Memory Upgrade for Dell Inspiron 1520

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I currently own a Dell Inspiron 1520 that I bought in July 2007. When I bought it, I ordered it with 2GB of dual-channel, DDR2 PC2-5300 memory. Fast forward to today. I've discovered that 2GB doesn't seem to be enough at times for Vista Premium and Windows 7, so I decided that it was time add more memory. I went to Crucial.com and ordered two 2GB sticks of PC2-6400 memory, part #CT758807. The total price was $54.23 including tax. Yes, I should have asked before I bought it, but it isn't too late to cancel, either. Here are my questions: 1) Is Crucial still a reputable brand for memory? Will I experience any compatibility issues? I remember reading their ads in PC World magazine claiming "guaranteed compatibility," so I assumed that they are a safe choice. And of course, I used their system scanner tool to make my purchase. 2) Did I pay a reasonable price for the memory? I did a search on NewEgg and found the price to be comparable to Kingston. Is Crucial branded memory worth the added cost (if any) over the generic memory that you find at Fry's Electronics? 3) Will I notice a significant improvement in performance with 4GB of memory and PC2-6400 (as opposed to the current PC2-5300)? I understand that my O/S will only recognize between 3 to 3.5GB. However, will I actually benefit from this memory upgrade, or am I just wasting my money? I only use FireFox, iTunes, Word and AIM on a daily basis, yet my system uses well over 1GB of memory and I sometimes get the "low on memory" warning. I wonder if I actually need more memory, or if I have a "memory leak" somewhere. Thanks!
 

The Critic

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Also, a friend just told me about Kingston's HyperX memory for laptops. It has a lower latency than the Crucial memory. Plus, it's $10 cheaper. Should I go with that instead? Or is Crucial still a better choice?
 
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Crucial is Micron, its quality is good. Brands like Kingston, Patriot, ADATA, Cosair, are module houses, and they get whatever good deals they can get. Unless you pay for the "premium overclockers" model, you aren't guaranteed anything. I'd say $10 cheaper isn't worth much of a hazzle if you already ordered. $30-40 is usually reasonable for 2GB of ram unless you go on a rebate bargain hunting, $54 is a bit on the high side, but not unreasonably high.
 

The Critic

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Thanks. My computer has an Intel GM965 chipset, so I think the memory bus supports a maximum of 667MHZ. Therefore, anything beyond PC2-5300 would be a waste of money, correct? The Crucial branded memory that I ordered has a CL6 at 800MHZ. According to the rules, your CL will drop by 1 every 133MHZ. Therefore, the Crucial branded memory will run at CL5 at 667MHZ, which is what mine runs at right now. The Kingston HyperX runs at CL4 at 667MHZ. So it's CL4 vs. CL5. Is there that much of a difference? Kingston HyperX is $48 shipped for 4GB as opposed to $54 for the Crucial.
 

The Critic

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Also, how's the reliability and compatibility of the Kingston HyperX compared to the Crucial?
 
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I've used Crucial memory before with good results. I used their lookup tool and it got me the correct memory that I needed. A memory upgrade is never a bad thing, especially when running Vista.
 
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 Originally Posted By: PandaBear
Brands like Kingston, Patriot, ADATA, Cosair, are module houses, and they get whatever good deals they can get. Unless you pay for the "premium overclockers" model, you aren't guaranteed anything.
I'm no Kingston fanboy, but I'll admit that their memory modules from entry level to overclocking grades are consistently the most widely compatible I've ever used.
 Originally Posted By: The Critic
Also, how's the reliability and compatibility of the Kingston HyperX compared to the Crucial?
Most recent HyperX sticks I've seen have had Elpida ICs. They come in all flavors except overclockable. Reliability and compatibility aren't concerns--they work, work well, and keep on working if you run them at spec speeds/timings/volts. I would buy either Kingston or Crucial based on specs and price if looking to upgrade a laptop.
 

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Thanks! I just ordered the Kingston HyperX from NewEgg. I'll call Crucial on Monday to cancel my order. Thanks again for all of the great advice!
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: tropic
 Originally Posted By: PandaBear
Brands like Kingston, Patriot, ADATA, Cosair, are module houses, and they get whatever good deals they can get. Unless you pay for the "premium overclockers" model, you aren't guaranteed anything.
I'm no Kingston fanboy, but I'll admit that their memory modules from entry level to overclocking grades are consistently the most widely compatible I've ever used.
 Originally Posted By: The Critic
Also, how's the reliability and compatibility of the Kingston HyperX compared to the Crucial?
Most recent HyperX sticks I've seen have had Elpida ICs. They come in all flavors except overclockable. Reliability and compatibility aren't concerns--they work, work well, and keep on working if you run them at spec speeds/timings/volts. I would buy either Kingston or Crucial based on specs and price if looking to upgrade a laptop.
The Elpida chips on my 2GB Kingston sticks (667Mhz) will do 925Mhz at 2.0V....
 

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Just installed the ram. Vista "feels" a bit faster, but it could just be the placebo effect. In order to install the memory, I had to remove the keyboard to access one of the slots. Gotta love that design.
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: The Critic
Just installed the ram. Vista "feels" a bit faster, but it could just be the placebo effect. In order to install the memory, I had to remove the keyboard to access one of the slots. Gotta love that design.
It's been that way since laptops/notebooks were first produced. Had a Texas Instruments TI486SX/25 notebook "back in the day". You had to push the individual RAM CHIPS into the board, which, IIRC, was exposed by removing the keyboard, then a cover.
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: javacontour
My NEC laptop was this way. But my Toshiba and my Fujitsu had a door on the bottom to replace DIMMs.
Yeah, ASUS and ACER are funny that way too. Some are in the bottom, others require keyboard removal.
 
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