Monday, January 2, 2012

Today, I Added Memory

Would that it were so easy to add memory to the human brain---just stick in a chip and you're good to go. Want to save that picnic in the park on Sunday afternoon? Just add a new chip and sandwiches in the basket and off with you. You can add memories of your wedding to husband #1, then take the chip out when he turns out to be a lying, cheating creep, and never have to remember him ever again. No grief, no loss.

Of course, if you had children with this dude, you're doomed to remember him no matter what, but I digress.

But seriously, I added memory to my computer motherboard. It's really very easy to do. First, you turn off the machine. Then you unplug it from the wall (at least you should to prevent any kind of static). Then you open the box--now for some folks, it's just a key in the back, some it's a latch, some it's a couple of screws in the back. They all seem to come apart differently so that you can get into the guts of your machine.

Now, here's the tricky part. Before handling a memory chip, be sure to ground yourself on a metal piece of the computer.

Memory chips look like long strips of green plastic with little flat, black, rectangular bugs on them. There are usually slots for 2, but sometimes there are 3 and even 4. They come in different sizes, and your motherboard (the big green sheet in the back) knows what chip it needs. You can't just put any old chip in there. You have to have information about your particular motherboard, and know what sizes and configurations you need--then you buy it, usually in a bigger configuration than what you have already in there.

Once you have it, you open the slot by pushing open the little "keys" on the ends. Memory will usually "go in" only one way. Then you push on the memory chip until the little keys snap shut around it. This means it's "seated", and you're good to go. Close up the box in reverse of how you took it apart.

Plug in your machine and turn it on, watch while the computer "boots up". Some machines are set up to recognize changes in your machine, and the memory will be found during the bootup procedure. Some machines are set up so that you don't see that, but you can still find out how much memory you have in your machine by going to the My Computer Icon and looking around in there. The computer should show how much memory you have. It depends on what version of Windows you are running. This morning I put in another 2 gig chip. I now have 4 gig of ram in my machine. It feels pretty good, but I'm not really doing much yet. Enough gig of ram in you machine and you can run several different programs at the same time, all of them resident in memory.

You can look at a pic of a memory chip on this website. You can even locate your particular memory needs there, and then head over to EBAY, and find the chip you need for the lowest price you can get, and buy it there (or you can pay double at the other website, but it's the same ram, and even includes a return policy if it doesn't boot up as required). You only need to know the information about your motherboard, and you find that information in the My Computer icon as well. In the margin, you find out all sorts of usable information about your computer and it's needs.

There really is no need to be scared about it. I realize it's a bit intimidating, but pretty soon, you'll be building your own computers from the bare box up, and that's pretty fun. I actually did that for a couple of years, but always had a techie friend who could step in if things went awry--as they can do when drivers aren't correct--to help make everything co-exist together inside your box, because there's a lot inside there that I haven't even mentioned yet...for instance there's the hard-drive, daughter boards, such as the sound card, video card and perhaps some other cards for usb ports or even a television or radio card that will pull in digital information from the air--or a card so you can plug in your cable tv. There's also the CPU, which is a square shaped chip on the motherboard. In older models, it was about 2" square. In your box, it might still be, but they are getting smaller and smaller and do more and more. CPU means Computer Power Unit. This puppy makes the whole box work, and if it wasn't there, or burned out and didn't work, your machine would not boot. Same goes for the power supply, which normally comes with the box, and has it's own "requirements" in order to work with the box. It's actually more of a converter, but it takes the power coming in from the wall and converts it to forms and needs of the various components inside your box. If it isn't big enough, it may not power all the devices you have, and things won't work at their optimum.

So if you've never opened your box before, take a look inside and take note of the items I've mentioned. Try and identify the daughter boards inside based on what's plugged into the back of your machine. Be sure to ground yourself well, but if you don't actually "touch" anything, everything will be okay. Taking a look doesn't hurt anything and even gives you a little better understanding of what your particular machine has to do in order for everything to work and get you out onto the web!

Happy computering!

1 comment:

Murr Brewster said...

Yeah. I'll do that. Aren't you afraid of ANYTHING? I do not want to open up my machine. That casing is the only thing keeping me from seeing it hoot at me in open derision. I'd put a burka on it if I could.