What does old RAM do? Should you leave? 5 interesting things you should try

If you’ve upgraded your computer, you’ve probably replaced your old sticks of RAM with faster ones. Buying faster RAM is usually the cheapest performance boost option. Above all, when upgrading RAM, you should replace the modules in pairs, otherwise you may experience an unstable system. This leads to a lot of old RAM chips lying around and accumulating dust. 

What does old RAM do? Should you leave? 5 interesting things you should try

So what to do with old RAM sticks? In this article, we’ll explore several options, including building a classic gaming PC and turning your RAM into a work of art. There are a lot of cool things you can do with old RAM, so don’t just throw it away.

Upgrading old computers

The best use of older RAM modules is in an older system that can use the upgrade. Older 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 an online media center or even a NAS (network attached storage).

In addition, you can upgrade other people’s computers. Contact your school or local library and find out 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 Most public computers are outdated or cheaply built, so your old RAM modules can mean a lot to anyone who uses them.

That said, you’ll have to figure out what kind of RAM sticks you have and whether they’re compatible with the older machine you want to upgrade. There are several types of RAM and each type is compatible with a number of motherboards and CPUs . 

Build a Retro Gaming PC

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

If you try to play a classic DOS game or a game specially developed for Windows 7 with your Windows 10 machine, you will experience game-breaking compatibility issues. Most classic games won’t even work, and that’s sad considering the sheer number of games developed over the past few decades.

What does old RAM do? Should you leave? 5 interesting things you should try

This is where the classic gaming PC comes in and your old RAM helps build it. The second hand computer parts market is growing as more and more people want to replay their favorite childhood games. Good Old Games (GOG) is definitely helping this trend as it makes classic games easily accessible. This makes old RAM more and more valuable and more and more retro gaming communities build retro systems.

If you want to revisit your favorite games and want to recreate the atmosphere of the 90s or 2000s, save up your old RAM, find old motherboards and CPUs that support it, and go back in time.

Alternative: Build an Arcade Machine ( machine electronic games )

What does old RAM do? Should you leave? 5 interesting things you should try

If a classic gaming PC isn’t your thing and you’ve grown up in the arcade days, you can save RAM for an arcade machine instead. Read our comprehensive article on how to turn your old computer into an Arcade Machine and save your old RAM for an epic project.

Turn your old RAM into art or decorations

If you don’t use your old RAM or if your RAM is damaged, you can turn it into a work of art. For example, you can make keychains or even Christmas tree decorations. All you need is a key chain and a cutting tool.

What does old RAM do? Should you leave? 5 interesting things you should try

Desktop RAM chips can be a bit long for a keychain, so cut them to desired size. Then drill a hole (if there isn’t one) for the key and you’re done. You can even skip the cut if you have laptop RAM modules as they are already quite small.

Build RAM Drive

Also known as a RAM disk, this device is a type of digital storage. It is much faster than hard drives and SSDs. Random access memory is the fastest type of memory and stores the data in it which means near-instant load times and high read or write times. 

You can use your old RAM modules to create a RAM hard drive. However, you will also need to purchase a DDR drive to be able to install those modules.

What does old RAM do? Should you leave? 5 interesting things you should try

The hard drive looks like a PCI card. All you need to do is insert the memory card into the slots of the memory card and connect the device to the mainboard of the computer. But how does it work?

As you probably know, RAM is a type of volatile memory. Whenever you turn off the computer, the data stored on the RAM drive is deleted. This is the major drawback that makes RAM drives go down in history as soon as SSDs are born. You must set up your computer to copy files from the RAM drive to the hard drive before shutting down. Some RAM drives are even equipped with batteries to save data in case the system crashes.

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


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

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