How to upgrade your laptop's ram cheap and effectively!

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I have a newly updated guide on upgrading rams, with pictures and illustrations, please go to any of the listing page of the rams I sell and you will find a link to the guide on the right hand side plane.

Below is the old guide:


This guide will show you the steps and precautions for upgrading your laptop's ram cheaply and effectively!

Dear reader,

Have you ever owned or used a laptop? If you do then I am sure you have experienced the frustration of laptops' slow performance compare to a desktop, unless you have a super laptop that costs more than $2000. The reason for this is that laptop components are more expensive, however upgrading your laptop has never been cheaper with eBay. The easiest way to improve laptop's performance is to upgrade its ram and I hope this guide will help you in doing so.

Step 1: Do the homework, find out what type of ram you need.

Compatibility is the biggest issue!

If you want to upgrade your laptop's ram, you need to know what type of ram it takes. The simplest way is to use some of the memory finders on the internet; there are many websites offering this service, such as crucial.com, google for "laptop memory upgrade". If one website doesn't give you the information you need, try another one.

My favourate website is memorysuppliers.com, I have been using their service for a long time now and always trusted their database. Search for your laptop by type in your laptop's model number, for example: "thinkpad T20" , or you can just type in thinkpad and you will get a list of all thinkpad models that you can choose.

These websites also sell rams, but at very high prices. eBay is the only place to go for cheap rams!

Now let's do the homework, there are a few precautions you need to take:

* * * * *  What type of ram your laptop takes? * * * * *

You should be able to find out the type of ram you need by visting the websites discussed above, however for your convenience, here is a general guide for the type of ram your laptop should use:

PC66 SD(So-Dimm) ram: Generally laptops with a Pentium III, Celeron or Pentium II CPU, 400mhz processor or less, build around 1999

PC100 SD(So-Dimm) ram: Generally laptops with a Pentium III or Celeron CPU, 400 ~ 800mhz processor, build around 1999 to 2000

PC133 SD(So-Dimm) ram: Laptops with a Pentium III or Celeron CPU, 850mhz~1.3Ghz processor, build around 2000 to 2001

PC2100 DDR ram: Generally found in laptops with a Pentium 4, Pentium M or AMD Athlon CPU, made, build around 2001 to 2003

PC2700 DDR ram: Similar with PC2100, can be swapped with PC2100, build around 2001 to 2003

PC4200 DDR2 ram: Found in laptops with Pentium M, Centrino processors, build around 2004 and onwards

PC5300 DDR2 ram: Found in most current laptop models, normally dual core, but PC5300 can be used as PC4200

* * * * * What is the maximum ram your laptop can take? * * * * *

If you put more ram than the maximum, then the extra ram will be ignored and you will be wasting money. Sometimes get the latest BIOS update will increase this maximum.

PC66 laptops generally have a maximum of 192mb, PC100 laptops could have a maximum or between 192mb to 512mb, PC133 laptop normally can take up to 1G of ram.

* * * * * How will your ram slots take the ram? * * * * *

Most laptops have 2 slots, but some old laptop can only accept one ram in one slot at one time, some have a maximum ram each slot can take. So be careful and read those websites carefully.

* * * * * Will the new ram comflict with your existing ram? * * * * *

You can mix 128mb PC100 ram with 128mb PC133, you can also mix PC2100 rams with PC2700, PC4200 rams with PC5300 rams and use them inside the same laptop. However it is not adviced to do so, mixing rams will cause the system to run automatically on the speed of the slower ram(128mb PC133 ram will now run at PC100 speed, which is 100mhz and slower than 133mhz which PC133 rams are designed to run) and cause system stability sometimes(show up as your laptop keep restarting or won't start at all).

Please also notice that 256mb PC133 and 512mb PC133 are not backward compatible with PC100 rams.

Some old laptops have onboard PC66 ram that can not be removed, although the websites tells you that you can use PC100 rams, but most of the time the PC100 ram will not work together with the onboard ram, you must get PC66 rams or PC100 rams that are backward compatible.

Step 2: Purchase.

Once homework is done, time to shop! Search in eBay for the right type of ram and I can guarantee you will find it. eBay have almost every type of laptop ram, the problem is how much you are willing to pay and from whom you will buy it. My only advice is to buy from someone have at a positive feedback of more than 20.

Please reconsider when buying from oversea sellers, it is always good to buy from your own country. Rams are very fussy things. If the ram you purchased from overseas is not compatible with your laptop, you will then have to post it back to the seller overseas, this could be costly and you will never know when they will say they have received your returned ram and issue an exchange or refund(very time consuming if you don't get it right the first time).

Step 3: Installation

I have been selling ram on eBay and for every customer I gave them this installation guide:

For the safety of the memory chips and to insure successful installation, please follow these simple steps:

Step1: Turn off your laptop, unplug the AC adaptor and remove the battery.
Step2: Ground yourself, by touching a piece of metal (Oil heater, water pipe or tap, etc). Wear an anti-static wrist strap if you have one.

Caution: This step is extremely important in preventing Electro Shock Discharge (ESD) from destroying your ram. Static electricity occurs when two objects of different potential level meet and will instantly destroy the ram and other components of your computer. You don't have to feel the shock for the ram to be destroyed, so please do take care!!!    

Step3: Turn your laptop over and remove the ram slot cover.
Step4: To install a ram into an empty slot:

     First align your ram with the slot (by match the notch on the side of the ram with the one in the slot); slide the ram inside, approximately 30° over horizontal. Push the ram in as far as you can and snap the ram into position by pushing it downwards.
To remove a ram from its slot:

     Locate the two clips on each side of a memory module, and then slowly press outward on the two clips at the same time until the module tilts upward. Then pull out the ram in an inclined angle of 30°.

Step5: Replace the ram slot cover.

Step6: Power on your laptop and check it ram is functioning or not by entering the BIOS setup screen, or by checking the properties when right click "My computer" after windows has boot up.


Thanks for reading my guide and I hope it will be of some use to you.

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