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Laptop Memory Introductory Guide

This guide provides basic information on the often confusing world of laptop memory

What benefits are there for upgrading your laptops memory?

The more memory your laptop has the higher overall performance the laptop will have. As a general rule by adding more memory it will enable the laptop to perform tasks quicker and handle more programs open concurrently.

What do I need to consider before upgrading my laptops memory?

Laptops are generally more restricted in the types and amounts of memory that can be installed into them. Many laptops are limited to one or two slots to install memory into, sometimes access to the memory slots can also be a problem when compared to normal desktop systems.

How much memory do I need?

The easiest way to work out how much memory you need is to look at the operating system and programs you want to run. Each will list a minimum and recommended amount of memory they need to run. As a general rule the following applies to most systems:

- To get the program to run you need the minimum amount of memory
- To get the program to run without frustration and good speed you need the recommended amount of memory
- To get the program to run without frustration and at a good speed while multi-tasking with other programs and windows you need double the amount of recommended memory.

Most laptops also use integrated graphics chips which use a portion of the general system ram for the graphics. This can reduce the amount of available system ram from 64mb to as much as 1024mb (1GB) depending on the graphics controller. If you are using an integrated graphics chip it is worth getting a little more memory to compensate for this.

What types of memory are available for laptops?

Most laptops take a special format of memory called SODIMM, it is much smaller than that used in desktop computers and enables laptops to keep their small dimensions. Most laptops purchased today will come equipped with either DDR2 SODIMM or DDR3 SODIMM memory.

What do the different speed numbers of memory mean?

There are two ways that memory speeds can be listed. The first is by the memory type and its clock speed, EG DDR3 1333MHz. The other way is by listing the type along with its bandwidth. In the case of the same DDR3 kit this would be listed as PC3-10600.

Here is a brief list of some types of memory you will find in a current laptop:

• DDR3 1600MHz / PC3-12800
• DDR3 1333MHz / PC3-10600
• DDR3 1066MHz / PC3-8500
• DDR3 800MHz / PC3-6400
• DDR2 800MHz / PC2-6400
• DDR2 667MHz / PC2-5300 or PC2-5400
• DDR2 533MHz / PC2-4200
• DDR2 400MHz / PC2-3200