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How to Purchase and Install RAM for your iMac

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 9/26/2008

To add RAM to your iMac you need to know if you have any available slots, what kind of RAM to buy, and how to install it.

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    Before doing anything, you need to find out what kind of RAM you have and if you have any available RAM “slots”, and then you need to purchased the RAM from a trusted source. Here’s how to see how much memory is installed in your Mac and if you have any available slots for adding more:

    1. Open Applications>Utilities>System Profiler.

    2. Expand Hardware and choose Memory.

    3. Write down the information given.

    4. Next, find out what type of machine you have. You can get this information from System Profiler too; just click Hardware.

    Although the process for adding memory can differ from machine to machine, it’s pretty much the same most of the time. You have to open up the machine, find the empty RAM slot(s), and put the new RAM in. The process of installing additional memory into most Apple machines is as follows:

    1. Turn off the computer.

    2. Carefully place your iMac on a soft, clean cloth or towel, monitor side down. For a laptop, close the lid and place the computer lid-down.

    3. Use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the screen on the memory access panel; then remove the panel.

    Tip: Always consult your user’s guide before opening up the case, just to make sure you’re adding the RAM correctly.

    4. Touch any piece of metal inside the case (something that is not a computer part) to make sure you won’t shock the inside of the case and cause damage to the electrical components. Avoid doing anything that would cause you to build up static electricity, such as walking around on carpeted floors while working.

    5. Disconnect the power cord from the computer.

    6. Insert the new memory module into the open slot. The “ejectors,” what holds the memory in, should be open. After you place the memory in the slot and push down, the ejectors will lock automatically.

    7. Turn the computer right side up, plug it in, and turn it on.

    8. Once the computer boots, choose the Apple menu and then About This Mac. Verify that the new memory is recognized. You can get more information from System Profiler.

    Tip: With OS X, memory and virtual memory settings are configured automatically. There’s no need to do anything else.