Since the birth of Windows Vista, the need for adequate RAM has become more apparent. 2GB of RAM is just the bottom rung of the ladder if you are considering a new computer with Vista and likewise should you decide to go down the upgrade path.

Traditionally, to add more RAM, you must first decide how much you need and more importantly which type. You can’t just walk into PC World and pick some off the shelf and expect it to work. There’s DDR, DIMM, SDRAM & SO-DIMM to name just a few.

RAM has become quite cheap lately but the work involved can often feel unnecessary, especially if you are not quite ready to spend money on a computer you are likely replace in the next 12-18 months anyway.

Microsoft have revealed a new alternative to upgrading your RAM and it’s called “Windows ReadyBoost”

It’s quite simple to use actually. With Vista, all you need to do is to connect a USB powered Hard Drive or a removable memory device such as memory card to your pc. For most people, they can use their existing backup drive. When this device is first inserted into your USB port, Windows Vista checks to see if its performance is fast enough to work with Windows ReadyBoost. If so, you will be prompted to use this device to speed up your system performance.

You can then choose to allocate part of the USB drive’s memory to speed up performance and use the remainder to store files, backup, etc.

This is a much welcome alternative from Microsoft to hardware RAM, but I wouldn’t advise it as a long-term solution.  However, it may be worthwhile if today’s budget is already stretched..