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Dell Inspiron 15 (N5040) DDR3 PC3 RAM upgrade

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January 10, 2013 1:33:58 AM

Hello! I have been looking to upgrade the ram on my Dell Inspiron 15 (N5040) laptop to try to help performance with games. I know that this computer isn't built for gaming or heavy graphics at all for that matter, but I can run the games fine. The problem is I go from a solid 60 or so FPS to a lag spike of ~5-10 fps for a few seconds. This makes playing them very difficult. I'm no expert, but I think they are causd by the computer having to go through the pagefile. I've tried everything from game modifications (It still happens even with performance mods and absolue min graphics), RAM optimizers/defragmenters (I know they are supposed to not help but it did actually make some improvement for a while), to plugging a 4gb flash drive in full time with windows readyboost enabled. For a while, there was a big improvement but then they vanished. I considered overclocking my cpu (if not impossible, unworthily dangerous) or my memory but finally decided the best course of action would be to expand my current RAM capacity of 4GB to 8GB. I have used CPU-Z and included a link below to the pasted date from the program.

http://pastebin.com/yAuhtvst

I've been looking around at various ram availiable and looked solely at performance statistics and decided on the DDR3 PC3-12800 (http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=0B...). However, the clock rate/CS and other things are different between this one and the one currently installed on my computer (An obscure Samsung PC3-10700 card @ 667 Megahertz). I was concerned that by getting this upgrade I would create instability with my system which I REALLY don't want to have to deal with. I've read that matched pairs are the best way to go and that the ram's performance is limited by its lowest specs. I'm willing to spend anything less then 50 dollars on new ram, but the one I found is only $23. Pretty much I was wondering if this would be OK for my computer and if not what I should get.

One last thing - Once I got an addidional memory module and installed it physically, would there be many on-computer installation requirements such as initializing into the BIOS or something, or is it just plug n' play? If it does require special initialization, could you help point me in the right direction? I think I'll be able to install it physically using some guides I've seen.

Thanks in advance for helping out :D 
-Ameobea
a c 151 V Motherboard
January 10, 2013 2:32:17 AM

Dell says your laptop will support up to 8GB of DDR 1600MHz ram (PC3-12800).
I will not recommend adding an additional ram module of another speed since the ram cannot work any faster than the slowest module. Personally in this case I would be looking at 2x4GB kits, which will ensure the ram will work right (ram incompatability is often an issue) to get the smoothest upgrade. Perhaps a kit like one of these (from Crucial's Memory Finder) http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=D2... or http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=BE...
My personal take here, having lived through a few ram issues, is to do the full kit upgrade. That's a simple plug and play operation.
My $0.02
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January 10, 2013 8:14:35 PM

C12Friedman said:
Dell says your laptop will support up to 8GB of DDR 1600MHz ram (PC3-12800).
I will not recommend adding an additional ram module of another speed since the ram cannot work any faster than the slowest module. Personally in this case I would be looking at 2x4GB kits, which will ensure the ram will work right (ram incompatability is often an issue) to get the smoothest upgrade. Perhaps a kit like one of these (from Crucial's Memory Finder) http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=D2... or http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=BE...
My personal take here, having lived through a few ram issues, is to do the full kit upgrade. That's a simple plug and play operation.
My $0.02

OK - I thought that might be what I have to do. Between those two kits, the only difference that I can see is in voltage. If that's the case, should I just go with the one with the lower volatage? I've looked though crucial's memory matches for me before and noticed that pretty much the only variances are the CL, voltage, and frequency/speed. Those two you have linked being the only two PC3-12800s with 2x4gb sets, and both being priced exactly the same, which do you think I should get?
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a c 151 V Motherboard
January 10, 2013 8:56:24 PM

Since they are identical except the voltage, I'm going to say the 1.35 kit since it would seem to me that it is better binned (my impression).
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January 10, 2013 9:05:13 PM

OK - Thanks for the help! This can me marked as solved :) 
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