06-11-2016 07:20 AM - edited 06-11-2016 08:05 AM
I bought this HP Pavilion 15-AB292NR "Flagship" laptop new in April 2016, came with core i7-6700HQ CPU - only to find out later that the memory sockets on this laptop won't accept DDR4 RAM (and no, there are no UniDIMM notches in the memory sockets; the socket is notched for DDR3, only). I discovered this after much digging, wading through documents, and numerous, seemingly endless calls to HP Tech Support - I finally got some answers after I was put through to the HP Parts Department.
It is currently running 16 GB of DDR3L-1600 CL9 RAM (1.35 v), and industry standard synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications bear this out: this system lags other systems in the same class (same CPU but with DDR4-2133 RAM) by 18% to 20% in overall performance.
This performance hit is particularly felt by the onboard intel HD 530 Integrated Graphics (again, optimized for DDR4), whose performance is tied directly to the speed of main system RAM. The DDR3-only system board limitation again holds this system back in FPS performance by 18 - 20% - I've measured this myself.
Skylake CPUs and chipsets are optimized for DDR4 memory. This laptop is hobbled by DDR3 only sockets.
I bought this laptop thinking that its "Flagship" status meant that it would be a top performer.
Looks like I was sadly mistaken.
Solved! Go to Solution.
06-11-2016 12:41 PM - edited 06-11-2016 12:45 PM
A lot of questions here lately from folks buying stuff and getting it home and not understanding what they bought.
Here are the specs:
It clearly says DDR3L...Skylake can use either DDR3 or DDR4. DDR4 is certainly better but is not interchangeable with DDR3.
I can't agree you were misled and I also can't disagree it would be better to have DDR4 but it is not going to happen. Can you return the laptop? I am seeing this model on amazon.com for $649 which is not exacly a "flagship" price point. Not to sneeze at it but I have the Zbook 15 G3 and it has Skylake i7 and DDR4, but it is like $1300-1400 retail.
06-11-2016 02:44 PM - edited 06-11-2016 04:52 PM
Hi, Huffer -
Thanks for your prompt reply.
As a matter of fact, as far as a Skylake-based "UniDIMM" memory socket is concerned, DDR4 *is* interchangeable with DDR3, for all intents and purposes. More on that, later. It's just that as it turned out, this laptop doesn't have such sockets, much to my dismay.
I do feel like I was misled, but upon further reflection, the misleading was more on the part of the retailer (Microcenter) who sold me the laptop...maybe not so much by HP...but HP wasn't exactly helpful, either, because the memory type is not explicitly stated on the spec website- it's rather ambiguous. All that the HP website says is: "Memory, standard - 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM (1 x 8 GB)" - I took that to mean that HP just stuck that type of stick in there to cut costs...but that they could just as well have put DDR4 in there. My fault for jumping to that conclusion. I just assumed that since it was Skylake-based, that it had these UniDIMM memory sockets, and thus was able to take either DDR3L or DDR4 SODIMMs.
So in fairness I guess my disappointment ought to be directed more at Microcenter, where I bought this laptop. I was told by at least two of their floor sales people that "this laptop is Skylake-based, and is compatible with both DDR3L and DDR4" (I already knew that Skylake could take both, and I had read about 'UniDIMM" technology, which is electrically comaptible with both types of RAM, and is "notched" to take both). The display model at the store had 8GB of DDR3L-1600. I asked the sales people a couple of times if they had DDR4-2133 laptop memory in stock, and they said "no.....it's still too new, so we don't have any", and I said, "well, maybe I can get some off Amazon.com - I've seen 16 gigs of Crucial DDR4-2133 for around $90 dollars". The sales guy responded with: "That sounds like a good deal. Maybe give that a shot."
This really was kind of an impulse buy, too. It was $549 brand new. Otherwise not too shabby. Just not a "Flagship" performer, by any means.
06-12-2016 09:03 AM
Thanks again, Huffer -
Regarding notebooks with UniDIMM memory slots: I have yet to see any on the market, either. OEMs have been shipping DDR4-compatible notebooks with DDR4 memory since at least October of 2015. Are the vast majority of these DDR4-only systems? Who knows. What percentage of them have UniDIMM slots? Unknown. I doubt there is any way to know.
But that gets to the larger question:
What exactly was the point of intel announcing that Skylake-based systems can run with both DDR3L and DDR4 memory (via "UniDIMM") in the first place? Here it is June 2016, yet it appears that OEMs shipping Skylake notebooks with UniDIMM slots are as rare as hen's teeth. Most perplexing!
ps - btw, I wouldn't be so unnerved by this whole thing if this HP notebook had a discrete video card. Since it has the integrated intel 530 IGP, main system memory bandwidth is of critical importance.
Also, if users with Skylake-based notebooks can run DDR3 memory in their systems, it must be DDR3L (low voltage, i.e, no more than 1.35 v). Regular DDR3 memory running at 1.5 volts or higher will eventually fry the Skylake IMC/CPU.
06-12-2016 12:10 PM
DDR4 is DDR4 and DDR3 is DDR3 and never the twain shall meet. There is a vast difference between proof of concept announcements of possible future hardware upgrades and actual production hardware. Somebody has to take that UniDIMM concept and actually design a production motherboard and get the unit cost down to where it can still be sold at a profit. Hasn't happened yet and by the time it does, DDR4 will be the norm anyway. Already DDR4 is only a little more expensive than DDR3. So when a laptop is advertised as having DDR3 it is DDR3 and you can't install DDR4 memory.
06-12-2016 12:31 PM - edited 06-12-2016 04:13 PM
Thanks again, Huffer!
If only retailers and OEMs had your gift for directness and transparency!
No one is claiming that DDR3 and DDR4 are the same thing.
But it seems to me that my expectations for the availibility of UniDIMM are neither unreasonable, nor eccentric. After all, Intel announced the technology almost two years ago:
- and -
As I'm sure you well know, even six months is an eternity in this industry.
Anyway, that just about covers it.
Thanks for the feedback!
06-12-2016 12:36 PM
Yep that's me...direct and transparent. You might mark one of the answers as a "Solution" as I suspect this will start becoming a common source of confusion and when you mark a "Solution" it rolls to the top in searches.
06-12-2016 02:01 PM - edited 06-13-2016 08:27 AM
You got it. Thanks again, Huffer!
By the way, I posted the same URL twice in my previous post:
Here was the 2nd URL I meant to post:
(...as no doubt that lapse of mine was adversely impacting your sleep. : P )