What’s the best way to upgrade my RAM?

Brian Williamson October 24, 2011
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I have a laptop with 1GB of RAM. I wish to increase it. I have been told to use two strips of the same capacity (such as two 2GB sticks). Is this better than using one strip of 4GB ?.

  1. Brian.
    October 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Thankyou to those who replied. The laptop is a Acer Extensa 5510, about 3 years old. The present RAM is in two two sticks each marked. Samsung  512Mb. 2rx16 pc2.
    and PC2-53005-555-12-A3. I have just installed Windows7, replacing Vista, since then operation is very slow. I think maybe 4Mb is the highest I can go, maybe that´s too high ?? Would appreciate further advice. I would like to purchase mail order if possible. Am a 70 year old pensioner, limited funds and slowly trying to understand what makes these things work. Thankyou.

  2. Jeff Fabish
    October 25, 2011 at 6:55 am

    First, read your motherboard's manual to figure out which memory is compatible or run the Crucial memory scanner. Then buy the memory from NewEgg or TigerDirect. Finally, install the ram. 

    Be sure to read the manual very closely, you will have limits to how much ram you can install and what kind. 

  3. Stivinn Aura
    October 25, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Brian,

    It would've REALLY helped if you could share with us your laptop's model number. Older laptop motherboards had three banks, and couldn't take more than 512MB sticks per bank.
    Then, more recently, that limit was upped to 2GB/slot. DDR2 RAM modules in dual channel were inherently faster than ones in single channel.

    But RAM in today's laptops are all DDR3, often running at frequencies higher than 1Ghz.
    Even if you mix and match modules of different sizes and speeds, it wouldn't matter as your laptop would automatically use all modules at the speed of the slowest RAM.

    Two thing to always bear in mind is the maximum frequency of RAM that your motherboard is compatible with; and the maximum module size that can be put into one slot. Both details can be found out on your laptop manufacturer's website, if Google doesn't help.

    Your safest bet will be to download CPU-Z ( http://www.cpuid.com/softwares.cpu-z.html ) and find out your current RAM's specifications. Make a note of it (like DDR3, PC3-1066E, Non-ECC, Unbufferedand) and buy SoDIMM modules modules having exactly the same specs.

    Alternatively, you can go to Crucial ( http://www.crucial.com ) and download their software which will tell you what type of RAM is compatible with your laptop. Keep in mind though that it doesn't work with every laptop/computer, and the suggestions are not always guaranteed to work. It didn't in my case, atleast.

    Check this out, a similar question as yours posted on MakeUseOf some time back: http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/type-ram-compatible-laptop/#comment-315877424

    • Brian.
      October 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Thankyou to those who replied. The laptop is a Acer Extensa 5510, about 3 years old. The present RAM is in two two sticks each marked. Samsung  512Mb. 2rx16 pc2.and PC2-53005-555-12-A3. I have just installed Windows7, replacing Vista, since then operation is very slow. I think maybe 4Mb is the highest I can go, maybe that´s too high ?? Would appreciate further advice. I would like to purchase mail order if possible. Am a 70 year old pensioner, limited funds and slowly trying to understand what makes these things work. Thankyou.

      • Stivinn Aura
        October 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm

        Your laptop supports maximum module sizes of up to 2GB per slot, and has two slots.
        ( www.notebookshop.sk/pdf/acerex5510.pdf , http://www.memoryupgradecompany.com/memory/AcerExtensa5510DDR2800MHzMemoryUpgrade.html )

        That means you can mix and match modules that are of sizes 512 MB / 1 GB / 2 GB and have frequencies 533 / 667 MHz. The ones already in your laptop are the 667 Mhz ones. You can increase RAM all the way up to 4GB by using 2x2GB modules (e.g.:( http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-PC2-5300-Unbuffered-DDR2-667-CT2CP25664AC667/dp/B000PMGZDO ).

        If you want a total of 2 GB RAM, you will have to chuck out both older modules and either put in a single 2GB module, or two 1GB modules (e.g.: http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2x1GB-200-Pin-667Mhz-SODIMM/dp/B000FQ2JLW ).

        If the two 1GB modules are EXACTLY alike, it WILL (theoretically) perform faster than a single 2GB module setup. Most times, the difference is imperceptible, as computer performance is limited by lots of things other than the RAM itself.

