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RAM slots are found in pairs on the motherboard. Depending on whether you have a desktop or a laptop these slots will look different.
Read on to learn about the types of RAM slots and how to install or replace your RAM for better performance.
RAM slots on a motherboard come in sets, and it is important to make sure you install RAM in sequence corresponding to these sockets.
The RAM fits into long channels on the motherboard in sets of two, three or four. If you have a quad channel motherboard, that is a motherboard capable of supporting four memory cards, make sure you install the RAM in corresponding pairs.
The RAM slots will be color coded to indicate which RAM pairs go together. These pairs are usually 1 3 or 2 4.
Make sure the RAM you install is the same (same type, same capacity, same chip) across the pairs, or in the case of a triple channel motherboard, across all three slots. Modern motherboards all come with a feature called Interleaving which will bring down the performance of all RAM to the slowest RAM on the board.
This is particularly important if you have one of the motherboards mentioned earlier where it has slots for DDR3 and DDR4 memory. If you use all four slots, your computer will run as if all the slots have DDR3 memory installed and will not make use of the performance of the DDR4 sticks.
The only iMac currently on the market with user-serviceable RAM is the 27 inch model. The 21.5 inch version of the iMac has the RAM soldered to the motherboard. When you purchase the 21.5 inch iMac you have to configure it at purchase with the amount of RAM you want.
You will not be able to upgrade the RAM later without specialized equipment and voiding your warranty.
To get to the RAM slots on an iMac, all you have to do is unplug the power cable and press a switch underneath it to open an access panel and get to the RAM inside.
Regardless of the fact that the 27 version of the iMac does not solder the RAM down and you are able to replace it, if you do not install RAM approved by Apple you could still void the warranty on your iMac.
If you have a PC, you will find the RAM slots on your motherboard near the CPU. There will be two, three, or four slots where you could install RAM.
If there are four slots on the motherboard, the pairs will be color-coded to indicate which slots go together for installing RAM. If you plan to use all four slots on the motherboard, make sure you are using the same type of RAM for all the slots to get the best performance out of your computer.
RAM only fits into the slot on the motherboard in one direction. The row of gold pins is notched and will line up with an area of the channel with no sockets in it. If you try to install your RAM stick backward, you will damage the pins on the RAM card and probably the slot on the motherboard as well.
RAM slots on a laptop are significantly different than on a desktop PC. Because the form factor of a laptop precludes the desktop orientation where the memory is perpendicular to the motherboard, the RAM slides into slots that allow it to be parallel to the motherboard once installed.
The limited space inside a laptop case also means laptop RAM is significantly smaller in size than desktop ram, usually the cards are less than half as long as RAM for a desktop PC.
Mac laptops will have RAM in a similar configuration as a non-Apple laptop, however not all Macbooks have the ability for a consumer to upgrade their own RAM, or replace it if something goes wrong.
As with an iMac, just because you can replace the RAM and it isn t soldered down, you can still void the warranty on your Macbook by replacing the RAM installed when it was built with RAM that is not approved by Apple.
Before you can install your RAM cards on your (powered off, unplugged) PC, you have to open the clips at the sides of the slots. These are white or colored tabs on either side of the RAM slot. Push down gently, but firmly, to open the clips.
Check and make sure the notch in your stick of RAM lines up with the tooth in the RAM socket.
Place one thumb on each end of the RAM card and press down gently but firmly. One end of the card will snap in before the other.
When the RAM card is locked in the slot, both the clasps on the RAM slot will snap into
The memory slots on a laptop are much smaller than on a desktop, and you can generally find them by locating the green rectangles.
Check and make sure the notch in your stick of RAM lines up with the tooth in the RAM socket.
Slide the RAM card in at an angle to the bottom of the laptop, most laptop memory is installed at an angle of approximately thirty degrees.
When the RAM is settled into the slot, push down on the outer edge of the RAM card until it clicks and is flush with the rest of the laptop chassis.
