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2 years ago I bought a Dell Dimension 9200 desktop computer as a high end gaming computer (at least, back then it was a top of the line computer). The computer was ordered with 4GB of RAM, but came in 4 1GB sticks.

2 years later I am actually finding that my computer does not have enough RAM (I have some analysis programs that will chew up any bit of RAM/CPU power you throw at them) thus I need to upgrade.

Here's the problem:

After a bit of digging around to find out what type of RAM my computer supports, i found out that my computer is supposedly already maxed out in terms of RAM. I have 4 RAM slots and the manufacturer (Dell) says that the system can only accept 1GB RAM sticks. All other sources on the internet also say that my desktop is only capable of handling 1GB RAM sticks.

However, I ran Lavalys' EVEREST program and it says my computer is capable of handling up to 2GB RAM sticks, for a maximum of 8GB total.

I have confirmed that my computer does indeed handle 2GB sticks. Unfortunately I only had 1 stick on hand and was only able to test the computer in single channel mode.

My question is, is my computer actually capable of handling the full 8GB of RAM despite what the manufacturer, and pretty much everyone else says? Should I go ahead and spend that $100 on the RAM?

A side question, I hear about RAM requiring about 15W of power per 1GB, should i be worried about my system not having enough power if i upgrade? I run a Q6600 (TPD 140W), 1 hard drive, an 8800GTX (peak 290W) and 1 DVD burner. Nvidia recommends at least a 500W power supply when running an 8800GTX, but Dell cheaped out on me with a 450W, will the extra 4GB of ram (possibly adding an extra 60W of load) cause me any problems?

Thanks in advance,


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I recently referred the Crucial tool CrucialScan.exe at Can a 800Mhz memory stick be used in a 400Mhz slot?. It would be a good trick for your system too. – nik Jul 21 '09 at 6:13
One IMPORTANT thing to note is if you are not running a 64-bit OS (either XP/Vista/Win7 64 bit or a Linux 64 bit build) thaen you won't be able to access more than 4Gb TOTAL (including any video memory), so if you are running a 32 bit installation, then don't wase your money on more RAM – geocoin Jul 21 '09 at 9:46
This is not the case. 32-bit Linux can access more than 4 GB of RAM provided you have PAE enabled. Ubuntu server kernels have this, for example. Each process is limited and this may be a deciding factor, but at the very least, you won't take such a hit from video memory. – ChrisInEdmonton Jul 27 '09 at 15:49
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Have you tried Crucial's scanner? I'm sure it will give you a more definitive answer. Alternatively, try booting with only the 2GB stick, and run memtest to check stability. Most linux distributions with a LiveCD come with memtest on the disc as well.

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I just ran Crucial's tool on my Inspiron 8100 and it reported (correctly) that I am using 2 DDR PC2700 1GB sticks and that my system maximum is 2 512MB sticks. – Beaner Oct 10 '10 at 21:28

To answer your other question, your power supply should be fine. I'm running a similar config with a 8GB of memory and a 400W power supply with no issues.

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curious, what is your computer setup? – Faken Jul 21 '09 at 6:35
E7400, WD3200AAKS HDD, 8GB RAM, ATI HD4830, some Samsung DVD burner, 400W Antec PSU – Dan Walker Jul 21 '09 at 15:25

Dell says that the system can only accept 1GB RAM sticks

This means that Dell has tested the system with up to 1GB RAM sticks and that they know it works. It does not always mean that later introduced (larger) memeory sticks will not work. It just means that:

  1. It was not tested at the time the manual was written.
  2. It may be a hard limit from the memory controller, lanes to the DIMM sockets, etc etc.

A side question, I hear about RAM requiring about 15W of power per 1GB, should i be worried about my system not having enough power if i upgrade?

That sounds very high. I see about 2W per 4GB added. GDDR for graphics cards uses a lot mor epowr though. I wonder which figures you checked.

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