In Short: How to Choose the Correct RAM for your Laptop

Building and speccing out your own computer can be both a joy and a hassle. But that depends on your personal preferences. The RAM that comes across a major component for building a computer often comes in confusing packages and the inclusion of a diverse range of laptop-specific RAM doesn’t make it any better.

Here is a very quick write up that helps you make the right decision when you opt to increase the memory in your past, present or future laptop.

We have also tried to cover almost any possible question you could have in the FAQ section at the bottom, so give this one a good read.

Types of RAM – Don’t worry it’s easier than you think

As the title suggests, the types of RAM for RAM are fairly limited to DDR3L and DDR4L. The L stands for Low voltage (We are assuming that you aren’t using an ancient laptop).

Figuring out what RAM your laptop supports is covered in the section below.

RAM 3

Look for a RAM that’s labeled for laptop and has a voltage reading of 1.35 volts for the DDR3L variant. This is the current stands for laptop RAM which support DDR3L.

For a laptop that requires DDR4L, look for a RAM that is labeled as 1.2 volts and has a stated frequency of 2133 MHz.

DDR3L or DDR4L: Confused? Don’t worry, that’s easy too

It’s very easy to identify if your laptop features a DDR3L or DDR4L. Look at your processor, if it’s an Intel processor that’s greater than 6th generation, then it’s a DDR4L.

If it’s older than the 6th generation (like the 5th, 4th, or 3rd generation), then it’s almost a DDR3L compatible one.

You see, Processors and the motherboard decide the speed cap for its RAM connectors. Intel mandated the DDR4L RAM compatibility only after the 6th generation.

Almost all AMD APUs for laptops support only DDR3L so far, we expect the Zen chips to hit the market soon.

RAM 2

What MHz should I go for? Take a deep breath, it’s fairly simple.

RAMs are amazing and in a minute you will realize why. They are sort of backward compatible. As long as you have the right type (example: DDR3L), your frequency (that MHz thingy) does not matter as much.

To put it simply, you can use an 1833 MHz RAM stick on a socket that supports only 1333 MHz, which is what most of the Laptop SODIMM slots operate at.

The RAM will simply default to 1833 MHz and run at that speed, amazingly simple, isn’t it?

How do I know if my laptop supports more RAM?

Ideally, if it’s an Intel Core i series, there is a high chance it will feature at least one empty slot for RAM expansion.

For most laptops, opening the specialized RAM compartment to upgrade RAM does not void the warranty. Although it’s advisable to confirm about the warranty issues before proceeding with this.

FAQ

Is the DDR4L so much faster than the DDR3L? Should I buy a new laptop?

Ans) The difference in real-world performance is negligible, so don’t worry about it

Both my SODIMM slots are filled, what should I do?

Ans) If they are low capacity RAM, like the 2GB ones. You will have to replace one with a higher capacity one.

How much RAM should I add?

Ans) Well, that depends on your usage. If you do a lot of Picture and video editing using professional tools, then we suggest the maximum: 8GB RAM sticks.

How fast will my computer get after adding more RAM?

Ans) This depends on a lot of factors and the answer is fairly complicated. We will be simplifying it for you in the upcoming write-up, so stay tuned. 

Can I plug a DDR3L on a DDR4L or vice versa?

Ans) Please don’t. 

I see the availability of 1.5 volt DDR3 RAM, can I use them?

Ans) No, it’s not compatible with a majority of the laptops.

Can I go for the cheapest RAM possible?

Ans) As long as it’s from someone reputed. By all means, yes.