Kingston Hyper X Memory Review + Tutorial

Date Sat, December 8 2012

I love being able to fix my own computer. I love knowing that I can upgrade some parts. I’m not afraid to Google things and give it a go. That’s a pretty good motto for most things in life, I think. But I know that others aren’t quite as adventurous or confident, which is why I thought I’d tell you  this:

Upgrading memory in your computer is easier than you think You, yes you, can do it. You don’t need to pay someone. It doesn’t even take that long.

With that said, I thought I’d walk you through the process. I contacted Kingston, and the rep was kind enough to send me a full upgrade for my computer. They sent me Hyper X, which is a gaming memory, because I have a gaming laptop. You can use Kingston’s memory configurator to find out how much memory is installed in your computer, how much you can add, how many slots, how much each slot can take and what type of memory you need. You can also buy memory there because they have decent prices.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

-hums Jeopardy theme-

The memory Kingston sent me came in a plain package, yours will probably look similar but might have more labels. The only tools I need for this are a small Philips screwdriver and a pair of tweezers. The tweezers is really optional, but I find that my fingernails get in the way, so it can be helpful.

Memory, screwdriver, tweezers

Memory, screwdriver, tweezers

This tutorial walks you through memory upgrading/replacement for a laptop. It’ll be different for a desktop and, to be honest, a little different depending upon your laptop make. Mine was manufactured with upgrading in mind.

After powering off and disconnecting the adapter, flip over your laptop. Carefully set it down, of course. Remove the battery. There’s a spring switch above it that makes it easy. Mine actually sticks quite a bit, so I had to use both hands and didn’t get a picture of it.

Remove the battery

Remove the battery

You’ll have to remove a panel from your computer. There are two screws for mine, and they’re located to the side of the battery compartment. So, I unscrewed them but I definitely don’t have enough grace to snap a picture of it. LOL

Locate and remove the screws

Locate and remove the screws

My manual is fantastic and shows exactly what I need to do. Consults yours if you’re confused at any part of this process. Your panel might lift straight up. I have to press down and slide it away from me to pop it off. Set that aside. Make sure you don’t lose your screws, folks. ;)

Next, it’s time to remove the cover over the memory. This part will probably vary the most for you. Mine’s a small piece of aluminum that’s connected by two screws. You can see the currently-installed memory chips peaking out.

Locate and remove the cover over your memory

Locate and remove the cover over your memory

You’ll see the memory chip(s) in between two clasps. You can gently push out the two clasps for each chip. This frees the memory and makes it pop up. This worked really well for me the first time around, but one of my clips is actually a little loose.

Gently push the clips outward and your memory modules will pop up

Gently push the clips outward and your memory modules will pop up

Of course, you remove the memory from the slot, and the installation process is the opposite. If you’ve only got a single chip installed, you’ll have less work to do.

Your memory chips will have a small notch that lines up with the slot. You can only successfully insert it one way because of this. Furthermore, laptop memory is much shorter than desktop memory, so you’ll know right away if you’ve bought the wrong kind. You want “SODIMM” for laptop and regular DIMMs for desktop memory.

Push it in. The clips should lock into place once you’ve pushed it hard enough. In my experience, my mistakes have been not pushing it in securely enough. I actually heard the memory module pop into place after the side clips locked. If a memory chip isn’t installed correctly, it could cause a short. So make sure those guys are snug. I’ve noticed that laptop memory clips are more snug than desktop ones. It feels like it doesn’t want to fit, but it does!

Line up your memory modules and push them into place until the clips lock

Line up your memory modules and push them into place until the clips lock

I actually did this upside down, I guess, because it gave me better access.

After I inserted the memory chips, I replaced the memory cover. Then, I slid the back panel back into place and screwed it securely. Replace the battery and press your power button.

If you’ve done something wrong, your computer won’t boot up. In my case, I hadn’t pushed one of the modules in securely. My caps lock and number lock lights flash to indicate which slot, and I took everything apart and made sure it was installed securely. Then, I booted it up, and everything worked. Yay!

Your laptop boots when everything is installed correctly

Your laptop boots when everything is installed correctly

You can check to make sure your computer is reading any new memory by opening the start menu. Right-click on “Computer” and select “Properties.” Windows Vista/7 will show some information, including the installed memory.

My process took more time than I expected, mostly because I was snapping pictures.

Kingston Hyper X Memory

Kingston Hyper X Memory

I immediately noticed a difference after installing the Hyper X memory, too. The difference you notice will vary depending upon how much you’ve added. I went from three to eight gigabytes, which is a big difference. One of the old chips was Kingston, but the other was mismatched. I don’t know why Dell did that, but I’ll live. Computers often run a little better when you’ve got the same amount and speed of memory in each slot, so two four-gigabyte modules is better than my previous setup.

Firefox and Thunderbird especially load more quickly, even on battery. I had problems with lag while I typed because I’m just that good. ;) That is no longer a problem. If you experience lag when running multiple programs, especially with those that run full-screen, a memory upgrade might make your computer feel brand new.

i’m currently patching both of my MMOs that I play; although, I haven’t had a change to run them, yet. [Edit to add: holy crap! LOTRO loads a lot faster, now! I’m not having to wait to load the background textures and I can instantly switch between windows.] I’m excited about the performance boost I expect to see. Even Flash games on Facebook have been running a little smoother, and while I wasn’t terribly letdown with three gigabytes of memory, the upgrade just makes things run a little smoother. Plus, the laptop seems to be running a little more quietly, like I did when I first got it. The Hyper X diffuses heat, which means that the laptop and modules shouldn’t get as hot. I bet my fans are running a little less, and I also took the time to clean them while I was looking at my computer’s guts. The memory has a 4 “egg” rating on NewEgg, so everyone else seems to like it just as much!

In fact, I’d recommended upgrading your computer as soon as you buy it. Many that you purchase from big box stores have a bare minimum necessary to run the operating system. Upgrading to the maximum amount of memory means you’ll be extending the life of your computer and won’t have to worry about upgrading in the future.

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