Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Random Tutorial #2 - Upgrading RAM in a Dell Inspiron 6000 Notebook PC.

It hasn't been long since the last post but only because I had already written it during my lunch break and just posted it now because I realized a picture contained the XP key for Natalie's laptop and that's a bad thing to post on the Blog even if no one has a chance in hell of ever reading it.


So now, America, with an open eye socket and an empty head I give you...Silicon Chef America!

Allez machine!!

Intro: RAM is a fundamental part of modern computers. Most of today's commericial RAM is what we call dynamic or volatile RAM. This is a real shame because if one had a large quantity of non-volatile RAM you wouldn't need a slow stupid spinning hard drive. And when I think of Under Siege 2 when the villain proclaims 'about a gig of ram ought to do the trick' I distinctly remember thinking 'no one will ever have a gig of ram in a laptop' well today Natalie got 2 gigs. Take that Eric Bogosian!!

If you want to know more dig it up somewhere else.

Here goes.

It's important to remember that I am not a laptop expert and if I say something wrong (and I go pretending anyone reads this with such mad hope) no one else is going to call me on it. Heigh-ho the tale goes on!

Step 1: For me I double checked the Dell online user manual for Nat's laptop just to save time by only unscrewing the necessary panel(s). If you've never worked on laptops before I will say that it is half a mile and half a world away from say...Build I or Build II. Wade's build throws out about as much heat as dad's gas grill. It's never a good idea to cook on your motherboard. Tasty though.

Don't be afraid to read the directions. If you're unfamiliar it'll save time. If you're not in a rush but are worried about things not going back together then the directions will save you a world of trouble.

After you peruse the manual remove the battery (the pc should be off beforehand) and flip the doodad over so you can see its exposed underbelly.

Step 2: Remove the relevant panel. In this case it happens to be the one with the product key sticker on it. Once opened you can take a look and see how the RAM is oriented. This is very different than the top down light-insertion-force style DIMM's you'll find in a desktop. Instead the sticks are laid out Flat and held fast with clips.

Step 3: Remove the old RAM. But be careful, you never know when shit will break *like with Mike's PC and me* So don't do anything prematurely. There's always Ebay. To do so I found that using a micro screwdriver and my thumbnail to divide the clip did the job nicely. Doing so popped the RAM into a 45 degree angle. Removing was as simple as pulling gently.

Step 4: Add new RAM. It's not everyday one gets to quadruple the capability of anything they own. If I did the same thing to my car it would be like bumping up to a 500hp engine or stretching the mileage out to 130mpgs. In this case I replaced 2x 256mb sticks of ddr2 533 mhz with 2x 1024mb sticks of low latency ddr2 667. The frequency difference might play a small role but volume counts for more as far as I am concerned.

To install the new ram simply insert at a 45 degree angle and press down. Make sure you line up the notches and be gentle so you don't hear a snapping sound. Fear of static shock is one thing but hearing any component of your PC or notebook snap...well that's the kiss of death.

Luckily lady demise kept her lips dry today and the system booted up with no sweat. The BIOS immediately recognized the new amount of system memory and windows loaded flawlessly. With only 512mb it took 76 seconds to load from off to full desktop. With the new RAM this time dropped to a respectable 61 seconds. Not bad for an aging single-core machine running XP Media Center Edition.

More importantly playing around with the system proved it to be snappier and more solid feeling than before. Natalie has a nasty habit of banging my mouse around when the computer, usually limited by internet speeds, takes its sweet time doing something. I've never seen her flick the touch screen in anger but now she won't have to.

Step 5: Bolt it all back together!

Step 6: Beer! Yuengling to be exact!

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