 64-bit operating systems and programs. Computer parts retailers are offering fewer and fewer 32-bit processors and soon may not offer any at all.
Disable Unnecessary Hardware
Every piece of hardware leeches power from your battery, so disable anything you don’t immediately need. External devices, such as flash drives, SD cards and an external keyboard or mouse, can simply be unplugged. Windows® 8.1’s PC Settings offers an Airplane Mode to disable integrated wireless and Bluetooth adapters and enables you to turn off your camera. Device Manager optionally disables hardware that’s not customizable through PC Settings.
Disable Unnecessary Programs
Every running program makes your power-hungry CPU and RAM work a little harder, so when you need extra juice, don’t multitask. Close unnecessary windows or end unused processes in the Task Manager.
Optimize Your Screen
That big, bright LCD screen hogs most of your battery power, so reduce its consumption wherever possible by dimming the display. You can also lower the screen resolution to reduce the strain on your graphics adapter.
Use the Power Saver Profile
Selecting Power Options’ Power Saver profile turns off the screen and puts the computer to sleep after a short period of inactivity. However, manually choosing the Hibernate option avoids the waste of inactivity and conserves more power than sleeping. The option to hibernate when you press the Power button is available in Power Options.
Optimize Your Battery
Power efficiency assumes battery efficiency, so keep your lithium-ion battery in optimal condition by regularly topping off the charge and avoiding a complete discharge. Clean the contacts with rubbing alcohol every few weeks to ensure a solid connection with your laptop.
Consider upgrading to a solid state drive that uses less power than traditional mechanical drives. However, avoid adding more RAM unless you anticipate running memory-hungry programs that max out your current RAM and force less efficient virtual memory use.
1. Don’t get too attached.
When you plug your laptop in for the first time, you should make sure to fully charge it once to calibrate it. But after that, aim to keep it between 40 and 80 percent. Apple’s customer care says you should do this to “keep the electrons in it moving occasionally.” Wired has a better explanation of whyhere. But the bottom line is, doing this can help prolong your battery life by as much as four times.
I know that’s easier said than done. Just remember to keep an eye on your battery percentage (usually shown in a corner of your screen) throughout the day. If you leave your laptop at home, then shut it down, close it and keep it unplugged on a desk, not a couch.
You should also fully charge and discharge your computer’s battery at least once a month. Set a reminder on your phone or something. You forked over what I assume to be a ton of money for this thing, so paying attention to it once a month shouldn’t be a problem.
2. Stay cool.
Most modern laptops are made with lithium-based batteries, which should be stored in temperatures between 50 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. You might not always be able to keep tabs on that sweet spot, so to make things a bit simpler, room temperature is fine.
That being said, there are a few ways you can make sure your laptop isn’t constantly having menopausal hot flashes. You should start by minding its air vents. Most MacBook vents are located on the back of the laptop, near the top of the computer. Whenever you prop your laptop up on your bed, couch or lap, you’re likely blocking the airflow. This, in turn, causes the computer to overheat. And overheating will screw up your battery life.
That’s not to say you should be completely paranoid about keeping it on flat, cool surfaces all the time. But maybe consider moving it to a desk before you fall asleep or head to work.
3. Update, update, update.
Most companies are constantly looking for ways to improve battery life via software updates. In fact, it was one of the main things Apple touted in its OS X Mavericks release last year. You may fear change, but change can extend your battery life. So make sure you have the latest software installed on your computer.
4. Don’t just leave it there.
Maybe you’re in trouble with the law and need to disappear for six months. We understand how these things go. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for correctly storing your computer. You should store it with a 50 percent charge in a consistently cool area. Storing the computer with a fully discharged battery might ruin the battery forever. And storing it with an absolutely full charge might cut the battery’s lifespan short.