Could I possibly do damage to my computer if I add a RAM card?

I'm pretty sure (but not positive) that the two RAM cards and the extra one are two different types. I know that the extra one will fit. I already read that that it won't work if they are different types, but:

If I add a RAM card of a different types as the other two, would it do damage to my desktop?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Up to a point, adding RAM (random access memory) will normally cause your computer to feel faster on certain types of operations. RAM is important because of an operating system component called the virtual memory manager (VMM).

    When you run a program such as a word processor or an Internet browser, the microprocessor in your computer pulls the executable file off the hard disk and loads it into RAM. In the case of a big program like Microsoft Word or Excel, the EXE consumes about 5 megabytes. The microprocessor also pulls in a number of shared DLLs (dynamic link libraries) -- shared pieces of code used by multiple applications. The DLLs might total 20 or 30 megabytes. Then the microprocessor loads in the data files you want to look at, which might total several megabytes if you are looking at several documents or browsing a page with a lot of graphics. So a normal application needs between 10 and 30 megabytes of RAM space to run. On my machine, at any given time I might have the following applications running:

    * A word processor

    * A spreadsheet

    * A DOS prompt

    * An e-mail program

    * A drawing program

    * Three or four browser windows

    * A fax program

    * A Telnet session

    Besides all of those applications, the operating system itself is taking up a good bit of space. Those programs together might need 100 to 150 megabytes of RAM, but my computer only has 64 megabytes of RAM installed.

    The extra space is created by the virtual memory manager. The VMM looks at RAM and finds sections of RAM that are not currently needed. It puts these sections of RAM in a place called the swap file on the hard disk. For example, even though I have my e-mail program open, I haven't looked at e-mail in the last 45 minutes. So the VMM moves all of the bytes making up the e-mail program's EXE, DLLs and data out to the hard disk. That is called swapping out the program. The next time I click on the e-mail program, the VMM will swap in all of its bytes from the hard disk, and probably swap something else out in the process. Because the hard disk is slow relative to RAM, the act of swapping things in and out causes a noticeable delay.

    If you have a very small amount of RAM (say, 16 megabytes), then the VMM is always swapping things in and out to get anything done. In that case, your computer feels like it is crawling. As you add more RAM, you get to a point where you only notice the swapping when you load a new program or change windows. If you were to put 256 megabytes of RAM in your computer, the VMM would have plenty of room and you would never see it swapping anything. That is as fast as things get. If you then added more RAM, it would have no effect.

    Some applications (things like Photoshop, many compilers, most film editing and animation packages) need tons of RAM to do their job. If you run them on a machine with too little RAM, they swap constantly and run very slowly. You can get a huge speed boost by adding enough RAM to eliminate the swapping. Programs like these may run 10 to 50 times faster once they have enough RAM!

    Here are some interesting links:

    * How RAM Works

    * How Virtual Memory Works

    * Check your virtual memory settings

    * About the Virtual Memory Manager

  • 1 decade ago

    Hard to say what would happen without more information. Like what you mean by type.

    Right now there are two main types of RAM memory modules in use. DDR and DDR2. If the memory installed is DDR, then that's what you would want to use. If it's DDR2 then you'd use that. DDR2 memory is designed not to fit in a DDR slot. Forcing the wrong type of memory into a slot can damage the memory and possibly other stuff.

    There's also varying speeds, like DDR2-533 or DDR2-667. If there are different speeds of memory installed, it will all run at the speed of the slowest memory module.

    Also, there are some motherboards that have both DDR and DDR2 memory slots. As far as I know, those are all designed to only use one type of memory at one time. (In otherwords you get to choose which to use, but you can't use both types at the same time.)

    On DDR and DDR2 memory there is a small notch on the side that plugs into the slot. (The side with all the gold contact points.) That notch is in a different spot on DDR2 then it is on DDR. If the notch is in the same spot on all the memory modules you have, then they should be the same type of memory.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No. What will happen is your computer will run at the slower RAM's speed, eliminating any benefit of faster RAM. But if they are the same speed, and different manufactorers, then you will be fine.

  • 1 decade ago

    Technically yes, it could but most computers use a fail safe to prevent damage from user negligence. Otherwise, use to find the proper RAM.

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