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I want to buy an Alienware MX11 from a friend.

Specs:

CPU: Overclockable Intel Core2 Duo SU7300 1.3GHz
RAM: 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz
11.6-inch WideHD 1366x768 (720p) w/ WWAN
Video Card: 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M
Hard drive: 130GB SATAII 7,200RPM

Crucial.com says it maxes out at 8gb.

My wife's Lenovo said it maxed out at 8gb but indeed 16gb works.

How can I be sure before I buy this?

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If they are a good friend, and you have some spare dimms, just try it before you buy it ;) –  EntropyWins Sep 20 '12 at 15:40
    
Unless you give us information about the motherboard we can't help. –  Ramhound Sep 20 '12 at 16:07

2 Answers 2

It really depends on the motherboard in the computer. Crucial gets their info from the manufacturer, so per their specs it would only take up to 8gb. However, sometimes the max is listed because that was the max reasonably available at the time it was sold. Sometimes a BIOS update would enable higher capacities, but since that wouldn't be included in the manufacturer's documentation, Crucial wouldn't know that. The only way to be sure it will work would be to try it. You may be able to find an Alienware enthusiast site and see if anyone has experience with putting in more RAM than it says for that model. For my old laptop, it maxed out at 4gb (2x2gb), but several sites state that it will actually take a 4gb DIMM in either slot, as long as you don't hit 8gb total (which apparently caused errors).

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I would recommend sticking with the manufacture recommendations. Another thing to think about is bottle necks. I can almost guarantee that your CPU/HDD/Video card will act as bigger bottle necks than if you had 8gb instead of 16gb. The difference right now, and especially on that computer (with a few generation old processor) is that after 8gb, you have SEVERE diminished returns.

TL;DR: Upgrade it to 8gb and be happy.

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