RAM is perhaps one component that we have all thought about upgrading as the first line in boosting the performance of our PC. As such those who are new often wonder, what to do after upgrading RAM? Do you have to install drivers, update your PC etc?
Fortunately though, once you have installed a new RAM module into your PC, then there is generally nothing more that you need to do.
RAM sticks are plug and play components. So long as you have the RAM module type that is compatible with your motherboard you do not need to worry about anything else.
You do not need to install drivers or update your operating system in order to detect or run the RAM modules.
However, for optimal performance, there are a few checks that you can make and I will talk in detail about those below.
So What to Do After Upgrading RAM?
Again, RAM modules are plug and play and you generally do not need to worry about making them.
However, I recommend performing the following checks in order to make sure the newly installed RAM is working optimally:
- Check if RAM is detected in the first place
- Enable XMP (If supported by the motherboard and RAM)
- Check if RAM is working in Dual Channel mode
- Check the Frequency of Upgraded RAM
- Benchmark Your RAM
1. Check if RAM is Detected
So this is obviously the most obvious check that you must perform after upgrading RAM.
You have to make sure that upgraded RAM has been detected by your PC.
Check Using About This PC
A very simple way is to go to the “Properties” or the “About This PC” utility in Windows.
- On Windows 10 Right Click on “This PC”
- Select Properties
- This should open a new Window
- Look for the field labelled as “Installed RAM”
- Check if the upgraded RAM has been added to total
Alternatively, you can also type “About This PC” in the Windows Search bar.
Check Using Command Prompt
Another neat way to check not just the total amount of RAM in your PC but also the amount of RAM installed in EACH slot is using Command Prompt.
- Head over to Windows Search function
- Type Command Prompt
- Open the application
With the Command Prompt open, type in the following code
wmic MemoryChip get DeviceLocator, Manufacturer, PartNumber, capacity
Note that the capacity is written in BITS. So 8589934592 equals 8 GB of RAM.
As such, when you have upgraded your RAM, it can be worthwhile to check if it has actually been detected in its respective slot.
2. Enable XMP (if Supported)
If your motherboard and your RAM modules support the Intel XMP or Intel Extreme Memory Profiles then make sure you enable them through the BIOS.
XMP profiles are basically settings that boost the performance of the RAM modules. These are installed by the manufacturers themselves onto a small chip located on the RAM sticks.
These profiles are added onto RAM sticks if RAM sticks are intended to be operated at higher than their base frequency.
By default both the motherboard and the RAM modules DO NOT have the XMP mode enabled.
You have to enable the XMP profile mode manually through BIOS.
It is not necessary for all RAM modules to have the XMP profile or for all the motherboards to support XMP. Therefore, you must check the specs of your RAM and your motherboard to check if XMP is supported.
3. Check if RAM is in Dual Channel Mode
Another important aspect to make sure, if you have two or more RAM modules, is that it is working in Dual Channel mode.
Dual Channel is a technology that doubles the amount of buses that the CPU can use to access the RAM. In doing so it allows for a faster transfer of data between the CPU and the memory.
In order for Dual Channel to work, you need to:
- Have TWO RAM sticks
- Place the RAM sticks in the correct slots.
If you have four memory slots on your motherboard and two RAM sticks, then generally you have to put the RAM stick in the second and the fourth slot to enable dual channel.
Read in Detail Here: Which RAM Slot to Use?
Checking if Dual Channel Mode is Enable in CPU-Z
So to check if your memory is working in dual channel or not you can use a simple and free third party utility called CPU-Z.
- Download and Install CPU-Z
- Run the Utility
- Head over to the Memory tab
- Look for the field labelled as Channel #
Again, if you only have a single RAM stick, then you will not see dual channel mode.
However, if you have added an additional RAM stick, then it is worth it to leverage the Dual Channel technology.
According to GamersNexus.net, leveraging Dual Channel can give you a sweet performance boost of upto 30%.
Also Read: How to Check if RAM is Dual Chanel?
4. Check the Frequency of the RAM
Another important parameter to check is whether your upgraded RAM is working at the rated frequency or not.
Besides the rated frequency, if you have enable XMP then it is also important to make sure that the RAM is working at your desired XMP frequency.
To check the frequency, you can again use CPU-Z.
- Download and Install CPU-Z
- Run the Utility
- Head over to the Memory Tab
- Look for the field DRAM frequency
- If your RAM is operating in dual channel, then the actual frequency is double what it shows in the DRAM frequency field.
For instance, I have two 8 GB DDR-2400 sticks installed in my PC. Here is what it shows in CPU-Z:
Here you can see that it reads 1196.8 MHz. Since the RAM is in Dual Channel mode, if I double it, I get 2393.6 MHz which is very close to 2400 MHz and within the margin of error.
Hence, for me the RAM frequency checks out.
Often when you install new RAM modules there can be frequency mismatch.
For instance, if you have a DDR4-2400 MHz stick originally installed in your PC and then you upgrade your total RAM with an additional DDR4-3000 MHz RAM module, then you have created a frequency mismatch.
This is not an issue and your PC will work just fine. However, the DDR4-3000 MHz RAM will be clocked down to 2400 MHz frequency to match the weaker RAM already installed. As such, the full potential of the more expensive DDR4-3000 MHz stick would go to waste.
5. Benchmark Your RAM
Benchmarking your installed RAM is a bit more advanced for average users, but this can give you a definitive details regarding how well your RAM is performing.
Maxxmem2 is fairly simply to use.
- Download the benchmark
- Run utility
- Press the “Start Bench” button
- Wait for the benchmark test to complete
- Check out the results
These tools test the RAM read, write and latency of your RAM.
Benchmarking is particularly great for enthusiasts and overclockers who wish to tweak the settings of their RAM modules.
Benchmarking can tell you:
- The before and after performance results with XMP disable and enabled.
- How your RAM modules compares to the rest of RAM modules with similar specs out there.
- Help you detect issues with performance.
Other popular benchmarks for testing RAM performance include AIDA64 and Geekbench.
Here I talked comprehensively about what to do after upgrading RAM, however, you generally do not have to worry much at all.
If you have made sure that the RAM is compatible with your system and you have upgraded the RAM with the corrects specs, then you should face no issues at all.
However, for verification and to make certain that the RAM is working properly, you can perform the checks mentioned above.