I have HP Compaq Presario CQ41-208AU, the specs are as follows.
AMD Turion II Dual-Core Mobile M520, 2.3 Ghz
2 GB DDR2 RAM (1.75 GB Usable )
320GB Hard Disk
AMD M880G with ATi Mobility Radeon HD 4200 (974MB HyperMemory)
Windows7 Ultimate 32-Bit (64-Bit also available )
I was thinking on upgrading its Ram, I want to know how much of a difference will it make if I install another 2 GB of RAM?
And Im just curious, does this Notebook's Motherboard have a PCI Express Slot? Like Is it possible to attach a Graphics adapter to it maybe a NVIDIA Mobility GPU?
More RAM is the best upgrade option for a notebook. Also one of the easiest, except for the HDD maybe.
4Gb will be seen as 3.something by 32bit OS and as full 4gb by a 64bit OS. Either way, you will notice a real difference. Go for it. Given that the system has HyperMemory (which is a fancy term for shared memory, some of the system memory is borrowed by the graphics card while in use), the upgrade will be even more beneficial.
Don't know about the PCIx slot, but it is not nearly as easy to upgrade graphics in a laptop as it is in a desktop, the heatsinks are usually attached with thermal compound to the GPU and are designed specifically for that card. They might not fit another card and in case the replacement card comes with it's own heatsink, that one might not fit inside the laptop's case. If you feel adventurous, you could try and go down that road; start with actually disassembling the laptop and seeing what you're dealing with.
Thanks for the advice. So what you are saying is that my laptop's overall performance will increase significantly if I install more RAM and upgrade my OS from 32Bit to 64Bit. But what I am abit confused about now is the Graphics Adapter's HyperMemory. According to the ATi Catalyst Control Centre's Hardware Information, the Hypermemory size is 974MB, but when I load GTA IV, the graphics tab reads the memory resource as 320MB only . Im guessing that currently, my system can only offload 320MB from its memory for applications now, and the rest is for usage. So technically, if it has more memory(RAM) available, it will be able to offload more memory to the Graphics Adapter for applications right?
But I doubt more memory for the Graphics Adapter will improve frame rates of 3D applications significantly . Or will it? You are the expert, help me out bro....
And about the Extra Graphics Adapter I mentioned. What I meant was can I not attach an extra adapter from time to time when needed. Not necessarily trying to fit it in the casing, as it would be impossible to do in, because most graphics adapters are much thicker than a notebook. I was thinking of using it as a spare when doing some gaming. Like attach it when needed, and remove it when not. Lets say I keep the adapter below the notebook on some sort of stand or something. I don't know, I'm out of Ideas.
The hypermemory will get as much as it is available, up to the 974Mb. Even if you have 12 Gb of RAM, the graphics card will only use 974Mb out of it.
of course when more RAM is available, more memory will be available to distribute between the CPU and the GPU. Keep in mind that This is being done by the OS, therefore eating up CPU cycles. That's why dedicated graphics memory are always a better option than shared memory.
For laptops, though, this is not a huge problem, as they are usually designed for moderate graphics use, if that. Only gaming laptops that have dedicated VRAM are above that and trying to match a desktop.
You can not attach a discrete desktop graphic card to a laptop using any expansion slots on the laptop. There are adapters that usually run via USB, but no performance gain will be noted, rather a performance drop. Keep in mind that a laptop's mobo is occupied by it's own internal cards, like networking card, wireless adapters and it's own graphic card. They do not come with redundant ports.
Bottom line is, I would double up the memory on that laptop and even install the 64bit OS on it if I wanted maximum performance out of it. If you have extra cash, you could go for an SSD to replace the HDD inside, but that is an expensive trick and opens up a whole new can of worms. Might be a second option if still not happy after the RAM upgrade.
Get back to us if you have any other questions. Good luck!