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Memory upgrade

by 1Chris / January 1, 2010 12:55 PM PST

I have an HP a6120n running Vista (plan to upgrade to 7 soon). This came with 2 Gb or RAM, I assume in two 1 Gb DDR2-SDRAM modules. Can I add just one more 1 Gb module, to make 3 Gb, or do I have to replace them in pairs?

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What do your PC docs indicate re adding RAM ? How many
by VAPCMD / January 1, 2010 1:20 PM PST
In reply to: Memory upgrade

RAM slots do you have ? What type and speed RAM ?

Best place to get the right info is from your HP system docs or the HP system docs online.

Might suggest going to Win 7 first ... and then see how the PC runs on the new OS. If you still need more RAM, then go for it.


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by 1Chris / January 2, 2010 2:52 PM PST

It's got two 1 Gb PC2 SDRAM 666 MHz. Samsung is listed as the manufacturer.
The bios setup says there's one in mem banks 1 and 3; "Not installed" in banks 2 and 4. I haven't taken this apart yet. Don't know if these are empty or continuity modules. Where would I put one?

HP says "To make sure that the memory you install is compatible, make sure all DIMMs are the same model number and are from the same manufacturer..." I can't find Samsung memory anywhere.

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Then replace all.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 3, 2010 12:03 AM PST
In reply to: DDR2 SDRAM

While most of us will replace, install in matched pairs many will read the instructions to a fault. In your case you want to follow the instructions so you would have to replace all. Then again you could go to and order up "one pair".

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Lots of options here however since your system has
by VAPCMD / January 3, 2010 2:36 AM PST
In reply to: DDR2 SDRAM

dual channel memory architecture, it behooves you to populate the empty RAM slots in matched pairs. You could add 1 DIMM at 1GB but that would eliminate dual channel memory operation. No point in sub-optimizing your system when there are options that don't.

Alternatively, you could add 2 DIMMs at 512MBs each for a total of 1GB (system total 3GBs) or 2 DIMMs at 1GB ea for a total of 2GBs (system total 4GBs. Using matching DIMMs in the respective channels, 1-3 and 2-4, gives you dual channel or 128 bit operation whereas adding a single 1GB DIMM eliminates it.

Your best options are 2 DIMMs @ 512MBs each or 2 DIMMs @ 1GB each. Given the $25 cost differential I'd probably just get the 2GB kit ...

From the HP site

Component . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Attributes
Memory Installed . . . . . . . . . . 2 GB
Maximum allowed 4 GB* . . . . .(4 x 1 GB)

*Actual available memory may be less
Speed supported PC2-5300 MB/sec
Type 240 pin, DDR2 SDRAM

'* Maximum Memory: 4096MB
* Slots: 4 (2 banks of 2)
* Standard Memory: 2048MB removable
* USB Support: 2.x Compliant
* Although the memory can be installed one module at a time, the best performance comes from using matched pairs of modules.

Q: Will my system recognize the maximum upgrade?

A: Possibly

How much memory your Windows OS will recognize depends on which version of Windows you are running. 32-bit versions of Windows will see (and utilize) only 3GB or 3.5GB. To utilize more memory, install a 64-bit version of your OS. More information about OS memory maximums can be found at

Q: What memory goes into my computer, and will a faster speed be backward-compatible?

A: DDR2 memory with support for DDR2 PC2-5300,DDR2 PC2-6400 speeds.

Q: How much memory can my computer handle?

A: 4096MB.

Adding the maximum amount of memory will improve performance and help extend the useful life of your system as you run increasingly demanding software applications in the future.

Q: Do I have to install matching pairs?

A: No.

No, you can install modules one at a time, and you can mix different densities of modules in your computer. But if your computer supports dual-channel memory configurations, you should install in identical pairs (preferably in kits) for optimal performance.

Q: Does my computer support dual-channel memory?

A: Yes.

To benefit from the performance advantages offered by dual-channel systems, you should install memory in identical pairs. Installing a kitted pair is the best way to ensure that your modules are identical, right down to the chip count.'

It's all up to you...let us know how it turns out.


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Type of memory
by 1Chris / January 3, 2010 10:57 AM PST

A lotta folks here and elsewhere recommend Crucial.

Went to Fry's today and they have Corsair, PNY, Patriot, Kingston at a little less than crucial, with lifetime warranties. Some are buffered, some are not - what's this mean?

One brand better than the other?

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I'm going with no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 3, 2010 11:04 AM PST
In reply to: Type of memory

The only advantage with crucial is they get me the right sticks for the oddball machines. Example low density sticks where required. If the store accepts returns then try them.

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If you're close to Fry's and willing to schlep the RAM back
by VAPCMD / January 3, 2010 12:42 PM PST
In reply to: Type of memory

if it doesn't work...then by all means go for it. Just don't buy any of the 'unbranded' or 'cheapo RAM'. You want reliability and stability ... not cheap major on thirds.

Most folks don't have a retailer like Fry's nearby and they resort to buying online. When they buy online, they wait for the parts, go to UPS for the parts, test the parts and if they don't work, get RMAs, send the parts back, wait for the replacements, etc.,..

When you buy from Crucial for a specific PC like yours... they pretty much guarantee compatibility (read their warranty) and they make it easy to exchange any defective part.

You don't need buffered or ECC RAM.

Let us know how it works out...just remember you want matched pairs whether it be 2 DIMMs @ 512MBs or 2 DIMMs @ 1GB.


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