I m looking to buy a new cheaper laptop with DDR4 (8gb) and upgrade the RAM after to 32GB DDR4. I will only look for laptops that have processors that can support 32GB and have 2 slots.

So : Can a laptop handle as much RAM memory as it's CPU processor can handle (manufacturer data) if there are enough ram slots inside it to fit that memory? Or can the motherboard have less ram support than what the processor can ?

  • 1
    It depends on the chipset. Multiple chipsets can support the same processor, those chipsets, can support different amounts of maximum amounts of memory. Unless you provide specifics you actual question, "will it work", is difficult to answer.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


There are a couple of pieces to the puzzle. The CPU chip may have an integrated memory controller (more modern) or a separate chip that talks to memory. Those chips will have some supported max configuration. They may also have configuration restrictions around banking or dram timing. The max dimm size may not be the only restriction: the exact supported dram chip configurations may be limited (this is a complicated thing to describe why not all 4Gbit dram chips are the same feature set, even if labelled DDR3 etc) They may have supported voltage restrictions.

On the motherboard, it's possible that not all signals from the chip were routed to the dram slots. So you have to check what the max the motherboard supports. This would include restrictions on number of dimm connectors, and what kind

There could also be power restrictions, such that the laptop doesn't overheat. But most people don't worry about that. Sometimes there is more variance between dram vendors then you might expect

Then there is the problem of what the BIOS does. Nowadays, most modern BIOS's read the SPD info from the DIMM, that tells it what the DIMM supports, and programs the memory controller or CPU to make that work. But it's possible that it could be hardwired (in the old days)

So, the short answer to your question: download hwinfo (assuming this is windows) and run it (https://www.hwinfo.com/download.php )

You'll get a report on the CPU, the Motherboard, the Chipset (if any) and the BIOS, along with info on existing DIMM (good for determining voltage required and DIMM connector)

report back with all the info on the System Summary popup (snap a jpeg or just the text of the info I mentioned) and I'll tell you how I'd digest the info and decide what dimms would work (a lot of dram seller sites now also do compatibility reporting...so just knowing the motherboard may be sufficient, but good to get it all to double check)

  • The problem is I have not yet bought the laptop but I am planning to buy the cheapest one that can hold 32GB ddr4 .. that s my plan :) and I m not sure what to go for, a lot of them have CPUs that can go up to that ram capacity and 2 slots which are more than enough , but I m not sure about the motherboard and online shops do not really offer info on motherboards , even manufacturers don t really offer info on that.. what would be your suggestion? Jan 20, 2017 at 0:56
  • Typically the manufacture's website indicates the maximum amount of memory supported by that model. Websites that focus on products reviews also normally indicate the maximum amount of memory that is supported.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:58
  • ok I ll keep looking then on what they say as the maximum supported memory.. thank you ! Jan 20, 2017 at 1:05

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