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My machine configuration is thus: Pentium 4 processor and 512MB RAM. Now, my machine is very slow, so I have decided to increase the RAM by 1GB.

If I insert 1GB RAM then will it become 512MB + 1GB?

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Yes, if you have 2 RAM sticks installed, one being 512MB and the other 1GB, the total available RAM will be 1.5GB or 1536MB. Make sure to check your motherboard's manufacturer's website to see what types of RAM your motherboard supports. If your mobo supports dual channel memory, you may be better served by getting 2 identical 1GB sticks and removing the old 512MB stick (make sure you install the 2 sticks in a dual channel configuration if you do that).

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