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May 3, 2006 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Laptop memory filter: Can I add just one module to my Toshiba A30 series laptop?

Ive hit a wall trying to find out if its ok to swap one of my 256MB modules with a 1024MB one.

Curently my Toshiba Sattelite A30 has 51MB of RAM (2x256). Im begining to think its not enough. So can I buy one 1024MB stich and swap out one of the 256MB cards? Or do I have to buy two 512 cards?

From what I gather from crucial.com I can, but this goes against what I know about desktop memory. Is it different with laptops?

I we only changed memory on a desktop before so im slightly perplexed.
posted by gergtreble to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
It shouldn't go against what you know about desktop memory, since there's nothing wrong with swapping out two smaller sticks for a larger one, unless your specific board doesn't support it. Look up either the user or repair/service manual for your laptop and start reading, and you'll find your answer.
posted by cellphone at 3:58 PM on May 3, 2006

According to crucial the Sat Pro A30 supports up to 2048mb RAM, and it doesn't say anything about having to have matched chips.

I've known crucial to be wrong, but only very rarely (and regarding very old machines, to be fair).
posted by tiamat at 4:04 PM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: Yes, what i know of desktop memory isnt very much either!

Ive been pouring over the user manual for my laprop for a couple of hours and all it says is how to change the memory.

So if I put a 1024MB module in it will be cool to leave one of the 256MB ones in too?
posted by gergtreble at 4:11 PM on May 3, 2006

In my experience, you should be able to remove both existing modules, and place one higher-capacity module in the first slot. I doubt you'll be able to keep using one of the existing modules, though.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:12 PM on May 3, 2006

Most (all?) laptops with two slots can have two different-sized modules in the two slots.

Very many other machines with four slots have to have pairs, though. This restriction persists today, and crucial.com can definitely be wrong.
posted by jellicle at 4:52 PM on May 3, 2006

Best answer: The balancing of RAM was relevant in the days of SIMM RAM. In modern desktops and laptops this is no longer necessary. (Sorry to disagree, jellicle.)

With respect to modern laptops in particular you can certainly yank one out and replace it with a different size. The only reason it would have been two in the first place would be because it was cheaper.

My laptop (Acer Aspire 1680) came with 2 x 256MB cards (PC2700S, DDR, 333MHz). I replaced one with 512MB of RAM (PC2700 DDR SODIMM, Simptech, $125) upon purchasing it. A few months ago I replaced the remaining 256MB with 1GB - I have the box in front of me: PC3200 DDR SODIMM, Kingston, $170 from Microcenter.

I quoted all the stats to you cos I think it's useful and to demonstrate that differing RAM (PC3200 and PC2700) and quite happily cohabit.
posted by NailsTheCat at 5:10 PM on May 3, 2006

I'm having trouble finding information about your laptop, but check the manual to see if it supports dual channel memory. If it does, it's to your benefit to get two of the exact same memory modules, rather than differing types. This is because dual channel memory controllers are able to access both memory modules in one shot, effectively doubling the memory bandwidth and making your computer significantly faster. Dual channel only works when you have two of the exact same modules, meaning size, latency, etc.

If your laptop doesn't support dual channel, there's no reason to worry about mixing different sized modules.
posted by knave at 5:22 PM on May 3, 2006

knave - I don't want to hijack gergtreble's thread here. I hope an answer to this question will be useful to him too.

I have my laptop manual in front of me. It says "expandable to 2GB with DDR 266/333 SDRAM modules [...] supports shadow RAM" elsewhere it says "with dual SODIMM modules". I think the 'dual' in the latter case merely means 'two'.

Does the 'shadow RAM' mean dual channel (didn't seem to from a quick google)?
posted by NailsTheCat at 5:32 PM on May 3, 2006

No, they're not related.
posted by knave at 5:44 PM on May 3, 2006

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