A PC, whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, has a motherboard and that motherboard determines what physical components i.e., hardware can be installed on the PC. Think of it as a power board that you can connect multiple appliances to. If your power board only has three spots, you can only connect three appliances to it. With a motherboard, there are dedicated spots i.e., slots for the various hardware components that you can connect. RAM slots are one common example. When you buy (or build) a PC, some or all of the RAM slots may be used. You can check empty RAM slots by physically opening up your PC, or if you’re running Windows 10, you can check from the Task Manager.
Empty RAM slots
Open the Task Manager and go to the Performance tab. Select ‘Memory’ and under the memory graph, look for the Slots used field. It will tell you how many of the total slots are currently in use. In the screenshot below, the system has a total of 2 slots, and one of them is in use.
Now that you know how many RAM slots are on your PC, you can decide if you want to or if you can add more RAM to it. Normally, if you have an empty slot, it will be able to support as much RAM as is already installed on your system. For example, in the screenshot above, the system has 8GB of RAM and one empty RAM slot. Another 8GB RAM card can be installed on this system.
The additional RAM that you add to a system doesn’t have to be the same configuration as the one installed in the other slot i.e., just because you have an 8GB RAM card in one slot it doesn’t mean you have to install another 8GB in the second slot. You can add 4GB instead if that fulfills your needs.
Some people are of the opinion that if you’re using both RAM slots, you ought to balance the capacity between the cards that you use. This may or may not hold true but generally, you want to avoid too much of a disparity between the two cards. One thing you do need to pay attention to is the specifications of the RAM itself outside of its memory. For example, if the RAM on your system is currently DDR3, you cannot install a DDR4 RAM with it. There will be performance issues or your system may not run at all.
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