December 4, 2022
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Can You Use Laptop RAM In Desktop? Everything You Need To Know

Can You Use Laptop RAM In Desktop?

Yes, it is possible to use laptop RAM in desktop. You can do this by using a RAM adapter that converts SO-DIMM memory sticks to DIMM. However, there are some limitations to it. For instance, motherboard compatibility is a huge point of concern as it depends on the model and manufacturer of your motherboard, which determines if your desktop is able to support a laptop RAM. In addition, it has also been discovered that Intel motherboards can support laptop RAMs, but AMD motherboards don’t.

However, there are several other important aspects that you should know about before going for it. With that said, let’s get into the meat and potatoes!

What Type of RAM Do Laptops Use?

Laptops use SO-DIMM (small outline dual in-line memory module) RAM modules in their system. These RAM kits are typically much smaller than regular RAM sticks, which makes them perfect for the built-in mini ITX motherboards that laptops usually use. 

RAM modules consist of several pins and notches, which enable them to connect seamlessly to the motherboard. Here is a table outlining all the generations of SO-DIMM RAM kits. 

SO-DIMMNo. of pins
SDR RAM100
SDR SDRAM144
DDR SDRAM200
DDR2 SDRAM200
DDR3 SDRAM204
DDR4 SDRAM260
DDR5 SDRAM262
Outlining all the generations of SO-DIMM RAM kits

What Type of RAM Do Desktops Use?

Although desktop PCs used to use SIMM (single in-line memory module) RAM kits previously, they have been replaced by DIMM (dual in-line memory module) RAM kits. That is because, with SIMM, you can only use a 32-bit memory path, whereas, with DIMM, it is possible to use a 64-bit memory path.

Below, we have listed all the generations of DIMM RAM kits and their pin counts. 

DIMMNo. of pins
DDR SDRAM184
DDR2 SDRAM240
DDR3 SDRAM240
DDR4 SDRAM288
DDR5 SDRAM288
All generations of DIMM RAM kits and their pin counts

As you can see from the above information, the connection type varies a lot due to the difference in the number of pins. Desktop RAM kits have a higher pin count than laptop RAM kits. Hence, you will need a RAM adapter to connect a laptop RAM to a desktop system.

Laptop RAM vs Desktop RAM: Key Differences

It should be quite clear at this point that laptop and desktop RAMs are very different from each other. Here is an overview of all the key differences between the two.

Size

Apart from the difference in the number of pin connectors, desktop RAM sticks are generally much bigger than laptop RAM sticks. Current-gen desktop RAM sticks are around 4.5 inches long, while laptop RAM sticks are approximately 3 inches long. 

Space

Laptop RAM ranges from 4GB to 32GB, while desktop RAM ranges from 4GB, all the way up to 2TB, if you are willing to spend that much. However, that is not recommended as it is simply beyond overkill. Most people use around 8 to 16GB of RAM for their computers. While it is possible to go for 32GB RAM configurations as well, you won’t get much use out of it unless your PC is performing heavy memory-centric tasks. 

Expansion

Most laptops come with 2 RAM slots, where one is already occupied. On the other hand, desktop systems can support 2 to 4 RAM sticks at once, depending on the motherboard, of course. Hence, desktop PCs usually provide more flexibility when it comes to RAM expansion than laptops.

How to Install Laptop RAM in a Desktop?

The process of installing laptop RAM on a desktop is fairly simple. All you need to do is get a desktop RAM adapter, then securely place your laptop RAM inside it, and finally, install it in your motherboard how you would normally do with a regular RAM kit. But do make sure that your PC can support laptop RAMs before installing it, otherwise, it’s just a waste of time and money.

Final Verdict

While it is possible to use a laptop RAM on a desktop, but due to the limitations and hassles associated with it, we cannot fully recommend going this route. The best course of action would be to just simply buy a new stick of RAM for your desktop and expand your memory like that. However, if you have no other choice, then using a laptop RAM on a desktop can be a decent solution.

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