Which RAM Slots To Use?

Do you have different queries in mind, such as which RAM slots to use and which slots to put in RAM if your system supports dual memory, triple memory, and quad memory channels? This article covers them all and also assists you in how to install RAM whether you are using a desktop or laptop. With that said, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details and learn more.

What is a RAM Slot?

A RAM slot is a socket or slot on the motherboard to accommodate RAM modules. RAM modules provide temporary memory to be used by a computer which is essentially used to store and transfer data. That’s why these RAM slots are also known as DIMM Sockets or Memory Sockets.

RAM slots can vary in structure and number as they typically depend on the motherboard form and size and desired usage of RAM sticks. For instance, gaming enthusiasts prefer high-end motherboards because heavy games utilize more RAM, so these motherboards have more slots so they can fit in sticks of RAM. RAM slots are closer to the CPU slots in both desktop and laptop computers as data transfer gets much more rapid. Although their structure differs from one another.

In computers, RAM slots are long sockets with electrical connectors at the base and small clasps on both ends. These electrical connectors fit pins of compatible RAM, and the clasp helps to secure rectangular RAM sticks on both ends. Moreover, slots are color-coded and are usually found in pairs. The reason for pairing is given below. Whereas RAM slots in laptops are much smaller, have a low-profile design, and follow a different form factor. This form factor is called SODIMM (Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module) and is specially designed for laptops due to its limited space and small size.

How Many Slots for RAM Are There In a Motherboard?

The number of slots for RAM typically varies with the type of motherboard. Typically, a standard desktop has two, three, and four RAM slots. In high-end gaming motherboards, there are eight to sixteen slots. This number can even exceed 32 slots if you have a supercomputer.

Does It Matter Which RAM Slots You Use?

Now let’s get to the main point of this article and understand whether it really matters which RAM slots to use for better performance. The RAM slot is ‌one of the main components of a computer as it controls and enhances memory through memory channels by giving access to the CPU. This will ultimately improve performance. When selecting the RAM for your PC or laptop RAM brand does matter if you are looking for high-end RAM with advanced specifications and features. Although it is important to remember that choosing the right RAM slot order and correct placement of RAM modules allows you to use channel configuration according to your desire and workload. These channels include single channels, dual channels, and multiple channels, which all play a specific role in increasing performance by increasing memory bandwidth. However,

Which RAM slot should you use is a general query and covers a lot of questions. so we’ll cover some basic questions related to it and answer them with examples to make things easier for you.

Which Slots To Put In RAM?

Which Slots To Put In RAM?
Which Slots To Put In RAM? Image credit: Shutterstock

Yes, selecting which slots to put in RAM does matter when the user wants to use multiple sticks of RAM simultaneously. To make this easier for you, we take two types of motherboards as an example for you:

Motherboards With Four RAM Slots

First, let’s take an example that you want to run a dual channel configuration on your motherboard with four RAM slots. Then what will happen:

If you use one RAM stick, It is so obvious that with one RAM stick, you will never ever be able to get a dual channel configuration. Although one RAM module works perfectly fine for everyday PC use and can be inserted into any RAM slot, performance remains steady. It is also recommended to insert the RAM modules in 4 slots as this slot is farthest from the CPU and remains unaffected by overheating. However, if you are using the old generation, you need to put in slot 1 as it makes the data transfer easier by being closest to the CPU. Another thing to consider is the motherboard manual, which provides more details about using a single RAM module.

If you use two RAM sticks, this scenario is the most interesting among all as you have a dual RAM module and want to run dual channel technology. But first thing first, go through the motherboard manual as different manufacturers recommend different pairings. Most motherboards support 2 and 4 slots for dual-channel memory, while slots 1 and 3 support single channels. Let’s say you did not read the manual thoroughly and put the RAM module in slots 1 and 3; then, it will run a single-channel configuration instead of dual-channel memory, resulting in decreased performance due to limited bandwidth. So it is recommended to identify them using color coding and insert pair of RAM sticks in 2 and 4 slots, respectively.

If you want to use three memory sticks, Yes, you can use three memory sticks to achieve dual channel technology by inserting two sticks in slots 2 and 4. However, one stick is useless as it does not have its pair to run dual channels. It is important to consider that you should insert it in slot 3 rather than slot 1. And if your motherboard supports triple channel memory, it will increase the performance. But you need to read the manual to check whether it supports the triple channel, and if yes, then read it to see how it works.

If you want to use four memory sticks, there is no technicality in this, as four RAM slots accommodate ‌four RAM modules. You can utilize dual channels by inserting 1 pair of RAM sticks in slots 2 and 4 and another pair in slots 1 and 3. As a result, color coding is important to consider in this case.

Also Read: Orange Light On Motherboard

Motherboards With Eight RAM Slots

Now take a look at motherboards with eight slots that usually support dual-channel, triple-channel, or quad-channel technology. These motherboards are generally designed for gaming enthusiasts and those who want to do multitasking.

One RAM stick: Single RAM module can be put in any RAM slot. Although it is important to put in the slot farthest away from the CPU as these motherboards are advanced.

