If you’ve been having problems with your laptop’s performance, upgrading its random access memory (RAM) can help.
However, laptops come in different shapes and sizes and are built differently. At the same time, RAM works differently in various laptops.
So, if you own a 4GB laptop, you might be asking, “can I add 8GB RAM to 4GB laptop?”
In this article, we will discuss if it’s possible to add 8GB RAM to 4GB RAM laptops, ways to check if your laptop will support the upgrade, and how to do it.
We will also guide you on how to find the best RAM for your computer.
The short answer is it depends.
Again, laptops vary, including all of their parts and components. Some have upgradeable parts like the SO DIMMs (popularly known as RAMs), and some don't.
Unfortunately, there’s no certainty that all laptops can be upgraded or not. However, there is a way to easily eliminate those that aren’t upgradeable--through its price range.
Budget laptops tend to have parts that are more serviceable and upgradeable compared to ultra-thin and premium models.
This is because most expensive laptops with high-end systems are sealed shut, making it difficult for anyone else to open and tinker with them.
Others, like Apple, require you to use proprietary parts, which aren't readily available.
On top of that, all of its parts are soldered to the motherboard, which means Mac users can't upgrade or add RAM to their system.
So, why is a budget laptop more upgradeable than a higher-end one?
Well, as its name implies, a budget laptop uses cheaper, more standard, and readily available parts.
This makes it more likely to be easier to upgrade than those using more unique parts. If you own a 4GB budget computer, it's more likely that you can upgrade it to 8GB RAM.
What To Check First When Upgrading From 4GB to 8GB RAM
The first step is to check what type of RAM you have. Then, you also need to know if your computer can handle more ram by checking its memory slot.
Many laptops have more than one RAM slot, while some modern motherboards have four RAM slots. If yours have more than one, your motherboard supports the additional memory.
However, if you only have one, you’ll need to upgrade to a new motherboard.
Another way to test if your computer is compatible with 8GB of RAM is by using the Crucial's free memory scanner.
This will provide you with whether you have a second slot or not and if your computer’s existing RAM can handle the upgrade.
If you’re wondering whether you can add 8GB extra RAM to your existing 4GB laptop memory, that’s a different procedure than a RAM upgrade.
While adding more memory to your computer can potentially give you the best performance you need, it’s not as easy as its sounds.
Like upgrading your RAM’s memory from 4GB to 8GB, you also need to check several things to ensure their compatibility.
However, before we discuss this, let's first talk about the many misconceptions about using different RAM sizes.
One of the most common ones is mixing RAM sizes and RAM brands is bad. Of course, this isn't true.
You can mix RAM sizes and brands if you want to, but you should know that doing these to your RAM modules doesn't really provide the best system performance.
They can still increase your RAM performance, but the two sticks aren’t giving their full potential.
In some cases, they'll give you the bare minimum. Just enough to have many browser tabs open without slowing your system's performance, but not recommended for a power user.
Now that we've settled this, let's continue discussing if installing an extra RAM stick on your computer is the best option.
Requirements For Adding 8GB RAM to A 4GB Laptop
First, you need to check your laptop’s motherboard or read its manual to check the maximum amount of supported RAM, clock speeds (MHZ), and DDR support compatible with your computer.
Once you have these details, the next thing you need to do is check the channel memory system of your laptop.
This system is responsible for the transfer rate between the RAM and processor.
You need to have a dual-channel memory system to use both 4GB and 8GB RAM at the same time in your operating system.
However, even if you have dual-channel RAM support, your laptop will still work at a lower speed. This is because of the frequency level.
If the RAM doesn’t have the same frequency, your computer will be forced to run at a lower frequency level.
In other words, even if you have 8GB RAM running at a higher clock speed, you’ll still get the lower speed.
After that, you’ll also need to check the RAM type. Both of the sticks should have the same DDR rating.
At the same time, different types also have a different voltage rating, and for this to work, you need to have the same voltage and RAM type.
Lastly, check the RAM slot. Most modern laptops' RAM slots come with an extra slot. So, if your laptop has an extra slot, you can add another RAM.
Just be sure they are the same type and share the same number of pins.
If your laptop can only have one stick of RAM or single-channel mode, you can simply upgrade 4GB ram to 8GB instead of adding an extra one.
How To Know If Your Laptop Supports 8GB Ram
Now that you have an idea of how to find out if you can upgrade or add two different-sized RAMs in your memory slots, let's discuss how to find out how much RAM your laptop can support.
