Recently I bought a new laptop, and now I am looking if I can upgrade it. It has 1 gigabyte of ram. So I decided to find if it has free ram slots. Here is lshw output about ram:

      description: System Memory
      physical id: 13
      slot: System board or motherboard
      size: 1GiB
      capacity: 3GiB
         description: SODIMM DDR2 Synchronous
         physical id: 0
         slot: M1
         size: 1GiB
         width: 32 bits
         description: SODIMM DDR2 Synchronous [empty]
         physical id: 1
         slot: M2

So, lshw shows another memory slot. But when I've opened laptop and examined it's slots, only one memory slot could be seen. So is that lshw lying about hardware? Or, maybe, I should totally disassemble laptop in search for slots? :-)

  • The number of memory slots can usually be found using Google by entering your laptop make. Wish I could help you more. – Chris Ting Jun 11 '11 at 14:35

It might be showing that the chipset supports more slots, even if the motherboard is not wired up to have those slots. It is more common these days for the chipset to know the other sots are not present (rather than just empty) but this is not always the case.

If the slot that you found was empty then there must be another one somewhere, either that or your existing memory is soldered directly onto the board (the chipset won;t see any difference: it doesn't care whether the RAM chips and relevant circuitry are associated with a DIMM slot or if they are all directly connected to the board).

With laptops you often find that there are two slots, one on either side of the motherboard. In these cases one is usually easily accessible via the under-side of the case (under a cover held in place by one or two screws) and the other is on the other side of that and difficult to get to (you end up having to take the laptop completely apart if you want to get to it, and even then you might fins it isn't a real "slot" but some memory chips soldered direct to the board).

  • Thank you for response. The slot I've found was the slot with real gigabyte ram. It was found by opening laptop's underside, which was relatively easy. If, as you wrote, free slot is on the other side of the motherboard, then I should disassemble laptop, put out hard disk, all hardware and, finally, motherboard - a bit uneasy process. I'll look if there is a sense in it. – user81420 Jun 11 '11 at 15:27
  • It is unusual for the easily accessible slot to be the populated one if there are two in that layout, so you might only have one slot. Check your documentation and/or the manufacturer's website for details before taking the thing apart or you might be taking the hassle for nothing. – David Spillett Jun 11 '11 at 17:41

The memory slots in laptops are typically vertical, one over the other. So considering you have one stick in already, the other slot is either above or below it. Try removing the stick and the 2nd bank will most likely be under it.

  • Well, I'll look, if I missed it. – user81420 Jun 11 '11 at 14:51

In Windows, I use "Software Information for Windows", and I have found that occasionally, it can be wrong. My current laptop is specified as having a maximum memory capacity of 2048MB, and a maximum module size of 2048MB for each of two slots. The reality is that the max per slot is correct, and I am safely running 4GB.

This information is probably being gathered from the same place regardless of OS (in other words, that I use Windows and you don't is only relevant to how we access this info from the Motherboard), and it clearly can be wrong.

Consult the manual and specs for your board or computer model.

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