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How to upgrade your laptop’s RAM

If your laptop’s performance has you down, don’t simply accept it as a way of life. It’s quite possible that by upgrading your laptop’s RAM you can give your portable PC a boost. (For another great upgrade, see our article on how to add an SSD to your laptop.)

Does your particular laptop support a RAM upgrade? That depends. Laptop designs vary, including which components are accessible and upgradable. Because not every laptop is built the same, there’s no way to say with complete certainty what you can or can’t upgrade.

What we can say, however, is that most budget laptops tend to be far more serviceable than ultra-thin, premium models. Microsoft’s Surface devices, for example, are sealed shut, while Apple favors proprietary parts, with everything soldered to the motherboard.

A budget laptop, by design, is generally far more modular and leans on easily available PC parts that are more likely to be upgradable.

How to know if your laptop has a slot for more RAM

Before you spend any money on has open memory slots, or any memory slots at all (as opposed to RAM that’s soldered to motherboard) is to use Crucial’s free memory scanner, which will answer this question for you.

acer crucial memory scan IDG

Crucial’s Memory Scanner will tell if you have open memory slots in your laptop and what kind of RAM you can run.

Running it on a laptop, we’re told that there are two slots, one of which is empty. This is the case with most affordable laptops being sold, as it adds to the flexibility of manufacturing and lowers the cost. One thing to note: Even if there is an open slot, there may not be easy access to the memory slot. Some laptops may require removing the entire bottom while others feature easy access doors.

acer aspire e15 door open Gordon Mah Ung

This particular Acer Aspire E 15 model allows easy access to the storage and memory bays. Many other budget laptops do as well.

For this RAM upgrade guide, our base is the most popular laptop in town: Acer’s Aspire E 15. This particular laptop has been the top seller on Amazon for months and months. It’s easy to see why: for $350 (and below $300 during Christmas) you get a 7th-gen Core i3 processor, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 15-inch 1080p screen. It’s a killer deal for those on a budget—but not exactly fast.

Here’s how we can do something about that. 

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