Varying RAM Capacities
1 GB RAM
We used two 512 MB DDR2 Samsung DIMMs for our first round of testing.
1 GB of memory has been the sweet spot in notebooks for quite some time, but more and more notebooks, even at the low end, are being factory-equipped with 2 GB of RAM. We decided to start at the 1 GB capacity point, as many notebooks are still equipped with this amount. As you will see later, an upgrade to at least 2 GB of RAM makes a lot of sense, as the battery runtime gets a nice boost.
The 512 MB Samsung DIMMs we grabbed from another laptop are programmed to support CL3 timings at DDR2-400 speed, with CL4 timings at DDR2-533 and CL5 timings at DDR2-667.
2 GB RAM
The default memory installation of our test notebook was 2 GB of RAM, consisting of two 1 GB DDR2-667 SO-DIMMs.
2 GB RAM can be considered very much standard today. Most notebooks are equipped with two 1 GB DIMMs, since these offer the best cost per RAM capacity ratio. DDR2-667 is sufficient for all the Intel chipsets available today, but other platforms may require DDR2-800.
The SPD programming (Serial Presence Detect) of our 1 GB DIMMs was just like the settings found stored on the 512 MB SO-DIMMs.
4 GB RAM : Corsair ValueSelect
Corsair provided a 4 GB SO-DIMM kit for our testing. The two 2 GB DIMMs support DDR2-667 speed.
Be advised that a 32-bit Windows XP or Windows Vista cannot utilize the entire 4 GB of RAM. However, there will still be more than 3 GB of RAM available for Windows and your applications. Looking at prices of $80 for a mainstream 4 GB kit for notebooks and $100 and up for 4 GB upper mainstream memory for the desktop, you will realize that it doesn’t make sense to purchase any other memory module combination that will give you a total of 3 GB of RAM. Windows XP x64 or the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista will be happy to work with 4 GB of RAM once you switch to them.
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