DDR3 and DDR4 are the two main types of RAM encountered by the average consumer. DDR3 was used up until the Intel sixth and seventh generation processors, and all modern processors produced after 2017 require DDR4 memory.
There are some motherboards offering the option of both DDR3 and DDR 4 memory slots, but you get half as many as you would on a board with dedicated slots for one type i.e. you would have two slots which support DDR3 and two slots which support DDR4 instead of having four slots capable of accepting DDR4 memory.
You cannot put DDR3 in a DDR4 RAM slot, so if you are buying a newer processor, such as an eighth or ninth generation Intel, or an AMD Ryzen processor, you will need to purchase DDR4 RAM to go with it.
DDR4 is the future of RAM. It is faster than DDR3, uses less power than DDR3, and has increased bandwidth over DDR3. The increased bandwidth can sometimes cause latency issues, many of which can be solved by overclocking the memory.
Dual channel RAM slots are a common RAM configuration on commercially available motherboards. This allows you to double the available bandwidth between the memory and the central processing unit.
If you have two sticks of 8 GB memory, your computer will have the same available memory as a computer running a single stick of 16 GB memory, but will be able to access it faster.
If you are running three sticks of memory, because most motherboards don t support a triple channel configuration, two of them will be running in dual channel mode and the third will be running in single channel mode.
RAM slots on an iMac and a desktop PC will be similar in appearance and function. They are long straight channels accessed by opening up the back of the computer.
However, Apple s proprietary nature means that unless you are sure you know what you are doing, you shouldn t try to replace the memory in your machine. Sometimes Apple s memory is soldered into the computer and cannot be removed without special equipment. Sometimes even replaceable RAM will void the Apple warranty.
Laptop RAM slots are radically different in appearance, lying flat compared to the desktop RAM s perpendicular configuration. Laptop RAM sticks are also significantly smaller and shorter compared with desktop RAM.
All computers have RAM slots, and if you follow the instructions to install and replace RAM, then you can boost your computer s performance without having to spend a lot of extra money.
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When you talk about the random access memory (RAM) of your device, you’re actually talking about two parts your RAM module and your RAM slots. Each slot will fit a certain module to at, which means that certain types of modules just won’t fit.
To understand the different types of RAM slots, we need to look at what types of RAM modules exist and how they differ. Once you know that, it will be easy to figure out why RAM slots are also different from one another.
RAM slot, socket, or a memory slot is a gap on your computer’s motherboard where you can insert your RAM. Depending on the motherboard type, there might be up to four memory sockets. If you have a high-tier motherboard, you can even have more.
There are three most common types of RAM:
Throughout the history of RAM, the physical shape of the modules has changed. These physical modifications are what made the modules faster. At the same time, the changes impacted the look of RAM sockets too. Some of the changes include:
There are various RAM slots depending on the module. Let’s start from the beginning:
Although the RAM slots are the last thing that comes to your mind when you’re purchasing your computer, it would be good to check that out too. Sometimes a motherboard can be a bit older, meaning that you can’t plug in the latest RAM modules in it.
However, the more important thing you should look at is the capability of your motherboard. If it’s in the mid-tier or low-tier, chances are that the slots will support older versions of RAM modules.
In case you’re unsure if your motherboard will support the RAM module you are buying, you should consult with a tech expert. They will usually be able to tell you exactly which RAM module to get based on the motherboard specifications you give them.
Your system supports DDR4 registered DIMMs (RDIMMs), and load reduced DIMMs (LRDIMMs).
NOTE: MT/s indicates DIMM speed in MegaTransfers per second.
Memory bus operating frequency can be 1333 MT/s, 1600 MT/s, 1866 MT/s, or 2133 MT/s depending on the following factors:
The system contains 24 memory sockets split into two sets of 12 sockets, one set per processor. Each 12-socket set is organized into four channels. In each channel, the release levers of the first socket are marked white, the second socket black, and the third socket green.
NOTE: DIMMs in sockets A1 to A12 are assigned to processor 1 and DIMMs in sockets B1 to B12 are assigned to processor 2.
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