Laptops forum


Is RAM expandable on all computers?

by amandacole / February 12, 2013 11:21 AM PST

I'm looking at buying a new laptop. I'd really prefer one that has at least 6gb RAM but from what I've seen it's pretty easy to upgrade the RAM. My question is, are all computers expandable to 8gb or just some of them? I don't think all of them are expandable but my problem is I'm finding a lot of computers at places like Best Buy that don't state specifically whether they're expandable or not. Anyone have any suggestions as to how I can find out if they are?


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All Answers

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Very few are restricted.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 12, 2013 12:23 PM PST

But so far, from 6 to 8GB is not much payback. We do this at the office but this is for those that run Virtual Box and the extra RAM is used there. Otherwise not much payback. At least it's cheap today.

How to find out? Ask the seller or maker. If they do not answer a pre-sales question you should not buy from them.

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I suggest going to the manufacturer's web site
by PCuser / February 15, 2013 12:24 PM PST

You should be able to download a copy of the computer's promotional material. That would include the technical specifications, including the maximum RAM capacity.

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Yes and No...
by Zouch / February 15, 2013 6:49 PM PST

Since you are talking about a new laptop, then the practical answer is likely yes. Odd ones can be difficult logistically, some Thinkpads require you remove the keyboard to get at the second slot, for instance. But it's also true most machines also have an upper limit, usually due to the number of address lines the manufacturer provides - for instance there is no current laptop that can accommodate the maximum physical RAM offered by 64 bit addressing - even if you could afford it!

Generally, if there is a limit, it will be a power of two, so you might come across an older machine with a 4 GB limit and some newer ones with an 8 GB or 16 GB limit but you are unlikely to find one with a 6GB or 12 GB limit because these aren't powers of two.

To be absolutely sure the machine you are interested in supports the upgrade size you want, refer to the manufacturers Specifications (not the sales brochure) on their website.

With a new machine, you won't have a problem with getting the additional memory you want, when you want it. Each type is manufactured for typically longer than the machines that use it. This is not true of older machines, I restore older machines as a hobby and you try getting hold of PC133 SODIMMs nowadays!

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32 bit vs 64 bit
by paul_saute / February 16, 2013 4:55 AM PST

Hi Amanda,

If you are planning to have more than 4 GB of RAM, then you require a 64 bit architecture.The maximum RAM a 32 bit machine can address is 4 GB, so it is NOT expandable beyond this!

To make this more confusing, 64 bit PC's are also referred to as x64 machines and 32 bit PC's are called x86 machines. You can go to Google and search for 'x64 x86 difference'.

Just be sure that the PC you purchase is x64 or 64 bit and you will have no problems expanding to 6 GB or more.


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Easy to upgrade? Yes, in principle ...
by Gerdd / February 16, 2013 5:24 AM PST

... but:

every once in a while I run across a machine where at least some of the memory slots are hard to reach.

More to the point, though, there are many configurations where you need to take out the existing memory in order to upgrade to full capacity. For instance, you may find two 500MB modules in the slots that will have to go, so that two 1GB or 2GB modules can be installed, upgrading from 1GB of memory to 2GB or 4GB, for example.

In such situations I ask myself, why I should buy the smaller modules in the first place, when I plan for more memory immediately. For my home laptop I chose one that came with the 8GB that I wanted. My work laptop only has 4GB but in two 2GB modules and there are two extra slots that can hold an extra 4GB or 8GB, respectively, giving me an 8GB or 12GB system. Only if I want the full 16GB configuration do I have to remove and replace the 2GB modules.

I hope these examples give you a bit of a perspective, what to look out for.

And I completely support the advice given here earlier: If you can't find out how the memory in the advertised machine is configured and/or if you can't get the vendor to offer you a custom configuration that meets your memory requirements without wasted modules - don't buy. Don't touch it - broomstick or not ...

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new laptop memory
by j_cat / February 16, 2013 10:25 PM PST

with the manufacturer and model number you can get all this by searching on the internet manufacturer website.

with a new laptop having 8GB is a good start and should be ample to handle normal usage .

the laptop I just purchased from staples has windows 8 intel I7 and 8GB of ram and so far no issues smooth operating. the reviews have all been good with this Toshiba computer.

staples has a good shopping site to lookup prices and spec's on computer equipment.

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