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Make sure your memory is compatible with your motherboard

When purchasing a memory upgrade for your system, compatibility is the most important factor. In order for memory to work on your system, it must be compatible with your motherboard. Before upgrading your memory, consult our time-tested compatibility tips below, and use our award-winning compatibility tools to find the right memory for your system.

The type of memory you purchase must match your system's motherboard

Depending on the age and purchase price of your computer, it was designed to use one of the following types of memory technology:

  • SDR (single data rate) technology primarily appeared in systems manufactured before 2002
  • DDR (double data rate) technology began to appear in systems manufactured in 2002
  • DDR2 (second generation double data rate) technology began to appear mid-2004
  • DDR3 technology began to appear in late 2007
  • DDR4 technology will begin appearing in 2014

As a general rule, each generation of DDR technology is faster, runs on lower voltage, and boasts lower latencies than previous-generation technology. However, if your system was designed for DDR2 technology, it won't be able to support DDR3 modules. Since each type of memory has different notch locations (which are important for installation), different memory technologies aren't compatible with each other. Motherboards are generally only able to support one type of memory technology.

The easiest way to determine compatibility

With so many variations in memory, it's important to know which type will work in your system. That's where our easy-to-use compatibility tools come into play.

  • The Crucial System Scanner is a downloadable tool that makes finding compatibility memory effortless. This tool analyzes your PC's configuration and automatically recommends a list of compatible upgrades in a matter of seconds. Use this tool if you don't know your system's specs.
  • The Crucial Advisor is a tool that provides a list of compatible upgrades for your system after you've provided information on your system's manufacturer, make, and model. Use this tool if you know your system's specs.

When you use either of our compatibility tools, we'll do the compatibility research for you. Memory upgrades are one of the easiest ways to improve the performance of your system. We think finding memory should be just as easy as installing it!

When you use either compatibility tool and order on Crucial.com, we guarantee compatibility — or your money back.

Two ways to find your upgrades

Crucial Advisor tool
If you know your system's specs, use this tool.

Crucial System Scanner
If you don't know your system's specs, use this tool.