        For running Windows 7, 2GB is sufficient for most users. If you're into some extensive graphics or maybe heavy gaming, then you will benefit from 3 or 4GB of RAM. If you are planning on increasing the RAM capacity more than or equal to 4GB, then you must have 64-bit operating system in order to harness all the memory capacity.

        • Casanorbri
          October 26, 2011 at 9:06 am

          Thank you again, your information actually understood, I am a beginner at most of this. Over the last few days have read many articles, now understand more. Advice much appreciated and will be acted upon. Brian W,

        • Stivinn Aura
          October 26, 2011 at 9:08 am

          Glad I could help. :)

  4. FIDELIS
    October 25, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Hello, is it possible for you to post your laptop model?  Most older laptops have only two memory slots.  It is possible to install 4 GB on a laptop as long as the slot supports it but you would have to have one of the newer models that support 64 bits.  It is recommended, to install the same brand and size of physical memory.  That way there is no problems with compatibility.  

    How much memory are you planning to install?  Keep in mind, that it is better if you research your laptop's brand and model to see how much memory and what kind it can use.  That would be your first step.  Keep in mind that some old laptops only support two GBs of memory total.  Now, if it is a newer laptop you could install up to 4 GBs total.  If you have one of the newest models, you could install 4 GB on one slot but it would have to be running a motherboard and system compatible with 64 bits operating system.  

    To find out what kind of ram your laptop uses and how much your slots support, you would have to research your model from the manufacturer's website and it should tell you what you need to know about upgrading your ram.  You could also, uninstall the memory installed in your laptop,  take it to the computer shop and match that memory with the one you want to upgrade.  There are sites online, that have tools to tell you what the best match would be.  Crucial is one them:

    http://www.crucial.com/

    • Casanorbri
      October 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Thankyou to those who replied. The laptop is a Acer Extensa 5510, about 3 years old. The present RAM is in two two sticks each marked. Samsung  512Mb. 2rx16 pc2.and PC2-53005-555-12-A3. I have just installed Windows7, replacing Vista, since then operation is very slow. I think maybe 4Mb is the highest I can go, maybe that´s too high ?? Would appreciate further advice. I would like to purchase mail order if possible. Am a 70 year old pensioner, limited funds and slowly trying to understand what makes these things work. Thankyou.

      • FIDELIS
        October 26, 2011 at 6:02 am

        Hello, in your case I would get 2x2GB sticks of PC2-5300.  You could use either 533 or 667 MHertz. In this case getting memory with 667 Mherz is better.  Yes, 4GB is the highest you can go.  Keep in mind that if you are running a 32 bits operating system, it will not show all 4 GBs.  Probably, it will show 3 GB or a little bit more than 3GB.  Also, you have to remember that your system has an integrated card.  In this case, it is the Intel graphics media accelerator 950GM, which is also able to display 3D graphics. The maximum memory this graphics card shares with the system is 224 MB.  Also your motherboard supports 64 bit.  If you have windows 7 64 bits, it would recognized all 4 GBs of memory.  The following link will show you the specs for your system:

        http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:qKExFcqSS4AJ:www.notebookshop.sk/pdf/acerex5510.pdf+Acer+Extensa+5510+specs&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiF0zQkNbBWBd6RDf-eVX9YlEpMezlb5pxUjUnTsV1Z_tAfFN-1hhxC-A8w0ngB8H7guCQBAlcjnGXLQP4985hkw9ZxTyLXCC8Knqg2nSThVTyoQKHil4ZC16eZ8J-uDFBDGin6&sig=AHIEtbQroN-oopXMAxm4qpwuSoJBXt7Aag

        • Casanorbri
          October 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

          Thank you for your help, much appreciated and has helped me to understand more about what I need to do. Advice will be followed as soon as possible. Thank you. Brian W.

        • FIDELIS
          October 26, 2011 at 9:22 am

          Hello, not a problem.   It is refreshing to see somebody interested in fixing their issues and posting feed back.  Most times, people do not follow their postings/questions and the person trying to answer does not know/has no idea if something worked or not.  Thank you once again for posting feed back.  If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to ask.

          FIDELIS

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