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Distinguished Professor
RasterBlaster
Posts: 2,309
Member Since: ‎11-17-2008
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Upgrading Memory

[ Edited ]

I thought I'd share some helpful information to help start the forums!

 

 


Upgrading Memory 

To upgrade memory on HP and Compaq "desktop-style" computers, you really only need to know three things:


1) What type of memory your computer needs.

2) How many memory slots are available and if you have any that are already open.

3) What is the maximum amount of memory you can add.

To find the maximum amount you can add, find the maximum memory that your motherboard can handle (4 GB, 8 GB, etc...). You can find this information on your product's motherboard specification on the HP Web site. You also need to know the maximum your operating system can use. For example, 32-bit versions of Windows will only be able to use about 3.5 Gigabytes (of 4 GB). This is true of any operating system (that I know of). 64-bit versions can use 8 GBs or more depending on their edition (Windows 7 Ultimate can go clear up to 192 GB). Once you know these two things, motherboard maximum and Operating system maximux, then you use the lowest of the two numbers. For example, if your motherboard can take up to 8 GB memory max and you install a 32-bit version of Windows 7, the maximum amount of memory that you can use is still ~4 GB (3.5).

To find the type of memory you need, find your computer's product specification and motherboard specification on the HP Web site.

 

Your computer has a model number printed on a label stuck to its case. You can go to www.hp.com and put the model number and the word "specification" into the search field at the top. Find the product specification document in the list of search results - it is probably the first result in the list. Open the specification and you can find the type of memory and the HP name of your computer's motherboard. You can then search www.hp.com using the HP name of the motherboard to find the motherboard specification. The motherboard specification has more detailed memory information that you may want: total number of slots, memory speed, etc... Write all this stuff down.

Before going to the store and buying memory, I still like to open the computer up to physically look at the number of slots - you never know if the factory had to change the memory configuration when it was building it. To find the number of slots, turn off the computer, remove the side panel and physically look at the slots on the board. You are going to have to open it up anyway to add the modules. If you have a slimline, you may need to break out the screwdriver and flashlight to move some components out of the way.

 

So... once you have the memory type, the number of slots, and the maximum amount, you can purchase the memory. Some things to keep in mind when you purchase memory:

 

* For best compatibility, install DIMMs that all have the same part number. It's pretty bad when you purchase memory and install it and then it doesn't work... especially if the memory you purchases is online and you must wait a few days between installs.

 

*Your motherboard is probably capable of supporting several different memory speeds. If possible, buy the highest rated speed that the motherboard supports. For example if your motherboard supports the highest speed of 800MHz, purchase 800 MHz memory DIMMS. But also keep in mind that the memory system will only operate as fast as slowest rated DIMM. That is, if you have both a 667 MHz DIMM and an 800 MHz DIMM installed, the memory system runs at 667 MHz (slower). All DIMMs would need to be 800 MHz for the system to operate at 800 (faster).

 

* Do not buy high-density or Fully Buffered modules unless you know the PC supports it. Even so, if your PC  supports both unbuffered and high-density (registered), use low density to be safe. Typically, high-density (registered) DIMMs will have an R after the speed and Fully buffered will show FB. For example PC2-5300R.

 

* For DDR2 and DDR3 SDRAM, try to use exact pairs of DIMMs. An exact pair is all of the same speed and size and of the same manufacturer. To be safe, you can install DIMMs that all have the same part number. Install these in "paired" slots - usually slots 1 & 3 or 2 & 4. If your motherboard has six slots and supports DDR3 and tri-channel - put matched sets of three into 1,3,& 5 or 2,4,& 6. Doing so will cause the memory system to act in Dual/Tri channel mode (if your motherboard supports it). Dual channel mode is faster and more efficient and can definitely improve your system's performance. Also keep in mind that if any of the DIMMs are not an exact match, is not in a paired slot, or the total number of DIMMs is an odd number (3), then the system will not run in Dual-channel mode.

* ECC vs. non-ECC. ECC is used for detecting and correcting errors. If your PC supports ECC you can install it. Otherwise, do not purchase ECC DIMMS.

 

* CAS latency (CS). Normally you don't really have to care about this spec. This number represents the speed it takes to retrieve data to and from the memory controller. Basically, think of this as another speed rating - with the lower the number the better. Again... just to be safe, I would try to make sure that all DIMMs have the same CAS value - all DIMM part numbers are the same.

Actually installing memory modules is easy.

 

1) Turn off the PC and disconnect all the cables.

2) Move it to the kitchen table or somewhere over a linoleum or tiled floor. Do not work over carpet - you can fry the board due to static electricity.

3) Remove the side panel. HP usually makes this pretty simple by untwisting one or two thumb screws on the back and sliding the panel off.

4) Lay the computer on its side so that the open space is facing up.

5) If you need to remove a memory module, pull out/push down on the little plastic hinges at the ends of the memory module. When you pullout/push down, the module pops up out of its slot.

