Please help me select RAM for my Dell 5150 Inspiron
August 21, 2006 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me select RAM for my Dell Inspiron 5150. Currently I have 512 MB RAM and Belarc Advisor says "Slot 'DIMM_A' has 256 MB and Slot 'DIMM_B' has 256 MB."

I would like to increase it by another 256 MB at least. What would be the best configuration for me: 1 piece of 256 MB and 1 of 512 MB or replace both existing pieces and install one of 1 GB? Are there any compatibilty issues that I need to look into?

Also how can I find out more about the kind of RAM I have?
posted by sk381 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
To findout howmuch RAM (on XP), Right click on My Computer on the desktop, select properties, and all the info (including a link to Dell support) should all be there (except the asset tag, )... Look around the PC, there'll be an ASSET Tag somewhere (Like under the front cover, if it has one)... Go to the Dell website, and I think there's a place you can enter that number (it specifies all you need to know about your PC) - and Dell'll suggest a match.
posted by Dub at 8:45 PM on August 21, 2006


You can find out much more about your current ram modules with CPU-Z. It's a stand alone application - you don't need to install anything. Just download it, unzip and run the executable inside.

As upgrades go, it really depends on what sort of work you're doing. As a rule of thumb, I generally like to have at least 1gb for anything that's not just web browsing and word processing.

Laptop modules (called SO-DIMM's) tend to be a bit pricier, though, so ultimately the deciding factor is cost. If you can easily get the 1gb, then do it, absolutely. If you will feel the cost, then you'll have to decide if you really do need that extra performance or not.
posted by Drunken_munky at 8:48 PM on August 21, 2006


I vote for bumping it up to the max. That's what I did with my Dell Dimension. Memory isn't that expensive.

You'll die of old age trying to sort this all out using the Dell website. Been there, done that.

I bought mine from Crucial.com. I used their Memory Advisor tool and it fit and worked perfectly. I beleive that they guarantee you will get the right thing with their scanner.

Just try that scan system thingie. It won't hurt anything.
posted by bim at 8:49 PM on August 21, 2006


with some systems it is better to keep it split and even, so 2 slots to upgrade may mean at the min 2 x 512 or 2 x 1gig. Not sure about your system. If you have a local (non best buy-ish) store give them a ring and they can be much more helpful.
posted by edgeways at 10:09 PM on August 21, 2006


The motherboard on the Inspiron 5150 doesn't support dual channel RAM so there's no benefit in having matching pairs of RAM. Dell put 2 x 256MB sticks of RAM in the 2 memory slots of your laptop because it's cheaper than 1 x 512MB.

You should upgrade to 1GB of RAM total at least. You want PC-2700 DDR-333 SODIMM memory (SODIMM denotes notebook memory) in a single stick so that you can upgrade to 2GB down the line. Newegg has this Transcend brand memory for ~$110.
posted by junesix at 11:17 PM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Note that increasing your RAM will have a small but noticeable effect on your battery life, and a much more noticeable effect on your suspend-to-disk time (and the size of your hibernate file, if you're pressed for diskspace).
posted by baylink at 7:37 AM on August 22, 2006


Get the RAM with the fire-extinguisher option, if it's for your Inspiron.
posted by Mr. Blint at 12:38 PM on August 22, 2006


I also have had a good experience with crucial.com.
posted by dfan at 1:54 PM on August 22, 2006


Get the RAM with the fire-extinguisher option, if it's for your Inspiron.
Good advice. LOL
posted by bim at 2:09 PM on August 22, 2006


with some systems it is better to keep it split and even, so 2 slots to upgrade may mean at the min 2 x 512 or 2 x 1gig. Not sure about your system. If you have a local (non best buy-ish) store give them a ring and they can be much more helpful.

What kind of tests would they be running to find this out? Would it be anything I could do on my own? I'm on a tight budget but don't mind spending time learning a few skills, if need be.

and thanks to all those who responded!
posted by sk381 at 3:44 PM on August 22, 2006


How much to upgrade will depend on what you do with your computer. However, I find that 768mb (512+256) is very generous, and I run a dual CPU system with all kinds of things running at the same time.

To see for yourself, open up all the applications you might want to have running at the same time, launch Task Manager (ctrl-alt-del -> Task Manager), and click on the Performance tab. The Page File Usage (or PF Usage) will tell you how much memory is required, more or less.

Here is wikipedia on Dual Channel memory. The chipset should determine if you have a dual channel system or single channel, and CPU-Z can help you determine the chipset. Searching on Inspiron 5150, apparently the chipset is intel 852pm, and here is a way too complicated intel document which says it is single channel.

Motherboard manuals for desktops often show a table with all possible memory combinations. I couldn't find anything like that for your laptop..
posted by Chuckles at 6:18 PM on August 22, 2006


I gave it above. The chipset on the 5150 doesn't support dual channel and the 2 slots can accomodate a total of 2.0GB of RAM.

There's no tests to run. You can install CPU-Z as drunken_munky mentioned above to find out about what RAM you have installed right now but you won't learn anything new that hasn't already been mentioned.

Right now, this is your configuration
256MB (slot A) + 256MB (slot B) = 512MB total

If your budget is around $60, buy one 512MB DDR-333 SODIMM RAM module and replace one of the 256MB modules in your 2 slots.
256MB (slot A) + 512MB (slot B) = 768MB total

If your budget is around $120, buy one 1.0GB DDR-333 SODIMM RAM module and replace one of the 256MB modules in your 2 slots.
256MB (slot A) + 1.0GB (slot B) = 1.3GB total
posted by junesix at 1:59 PM on August 23, 2006


« Older How to get high-res DVD screen grabs/captures   |   How can I get Google to re-index my site and how... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.