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How to Upgrade or Install System Memory or RAM in a Dell Computer

Summary: This article provides information about upgrading or installing the system memory or RAM on a Dell computer. Identifying the correct memory type, the number of modules that are supported on a computer, and the maximum memory that is supported is important to understand before purchasing or upgrading the memory on a computer. ...

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Article Content


What is RAM or System Memory?

Random Access Memory (RAM) also known as system memory, main memory, primary memory is a computer's temporary data storage device. It stores the information that the computer is actively using so that it can be accessed quickly. The more programs that your computer is running, the more memory it uses to perform properly.

What is the benefit of upgrading the memory?

Upgrading the system memory or RAM helps improve the overall performance of the computer. Improve application performance while multitasking. Improve gaming performance, and so on.

Sometimes a RAM or system memory upgrade is recommended, to improve the performance of a computer. An upgrade means adding memory modules along with the existing ones or replacing the old ones with new modules with higher capacity.

NOTE: The system memory (RAM) cannot be upgraded on certain Dell laptops because the system memory (RAM) is integrated into the system board.

How to identify and upgrade the system memory (RAM) on a computer?

What type of system memory (RAM) does the computer support?

Desktop computers support DIMM modules, and laptops support SODIMM. There is a significant physical size difference between these two types of memory modules. It is also important to understand which generation of system memory (RAM) your computer supports (for example DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, DDR4L, or DDR5). System boards are designed to support only one generation of system memory (RAM). See the documentation of your Dell computer for model-specific information.

WARNING: Installing an incorrect or unsupported type of system memory (RAM) on the computer may cause physical damage to either the module or the slot on the system board.
NOTE: Some laptops support CAMM memory modules. For more information about CAMM Memory modules, reference the camm-memory-white-paper.

What is the maximum capacity that is supported by the computer?

  1. Every computer is designed to work with a minimum and maximum capacity of memory. For example, a particular Dell desktop or laptop may support a minimum of 2 GB and a maximum 16 GB of memory. See the documentation of your Dell computer for model-specific information.
  2. Every computer has a specific number of memory slots on the system board. Often laptops have two memory slots, and desktops may have more than 2. For example, if your laptop with two memory slots supports a maximum of 16 GB of memory, you can install 2 x 8 GB memory modules. See the documentation of your Dell computer for model-specific information.
  3. If the computer is installed with a 32-bit version of Windows or other operating systems, the operating system can only recognize 4 GB of memory. Adding a higher capacity memory in such cases does not improve the performance as the operating system cannot take advantage of the available memory. A 64-bit version of the operating system can support system memory that is greater than 4 GB.

How to purchase new memory modules for my Dell computer?

  1. Go to
  2. Identify your Dell computer using the Service Tag or Express Service Code.
  3. Go to the Parts and Accessories tab.
  4. Select Memory and continue to purchase the memory.
    NOTE: If parts and accessories on is not available, contact a Dell authorized reseller in your location. Purchasing parts and accessories directly from Dell is not available in all locations.

How to install the new memory in the computer?

To install the memory modules in the computer, see the documentation of your Dell computer for model-specific information.

CAUTION: Dell Technologies recommends following the Safety Precautions when Working with Electrical Equipment before installing the new memory.

Additional Information

Upgrading RAM on a Dell Computer

Watch this video to learn about upgrading the system memory or RAM on a Dell computer.

Duration: 02:40 (mm:ss format)
When available, closed caption (subtitles) language settings can be chosen using the Settings or CC icon on this video player.

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Article Properties

Affected Product

Alienware, Inspiron, Legacy Desktop Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Legacy Laptop Models, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

31 Jan 2024



Article Type

How To