Great moments in PC gaming: Slotting in RAM

RGB G.Skill RAM in a motherboard.
Your RAM doesn't need to glow. It just needs to be seated properly. (Image credit: G.Skill)

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

Just the thought of correctly installing a stick of RAM gives me chills. You've got to push down firmly, but not too firmly, increasing the pressure on one end and then the other if you need to, and then it clicks—but not harshly! Not with a hollow sound or a vulgar metallic snap. It's a plastic thunk or a thud, a tactile click, like bros locking hands and thumping each other on the backs. (Nothing erotic about it whatsoever!)

Sadly, some among us will never know the sensual joy of putting 32GB in the slots where 32GB goes, one of the prime attractions in the garden of PC gaming delights. There are, I regret to inform you, anti-builders within PC Gamer. The topic came up recently while discussing this Guardian article about the frustrations of PC assembly. I won't name names (Tim), but there are those who just can't stand the fiddling, the error codes, the squeezing of fingers between cables and graphics cards and sharp bits of metal, and the inevitable bleeding. 

We mustn't judge them too harshly. Not every part of the hobby will click with everyone in the way a stick of RAM clicks into a motherboard. Putting a PC together can be annoying and frustrating, and I could just as easily be judged for not making my own clothes or doing my own car maintenance, which I overpay for at the dealership—none of us are free from sin.

But if you appreciate the trial of PC building, and the satisfaction that comes from it, then enjoy your moment of bliss when you securely slot the RAM into place. More things should gently ka-chunk like that, the way they do on sci-fi spaceships, where wafers are always being removed from and slotted back into mainframes. 

And though it's true that PC building can cause headaches, it wouldn't feel so good to get a new PC working if it were frictionless. Another excellent PC building feeling, even if it should technically be avoided, is opening up a just-built PC that mysteriously won't boot, preparing yourself to spend the next half-day troubleshooting, and then seeing that half a RAM stick is jutting up slightly too high. Not only have you diagnosed the problem—great feeling, love it—you get to solve that problem by properly seating the RAM, which as I've established is one of the most satisfying PC building steps (eclipsed, perhaps, only by the first successful boot).

I wish I could say to go and get yourself a motherboard and some RAM and build that PC now, but we recently described the current state of PC building as "tragic." Things are pretty bad out there, especially when it comes to getting a graphics card. 

If you want, though, there's nothing stopping you from buying a pre-built gaming PC, opening the case, pushing down the tabs to unseat the RAM sticks, and then slotting them back in. It's unnecessary, sure, but everybody's into different stuff. Maybe for some of us that's installing RAM just for fun.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.