I feel I got a really good deal out of it, I only spent $660 shipped, and it has a dual core processor. It should fit in well for what I need (school, mostly, no 3d games, I've my desktop for that).
However, 512 megs of ram will be a bottleneck for Matlab, which I'll need. Heck, it's a bottleneck for many thing I'll need...
The laptop has room for 2 sticks of ram. The bus speed allows for DDR2 667 RAM, but it comes with a 512mb stick of 533. The max amount of RAM is 2 gig (2 x 1024).
So, decisions decisions. The cost of 533 ram and 667 ram is nearly identical. Do I buy one stick of faster RAM, or will that cause an adverse effect (I'd guess the best that would happen would be the 667 ram is retarded down to 533).
Also, I'll eventually want 2 gig... Can I mix a 512 stick with a 1024 stick??? Will things REALLY be out of hand if I have a 512 stick @ 533 and a 1024 stick @ 667?
If I had the money, I'd just get two 1 gig sticks at the faster timings and be done with it, but that's not in the budget... and budget is important, it's the whole reason I went with getting a Dell on Ebay in the first place.
Some have mentioned sticking with the 533 which is what I'm going to do. Perhaps the notebook gurus on this forum can chime in on this issue? I've also seen "go with what's least expensive" when looking between 533 and 667.
Also, bestbuy.com is selling (thru 8/26 i think) Kingston 1GB PC-4200 DDR2 533 modules for $89.99. That's a great price. I *believe* that this is what your notebook uses. Double check. You can get online too. (Item 7322453)
I don't think the point is that it's inherently slower, because it really isn't. But, that it's really built for higher capability machines that can use the wider channel effectively. The test machine in the thread, which isn't unlike yours and mine, couldn't use it and it got slowed down due to some latency issues. So, you need a real high end processor/mobo to really get the benefit out of 667. (Notebook gurus chime in as needed?)
On the other hand, they seem to be indicating that if your machine isn't top capability, then you won't really see any difference. So, if the 667 is more expensive, it isn't worth it. If it's cheaper, it won't cause any real world harm.
Watch that you don't buy junk RAM. I try to stick to Crucial and Kingston. Once in a while I'll buy a PNY. Anyone else have recommended RAM manufacturers and those to stay away from?
A quick search on Newegg for 1GB DIMMs at 533 or 667 revealed the following:
There were no 533 DIMMs.
All the latencies were 5-5-5-12 or 5-5-5-15. The difference between the two is meaningless.
And I also know: your laptop supports dual channel and it will not come equipped with it due to 1 DIMM being used. I highly recommend you get 2 DIMMs of the same thing, preferably 1GB each to avoid upgrading again.
Patriot 1GB DDR2-667 was going for $81. I've heard good things about this brand, I'd consider it.
Corsair was going for $87. I doubt $12 is meaningful to you (2 DIMMs), so here's your quality assurance.
Crucial was $120, this is retarded.
Aenon is $67. This also is retarded, stay away, never heard of them.
I was hoping to find an OCZ, but they didn't have any. In my desktop I use 2x256MB OCZ and 1x512MB GeIL, and they've worked fine together in dual channel.
Dual channel v Single Channel is going to affect performance more than 533 v 667 or CAS3 v CAS5.
Finally, while I don't think this is the case, if your laptop requires low height DIMMS, this gets tricky. I know my laptop (12" screen, 1" thick -- closed) requires 1" DIMMs because of its small dimensions. Most DIMMs are 1.33", though. So, I'd check your manual, Dell probably has it online, and see if they mention anything about size. Standard is 1.33" for DD2, I believe, like DDR. If they don't then you should assume any of the DIMMs will work, but if they do, it gets tricky to determine if they're 1" or 1.33" or something in between.