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Author Topic: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.  (Read 1438 times)

IainB

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Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« on: March 01, 2016, 10:22:59 PM »
In case anyone reading this doesn't realise it, if you have a 64-bit laptop, it will typically have 2 x RAM card slots. Most 64-bit laptops come with 1 x 4Gb or 2 x 4 Gb RAM cards installed, which is pathetically inadequate compared to what a 64-bit laptop is capable of addressing.

If you do not already have them, you can purchase 2 x 8Gb RAM cards to go into those slots, replacing any smaller RAM cards. This potentially WILL make a difference to the speed/responsiveness of ALL memory-intensive operations - e.g., huge Excel spreadsheets, or when opening up several InfoSelect8 .WD2 databases simultaneously. The laptop will take it all in its stride, instead of pausing/choking on trying to manage and operate on too much data with too little RAM.

Well worth it. The 8Gb RAM cards are relatively affordable too.

Suggest you try the website Crucial.com - DRAM, solid state drive (SSD) memory upgrades for Dell, Mac, Apple, HP, Compaq, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS.
There you can find compatible memory and SSD upgrades with their Crucial Advisor tool and Crucial System Scanner.
I downloaded their Crucial System Scanner - a very handy tool. It confirmed how much and what type of RAM my laptop could support - i.e., 2 x 8Gb DRAM.

Shop around - I ended up buying 2 x 8Gb Kingston DDR3 PC3l-12800 CL11 204-Pin SODIMM
 - from a local retailer, at a discounted price, after comparing their prices online.
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Shades

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 07:14:50 AM »
Not all memory controllers are made equally, so look at the specs of your laptop to see how much RAM your laptop can support. You would be amazed about the artificial limits build into memory controllers of laptops (because the manufacturer will save money where it can).

Also, the speed of the RAM is important too. Verify again what the manufacturer of the laptop specified as max speed of the RAM. It is best to buy RAM modules in sets from the same series of one brand. That way there is less chance of RAM modules being incompatible with each other.

Do not expect that adding another module to your existing one will work at the advertised speeds. In some cases that won't work at all, as in you hear your laptop beep, while only showing a black screen. Again, not all memory controller chips are created equally, some really cannot compensate for any difference in timing/speed/latency of different RAM modules.

Buy a set of RAM modules and sell the original module(s) if you have to...that is the best course of action.

IainB

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2016, 12:13:46 PM »
@Shades: All the caveats you give are wise - and those are covered by the Crucial System Scanner, so that avoids the risks you outlined.
It tells you how much max RAM your laptop can support and then gives you the spec and part number of the Crucial brand RAM that is guaranteed to work for that laptop, IF you buy the Crucial RAM online from Crucial at that point, using the part number specified.
So I just took that spec and part number to a local supplier who sold Crucial RAM at good prices, but he didn't have any Crucial RAM of that spec in stock, but he did have some Kingston RAM which had the same spec and was a bit cheaper.   $ :) $
I did this for a Toshiba laptop, and a Samsung laptop. The Crucial spec for the RAM was the same (identical) in both cases, but with a slightly different part number.
After playing around and re-running the scanner, I figured out that the parts were identical (per the spec), and that the part number generated by the Crucial System Scanner was unique (had to be) each time because it was used to identify that specific order placed at that point as being bona fide for warranty verification purposes - they guarantee that it will work for that laptop, remember?

A pretty smart online ordering system. However, I didn't want to order it from that source as the shipping costs to New Zealand would have been astronomical.

AzureToad

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2016, 05:22:08 PM »
those are covered by the Crucial System Scanner

Not to brag or anything (oh, alright, yes, to brag... :P), my beloved brother-in-law wrote that application for Crucial!
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4wd

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2016, 05:23:01 PM »
In the last week or so Kingston RAM has been on sale on Amazon - I picked up 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 for ~AU$25 less than local suppliers.

IainB

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2016, 01:34:09 AM »
In the last week or so Kingston RAM has been on sale on Amazon - I picked up 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 for ~AU$25 less than local suppliers.
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That's in Australia - "The Lucky Country".
In NZ, it's a bit different. On Amazon.com, a general rule seems to be:

Rule: that most of the suppliers of stuff that I might want to buy seem to be unable to ship to NZ at all, or, if they do ship there, then the shipping is likely to be prohibitively expensive (e.g., sometimes costing nearly as much or more than the product you wanted to buy).

So, more often than not, I tend to end up not buying.    :(

For that spec of RAM cards, I did some comparative pricing  on Amazon.com first, and observed that the above rule seemed to be operating, before deciding to buy that spec from a local NZ supplier, and it helped that they were in the same city, about 20 minutes drive away, and that I had done business with them in the past and found them good to deal with.