Two RAM sticks: You can position a pair of RAM modules one slot apart and farthest away from the CPU 

Three RAM sticks: Place a third stick one slot apart to achieve triple channel technology

Four RAM sticks: You can put all four sticks together or space them out either using color coding or check the manual as 8 RAM slot motherboards usually support quad-channel memory.

Five RAM sticks: Position it in either slot left between four RAM sticks or put it on either side. 

Six RAM sticks: Try to put a RAM stick on each side or check the manual. 

Seven RAM sticks: Place all 7 RAM sticks in slots except the first one, 

Eight RAM sticks: Fill up all the slots.

What if You Only Have Two RAM Slots?

Obviously! It does not matter if your motherboards have two RAM slots. You can easily achieve dual-channel memory using a pair of RAM sticks as you use the same pair in a motherboard with 4 RAM slots by putting the RAM in slots 2 and 4.

Is There a Problem with Having an Odd RAM Count?

If your motherboard supports dual-channel or quad-channel technology, then using the odd number of RAM modules would be useless. This will only cause you a financial burden, and more than that, it might cause a problem, such as it may force the system to run on a single-channel configuration.

Whereas if your mother supports triple channel memory, then odd counts like three, five, seven and many more can be beneficial in many cases. However, it is important to consider RAM with the same configuration as this might lead to issues, and multi-channel does not work.

How to Install RAM on a Desktop

Let’s say your desktop has a single 16 GB RAM stick, and now you want to upgrade it to 32 GB. So you need to buy a new RAM of 16 GB and install RAM on a desktop. It is advisable to use a pair of 16GB RAM sticks in order to take advantage of dual technology. This installation involves multiple steps, which are as follows:


  • Disconnect all cables and cords from the main power in order to prevent electric shocks. In case you are using a computer, shut down the system and then disconnect all the wires.  
  • Keep a computer manual with you, follow the instructions, and remove the side panel of the case by unscrewing all the screws.
  • It is recommended to take pictures beforehand to help you reassemble.

Remove Old RAM:

  • As you remove the case, you can easily find the CPU socket on the mother as it is the largest among all. 
  • Then locate the memory slot around the CPU socket.
  • Raise small clasps on both ends of the memory slots as they are meant to hold them securely.
  • It’s time to lift the old RAM sticks out of the way and carefully remove the old RAM sticks from the slots.

Insert New RAM:

  • Look at the new RAM, find its bottom part with pins or connectors, and hold it gently to avoid any damage. 
  • Place the RAM stick in such a way that the pins or connectors at the bottom end of the RAM stick meet with raised parts of slots in order to establish an electric current.
  • Insert the RAM stick with firm pressure into the slots and press the claps to lock this new RAM in place.

Secure and Reassemble:

  • Now, looking at the picture, close the computer case and secure it with screws.
  • Reconnect all cables and cords, and make sure everything is in place.
  • Ensure everything is properly connected and in place.

Restart and Test:

  • Turn on the power button and restart your computer.
  • As the system recognizes newly installed RAM, this will take a few minutes.
  • You can verify it by checking system properties and any diagnostic tools.

How to Install RAM on a Laptop:

Installing RAM on a laptop follows similar steps, but there are a few minor changes which are given:


  • First, you need to prepare for an installation process similar to a desktop installation, including powering off the laptop, letting it cool, removing all cables and cords, and unscrew the screws covering the RAM slots usually present at the bottom.

Remove the Old RAM Stick and Insert the New RAM:

  • Now remove the old RAM stick and insert the new RAM stick by gently pushing and pulling the clasp to unlock and lock the RAM stick from the slot.
  • Always hand the RAM with gentle handling. Carefully push the clips holding the old RAM sticks in place.

Memory Modules:

  • Gently pull the memory modules out of their slots.

Secure and Reassemble:

  • Now it’s time to secure the back case with screws and reassemble all the cords and cables.

Turn the Laptop On And Test:

  • Verify whether you have put the RAM correctly by turning the laptop on and checking out in settings.
  • You can also verify it using diagnostic tools.

Final Thoughts

So in order to achieve the full advantage of dual, triple or quad-channel technology, you need to place the RAM modules in the right slot whether you have a motherboard with four slots or more than four slots. This will result in faster transfer and smooth multitasking by increasing memory bandwidth and ultimately improving your system performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are 2 RAM slots better than 4?

Yes, as most motherboards support dual channels, using two sticks of RAM would be affordable and easier to handle. However, 4 RAM sticks could be useful if the motherboard supports quad channels.

How do I know if I Have Dual-Channel RAM?

RAM modules do not tend to run on dual channels. However, the motherboard determines whether its RAM slot supports dual, triple, or quad channels.

Which RAM slots order to follow- RAM slot 1 3 vs 2 4?

Usually, RAM slots 1 3 and 2 4 are RAM configurations, and manufacturers allocate these numbers to slots to make things easier for users. In most cases, 1 and 3 are designated for single channels, while 2 and 4 run dual channels separately or at the same in modern computers.

Zain Bin Zameer

About Author

I am a dedicated gamer with a strong passion for the tech sector. My expertise in game development has allowed me to create immersive gaming experiences that capture the hearts of players globally. I continuously stay on top of advancements in tech and gaming and frequently attend industry events.

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