RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the memory that your computer uses to store information temporarily about the programs that are currently running. RAM is usually measured or megabytes, or millions of bytes. Most computers are capable of using up to 512 megabytes of RAM, but usually come with anywhere from 32 to 128 megabytes. The amount of RAM you'll need depends on the type of programs you plan on running. If you're just going to be using a word processing program and Web browser, for example, then 32 to 64 megs of RAM should be ample. If you're going to be playing sophisticated three-dimensional games, however, or using demanding graphics programs, you may need as much as 128 megs of RAM or more. If you find that your current computer is running slower than you would like, upgrading the amount of RAM is often an effective way of speeding up your computer without purchasing an expensive, new system. There are two rules for upgrading your RAM. First, know the right type of RAM for your computer. The type you need is usually indicated in the manual that came with your computer. Second, some RAM modules must be installed in pairs. For instance, if you want to add 32 megs of RAM to your computer, you may have to insert two 16- meg modules simultaneously. On some newer computers, you don't need to install pairs of RAM chips, but you'll still need to make sure you're using the right type of RAM.
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