Solved: How much RAM can I add?

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iab026

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This is my first post so excuse my naivity.

I have an aging Dell Inspiron 530 and currently only have 2 x 1GB modules but have 4 slots and the max memory is 4GB according to this website but firstly i am not sure if that is per slot or overall??

Hope this makes sense and thanks in advance.
 

iab026

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Thanks for the reply, so i could fill all 4 slots up with a 1GB module? or is it best to have 2 x 2GB (if the motherboard allows)?
 
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Dell calls for 1GB Modules, and provides the 4 slots. I'd stay with 1GB modules and fill the 4 of them.
 
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Which Operating system do you have?
Is it a 32-bit(x86) operating system or a 64-bit(x64) operating system?
A 64-bit operating system supports more than 3GB of RAM. (So it can use the 4GB)
A 32-bit operating system doesn't support more than 3GB of RAM. (It will use 3GB max.)
 
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Make sure the chipset and BIOS supports more than 4GB of RAM, too.

I got bit by this awhile ago on a Gateway system. You could install >4GB of RAM, but it would only allow 3.5GB to be used.. even on a 64bit OS.
 
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But still then 512 MB is used, not by the operating system (since it doesn't have access to it), but the motherboard or GPU.
If you install 4GB on a 32-bit system, 1GB isn't used, so it's useless (unless you use your onboard graphics card, and dedicate RAM memory to it)
 
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I meant he installed 5GB of RAM and it would only have 3.5GB available. He could've put in 8GB of RAM, and would have the same result.

We narrowed it down to the BIOS. The Gateway BIOS didn't have a particular setting (or it was missing or disabled) to allow the operating system to use all of the memory. So, it was crippled and they never put out an update.

He was a bit ticked off.
 

iab026

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Which Operating system do you have?
Is it a 32-bit(x86) operating system or a 64-bit(x64) operating system?
A 64-bit operating system supports more than 3GB of RAM. (So it can use the 4GB)
A 32-bit operating system doesn't support more than 3GB of RAM. (It will use 3GB max.)
I am using 32bit - so if 3GB is my max, do i buy 1 GB module or 2 x 512mb to fill up the full 4 slots?
 
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Dual Channel works better with 2 RAM modules.
So it's better to buy the 2x 512mb RAM to fill the 2 empty RAM slots.

I think it would be better if the 512mb has the same speed as your 1gb module.
To check that, look at your RAM modules or download http://www.cpuid.com/downloads/cpu-z/1.63-setup-en.exe
If your 1gb is a "DDR2 PC2-6400 or DDR2 PC2-5300, DDR2 (non-ECC)" quoted from the Dell website you gave
On the 1gb RAM module on a sticker there is probably given something like: 800Mhz(PC2-6400) or 666/667Mhz(PC2-5300)

You can always check this for sure with the CPUID program.
Look under the SPD tab, and there should should be the correct Max. Bandwidth.

For example that is PC2-6400
Then you should buy a 512MB PC-6400 (800Mhz)
I hope you understand this ;)
 

iab026

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Dual Channel works better with 2 RAM modules.
So it's better to buy the 2x 512mb RAM to fill the 2 empty RAM slots.

I think it would be better if the 512mb has the same speed as your 1gb module.
To check that, look at your RAM modules or download http://www.cpuid.com/downloads/cpu-z/1.63-setup-en.exe
If your 1gb is a "DDR2 PC2-6400 or DDR2 PC2-5300, DDR2 (non-ECC)" quoted from the Dell website you gave
On the 1gb RAM module on a sticker there is probably given something like: 800Mhz(PC2-6400) or 666/667Mhz(PC2-5300)

You can always check this for sure with the CPUID program.
Look under the SPD tab, and there should should be the correct Max. Bandwidth.

For example that is PC2-6400
Then you should buy a 512MB PC-6400 (800Mhz)
I hope you understand this ;)
Thanks for getting back to me.

I tried to download the CPUID program but it keeps crashing - so i took a module out and took a picture (attached).

As you can see its a DDR2 PC2-5300 - is the 555 referring to the bandwith?
 

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Frank
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I am using 32bit - so if 3GB is my max, do i buy 1 GB module or 2 x 512mb to fill up the full 4 slots?
Install 4 matching 1 GB DDR2 PC2-5300(DDR2-667) or DDR2 PC2-6400(DDR2-800) 1.8 volt, unbuffered, non-ECC modules.

Windows 32-bit will recognize and use 3.25 - 3.50 GB of it in most cases.

Note: You will usually see "5-5-5" on the 5300's and "6-6-6" on the 6400's.

----------------------------------------------------------
 
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Install 4 matching 1 GB DDR2 PC2-5300(DDR2-667) or DDR2 PC2-6400(DDR2-800) 1.8 volt, unbuffered, non-ECC modules.

Windows 32-bit will recognize and use 3.25 - 3.50 GB of it in most cases.

Note: You will usually see "5-5-5" on the 5300's and "6-6-6" on the 6400's.

----------------------------------------------------------
Then still 512mb to 750mb is wasted + you don't know for sure that it will recognize the RAM.

I think he should buy 2x 512mb DDR2 PC2-5300 (667Mhz) since he already has 2 x 1gb (DDR2 PC2-5300 (667Mhz)) in his computer.
You could try 4GB (so 4x 1gb), but your operating system might be limited to 3, 3.25 or 3.50 gb. (It probably won't use all 4gb) I think the shop will give refund if it doesn't work.
 
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