How To Choose the Right Memory (RAM) for Your Notebook

There are two types of computer upgrades that a user can perform to improve the performance of a notebook computer. One of those is upgrading the computer to a solid-state hard drive, and the other would be upgrading the memory (RAM) of the machine. To better understand RAM, and why it is significant, an analogy is in order.

Imagine that the hard drive of the computer is the grocery store. The grocery store is capable of storing food and beverages for a really long period of time. Imagine that RAM is the pantry in the kitchen. A pantry is much smaller than a grocery store, but is capable of storing goods until they are needed. However, food does not last nearly as long in a pantry as it would at the grocery store.


Internal computer memory, also known as RAM. (Photo: Shutterstock)

When cooking dinner, if something is needed the cook will check the pantry first. If the item is in the pantry, the cook will then immediately be able to add that item to the dish without delaying dinner. If the item is not in the pantry, the cook will have to climb into a vehicle, drive to the grocery store, purchase the item, and then come home to continue cooking. That is a longer, more time-consuming process. Basically, the bigger the pantry, the fewer trips are needed to the grocery store. The more RAM that a machine has, the fewer times the processor has to go to the hard drive to get information. The more RAM the machine has, the faster the machine will run.

Once it has been decided that the notebook needs updated memory, the next question that arises is often what type of memory to get. This article will explain the best way to check what kind of RAM a computer takes and how to purchase it.

Check a Well-Known Memory Database


Crucial’s website as shown on a Mac running Chrome as the web browser.

With thousands of different computers and configurations out there, it is important to search a well-known and well-respected database for information. Crucial is an excellent resource. Open the computer’s web browser and go to


Selecting a computer make and model with Crucial’s database utility.

From the drop down menu in the middle of the page that says Select Manufacturer select the make of the computer. This could be Dell, Apple, HP and more. After that selection is made, a second drop down will appear asking for the model of the computer. This could be MacBook Pro or Pavilion. Choose which model the machine is. Lastly, it will ask for a specific model of computer.


HP asset tag with model number. (Varies with manufacturer). 

On a Windows computer, this information is on the bottom of the notebook (sometimes underneath the battery).


“More Info…” menu from About This Mac

On a Mac, it is obtained by selecting About This Mac from the Apple menu and choosing More Information on the next screen.


Listing of compatible memory and more information about the computer.

Once the machine is selected, click Find It and Crucial will return a results page similar to the one above. On the left-hand side, where it says Memory Type is exactly what type of memory the computer takes. On the right-hand side is an option to purchase the memory straight from Crucial that will be compatible for the system.

If purchasing from Crucial is not desired, carries a large variety of memory and can be found using the type of memory that the Crucial tool helped locate. Also, if the purchaser wants to get the RAM from a local tech or store, the memory type can be provided to that person for ordering.

Purchasing memory for a computer is just one step in improving the performance of a computer, but it is a good first-step for the budget-minded upgrader. Memory prices are low and it is an excellent cost-effective upgrade.

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