Things to remember when buying RAM for laptop in India

While trying to upgrade RAM in DELL Inspiron 15 3521 laptop, here are few things that I learned when trying to get the correct RAM.

Before deciding to upgrade

If using a 32 bit OS, be aware that more than 4 GB RAM is not useful. Go beyond 4 GB only if on a 64 bit OS. Also, 64 bit client computing has matured fully in windows 8 only, so think twice before shifting from 32 bit to 64 bit in previous OSes. 32 bit OS will not be able to utilize whole 4 GB. Search internet to know why so.
Also, Make sure to check HDD speed to see that it is not a speed bottleneck. Bad HDD speed will not corrected by more RAM and speed of laptop may not improve.
Keep a screwdriver and camera to click photos of various things.

Find out about existing RAM

If on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, Task manager performance tab shows the amount of RAM on the system as well as the RAM sockets being used. This can tell how many sockets are available for more RAM.
Tools usable for checking hardware specifications are

These tools gives comprehensive information about the system hardware including

These tools will also show motherboard technical name. Download the motherboard specs manual using this technical name to know about the maximum RAM supported in the motherboard and the motherboard supported speed.

Learn to open backside of Laptop and check the slot to see it is available. Know how to take out your RAM and reinstall it. Its unlikely but that will also tell you if you need to DIMM module or SODIMM.

Choosing new RAM

Do research starting from manufacturer website of RAM units like crucial, corsair, transcend etc.

New RAM should match old RAM as nearly as possible in all aspects

  • RAM class – Don’t mix DDR2 with DDR3
  • RAM speed – Using a DDR 1600 MHz with DDR 1333 MHz will reduce speed to 1333. Taking a RAM with speed higher supported by motherboard will be wastage of money.
  • RAM power – Avoid mixing 1.5 v using with 1.35 v (low voltage) unit.
  • RAM Units – Having 4 GB in one slot and 2 GB is another is not a good idea.

http://crucial.com has a good compatibility option. On running a tool from that website, it shows the list of compatible RAMs that are guaranteed to match with the system on which the test is being run. Obviously, they will show the costliest option first. See all options and save the relevant one. It also shows option about available slots and motherboard information etc.

Apparently, crucial is the best RAM brand followed by Corsair and transcend. Kingston etc come in B category. Crucial does not have official india presence, hence beware of buying it before purchase. It may be imported or smuggled piece. HP seems to be using cheap manufacturing and then put their stamp on the unit. DELL does not sell RAM in india, not at least from their website. I did not try call center.

Corsair Indian website does not have tech specifications listed out. Check it on their US website.

Buying when in India

Don’t buy from random places or small shops. They try to push off old stock in the name of compatible products. Most of the time, these will be sub standard brands like kingston etc or lower speed RAM.
Go to http://ebay.in or http://flipkart.com or http://Amazon.in and search for part numbers selected.
Flipkart sometimes shows nearest part number without indicating that it could not find exact match. Beware of this before purchase. Part number found on the manufacturer website should match the listing fully.
When in doubt, use the website option to ask seller about the compatibility. Provide them laptop model and year of purchase. You an learn quite a lot by asking multiple vendors.

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4 Responses to Things to remember when buying RAM for laptop in India

  1. rohith r says:

    Hi,

    Great explanation.

    I have a DELL Inspiron 5558 (I5 5th Gen)

    Ram up-gradation is possible up to 16 GB & 2 slots are available

    4 GB is already there in 1 slot, in the 2nd slot should I put a 8 GB or 4 GB ram ? I require higher performance.

    Brand of ram in 1st slot is SK Hynix, Should I buy 8 GB hynix brand itself of transcent is OK ?

    Reg
    Rohith

    • Sorry for being so late Rohith. I missed it due to other things on my plate. SK hynix comes by default in DELL laptops. If you match nicely in specs, another brand would not hurt. Try to go for corsair if you can get it. Transcend is also good. I would recommend to go for 4 GB in another slot as that should be enough for most of the things. Its better idea to keep both as same size in each slot.

  2. Deepak says:

    Hi,

    I found your question posted a year ago at superuser(http://superuser.com/questions/869322/what-brand-of-ram-will-be-closely-match-with-sk-hynix-hmt351s6efr8a-pb-ddr3-1600#)

    I too have inspiron 5521 with 4gb hynix HMT351S6EFR8A-PB RAM and thinking to upgrade with another 4gb. I guess you have bought this corsair RAM (http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00G40TB6E/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza)

    Just wanted to know if this RAM is running properly for you after 1 year and how much warranty have you got for it. Also I would like to know if it is better to buy hynix or corsair. The price for hynix one is around 1k more as compared to corsair.

    Thanks,
    Deepak

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