Question about Dell Inspiron 2650 Notebook

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What controls memory capacity?

All the follwing questions are base don memory CAPACITY that can be installed not how much is installed when it is produced and sold.

What controls the memory capacity for a given computer, the chip set used, the motherboard used or something else?

For instance, if a given chipset, say an Intel xxx, is isued on different motherboards will all of the motherboards using that chip set have the same memory capacity ( I relaize that the motherboard may have less slots than the chip set will support, but assuming both boards have same slots on it)?

Next step, assuming that you have the same motherboard, will all computers using that same board have the same memory capacty or can the computer manufacturer control the memory capacity during the assembly process or during programing?

Next step, assuming that all the computers have the same motherboard and are in the same brand of computer, will they all have the same memory capacity or will that vary with model?

Thank you for your patience with my ignorance.

Don Jones

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  • 3 more comments 
  • donejjones Jan 23, 2009


    Let me put it anothe way, IF DELL uses the same motherboard in 2 different models of a laptop, will both of the them support the same amount of memory?

    The reason I am asking is the DELL tech representative told me that even though the upgrade manuals list 512 as sthe maximum memory that my 2650 will support, it uses te same motherboard as a later model that they used 2 gig in. He took a 2650 test machine from their lab and insterted a 1 gig module in the user accessable slot and checked it out. He said it worked fine. He had no reason to lie to me and in fact took my phone number and called me back after he tested it persomnally to verify that it worked.

    Last night I purchased and installed a PNY 1 gig PC 2700 modul that is labeled as backwards comaptible clear back to PC 1600 in my user acessable slot and it would boot up. It acted like there was no module in it. The package the module came in was labeled as "Compatable with / Avec / Con".

    I have used a DELL PC2100 256 meg module from my son's Insipron 8500 in my 2650 to see if it would work with the faster memory and it worked fine.

    What I am trying to determine is whether the module is incompatible with the DELL system or is there something else wrong?

    Thank you for your help.

  • donejjones Jan 24, 2009

    OK, I think I understand. If the "hidden" moduel is a PC 1600 and the user accessible one is a PC2700 they won't work, but 2 PC2700 modules woud, right?

    The next question is, will the 2650 run with only one module instead of 2 installed at least long enough to confirm that the 1 gig modules will work before I purchase another one?

    Thanks again for the help.

  • donejjones Jan 24, 2009

    I removed both 256 modules, installed the single 1 gig module of PC 2700 and reassembled the machine. When I tried to power up, the power light would come on and stay on, but that was all that happened, just like there either was no memory or bad memory in it.

    The 1 gig module was a PNY 1 gig PC 2700 module. The package the module came in was labeled as "Compatable with / Avec / Con".

    I have always been told and have found that if the module was too bg, the machine woouldonly use as much of the memory as it could handle just like installing a over capacity HD works, it just wastes HD capacity or faster memory will run slower.

    Is my problem that the new module is (A) too big or (B) incompatible with the DELL System?

    Thank you for your knowledge and patience.

    Don Jones

  • donejjones Jan 24, 2009

    Here is the best I can do on the cut & paste. If you can't read it, let me know what information you need and I'll try to copy it.

    Well, so much for that. I can't make it paste into the comment box so I'll summarize the informaiton down ot the directory level and if you need the rest I'll send it later.

    Operating system XP PRO version 5.1.2600 SP 3

    Manufacturer DELL Computer Corp.

    Model Inspiron 2650

    System type X86 based PC

    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9 GenuineIntel 2392 MHZ

    BIOS version/date Pheonix Tech A10, 6/10/2003

    SMBIOS version 2.3

    I have been told that DELL laptops are very finicky about what memory will work. Do you have any suggestions on retail brands to buy?

  • donejjones Jan 24, 2009

    The module label says it is 1GB.DDR.SODIMM.N ram.

    Am I correct in assuming that PNY is not high grade memory?

    I have been told that cheap memory doesn't work well in DELLS, is that your experience?

    I think you are suggesting rying a better grade of memory. Is that correct?

    Thak you again.

    Don Jones


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The maximum amount any computer will work on is 4 gigabytes. You may see some specialty models with 6GB but that is a waste of money because programmers write programs for a maximum of 4GB as that is the industry standard. The maximum memory capacity depends on the motherboard setup. For instance, any desktop can take up to 4 GB but some smaller laptops cannot. It depends on the company selling the product as they decide which motherboard to install. Netbooks, 7" to 10" screen can only hold 2 GB, while all 15" and above laptops can hold 4 GB. So basically 4GB max or less. Obviously 4GB will run faster than anything less. Memory is fairly cheap so always go with the 4GB. Second part of your question,manufacturers decide which motherboards go into which computers and the larger dealers like Dell, HP, Compaq, etc will always offer 4 GB. Inexpensive computers like Emachine cut cost by not spending the money for the best motherboards so they may only hold 2GB. Hope this answers your questions.
Don't forget to rate this solution before logging out.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009

  • 2 more comments 
  • Randall  Trahan
    Randall Trahan Jan 23, 2009

    Yes, the system board model has the same specifications across the board no matter what they name the PC. Another words a PC1600 is a PC1600 no matter what you call the computer. Here is why. The data speed on a motherboard is determined by its clock speed. It has a clock that pushes data for a "1600" at 100MHz per second. The "1600" is the throughput. The equation is: 100MHz using Double Data Rate (DDR) RAM means its pushing at the up cycle and down cycle so that makes it 200MHz. It pushes data in 8-byte chunks so 8 times 200MHz has a 1600 throughput. Hence, the PC1600. So any motherboard rated at PC1600 will all be the same. If you put it in your system just make sure it is the only RAM stick installed. If you mix speeds then you get unstable results. But yes it should work, faster RAM does not cause any problems but your system will still only run at 1600. Hope this helps, if you have any more questions let me know.

  • Randall  Trahan
    Randall Trahan Jan 24, 2009

    Yes, the 1GB stick will work.It when you mix capacities that you may have problems for instance installing a 1GB stick along with a 512MB stick. If you can boot up and get on the Internet follow this website, it has a free download for a program called "MemTest". When you download it and run it, it will examine your RAM to ensure it is working properly. It is an easy click and read program. I and many others use it to make sure the RAM is functioning properly.

    Once you download it you will need to unzip it. Download a program called WinZip to do it. If you have any questions let me know.

  • Randall  Trahan
    Randall Trahan Jan 24, 2009

    As of this moment it is incompatible because it will not boot up to the Windows logo. Otherwise, it would allow you to log in, it just would only use the 512 amout of RAM vs 1GB.

    Let me do some more research on the Dell 2650. Click on start>programs>accessories>system tools>system information. On the first page is will have OS version, Manufacturer, BIOs version, etc. Cut and paste that page onto this website and send to me so I can see what I am dealing with.

  • Randall  Trahan
    Randall Trahan Jan 24, 2009

    Well all is well with your system information. According to the textbooks and my own experience there is no reason your computer should not start up with the 1GB of RAM. It could be the quality. I buy all of my RAM from or Both places are great. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you match DDR with DDR and DDR2 with DDR2. It should say it on the stick of RAM. It stands for Double Data Rate and as I explained earlier it pumps data on the up and down cycle of your system clock. DDR2 pumps it twice on the up cycle and twice on the down cycle so RAM is moving twice as fast as DDR. Also SODIMM is for laptops and DIMM is for desktops. As long as those match with what you have you will be ok. The computer companies have made buying RAM difficult but its worth it as it is so much faster.


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