Guide To Build a PC from Scratch - Step 4: How To Install RAM (Memory)

Memory SticksSame as CPU and heat sink, Computer RAM should be installed in the motherboard before the motherboard is secured in the computer case. Generally, CPUs can support RAM sticks in single-channel, dual-channel and triple-channel mode (depends on CPU and motherboard model and structure), therefore, some motherboards support up to six modules of RAM in Triple-channel mode. If you are using single-channel RAM, then it usually doesn't matter which modules go into which slots, but a few motherboards require that you start with the first slot and fill the other modules in order.

In dual-channel and Triple-channel mode, the modules are installed in matching slots* which are usually colour coded, as long as they are of the same speed. Most dual-channel motherboard have four memory DIMM sockets. Two sockets belong to channel A and the other two sockets to channel B.

For installing the memory in the motherboard, follow these steps:

  • Align the notches on the RAM module to the RAM slot on the motherboard.
  • Press down until the side tabs have locked the RAM module.
RAM Modules rated at different speeds can be run in dual-channel mode, although the motherboard will then run all memory sticks at the speed of the slowest module, hence, for optimum performance it is recommended to use memory modules that are matched together (have the same speed, capacity and latency).

Popular Memory Installation in Single, Dual and Triple-channel Mode

One ModuleA

Single Channel
Two Modules / 2 DIMMsAB----Dual Channel
Two Modules / 4 DIMMsA-B---Dual Channel
Two Modules / 4 DIMMs-A-B--Dual Channel
Four Modules / 4 DIMMSABAB--Dual Channel
Four Modules / 4 DIMMsAABB--Dual Channel
Three Modules / 6 DIMMsA-B-C-Triple Channel
Three Modules / 6 DIMMsABC---Triple Channel
Six Modules / 6 DIMMsABCABCTriple Channel
Six Modules / 6 DIMMsAABBCCTriple Channel
Always read the motherboard's user manual for memory installation and configuration.