RAM and Motherboard: 13 Things You Should Know!

RAM is one of the hardware that goes into the motherboard.

Along with your CPU and other components, it determines the capability of your PC and how it handles different tasks.

Hence, pairing your motherboard with a perfect Random access memory (RAM) is essential to ensure optimum performance from your computer’s CPU and graphics card.

But there are various questions that come to mind when you are configuring a new RAM or diagnosing other related issues.

In this guide, we will help you clarify common questions that you might usually have with RAM and motherboard.

How much RAM can my motherboard handle?

The easy way: A quick way to know the maximum RAM your motherboard can handle is by:

1. Pressing “Windows Key + R” simultaneously
2. Typing “CMD” in the search box and pressing the Enter key
3. A black window will open, in their type “wmic memphysical get maxcapacity” and press Enter
4. You will get to know the maximum capacity of RAM your motherboard can handle in ‘kilobytes’
5. Go to Google and convert that Kilobyte in Gigabyte.

RAM and Motherboard

Usually, the above method work with all motherboards, however, if it doesn’t then you can follow the steps mentioned below.

The others ways to find how much RAM your motherboard can handle

Post-2016, motherboards can support RAM anywhere around 32 to 64 GB.

RAMs are inserted into the slots and the number of slots you have determines how much RAM your motherboard can handle.

If you are assembling a new PC then it is fairly easy to know how much RAM your mobo can support, since it usually comes written in the guide.

You can also check it online from the vendor’s website and if you have purchased it via Amazon, then you can find it on the motherboard specification.

However, if you have a pre-built PC, and need to know how much RAM your computer can take then you would need to find the model of your motherboard.

Also, if you have purchased a second-hand PC without any guarantee/warranty then finding the model of the motherboard becomes a major hindrance when configuring additional memory in your system.

To solve this, you can run a free computer hardware scan by using various utility tools such as Speccy.

Speccy software tool to check motherboard and RAM information

Once downloaded, scan your hardware to have a detailed report of your computer, including motherboard model and memory type.

After that, enter the motherboard model on Google, or go to the vendor’s site to see the maximum RAM your motherboard can take.

Interestingly, you will also get to know the supported RAM type (DDR3 or DDR4).

How to find out what RAM is compatible with my motherboard?

Motherboards these days either support DDR3 or DDR4 RAM type.

Before installing a new RAM for memory upgrade you need to know the type of RAM compatible with your configuration.

To find this out you can run a free computer scan by various free utility tools available online, as done below.

Follow these steps to find the RAM compatibility with your motherboard

Go to Crucial and download their system scanner. (It is free of cost ram compatibility checker tool)

Crucial

Run their program and a new page will open in your browser containing the information about your system, which will look similar to the image below.

Crucial

Scroll down to ‘Compatible Memory’ section to see the type of RAM is compatible with your motherboard.

Crucial

I ran the scanner on my laptop and the DDR technology that is compatible with my motherboard is “DDR3L”

Here you will also see an option to buy the RAM directly from Crucial, but you don’t have to, and can search on Newegg or Amazon to see a better price.

Also, remember to purchase RAM that is supported by your motherboard, since DRR3 and DDR4 are not interchangeable.

Is all RAM compatible with all motherboards?

No, RAM cannot work with any motherboard, since a motherboard is made to support a specific DDR technology.

DDR3 and DDR4 are the two major technologies and a motherboard can support only one of them.

DDR3 and DDR4 are not compatible with each other, which is why you can’t upgrade a system from DDR3 to DDR4 or vice versa.

If you have a pre-built configuration then it is better to stick with the same RAM technology as your motherboard.

Also, never mix and match different RAMs from different brands or manufacturers, as they often have different voltage requirements that may lead the computer to shut down unexpectedly.

Will a motherboard POST without RAM?

Yes, you can turn on your PC without RAM, but it will immediately make several beeps to indicate that the RAM is missing.

To send data and instructions to the CPU, every computer system requires RAM. Your system won’t reach the POST (power-on self-test) stage if you don’t have RAM installed.

The self-test procedure scans for possible hardware issues in the system, including problems with RAM, and generates a series of beeps as a result.

These beeps are specific to the nature of the issue and signify that something is wrong with your computer hardware.

Because the POST diagnosis recognizes that there is an issue with RAM, you can’t go past this step.

You may also observe that when you turn on the PC, the fan works. However, there’s nothing on the screen because the computer can’t find RAM to read and write data and boot with its BIOS (Basic Input Output System).

You’ll notice that some of your drives are completely lit up or flickering, while others show signs of checking in POST.

