Adding Memory

Discussion in 'Storage' started by cluckeyo, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. cluckeyo

    cluckeyo

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    I want to double the RAM on my laptop. Would that be a proprietary issue on my Dell Inspirion laptop, or could I get it anywhere? Assuming I could buy it anywhere, then are some brands better than others? Also, my laptop is pretty old, maybe 6 years and I use it daily. What is the life expectancy of a laptop like mine? Would it be foolish to buy memory at this juncture?
     
    cluckeyo, Apr 30, 2016
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  2. cluckeyo

    IBMPC8088

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    They have different models which have different features and limitations. One of those is the upgradeability of the RAM among other things. I just sold a friend a Dell Inspiron 15 5555 that has a 1TB hard drive in it (plenty of space) but was already maxed out at 8GB on the board. The Dell Inspiron 17 5755 I still have here also has a 1TB drive in it and 8GB of ram and is only 1 or 2 model letters off from the other...but it can be upgraded to 16GB of ram instead of 8GB. It does make a difference, and you should always check the specs and make sure that you get a system that will carry you for your next long-term task or long-term investment as far as your dollars can take you with it.

    With a 6 year old laptop, you could still buy memory for it if it's reasonable and easy to work with for your current needs. Honestly though, the price on much faster technology and hardware has come down a lot to where even the max you could upgrade the ram of your current system from 6 years ago would be would only be a fraction of the ram size and ram speed of the newest entry-level systems by comparison.

    There are some great things about older laptops, especially if you do audio recording or need a VGA out still. One of those things is not having to worry about the dreaded and much in contempt "combo jack" for external audio devices that never seems to work except one at a time for input or output, and even then it's best used as an external audio speaker connection rather than anything else it was supposed to be. Some of the screens and chasis on the older laptops were built a little better by default, whereas the only ones that are still built that way cost a lot more than they ever used to. There's a few benefits still, but you have to see it from the standpoint of your own needs to know whether or not it will be worth it to keep and use that way. If you need to have the most power for a lower cost, then getting a new system would be best. If you need to have a reliable but slower system without the forced design changes, then an older laptop upgraded to its best level would be best. It's up to you and what you need it for.
     
    IBMPC8088, May 1, 2016
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  3. cluckeyo

    Corzhens

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    I remember a colleague who bought an additional ram for their home computer. When they had a gathering in his home, one of the techs who were there checked their computer and found out that the additional RAM were not being used. I don't exactly remember the problem on why that extra memory was not utilized but it's something about the OS. Is anyone here familiar with that?
     
    Corzhens, May 1, 2016
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  4. cluckeyo

    IBMPC8088

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    It sounds like the operating system was a 32 bit version of the OS when the computer and it's hardware were capable of running a 64 bit system. Although other operating systems can use ram past the 4GB limit by using an overlay to reallocate segments beyond protected mode in newer processors (feature wasn't always available but when it was, linux and BSD used it), Windows is still limited because they do not and decided not to so that they could keep the 32 and 64 bit sales alive longer.

    With the Windows GUI over its modified dos-based operating system, you were/are limited to 4GB of ram on 32 bit OSes. The system can usually only give about 3.75GB of ram out of 4GB if you're using a 32 bit system, because it uses 256MB of that ram for itself just to run.

    With Windows 64-bit systems, the address space can be reached without any bank switching or overlays to get to that ram, and the hardware is able to see and use it all right away. So if you're running a 64 bit version of Windows, you'll be able to see and use all of the RAM available on the PC. If you're using a 32 bit version of Windows, it'll only see about 3.75GB of it.

    It is possible to implement an overlay for protected mode switching to get to it even on a 32 bit version of Windows (it's a little like DPMI for DOS going back about 20 years, which was a tool that let you switch modes to give DOS itself the capability to use up to 4GB of ram through bank switching, and let you switch between real mode to protected mode and back for programs that needed more than 16MB at a time per frame). It worked well (and still does if you use DOS). There is a 32 bit version of FreeDOS which has extended that since.

    This is probably more than you wanted to know lol...the summary and quick answer is that they were probably running a 32 bit version of Windows and couldn't see all of the ram they had or use it until the assistant they had replaced the OS with a 64 bit version that could for them.
     
    IBMPC8088, May 2, 2016
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  5. cluckeyo

    SirJoe

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    Before upgrading your ram try to find your motherboards manual. There is certain information that you will need, what type of ram it uses DDR2 or DDR3. The internal ram speed, seeing as if you put a higher speed then recommend by the manufacturer you will not be able to take full advantage of it and most important of all, what is the full capacity of your motherboard.
     
    SirJoe, May 6, 2016
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  6. cluckeyo

    nytegeek

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    @SirJoe mentioned clock speeds. You will often need to buy a higher speed module because that is what is available. I wouldn't worry about it because in most cases it will clock down. You can usually get the right speed ram online, but it may be cheaper to get the higher speed and let it clock down. It all depends on what type of ram you need and how old it is. The price-point is the issue rather than unused speed potential. If you can find both and they are compatible go with the one priced better.
     
    nytegeek, May 6, 2016
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  7. cluckeyo

    nytegeek

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    If he was using a 32 bit OS that might be the issue. It may not have been able to address all the ram properly.
     
    nytegeek, May 6, 2016
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