When it comes to computers, RAM is one of the most important pieces of hardware in every build. If you have a small amount of RAM, every task such as browsing, moving files, running software, and playing video games feels sluggish and unresponsive. And as soon as you upgrade your RAM, you can immediately feel the difference. Because your computer can finally appropriately allocate memory to different things.
With desktop computers, upgrading RAM is an easy task. But laptops are a different story because of a number of different reasons. For example:
- The laptop may have limited slots, which leave no room for additional RAM
- Your laptop may have an older type of RAM, which makes it harder to find a replacement for it
- It’s possible that your laptop does not support a larger number of RAM, so you can’t upgrade past a specific point anyway (such as a 12GB limit for example)
- Laptop RAMs are a bit harder to find than desktop ones overall
So, you have to keep all of these things in mind when you wish to upgrade your laptop’s RAM. Though with modern-day laptops, half of these issues are not present and it’s far easier to add more RAM sticks to them than ever before.
So, what is the best external RAM for laptops that you can get? How can you get it? And how much RAM is a good amount? Let’s answer all of these questions.
What is external RAM for laptop?
Before we get into anything else, it’s important to clarify one important detail. Laptops do not have external RAM because the power and connection that would go to it is integrated into the laptop’s motherboard. Thus, you can’t attach any external RAM to your laptop because it would simply not work.
However, you might simply be looking for additional RAM for laptops – which is very much normal and possible. You can add extra RAM to laptops and then enjoy the upgrade, but it must go inside the laptop. It cannot be used outside as an attachment like a USB.
How to use a USB as RAM for laptops?
The closest thing to external RAM for laptop is if you used a USB drive as a substitute for additional RAM. Though this is not nearly as effective as having an actual RAM upgrade, it does help you out a little bit for everyday tasks like browsing. This method is known as ReadyBoost.
All that you need to do is to plug a USB drive in your laptop and then right click on it. Then, open Properties and locate the ReadyBoost tab. Inside, click on “Use this device” and then select the correct memory size to use. Finally, click the Apply button.
Keep in mind that the correct method for enabling this feature is different for most laptops due to various operating systems and manufacturers. So, always make sure to find the individual method or contact support for more information.
This is the closest thing to external RAM for laptop, though it does not help much in things like playing video games. So, if you need extra speed for your Google Chrome or File Explorer, then ReadyBoost is a useful thing to use.
Though it won’t harm your laptop, the USB will have less of a life since it will be in use all the time.
How much laptop RAM do you need?
When it comes to having external RAM for laptop, it’s always good to know how much you need.
The ‘right’ amount of RAM for a laptop really depends on what you use it for the most. For example, if you only do simple browsing or Uni assignments, then having 8GB RAM is normally good enough.
If you work on your laptop, which might include things like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, or a video editor – then 16GB RAM might be more suited for you. And this is great for casual gaming too, as no game on normal graphic settings needs more than that.
And lastly, if you keep too many programs on at the same time, whether for work or for multitasking alongside gaming, then having 32GB RAM might be the perfect number for you. It may sound a bit excessive, but for those who keep too many powerful programs on at the same time, this might be necessary.
So, take a look at your needs and purchase RAM accordingly.
The best external RAM for laptop to buy
Now that we have every piece of information out of the way, lets look at the best laptop RAM that you can buy. Of course, keep in mind that this is additional laptop RAM – not external, as that simply does not exist.
So, make sure your laptop has an extra RAM slot. If it only has one, then you will be replacing that RAM rather than adding more to it. So, don’t expect the previous amount of RAM to add up and instead buy the exact number you wish to have.
And lastly, do make sure that your laptop can handle a high number of RAM to begin with. This is possible by checking the official product pages or contacting support. And do make sure you buy the right generation too, such as DDR4 and DDR5 – based on what your laptop supports.
Here are our recommendations for the best external RAM for laptop:
1. Corsair Vengeance Memory Performance Kit (DDR4)
Corsair is a very well-known brand in the PC market and their RAMs are fairly trusted. That is because they offer good clock speeds, durable quality, and stable overclocking. And the Vengeance Memory Performance Kit is no exception, as it’s one of the best laptop RAMs that you can buy.
As soon as you install it, you’ll notice a decent speed boost right away. Whether it’s gaming or using your laptop for work-related tasks, it’s an upgrade that is well worth the price. It’s a balanced option that does not overprioritize gaming or work. Instead, it well best for both.
It comes in multiple options, such as 4×8, 2×8, and 2×16. And if your laptop can handle it, my recommendation is getting 2×16 for a dual-channel configuration of a total of 32GB RAM. And do make sure to get the 2666Mhz C18 variant instead of anything lower – but higher is certainly okay.
2. Crucial 16GB 2666 MHz CL19 (DDR4)
Crucial is a brand that isn’t as mainstay as Kingston or Corsair. But it has earned itself a good reputation in the recent years thanks to great prices and durable performance. Though they do have pricier options too, their budget range is what usually catches my eye.
The Crucial 16GB DDR4 stick which is sitting at a 2666 MHz speed is one of the best laptop RAM sticks that you can get for a cheap price. It only costs $62.99 but it scores pretty well on benchmarks when compared to pricier options.
Additionally, you can get a 3200MHz variant too, though it costs extra. And if you don’t need 16GB, you can get smaller sticks for far less too. So, many options and all within a budget.
3. Kingston Technology HyperX Impact
For a fancier option, we have the Kingston Technology HyperX Impact. It has a good speed of 2666MHz and makes up to 32GB using two dual-channel 16GB kits. As you’d expect by the name, it’s a RAM that is optimized for gamers. And it provides the best boost that you can get from simply upgrading your RAM.
Additionally, it can be overclocked with ease too for those who need the extra boost of performance. Though this may not be needed, it’s still great to have the option, nonetheless. Especially years down the line when games become more demanding and our current hardware might struggle to keep up.
It’s durable, provides excellent performance, and is a bit on the fancy side too. All of which makes up for a great upgrade.
Of course, it’s pretty good for work-related tasks too. But if you’re looking specifically for a gaming-related upgrade, this might be the best option for you in this list.
4. Samsung 32GB DDR4 3200MHz
If you’re not in the mood to research when buying external RAM for laptop, you can close your eyes and go for this option. Samsung is a brand known by everyone on the planet, especially since they became such a major competitor to Apple over the years. So, even if you disagree with the price, you can’t doubt their durability.
Surprisingly, for a 32GB RAM stick with a 3200MHz speed – this is very reasonably priced at $105. It’s not a fancy option by any means, but it gets the job done and it’s especially great for things like 3D rendering and Photoshop use. Which is great because too many options overprioritize gaming these days.
You can’t overclock it, but at 3200MHz that’s hardly necessary anyway. So, if you are not too deep into gaming and want something that prioritizes your work more – then this Samsung stick is exactly what you need.
That’s everything that you need to know about external RAM for laptop. We hope that you found this guide useful. And while you’re still here, do make sure to check out some of our other helpful gaming laptop guides too!