The exception to the above rule seems to be where Amazon themselves are selling something via their Amazon International Sales arm.
For example, in 2012 I had been looking around for a Kindle as a birthday present for my daughter, and the Kindle 4 was available locally in NZ at a reasonable discount (on the usual NZ price) from a retail store chain called Dick Smiths, but it was even cheaper on Amazon.com at US$109 via Amazon International Sales, and they only charged about US$12 for slow shipping to NZ, bringing the net total to US$121. This made it cheaper than the locally-available product by about US$13 (NZ$20) - so I bought it from Amazon on that basis. This sort of thing would be the exception, as I say.

f0dder

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2016, 03:56:54 PM »
If you do not already have them, you can purchase 2 x 8Gb RAM cards to go into those slots, replacing any smaller RAM cards. This potentially WILL make a difference to the speed/responsiveness of ALL memory-intensive operations - e.g., huge Excel spreadsheets, or when opening up several InfoSelect8 .WD2 databases simultaneously. The laptop will take it all in its stride, instead of pausing/choking on trying to manage and operate on too much data with too little RAM.
Gotta emphasize potentially - you either need (memory heavy) 64bit programs, running a lot of 32bit programs or stuff that can take advantage of a lot of filesystem cache. If you have a 8gig system that doesn't currently hit the pagefile often, there's a good chance that upgrading to 16gig won't give any noticable speedup (but will cause hibernation to be somewhat slower, especially on non-SSD systems).

There's also the single- vs dual-channel memory speed thing, but you should read up on that rather than blindly assuming it'll be a speedup for you (if you have a discrete GPU or don't run a lot of graphics-focused stuff, the increased memory bandwidth might not matter all that much).
- carpe noctem

IainB

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2016, 07:37:34 PM »
@f0dder: Yes, I did use the word potentially for that reason - it was a potential.

What I have found:
  • Firefox: this seems to typically use between 1.6 to 2Gb RAM - so (say) up to ΒΌ of my previous 8Gb RAM configuration - and that was probably frequently swapping out to the pagefile. Now that I have 16Gb, I have set the FF cache entirely to RAM, and FF now seems to behave better/more responsively - e.g., especially when bringing up Zotero in a tab, or opening the Scrapbook side-panel (containing thousands of items).
  • SIMS3: My daughter plays this, and the game would frequently stutter and/or crash when saving a game. Since a lot of her game-playing is actually designing houses and landscaping them (she's very artistic, and who knows but she might be heading towards being an architect, landscape gardener, or something), a crash would lose a lot of design effort, so she stopped playing SIMS3 as it was too dispiriting. After upgrading her laptop (a refurbished Samsung Series 3 Quad Core) to 16Gb, she says the game is playable now - though interestingly is still not as responsive as it was on her previous laptop - which had an an Intel i5 CPU, under Win7-64 with 8Gb RAM.
  • Fallout3: Seems to play more smoothly now, even when I have other applications running in the background. However, that is kinda academic because switching from Fallout3 to one of those applications is seriously hit-or-miss where there is every likelihood that Fallout3 will crash and the only way to get back to Windows then seems to be to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and force a user logoff (otherwise a reboot is necessary). It's very messy.
  • Large databases/spreadsheets: Generally better. I sometimes have some very large loads on RAM. For example, opening up all my OneNote Notebooks or InfoSelect databases at the same time, or manipulating large Excel spreadsheets (tables and pivot tables). Previously, these could have been impacted adversely by other applications competing for scarce RAM, and become sluggish - now not so much.

Because I never use Hibernate, I hadn't though until you mentioned it that a Hibernate operation might be slower when both hibernating and restoring, but I would say that would have to be right - i.e., estimating that a 16Gb core dump would take approx 2 times longer to read/write than an 8Gb core dump).

An interesting point is that, according to this: Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases (Windows) - computers with current 64-bit Windows OS technology could theoretically use up to a maximum of 128 GB, with addressability up to 16TB, or something.
You'd have a room full of RAM chips with a little computer buried in one corner of the room.   ;)

Reminds me of Marvin the paranoid android (HHGTTG) where I think he said something like: "Here am I, brain the size of a planet, and 'Get me a cup of tea' he says".
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 07:46:42 PM by IainB »

Edvard

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2016, 08:02:43 PM »
Reminds me of Marvin the paranoid android (HHGTTG)
....

From the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
Quote
Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cause I don't

From the '80s television adaptation, Episode# 1.5:
Quote
"Reverse primary thrust, Marvin." That's what they say to me. "Open airlock number 3, Marvin." "Marvin, can you pick up that piece of paper?" Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to pick up a piece of paper.

 :Thmbsup:.

Though I never understood why they called him the "paranoid" android.  He never seemed to be paranoid about anything, just terribly, terribly depressed.

IainB

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Re: Consider installing 2 x 8Gb RAM cards in your 64-bit laptop.
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2016, 08:35:03 PM »
@Edvard: Yes, not paranoid anyway.
"Terribly depressed" - yep. I could empathise with that, at least.