I am almost set to buy an Inspiron 15R, however it only comes with 3GB 1066Mhz installed so I am looking to upgrade it to either 4GB or 6GB. Obviously I would prefer the latter as it isn't much more expensive and it will give me some headroom for gaming. So I have a couple of questions I hope an Inspiron owner could answer:
1) Will this Inspiron accept 6GB of memory? 2GB and 4GB sticks.
2) Does it matter what brand of memory I use in a Dell laptop? I plan to use some cheap Kingston ValueRAM.
3) It's been a while since I have done anything with hardware and I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but does it matter what the timings of the purchased memory are?
I'm not an owner of an Inspiron, but I can answer the questions you have.
1 A. Yes. Memory Type: DDR3 PC3-8500, DDR3 PC3-10600, DDR3 (non-ECC)
Maximum Memory: 8GB
Each memory slot can hold DDR3 PC3-8500, DDR3 PC3-10600 with a maximum of 4GB per slot
Mixing RAM is not recommended, but it is possible.
2. The brand typically does not matter, although in the event of failure, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Dell tech support will say to only use RAM purchased through Dell. KVR isn't very good for gaming.
3. There is no compatability issue with timing, so really, it doesn't matter what the timings are on the RAM you select; however, timing is important insomuch as how well the SO-DIMMs perform, and IF you do mix your RAM.
When you mix RAM, you'll be limiting the performance to the lowest frequency; the highest voltage of the two DIMMs; and the loosest timings. This is because of physical limitations. For example if you have one SO-DIMM of DDR3-8500, 1.5V, & CL8 and another SO-DIMM of DDR3-10600, 1.6V, & CL9, then you'd be forced to use the following specs:
DDR3-8500, 1.6V, & CL9. The problem is, if the CL8 DIMM does not support 1.6V, then you could end up overvolting the DIMM, if the CL9 DIMM needs 1.6V to operate.
I could get standard Corsair memory which also fits my budget, they are both CL7 1.5V so I don't see what is particularly wrong with them, and it can't be any worse than the Dell factory standard...
Another option for the same price would be to get a single 4GB Corsair 1333Mhz module, CL9 1.5V. This would be the same price, but would I get any FPS difference in games that isn't negligible, and would it be wiser to stick with 6GB for the headroom? Keep in mind I'll be running Windows 7 64 bit.
How much RAM to install really depends on what you're going to do with the laptop. If you're going to heavy multi-tasking (gaming+music+downloading), then you just might hit the point where more RAM capacity would help. But realistically, 4GB is often plenty for gaming.
As far as FPS goes, this is a common misconceived tool for measuring performance. The FPS in a game is affected, albeit slight, by the RAM, but mostly by the GPU. Now, if the GPU can process faster than the CPU, then you'll have a bottleneck here, and no amount of system RAM will help fix this. But this will not likely be a problem for you.
I would opt for a 2x2GB kit, as this will enable dual channel mode. Dual channel isn't significantly faster, but faster nonetheless.