 

Removing a module

 

6) Line up the module over the memory slot in the computer. The gold teeth on the module go down into the slot. Also, the module has a cutout notch between the gold teeth that fits over a small tab inside the memory slot. This notch prevents you from installing the module backwards.

7) Install a new module by pushing it down into an open memory slot. When you push the module into its slot, the small plastic hinges at the ends of the memory slot automatically rotate up and grip the ends of the memory module.

 

install

 

8) Make sure the memory module is fully seated by pressing in on the hinges. The memory module should sit flush. One end of the module should not be sticking up higher than the other.

9) When you are done. Put everything back in place, replace the side panel and hook the computer back up.

10) The computer should boot up to Windows and you can enjoy more memory. If the computer beeps at you when it starts, you did something wrong or you got some bad memory.

 

 Here is a helpful support document from HP on the subject (where I borrowed the graphics). It even has a video:  

 

HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Upgrading Memory (RAM)

 

Good luck and please click the Kudos star to the left if I was able to help you.

... an HP employee expressing his own opinion.
Please post rather than send me a Message. It's good for the community and I might not be able to get back quickly. - Thank you.
Tutor
Spudgirl
Posts: 5
Member Since: ‎01-07-2009
Message 2 of 607 (100,106 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

Thanks!
Top Student
Wilthis
Posts: 4
Member Since: ‎01-07-2009
Message 3 of 607 (100,033 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

I have a HP Pavilion a6010n Desktop. It has 1Mb Ram (2 x 512k) I want to add another 1Mb, what speed and type of RAM do I require?

 

Thanks!

Distinguished Professor
RasterBlaster
Posts: 2,309
Member Since: ‎11-17-2008
Message 4 of 607 (100,077 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

According to your Product Specification and Motherboard Specification your memory information is this...

 

Memory Installed 1 GB

Maximum allowed 4 GB* (1 GB DIMM in each of the 4 slots)
Type = 240 pin DDR2 SDRAM

Speed supported PC2-4200 MB/sec

Supports two channel memory (so you will get better performance if the sticks are all the same size/type/manufacturer and put into paired slots (1-3, 2-4, or 1-2-3-4).

Only use non-ECC memory only, unbuffered. Most DIMMS you buy are non-ECC.

 

I would still open the case or look in the BIOS to physically verify what slots are actually filled. You never know, the factory may have put 4 256MB DIMMS, instead of 2 512MBs.

 

By the way, for other folks that want to find their product and motherboard specification: enter your PC's model number into the search line from www.hp.com , click on Support and troubleshooting for your model number (this last post was an a6010n), and then click on Product Information in the middle of the page.

 

 

... an HP employee expressing his own opinion.
Please post rather than send me a Message. It's good for the community and I might not be able to get back quickly. - Thank you.
Top Student
pf2868
Posts: 3
Member Since: ‎01-07-2009
Message 5 of 607 (100,022 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

Hello  I'm new to this forum. I have Compaq Presario S5100NX that had 256kb memory.This machine has 2 slots and had one 256kb memory chip installed.I increased this to 2 512MB chips one in each slot.The only way I can boot up now is in safe mode.When boot up is processing it says windows is starting and then it locks up.The memory chips I used is KTC-PR266/512 which I found on Kingston Technolgy web site.Not sure where to go from here.Thanks
Top Student
Wilthis
Posts: 4
Member Since: ‎01-07-2009
Message 6 of 607 (99,994 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

Does it beep at all when starting  up?
Professor
Mister_Do
Posts: 1,895
Member Since: ‎11-17-2008
Message 7 of 607 (99,982 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

Hi pf2868,

 

The memory may be faster than the previous RAM so you it's possible you just need to update/edit your BIOS to change the memory speed to your new memory.

...an HP employee just trying to help where I can, but not speaking on behalf of HP.
Top Student
pf2868
Posts: 3
Member Since: ‎01-07-2009
Message 8 of 607 (99,881 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

No beep.

 

I did call Kingston last night and worked with them.I tried both memory stixs in either slot and neither would booth up.

They decided to send 2 new memory stixs and try them.Will let the group know the out come.Thanks

Honor Student
LSTGO
Posts: 2
Member Since: ‎02-03-2009
Message 9 of 607 (99,424 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

I own a Compaq Presario S5100NX. It has 512 and I want to update to 1G. When I installed the new memories the computer made an estrange sounds and did not work. I search in the Compaq webpage without success for the possible BIOS that need to be updated. Do you help me and let me know other area that I could find them. Thank you!

Top Student
pf2868
Posts: 3
Member Since: ‎01-07-2009
Message 10 of 607 (99,405 Views)

Re: Upgrading Memory

With the new memory stixs installed I still could not boot up windows.After calling Kingston I ended up during a recovery on my system.

It works fine now but had to reconfigue my entire machine.I also lost all of my personal data and pictures.Thanks for everybody input.

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