Computer Memory Test: How To Test Installed RAM

Most, if not all RAM you buy today is tested by the memory manufacturer or reseller before it gets shipped to you or installed in your computer when you buy it, but even with these failsafe measurements in place, it does happen that  sometimes your computer will start to act up and one cause of the PC’s troubles could be the RAM has gone bad.

There’s also the chance that the operating system you are running doesn’t like to run the memory you have installed. This is rare though and usually happens when an OS update is performed.  It’s been a decade or more since I’ve seen RAM go bad due to and OS change.

But, RAM does go bad, as does hard drives (which is  why you should always have a backup too) and there’s many free ram testers out there to help you determine if your RAM has gone bad or not.

MemTest. This memory testing software is completely free to use and the most popular memory testing tools to use today.

Windows Memory Diagnostic.. If you’re on a Windows PC, this software comes built in to the operating system so you don’t need to download anything.  Just click start, control panel and search for memory in the search box and click ‘diagnose your computer’s  memory problems’

These two programs will help you determine the health of your installed memory upgrades on your Mac or PC. If you do find you have bad RAM, contact the computer memory manufacturer to determine if your installed RAM applies for a warranty replacement as most memory stores today offer a lifetime guarantee  on the ram upgrades they sell.

Who Has The Best Memory Finder?

Memory Upgrade for the average user can be confusing to the average consumer. Sure, there’s propellor heads or those interested in technology and memory upgrades to know the difference between DDR2 and DDR3 SDRAM, but for the customer that does all their computer shopping at Best Buy the ram you need to buy for you notebook or desktop computer can become quite confusing.

That’s why the memory manufacturers and memory stores usually offer some tool online at their website to help you get the right memory upgrade. These tools can be called memory finders, or memory configurators or some other name but they essentially do the same thing and match your computer model with the RAM you need to buy. This is something you won’t find at one of the biggest memory store – Amazon. If you were searching for the best digital cameras you would find a tool to use but not for memory upgrades for your Mac or PC.

Most of the memory finders you will come across work as an online form and you choose your computer manufacturer, computer model, and finally – computer model name where the program redirects you to the proper ram upgrade for you computer. All you then have to do is place your memory upgrade order to complete your memory upgrade sale.

Of course, there’s other ways to find the right memory upgrade for your computer and another (and in my opinion, easier) way to get your ram upgrades is to just offer a search engine – you type in keywords and the search trys to match the memory to what you type. This has both advantages and disadvantages because if you fail to search correctly you may miss out on finding the right memory for your PC.

Lastly, one other way to find the correct memory upgrade is to download software to your PC or Mac that will scan your computer for the right memory for your notebook or desktop computer. Crucial Technology is one memory store that offers this method and also guarantees that your ram will be correct using this tool.

Sometimes a Memory Store may choose to specialize in one PC brand rather than trying to cater to every PC desktop and notebook ever made. Other World Computing comes to mind as an online store that has chosen to build sales and relationships with Apple Macintosh customers over PC users with Windows based machine.

Whatever method you choose, I suggest you use a memory finder to get the best deal on memory upgrades that are guaranteed to work with your computer model.

[Crucial Memory Finder


[OWC Memory


Where To Buy a 4GB RAM Stick

They’re usually not called ‘ram sticks’ and more commonly known as memory modules or ram upgrades but whatever you call them there’s a very good chance that if you’re looking to upgrade your ram for either your desktop computer or notebook or laptop you need to buy 4GB of RAM . Heck you may even need to buy two 4gb memory modules to max out the memory on your Mac or PC.

I’m showing my age here, but I remember when 1-800-4-Memory first released 1GB ram (for the iBook maybe, I can’t remember) and the price for 1GB of RAM at that time was over $2000. I thought for certain it was a typo because even though ram upgrades were much more expensive back then two thousand dollars for a memory upgrade seemed almost criminal.

Now, you can buy 4GB of RAM for about twenty dollars – a fraction of that price and 4x the memory capacity too.

This goes to show you how cheap you can buy a 4GB RAM stick this year as opposed to just a few years ago when 8GB of RAM would cost more than the machine it was going into. It’s different times indeed.

If you’re in the market for 4GB of ram you may want to have a look at 16GB of ram for your Mac or PC too as some computer manufacturers offer the ability to max out your machine at 16GB. On desktop computers, this isn’t that big of a deal as they usually offer 4 or more memory upgrade slots to allow for 4GBx4 ram upgrades, but for notebooks the 16GB usually has to happen by using two 8GB memory modules and you will in most cases have to replace the factory ram too with the bigger 8GB ram upgrades.

For the best prices on 4GB RAM, notebook memory seems to be the most popular and with some notebooks under $400 you want to be sure you get a good deal on RAM too.

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The Dell Memory Selector: You Can Get A Better Deal on Memory Upgrades

This should be common knowledge to anybody who’s even remotely familiar with computer memory but in case you’ve missed it – you can do better on ram prices when you buy ram elsewhere.

