Can Laptop RAM be Used in a Desktop?

If one has spare laptop RAM, they may want to use it in their desktop computer.

However, laptop RAM is different from desktop RAM. Is it possible to use laptop RAM on a desktop computer?

In this article, I will tell you and explain whether you can use a laptop RAM on a desktop and how you can do it if it’s possible.

What RAM Do Laptops Use?

Laptops usually use SO-DIMM (Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module) RAM, which is smaller and has fewer pins than desktop RAM. The average size of laptop RAM is about 3 inches.

laptop ram size

  • SDR RAM: 100 pins
  • SDR SDRAM: 144 pins
  • DDR SDRAM: 200 pins
  • DDR2 SDRAM: 200 pins
  • DDR3 SDRAM: 204 pins
  • DDR4 SDRAM: 260 pins
  • DDR5 SDRAM: 262 pins

What RAM Do Desktops Use?

Desktop computers use DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module) RAM, which is larger and has more pins than laptop RAM. The average size of Desktop RAM is about 4.5 inches which is about 1.5 inches bigger than laptop RAM.

pc ram size

  • SDR SDRAM: 168 pins
  • DDR SDRAM: 184 pins
  • DDR2 SDRAM: 240 pins
  • DDR3 SDRAM: 240 pins
  • DDR4 SDRAM: 288 pins
  • DDR5 SDRAM: 288 pins

Other differences between laptop and desktop RAM include the voltage used for operation. The laptop is designed to run on low voltage as compared to desktop RAM.

Check out our guide on how much RAM is enough for you. 

Can Laptop RAM be Used in a Desktop?

Yes, It is possible to use laptop RAM on a desktop, but it is not always recommended. To use a laptop RAM on a desktop, you can use a RAM adapter.

Laptop RAM may have a different physical form factor than desktop RAM and require RAM adapters that are compatible with a standard desktop motherboard.

Laptop RAM usually uses a small form factor called a SO-DIMM (Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module). This type of RAM is designed to fit within the confines of laptop and notebook cases, making them much more efficient than desktop RAM.

can laptop ram be used in a desktop?

On the other hand, desktop RAM typically uses larger DIMM sticks that are designed to fit into a desktop computer case.

Furthermore, laptops often use different types of RAM from desktops such as DDR3L or GDDR5 memory instead of the regular DDR4 memory that is used on most modern desktops.

Because of this difference between laptop and desktop RAM, it’s important to check for compatibility before attempting to use laptop RAM on a desktop computer.

Additionally, laptop RAM typically runs at lower speeds than desktop RAM, which can negatively affect system performance if not configured properly.

How to Install Laptop RAM in a Desktop?

Laptops use SO-DIMM memory sticks while Desktop uses larger DIMM sticks. Because of their size difference, SO-DIMMs are not compatible with all desktops.

To use laptop RAM in a desktop computer, an adapter must be used to connect the two types of memory together.

To install laptop RAM in a desktop, you will need to purchase an adapter that is compatible with the type of RAM and motherboard you are using. After purchasing the adapter, you have to install the laptop RAM on top of the adapter and then install the adapter into the correct slot on the motherboard.

It’s important to make sure all connections are secure before powering on your computer. If everything is properly connected, your system should recognize the new RAM and be ready for use!


Overall, while it is possible to use laptop RAM in a desktop computer, it comes with its own set of challenges that should be taken into consideration before undertaking such an endeavor.

In most cases, purchasing new memory specifically designed for desktops will provide better overall performance and fewer compatibility issues than trying to use existing laptop RAM for this purpose.

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Mian Hassnain

Mian Hassnain is a technology enthusiast with a passion for all things tech. With a keen eye for the latest advancements in the field, Mian is always on the lookout for new ways to leverage technology for the benefit of society.

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