It wasn't quite buyer's remorse I read on Joe's face. He seemed more perplexed than remorseful. He had purchased a top-of-the-line desktop computer from a print ad and after only a few hours of use, he called to tell me it was slower than his old computer.
Joe asked me to stop by for a look. When I arrived, he had become even more agitated about his slow, new computer. His expression was like that of a car enthusiast who bought a Ferrari, started the engine for the first time and heard the light, tinny sound of four-cylinders under the hood.
Joe handed me the ad for the computer. I wasn't surprised. The components were good quality, the package included a monitor and a printer and the price was fantastic. His new computer lacked a primary feature for good performance: enough memory (RAM).
Adding memory to a computer is not only one of the most effective ways to improve its performance, but it has become one of the most inexpensive and simple ways.
Once upon a time, computer memory was expensive. In the early 90's I remember visiting several computer retailers who blamed some fire in a RAM factory overseas for the $100+ price they wanted to charge me for a modest 64 megabyte memory upgrade. Now you can buy a gigabyte (1,000 megabytes) of memory for as little as $30.
Installing memory can seem scary. You have to open up your computer case for some tech surgery that intimidates the technically un-inclined. Installation isn't difficult if you are gentle with the delicate components inside and follow instructions for adding the memory module into the correct slot.
Buying the correct memory for your computer model is critical. During a couple of moments when I lacked better judgment, I scavenged memory from one computer and inserted it into another without checking it. One time the computer refused to start. The other time I smelled plastic melting before I cut the power off and ran to open a window.
I don't take those risks anymore; there's no need. If you are looking to improve your computer's speed by adding more memory, there are a few web sites that can help you make an accurate choice. My favorite is www.crucial.com. If you visit their site with Internet Explorer, you can run a tool that will scan your computer, tell you what memory it has, how many additional slots are available for more memory and recommend (with a guarantee) which memory module(s) you should purchase for a worry free upgrade. Easy.
I took Joe to the site, scanned his computer and within five minutes he had placed an order that doubled his computer's memory for about sixty bucks. I saw him a few weeks later after he successfully installed it on his own. His computer's performance now matched the excitement of its ad. Joe was thankful for the tip and seemed relieved -smiling like his Ferrari sounded right.