The Dell Memory Selector is really handy for finding out what memory upgrades you need for dell both new and old and over the years, there have been a lot of dell computers released and it’s always a good ideal to add ram to whatever model you choose but the ram prices from Dell seem to be high when you compare the prices on memory upgrades from other memory manufacturers:

Let’s use an example: The Dell Inspiron 15 is one of the most popular Dell laptops today and to buy memory for the Dell Inspiron 15 from Dell is pretty expensive when you compare the prices to other memory manufacturers and retailers.

Dell charges $38 for 4GB of RAM currently which really is a lot more realistic than the $400 Apple wants for the ram upgrades for their MacBook Pro lineup. Assuming you will need to buy two 4GB DDR3 1333Ghz laptop memory modules to maximize the memory on your Dell, you’re looking at just under $80.00 to max out the dell notebook ram if you buy direct from Dell.

Compare this to memory from Crucial Technology (or others in the pricing table for dell notebook memory below) where you can buy the exact same upgrade for a bit over $40.00 currently. (again, prices may change – see prices below for current dell notebook ram prices ).

That’s a half price discount, or close to – all by doing about 30 seconds of research and looking for alternative sources for Dell Memory Upgrades, other than buying ram from Dell Directly.

Now, if saving money on RAM is not your first and foremost concern, and you want Dell to install RAM in your new Dell notebook than the extra $40 or so you pay for RAM from dell compared to other cheaper sources may be worth it as now you don’t have to install the Dell memory upgrade yourself and can let a certified Dell Technician install the ram into your brand new Dell notebook.

Dell Notebook Memory Upgrade Prices:

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I Went To The Hospital and All I Got Was This Lousy Prescription

It always happened in the library. I could feel it coming sometimes and then other times it would hit me like a Mack Truck.  I’m epileptic and as a kid I would have big seizures that would take over my entire body but  I would also just have leg seizures too where my entire right leg would shake uncontrollably

And for some reason, I remember that library days were worse. You’d be in class with all your friends in your bad 1970s wear (dad, plaid pants - really?) and the shaking would start and continue. I’d lunge for the table to hang on while my leg shook and shook and shook and I couldn’t do a thing about it.

What I remember being the worst about this was the embarrassment - that I wasn’t normal, that I didn’t fit in. I had epilepsy. I was different. Luckily, with either my age or the meds or a bit of luck I outgrew the shakes and spent a good part of my life without any epileptic symtoms at all.

Then in my early 30s the cat came back and I decided it would be a good idea to have a seizure in the checkout lane at the grocery store. Twice.  For some reason, the checkout lanes and grocery stores don’ t mix. Luckily, there’s a drug for that and it’s called dilantin and for years and years and years I’ve been happily functioning with the right amount of dilantin in my bloodstream

All that changed about a week ago, I started to feel a bit woozy, for lack of a better term. No seizures, and not really dizzy per se, just weird. Just not right. Being a man, I did what anybody would do: I ignored it. Until last night when I got to experience my very first hospital visit in the USA.

Finally, B had enough of me being weird and out of sorts so off to the Emergency Room we go. In Canada, I had the pleasure of paying a whole lot of taxes and In return I would get free health care. In  the USA, if you don’t  have health care you are hosed. Admitting in emergency in the US is far different, as there’s an extra step in getting you admitted. I call it  the money room.

Now, I’m not up on the intricacies of health care in the United States, but in Canada you have to show proof of your ‘health card’ and that’s pretty much it.  In the US, they want to be certain of your ability to pay. There’s also differences in how they treat once you get in the door and pass the payment screening, but once you’re in they’ll order every test and plug you in to so many doo-hickeys your head will spin (In my case, it already was)

Upon admittance I felt ‘woozy’. There’s no technical term for ‘woozy’ and they didn’t know what to do with me but once admitted - the hospital performed every test they could think of, and I had:


cat scan

chest x-ray


I fear the hospital bill for all this if B had not included me on her insurance plan. One of the differences I found in my very first visit to a US hospital was at the end when the released me I was given a list of specific instructions and who to call, what to take and how to continue now that I’ve been released.

After all the tests, it was determined my dilantin levels to be too low, so they’ve upped the prescription and I’m to call  and make an appointment with an neurologist now that I’m back home to continue with the next step.

The moral of this story?

If you feel ill, get fixed. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me showing through but they have lots of doctors and technical stuff at hospitals and if  you have insurance - go. If you don’t have insurance, I would do my best to get health insurance at any cost in the USA.

Listen to your doctor. A few months ago, I got a call from my new Doctor in the USA after some bloodwork was done and they called and said my dilantin levels were low. I didn’t think too much about it  because I have been taking the exact same dose for years and years - what could change I thought?

Apparently I was wrong and my levels had changed and even though I didn’t have an epileptic seizure, I came close, and made others worry due to my stubborn/stupid self diagnosis. I’m not  a Doctor and I don’t play one on TV either

Lessons Learned:

Do what your wife says.

Do what your doctor says.

Do get help if you feel ill.

Don’t self prescribe.

Bring a book.

Hospitals here have Tim Hortons