So you read the specs for The Sims 3 and you have discovered that your poor desktop does not have enough memory sufficient enough to run the game.  Well, that’s not a problem as adding more memory to a desktop isn’t a difficult task to accomplish!  This tutorial will show you what to do.

What is the recommended memory for The Sims 3?

For those who are running on Windows XP, the minimum specs recommend that you should have at least 1GB (Gigabyte) of RAM.  Those who are on Vista will need 1.5GB of RAM.  I personally recommend having at least 2GB of RAM for your desktop.

Why do I say that?  Well increasing the RAM in your desktop will increase the computer’s performance.  Software and games these days demand so much processing from your computer.  You see, RAM (Random Access Memory) is used to store the data from the programs and software so the computer’s processor can access it faster.  If the RAM is full, then the harddrive comes in to try to meet the memory needs – and at this point it slows down your computer.  Adding more RAM will keep the data within the memory so the processor can grab the data quicker and thus speeds up your computer.

How much memory does my current PC have?

This is an important step to check. I’d hate to see you go out and purchase new memory when you already have enough to run the game! To see how much RAM is in your PC, go to the Start menu, click Settings, and then click Control Panel. Click System and then select the General tab. At the bottom of the page you should see the amount of RAM. If it is 1GB (1024MB) or less, then yes, you’ll need more memory.

How do I find out what kind of memory my desktop supports?

A good start for this question is the manual that came with your computer.  The manual should tell you what RAM it takes (examples would be DDR2 667, DDR2 800, DDR3 1066 and so on).

The manual will also tell you how much RAM your computer’s motherboard can support.  Some desktops can only support up to 2GB,  4GB or even 8GB of RAM.

When you go to purchase RAM, make sure you get the same kind of RAM and do not mix-n-match different types.  Stick with the same brand, size and type.  You don’t want to mix and match various kinds of RAM as it’s possible your machine will not work.

Another important fact to take into consideration is how many open memory slots your computer has.  If your computer only came with 2 slots and they are both using a stick, you’ll have to replace them.  If it came with 4 slots and only 1 or 2 are being used, then usually you can add the ram into the other slots while keeping the original memory there (make sure the total amount of memory doesn’t go over the motherboard’s supported limits!

And one more note – if you decide to go big time on upgrading your computer with 4GB of RAM, please keep in mind that if you are running Windows XP or Vista 32bit (most computer’s are sold with 32bit operating systems, but higher end computers are running 64bit), then the operating system can only detect 3.3GB of RAM.  You won’t be able to utilize the rest of the remaining 4GB on a 32bit OS.

If you lost your manual, then there are 3 options.  First option would be to check out the Crucial Memory Advisor Tool.  Search for your desktop’s manufacture, product and model.  Hopefully it’ll have your type listed.  If it doesn’t, then you can check your RAM sticks themselves to see if they have a sticker or a label on them – they generally do.  If that fails and you are still lost, take your desktop to a computer specialist or a friend that is familiar with computers and see what they say.

Where do I purchase?

I love to save money, so online is the best place in my opinion.  My favorite site to order computer parts is Newegg.  Ordering online saves you a great deal comparing to buying the memory in stores.  I usually end up finding the same product on an internet retailers site for usually half off the price Best Buy or Circuit City carries!  However, if you live outside of the US, you’re going to have to find an another online store that ships products in your area.

Okay, I have my memory, what are the steps to install it?

  1. Turn off your computer, unplug it from the power supply.  If you have plenty of room on your desk, you can work on it there leaving the computer accessories hooked up.  If not, then go ahead and unhook all of the cables and move the computer to a suitable location.
  2. Remove the side cover from your computer.  Depending on what kind of computer you own, it’ll either be attached via screws or clips.  You should check your manual to see how the cover comes off.

  3. Put on a ground strap or touch the metal of the computer case. This will get rid of any static you might be carrying, you don’t want to ruin any of your computer’s components with a static shock!
  4. Locate your RAM slots.  If there are wires in the way, check to see if you can move them without unhooking them.  If you do have to unhook any, make sure you hook them back up in their proper place once you install the new memory.
  5. Open your new RAM that you have bought.  Keep in mind that you should always hold memory by the edges and never by the pins or the surfaces.

  6. If you are replacing the old RAM with the new RAM, look at your RAM slots in your computer.  You should see little tabs on the sides of the RAM.  Push those down and the memory should pop up and come loose.  Remove the old RAM from the machine.  Take your new RAM and place it in the spot were the old memory was.  Push down on each side and the tabs should rise up.  You know you have it in place with the tabs click and you see that the tabs are in the little groove holes of the memory’s sides.  An important note to consider is if you see different colored slots (2 sets of blue or black) then install the memory into the same colored slots unless you have more sticks of RAM.

  7. If you are adding on more memory, locate a free slot.  Take your new RAM and place it in that free slot.  Push down on each side and the tabs should rise up.  You know you have it in place with the tabs click and you see that the tabs are in the little groove holes of the memory’s sides. An important note to consider is if you see different colored slots (2 sets of blue or black) then install the memory into the same colored slots unless you have more sticks of RAM.

  8. Now that the RAM is in place, hook any cables that you might have unhooked getting to the RAM.
  9. Take off your grounding strap if you have it on and put the cover back on the computer.
  10. Hook all of your computer cables back up and plug it back in.  If you were successful, the computer should boot up like normal.  To check to see if the new RAM was installed correctly, go to the Start menu, click Settings, and then click Control Panel. Click System and then select the General tab. At the bottom of the page you should see the amount of RAM.

I’m done, now what?

Have fun!  With the additional RAM you have installed, you’ll notice that the machine will run faster and certain games may respond better.