Hey I have a HP Pavilion DV6500 laptop running windows vista. It only has 2 sticks of 512Mb which is only 1 GB. I am wondering how much faster will it be if I swap those for 2 sticks of 1GB each?
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You'll generally see a speed increase on Vista with more RAM thanks to the enhanced SuperFetch support.
In short, the idle RAM will be used by Windows to preload your most commonly used applications until the RAM is otherwise needed. Allowing your applications to load faster than they would if they were pulled from the HDD directly.
Usually adding additional RAM to a PC doesn't result in speed increases, only an increase in the size and number of programs you can run, but SuperFetch allows additional RAM to translate into meaningful speed increases throughout the system.
Since this uses otherwise idle RAM you'll need to have a decent RAM cushion in the system already. 1GB isn't a sufficient cushion, generally, so you'll earn this cushion with 2GB+ depending on your usage case.