Your computer is running slow, sluggish, and just downright terrible. What do you do? Most of the time the answer is “add more memory", but what type? The problem that many people have is determining what type of memory they actually need. There are many different types of memory that go into a computer. The primary memory that is utilized in a computer that most consumers would have to upgrade is hard drive memory, RAM, and video memory.

RAM, or random access memory, is one of the forerunners of how fast the computer will run. Granted, the processor is central to this as well, but RAM comes a very close second to the overall speed of the computer. Does your computer take a long time to boot up, take forever to open certain or all programs, or seem to take a lifetime when switching between two programs or trying to watch a video online? Chances are that you do not have enough RAM. Typically the issue of having too little RAM shows up in the issues mentioned above, and many more. Most of the time the computer will not give the error " low on virtual memory" to make it easy on us. Adding additional RAM to your computer can typically give speed increases of up to double depending on how much is put in. Very noticeable increases in the quality of performance show up immediately.

Your physical memory, also called your hard drive, is how much your computer remembers. This is where you save all of your information including Windows, programs, and data that is important to you such as my documents, pictures, and other things dear to oneself. Some slowdowns of the computer can be attributed to how full a hard drive is. If you have less than 15 percent of available resources on your hard drive significant slowdowns can be expected when performing certain tasks such as defragmenting a hard drive, installing new programs, or even running updates. There are many things that you can do to increase storage space. You can add an additional hard drive, transfer your data to a new external hard drive, thus deleting data on the full drive, or clone all the information to a bigger drive, granted Windows is in full working order and the hard drive is not defective. We, personally, recommend having at least 25 percent of available resources for optimal use.

Video memory tends to be more of an issue when using specialized software. Playing video games, running multiple monitors, or doing video/ photo editing can be when having too little video memory shows up as an issue. When a videogame becomes choppy, or monitors flicker (sometimes going in and out), or visual applications such as Photoshop take a long time to process, this could be the result of low video memory. Typically an upgrade of the graphics card can fix these types of issues so long as the system specifications are met elsewhere such as the processor and RAM for whatever it is you're using. However, even though video memory tends to be an issue for a specialized group, it can rear its ugly head to the general consumer when trying to watch videos online through services such as Netflix or YouTube.

This article does not aim to diagnose issues related to a person's computer as there can be multiple components causing issues such as low RAM, a defective video card, and even the lack of hard drive space, or something completely different not mentioned. We recommend speaking with a computer professional such as a PCRx Computer doctor if symptoms mentioned in this article do pop up. Hopefully this article helps to educate you on potential issues and ways to remedy them; so next time someone says your flux capacitor is not working, you can say that only exists in Back to the Future.

(Editor's Note: Thomas Bodnick is with PCRx Computer Solutions, a local Tucson computer company. For computer and technology related questions, or to schedule an appointment with PCRx, call 1-855-ASK-PCRX (1-855-275-7279) or email support@pcrxonline.com. For more information about PCRx Computer Solutions, visit www.pcrxonline.com.)

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