The power supply humming or disk spinning might be heard, but since the BIOS code can’t locate anything in RAM to start up, your computer is effectively not usable.

Does my motherboard support DDR4?

To know if your motherboard supports DDR4 RAM technology you can have a look at the product page of the motherboard’s manufacturer.

In case, you are not unaware of your motherboard model, simply run a utility software such as Speccy.

How to know if RAM will fit motherboard?

Different motherboards support different DDR generations (either DDR3, DDR4 or DDR5).

So it is important to make sure that the RAM you are buying is compatible with your motherboard.

Your system manual or manufacturer’s website should mention which type of memory your motherboard supports.

If it supports DDR4, then you can buy any DDR4 RAM from Amazon or Newegg and it will likely work for you.

However, if you are unsure about buying RAM and whether it will be compatible with your system or not then you can run a free computer scan using CPU-Z, or Crucial.

How many RAM slots does a motherboard have?

There can be up to 2-8 RAM DIMM slots on your motherboard, depending on the model.

Usually, an ATX motherboard has four RAM slots, but some models have six or eight as well.

You can easily find the number of DIMM slots your motherboard has by opening up the case and physically looking at it.

Can faulty ram damage motherboard?

Using a faulty or incompatible RAM can cause damage to your motherboard.

So it is important that you do not try using RAMs that have issues, such as broken pins.

You also run the risk of frying or malfunctioning your RAM slot, which can be expensive to fix.

What ram speed can my motherboard support?

RAM speed is measured in MHz and typically, your motherboard will support a RAM frequency of 2600 to 3300MHz.

But this is not the case with every motherboard as some only support speeds limited to 1600MHz.

The highest RAM speed that a computer can support is determined by the processor and motherboard.

When the motherboard or processor cannot support a higher RAM clock, the modules will be run at their fastest possible speed.

To discover your CPUs and motherboard’s maximum RAM speed and compare them.

The slower of the two is the maximum RAM speed supported on your desktop PC.

To know your motherboard and CPU, you can follow the procedure below

Step 1: You can skip this if you know the motherboard and processor you are using.

Check which motherboard and RAM technology you are using by running a scan through Speccy.

For example in the image below the system is using an Intel Core i5 7400 processor along with an Acer Aspire motherboard.

motherboard and CPU

Step 2: Search on the internet the specification of your motherboard and processor, and you will be able to find the maximum RAM supported by each of them.

For example in my case, I had Intel Core i5 7400 which supports RAM speeds of up to 2400MHz on a DDR4 and up t0 1600 MHz while running a DDR3.

processor graphics

Similarly, I Google about my Acer motherboard’s manual and found that it can support memory speed of up to 2133 MHz.

operating system

Step 3: Compare the RAM speed that motherboard and processor support. The slower speed (2133 MHz on a DDR4 in my case) is the maximum RAM speed that my system support.

Can new motherboards use DDR3 RAM?

DDR3 RAM technology is almost dead, widely replaced by DDR4.

The mainstream motherboard that you buy today will not have DDR3 RAM slots.

However, there are still some vendors on Amazon selling budget motherboards that support DDR3.

Additionally, it makes no sense to buy a motherboard with DDR3 since it is too slow and the introduction of DDR5 makes it practically obsolete.

How to increase the RAM slot in the motherboard?

I will be straightforward, you can’t increase the RAM slot in a motherboard since this part of your mobo is not designed to be upgraded.

The most you can do is upgrade the RAM sticks that are already installed in your motherboard.

Also, combining RAM sticks that are purchased separately generally doesn’t work well together and will most certainly result instability problems.

Can you put higher speed RAM lower speed motherboard?

Yes, you can put a higher-speed RAM stick into a motherboard that supports a lower speed without any issue.

However, the motherboard will cap the RAM speed to what it supports (e.g., 2400MHz).

Can I use 2666mhzRAM in the 2133mhz motherboard?

Yes, you can easily install RAM with a higher speed in a motherboard that supports a lower speed, without any issue.

The RAM will work perfectly fine but it will not be able to deliver its maximum speed since it will be capped by the motherboard or processor, whichever supports the lowest frequency.

Conclusion

The above questions and answers should help you get an idea about the type of RAM that your system needs and how many RAMs can be installed at once.

Not having enough RAM can result in slow performance which is why it is vital to make sure that your system has enough RAM for you to run the programs and software, without compromising on the computer’s performance.

RAM size, speed, and compatibility should be considered while doing a memory upgrade.

This will ensure that you get the best browsing, gaming and streaming experience, free from lags and glitches.