5 cool things you can do with old RAM

If you’ve upgraded your computer, you’ve probably replaced your old RAM modules with faster ones. Buying faster RAM is often the cheapest performance-enhancing option. In addition, when you upgrade your RAM, you must replace the modules in pairs, otherwise you could end up with an unstable system. This leads to a lot of old RAM chips lying around and collecting dust.

So what to do with old RAM sticks? In this article, we’re going to explore several options, including building a retro gaming computer and turning your RAM into art. There are many cool things you can do with old RAM, so don’t just throw it away.

1. Upgrade an old computer

The best use of old RAM modules is in an older system that could use an upgrade. Old computers can still be useful even if they are too slow for the latest games, software development or rendering. For example, you can: turn an old PC into a streaming media center or even a NAS (network-attached storage).

You can also upgrade someone else’s computer. Contact a local school or library and ask if they can use a hardware upgrade. Most public computers are outdated or cheaply built, so your old RAM modules can mean a lot to everyone who uses them.

That said, you’ll need to find out what kind of RAM sticks you have and whether they’re compatible with the old machine you want to upgrade. There are different types of RAM and each is compatible with certain motherboards and CPUs. Before trying to upgrade an old computer, make sure to read our article on how to check the type of RAM.

2. Build a retro gaming PC

Hardware and operating systems have evolved a lot since the early days of computer gaming. Modern CPUs have completely different architectures than they did 20-30 years ago, and there are radical differences even between relatively recent operating systems such as Windows 7 and 8.

If you try to play a classic DOS game or a game developed specifically for Windows 7 on your Windows 10 computer, you run into groundbreaking compatibility issues. Most classic games won’t even work, which is sad given the sheer number of games developed over the decades.

This is where the retro gaming PC comes in, and your old RAM will help build it. The market for old computer parts is growing as more people want to replay their favorite childhood games. Good old games (GOG) certainly helps with this trend as it makes classic games easily accessible. This makes old RAM more and more valuable and there are growing retro gaming communities building retro systems.

If you want to revisit your favorite games and recreate that 90s or 2000s vibe, save your old RAM, find an old motherboard and CPU that support it, and go back in time.

Alternative: build an arcade machine

If retro gaming PCs aren’t your thing and you grew up in the arcade days, save your RAM for an arcade machine instead. Read our in-depth article about how to turn your old computer into an arcade machine and save your old RAM for an epic project.

3. Turn your old RAM into art or decorations

If you can no longer use your old RAM or if it is damaged, you can turn it into art. For example, you can make key rings or even Christmas tree decorations. All you need are key rings and a cutting tool.

Desktop RAM chips may be a little too long for a keychain, so cut them to a desired size. Then drill a hole (if there isn’t one) for the key ring, and Kees is ready. You can even skip the cutting part if your laptop has RAM modules, as they are already quite small.

4. Build a RAM Drive

Also known as RAM disk, this device is a kind of digital storage. It is much faster than hard drives and solid state drives. Random-access memory is the fastest type of memory, and storing data means near-instantaneous load times and high read/write times.

You can use your old RAM modules to build a RAM drive; however, you also need to purchase a DDR drive into which you can place those modules.

The drive looks like a PCI card. All you need to do is insert your memory sticks into the slots and connect the device to your computer’s motherboard. But how does it work?

As you probably know, RAM is a type of volatile memory. Whenever you turn off your computer, the data stored on the RAM drive will be erased. This is the major drawback that made RAM drives disappear into history once SSDs emerged. You must set up your computer to copy the files from the RAM drive to a hard drive before shutting it down. Some RAM drives were even equipped with batteries to store the data for a while in the event of a system crash.

That said, a RAM drive is great if you don’t need to store files and you just want blazing fast load times.

5. Recycle

If your old RAM modules are damaged or no longer usable, consider recycling them. They still contain useful components and materials that you can use to create new RAM modules or other components. Look for a reputable company that properly recycles computer hardware without dumping everything in a landfill.

What did you do with your old ram sticks? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.