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Plan to upgrade my Toshiba L300-14X's memory from 2gb to 4. Problem is the manufacturer and Intel (because I have Intel® GL960 Express Chipset with ICH8M) explicitly state that max. memory my laptop can handle is 2gb. However, I searched and found there are users installed 4gb in their laptops, and moreover, dmidecode -t 16 code in my Linux returns this output:

Location: System Board Or Motherboard
    Use: System Memory
    Error Correction Type: None
    Maximum Capacity: 4 GB
    Error Information Handle: Not Provided
    Number Of Devices: 4

Though I don't have 4 devices, but only 2 slots for RAM, dmidecode seems it knows what it is talking about. Yet, I am still not sure as to 4gb (2x2gb) will work.

Any suggestions?

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    "Any suggestions?" Yeah, try some RAM in it, if it works, yay -- if not, well there ya go. If you don't have RAM to try, take it to someone who does. If you've already found anecdotal evidence from other users that it will work, I don't think there's anything we can we offer other than more of the same... – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 21 '14 at 19:55
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    If you do try the memory, make sure you have a 64-bit Operating System installed, otherwise it'll only be able to access around 3GB. – Richard Jul 21 '14 at 20:23
  • @Richard I think 32-bit can handle up to 4 gb. – nCoM1kWuDFIjxZNd2zoE Jul 21 '14 at 21:19
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    @nCoM1kWuDFIjxZNd2zoE: You're right, provided you have certain hardware and support for PAE mode. However it's usually best to make the switch to 64-bit. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3_GB_barrier – Richard Jul 21 '14 at 21:51
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The laptop model you've is based on the GL960 chipset which explicitely doesn't support 4GB RAM as other said. Furthermore, someone already tried it : http://forums.computers.toshiba-europe.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=46198

Quoting the answer from Toshiba:

After checking the system specification we can see it has the Intel mobile GL960 express chipset. Unfortunately 2GB is the maximum supported RAM for this chipset. It may work with 3GB but there is no guarantee that the system would be stable. Upgrading to 4GB would cause it to fail the power on self test (POST).

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It might work, but might not, if some people on forums say they have 4 GB in that notebook model, then ask them which product number and RAM manufacturer they put in it, some RAMs might be compatible but some might not.

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Amount of Ram that a computer can handle depends on:

1) CPU type (32/64 bit)

2) OS

3) Motherboard

First check If all of this supports the Ram increase( by checking in each of the above's manufacturer's website ), then while buying, be careful about the pins, frequency and make of the RAM module your laptop supports. You can read the specification in your older RAM module.

There are also many softwares which can give you this information like CPU-Z.

Hope it helps.

EDIT: Upon further research, it seems your motherboard won't support it. You can check out your motherboard's online specification sheet, it mentions 2gb is the maximum. Here is the link: http://ark.intel.com/products/29830/Intel-82GL960-Graphics-and-Memory-Controller

  • Thanks for reply. I've checked the website too, and after seeing couple of other users using 4gb and dmidecode results, I thought perhaps what is listed in the website is just a recommended value or something like it. I'm not sure. – nCoM1kWuDFIjxZNd2zoE Jul 21 '14 at 21:21
  • Yes, that maybe the case, but it is usually not advised to go beyond the recommended limit, as there can be voltage or frequency issues and can also affect your motherboard in the long term. – sirius_helper Jul 21 '14 at 21:29
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From what I've read of PAE, other answers and references, here is what I suspect the situation is:
You can put 4 GB in your computer.
With an OS Toshiba expects you to be running, you will only see 3 GB.
To Toshiba, that means 4 GB does not work.
Putting in 3 GB is a bad idea because motherboards are designed to take even numbers of identical memory cards.
To Toshiba, that leaves 2 GB as the maximum that works.
To get around the 2 GB limit, put in 4 GB and either settle for 3GB/4GB or use PAE or use a 64-bit OS.

  • Please read other answers before giving a wrong one. It's not even a problem of 32-bit addressing, so having PAE won't help. (Note that the CPU also support 64-bit addressing but the chipset doesn't.) Another thing, you can say that motherboard should work better with identical sticks of RAM, but most of the time you can mix them without worrying, and if there is a problem, there is low chances that'll be due to stick capacity, but more because of operating voltage and frequency, or compatibility of RAM chip with chipset. You'll just not have Dual Channel. – piernov Jul 23 '14 at 17:38
  • I did read. To me, the conflict between what OP was told by Toshiba and by other users was worth trying to explain. When the 3GB/4GB issue comes up in Linux forums PAE is usually an answer given. I'm aware that getting the extra GB is not PAE's primary purpose. I'm fuzzy on the details of why it works, so I won't try to give them. If the chipset were incapable of addressing 3GB, 3GB would not work at all. I suppose its possible that the chipset could address 3GB, but not 4GB. – Michael Hennebry Jul 23 '14 at 20:19
  • It's a deal with a lower part here, not the OS. The chipset is designed for 2GB but can address 3GB or even 4GB memory. The limit is the BIOS: the POST fails when you put 4GB only. So 4GB are detected and addressed but that memory region can't be checked by the BIOS (PCI hole conflicting and not handled ? I might be wrong here.) Now, PAE just extend physical addressing to 36bit. The 3GB barrier is due to the PCI memory mapping using the same addresses as the RAM. It could be overcome if the driver were designed for PAE and PCI mem remapped or with hardware remapping affected RAM above 4GB. – piernov Jul 24 '14 at 12:35

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