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I have a eMachines ET1862 with an Intel i3-550 and 2GB DDR3 RAM. Since 2GB is wayyy too slow (quick look at task manger shows it's been running at ~80% RAM since boot) I want to upgrade the RAM.

Concerning the maximum amount of memory I can fit, I looked up the model of PC and found it could handle up to 4GB. The websites I looked at also said it had 2 RAM slots.

Then I opened up the case and found 1 stick of 2GB DDR3, along with three empty RAM slots. After looking up the motherboard (IT It said H57H-AM2 in a load of places so I figured that was the name) and it came up with four slots and 16GB max.

So now I'm confused: what limits the amount of RAM you can have on a motherboard? I know the OS is fine as I've got win7-64bit. Is there anything more than the motherboard and the OS influences this limit?

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"Since 2GB is wayyy too slow (quick look at task manger shows it's been running at ~80% RAM since boot) I want to upgrade the RAM." A modern OS will typically use almost all the RAM, all the time, whether it needs it or not. (It's not like if it uses 1GB today, it can use 3GB tomorrow. If it doesn't use all the RAM today, that capability is forever lost. RAM can't be saved.) Looking at how much RAM is in use is not a reliable way to determine whether having more RAM would improve performance. – David Schwartz Jul 19 '14 at 16:36
The CPU supports 16GB. You have to determine a specific model number on the motherboard. Have you found the model number on the motherboard itself? The CPU can support 16GB but if the motherboard does not support it then your out of luck. – Ramhound Jul 19 '14 at 16:55
@Ramhound The question specifically states that he is running 64-bit Windows 7, and his processor is only 5 years old. – Jon Bentley May 8 '15 at 12:31
@DavidSchwartz but that was with no (foreground) applications running. I've since upgraded to 6GB RAM and it uses nowhere near 80% 'idling'. – Luke Moll May 8 '15 at 16:05
@LukeMoll That's just a quirk of the particular past system load and what was happening at the time you looked. – David Schwartz May 9 '15 at 20:09
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Maximum amount of memory is also determined by OS, in your case depending of your Windows 7 Version:

Home Basic     : 8GB
Home Premium   : 16GB
Professional   : 192GB
Ultimate       : 192GB
Corporate      : 192GB

Comparison Chart Windows 7

Also is good to check what the brand says.

About ET1862 Here is the datasheet it says:

Maximum 4 GB

And is determined also for CPU:

Here is the datasheet of your CPU it says:

Maximum 16 GB

for your Motherboard Specifications too it says:

Maximum 16 GB

Here is a link for yours:

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But if the ET1862 says 4GB but all the OS, CPU and motherboard are all at least 8GB, what is the limiting factor? – Luke Moll May 8 '15 at 16:03
@Luke Moll it says 4gb cause originally it comes with freedos as operating system – Francisco Tapia May 8 '15 at 16:28
Thank you, that clears a lot up – Luke Moll May 8 '15 at 17:15
@LukeMoll welcome to super user. – Francisco Tapia May 8 '15 at 19:38
Tapia thanks, I would upvote your answer but not enough rep on su :/ – Luke Moll May 8 '15 at 19:48

The motherboard said 16gb,ramhound says the CPU supports 16gb. You say you have win7-64 bit so you should be cleared for 16gb.

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