For those of us who cannot afford a brand new $2,000 top of the line laptop, there are upgrades. This guide concerns itself with the basics that you need to know for the most practical upgrade for your laptop - memory
We will start with the basics of memory, or RAM (Random Access Memory). While the processor is considered the brain power, the RAM essentially determines the size of the brain. Even if you have a very fast processor, if you don't have enough RAM, the computer will be slowed, always waiting for the RAM to give it more information to process. Also, as time goes on, programs tend to require more and more RAM to function at reasonable speeds, which can make it seem as though your laptop is actually slowing down. Really, it just needs a little more room to think, as it were.
Minimum memory requirements:
- For only basic word processing, 256MB may suffice if running Windows XP or older. (But, really, who only uses a computer for word processing alone?)
- If you plan to do anything more than that, you'll probably want at least 512MB of RAM to keep things running smoothly (Unless running Windows Vista -see below).
- For more intensive multimedia applications such as videos, pictures, presentations, games, etc. you will want to have at least 1GB, and preferably 2GB. (Especially if you are running Windows Vista)
When looking to add memory, you'll need to check to make sure that the memory is compatible with your laptop. The first thing to note is that the designation SO-DIMM specifies that the memory is for a laptop and not a desktop computer.
Other info you will need to know: (You should be able to find this through your laptop manufacturer's website)
- The most common is 200pin DDR or 200pin DDR2
- ranges from DDR 266 (aka. PC 2100) up to DDR2 800 (aka. PC2 6400)
- 256MB - 2GB (for upgrade purposes, I would add a minimum of 512MB)
- The type is critical. If you do not choose the correct type, the memory will either not fit, or not work, and possibly harm your system.
- The speed is not as important. For best results, though, use the speed recommended by the manufacturer.
- The size is for the most part up to you. You'll need to make sure that there is an available expansion slot to put the memory into, and if there is a maximum amount of memory that the laptop can handle. If you buy a 2gb SO-DIMM, and the maximum says 1GB, the laptop will A)not work, or B)only recognize 1GB worth of the 2GB that you bought.
- Another item to consider would be the CAS latency. This can sometimes act as an aid in determining the quality of the memory module. Generally speaking, the lower the better. All other things being equal, memory with a lower CAS latency will be faster.
Memory is a very economical way to improve the speed of your laptop, so have a look around this wonderful world we call eBay and pick yourself up some today.
Hopefully this guide has provided you a basic understanding of laptop memory and what you need for an upgrade. There is much more that you can learn if you are interested, just poke around on the internets a little. Or, if you'd rather not learn any of this, you can go to www.crucial.com for an excellent tool that will determine the correct type of memory for you.