Follow the steps below:
Check The Motherboard Limit
Your motherboard is the most important part of your computer and can dictate how much RAM it can handle. So, be sure to check the limit of your motherboard.
In most cases, 4GB laptops like an Acer laptop or an HP laptop can generally handle a maximum of 8GB RAM for their motherboards.
Check All Available Slots
Unlike computers that allow you to choose what parts to install, laptops don't have that flexibility, and most don't have extra space for another RAM.
So, you can either check the manual of your laptop model or physically open the computer to see if it has an open slot.
Check RAM Types
To do this, open your Task Manager on your Windows computer, go to the Performance tab, and click Memory. This will show you what type of RAM you have.
Most laptops have either DDR II SDRAM or DDR III SDRAM. If you have the latter, congratulations!
Your computer MIGHT handle the upgrade. If you have the former, you will need to replace your RAM with a newer type of memory, like the DDR III SDRAM or higher.
Look At Channel Memory
The memory channels are the links between your RAM and your CPU in which data transfer happens.
The RAM is essentially your laptop's short-term memory, while the CPU is the one processing those data in the memory.
So, you need to ensure that your channel memory can handle the upgrade in speed.
How To Add Additional Ram (Step By Step Guide)
So, let's start getting to work! Here are the steps to add additional RAM or upgrade the RAM size. Follow the basic steps below.
- 1Before you start unscrewing the back of your laptop. Make sure that it is completely shut down and not just asleep. Then, unplug it from the power source.
- 2Next, you must remove all or some parts of your laptop to access the memory bay. The service manual often has instructions on how to disassemble your laptop, and you can find this on the manufacturer's website.
- 3Once the back part is removed, you need to discharge any built-up static electricity.
You can do so by touching a metal object at the back of the laptop, like the hard drive or a filing cabinet nearby.
If you're uncomfortable with getting a small shock, you can buy an antistatic wrist wrap.
- 4It’s time to install the new and faster RAM in the slot. The memory module has a small notch that would fit the nub in the slot of your computer.
If the RAM is backward, it won’t fit properly. Don’t force it or it may break.
- 5Once you've aligned it correctly, put the RAM stick at a slight angle until you can see that the contact fingers are mostly inserted in the memory slot.
Most people find that putting their thumbs in the corner can make it easier to insert the module.
After it's inserted, slowly tilt the stick down until the metal arms on the side snuggle into place with a soft click.
To check if it's locked, gently lift each side a tiny bit. If it doesn't bulge, it's securely placed.
- 6The new RAM installed should lie flat in the slot. If you need to adjust the stick, just use your fingernails to bend out the metal arm on its sides.
You may need to lift the sides simultaneously, depending on how strong the spring is. Once it's released, the spring should come up, making it easy for you to lift the RAM stick.
What To Look For When Buying RAM
Now that you know the specifications of your motherboard, how much memory your laptop can handle, and confirmed that it has a dual-channel mode.
Is It Worth Upgrading Ram On An Old Laptop?
If you want a better overall system performance, it is worth upgrading the RAM of your old laptop, especially if the old one is causing you stress.
Apart from the overall performance, you should also check what tasks you run on your computer. For example, do you have demanding apps that need higher memory?
Faster and higher RAM can write, erase, and rewrite frequently accessed data in your computer, which makes your computer operate at a better speed.
However, if you’re only using office apps, the upgrade of speed may not be noticed, so it’s probably not worth your time and effort.
Related: How Long Does RAM Normally Last?
Upgrading Ram FAQs
Can I use 8GB and 16GB RAM together?
It depends. You can follow the same guide discussed above to check if your computer can handle these different speeds.
Are there any disadvantages to using two different Ram sticks?
Yes, if you use different brands or speeds of RAM together, you may not get the most out of both of them.
Will adding more RAM to my laptop make it faster?
It can help make your laptop’s performance better.
How much faster is 8GB RAM than 4GB?
8GB RAM can run demanding apps and stream with ease, unlike 4GB RAM, which may crash your computer.
If you don’t have the budget to buy a new computer or simply don't want to waste a working one, upgrading or adding to your laptop’s RAM can help its performance.
However, you need to ensure that your computer can handle the new RAM. We have listed the steps above, and be sure to follow them for a better, faster, smoother laptop performance.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.