Need help on Ram, Bios, hard disk

Hi everyone,

I am a layman in computer and ran into this site by pure chance (which benefited me a lot). Anyway, I decided it's time to “revamp” my comp – replacing a bigger harddisk and adding more RAM on my ~30 mths old Dell Inspiron 630m. (have to postpone my next new purchase due to the recent bad economics here as well ). Have these questions in mind and wonder if anyone could give me some help (much appreciated):

1. My comp manual mentioned the max Ram capacity is 2G (in 2 slots), I have (1G + 216M) currently and would prefer to add a 2G RAM instead of 1G (as RAM now is dirt cheap and after all I can transfer the 2G one to my next laptop anyway). I’ve checked online but there seems no new Bios upgrade available from Dell on 630m (I've assumed this is necessary as it has exceeded stated max Ram capacity, correct me if I am wrong) . I wonder if: a) without any Bios upgrade, would my Dell still able to “recognize”/use the (2G +1G) Ram, and if anybody has successfully done this before? b) even if my Dell could not properly use 2G + 1G in different slots, I am still “okay” with any of below 2 outcomes: i) comp recognize the 2G as 1G Ram in one slot, with another old 1G in second slot (then I still got total 2G ram running) ii) it can recognize my 2G on one slot (but cannot recognize further Ram in the second slot as it has “maxed out” Yet, what I don’t really want to see is my comp can’t recognize the new 2G Ram at all or system instability. Could someone share some experience or give some advice over this? c) and would a bios from different brands help? (I assume not!) And if yes and anyone has any idea how to do it, please let me know.

2. I have saved my windows service packs and virus software (avast) in DVD & plan to install them to my new harddisk from CD Rom, wonder if this would cause any user right issue(s) that would prevent me from doing it? i.e. avast have record of my download once and would my using of "same IP address" deemed me installing a “second copy” in the new harddisk?

Thanks a lot!

Jim (from HK)
3 answers Last reply
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  1. I believe that the chipset has a limit of the amount of ram that you can put in so 2x1gb modules and I doubt that you can use the 2gb modules. Upgrading bios from another manufacturer is definitely not recommended.

    About installing the new hard drive. You will have to remove your cdrom and install your 2nd drive there or I would suggest you to upgrade your existing hard drive and transfer the OS onto the new drive using acronis or ghost.
  2. For any ram you are considering, do your own homework.
    Go to the ram vendor's web site, and access their configurator.
    Corsair, Kingston, Patriot, OCZ and others have them.
    Their compatibility list is more current than the motherboard vendor's QVL lists which rarely get updated.
    Enter your mobo or pc, and get a list of compatible ram sticks.

    Core 2 cpu's are not very sensitive to ram speeds.
    If you look at real application and game benchmarks(vs. synthetic tests),
    you will see negligible difference in performance between the slowest and fastest ram.
    Perhaps 1-2%. Not worth it to me.
    Don't pay extra for faster ram or better timings unless you are a maximum overclocker.

    A simple solution to added hard drive space might be the addition of an external USB drive.
  3. Hi pug_s,

    thanks for your reply, guess that I'll have to stick with 1G x 2 config (& forget about 2nd party Bios) then

    Hi geofelt,
    thanks for your advice too, appreciated.
    Last time I installed a same speed RAM when I did the 1G RAM upgrade, my original preference for 2G RAM is really because I've heard enough times that higher RAM is always welcomed for the RAM hungry Vista. (anyway, as pug_s has mentioned, I'll stick with a new 1G then)

    Thanks for you guys again!

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