Saturday, April 26, 2008

You want me to put it where?

The other day was almost like Christmas-come-early at work.

I had been reaching the 100 MB or less system RAM level on my primary laptop-based system for quite a while.  It shipped with just 1 GB of system RAM.

So I requested--and was approved for--a 2 GB system RAM purchase for my Dell D610 Latitude.

When it came in I was really excited.  You know you are dealing with a real geek when they get excited about a 2 GB RAM purchase.

Anyway, I set about at once swapping it out.

I powered off the system, removed the laptop battery, and ensured I was nicely grounded.

I opened up the bottom hatch where the memory is kept and found a single DIMM.

I popped it out and underneath there were no additional slots for memory chips.

Panic struck.

Did the Crucial Memory Advisor steer me wrong?  It clearly said I could upgrade this system to two 1 GB RAM DIMMs for a 2 GB maximum.

I looked, prodded, poked and assessed. Nope. Just one slot for memory down there.

Ain't that strange.

All the other notebooks I've ever been issued or owned had two slots at the bottom.

What gives?

Not knowing if I should laugh, cry, or just blew the RAM order for nothing, I did some quick searching on the web for anything that could help me.

Fortunately, I found the answer.

Memory Module, Modem, and Devices: Dell Latitude D610 Service Manual

Turns out there are two DIFFERENT locations where the RAM DIMMs are located on these Dell laptops. Who knew?

DIMM B (which I had located) was under a plate at the bottom of the laptop.

DIMM A (which I had not) was secreted away under the keyboard on top.


So with much trepidation and following of the guide, i gingerly popped off the slim cover between the keyboard and display hinges to access they keyboard mounting screws.  It creaked and popped like I was snapping it in half, but it held and I soon had they keyboard removed.

From here I gently folded the keyboard back on its edge to access DIMM A.

With both DIMMs seated I tightened everything down, replaced the battery and booted.

Hmmm. No BIOS "system memory" change was seen.  Once it got fully up and I was logged on, only 1 GB of the RAM was found.  I rebooted and checked the BIOS.  only 1 GB was recognized.

Oh bother.

So I shut down, and repeated the steps to inspect the DIMMs.  All looked good.

No, wait, the RAM DIMM under the keyboard looked like it wasn't fully seated after all.


One done I reassembled and rebooted.

This boot.

I felt like Charlie Brown trying to kick that !*#@^$*#@%$&* football!

Was one of the DIMM's really bad? Not like Crucial but anything was possible.

One more time I repeated the process and fully removed and reseated both RAM DIMMs carefully taking my time now.

Reassembled, I booted up.

Hurrah!  The BIOS alerted to the system RAM amount change, then once logged on I used my tools to confirm all the RAM recognized.  (CPU-Z and MemStat XP)

Now I'm running at 2 GB of system RAM and can fully support the virtual machines I use for testing images as well as multi-task without concern.  I had previously set the Centrino CPU for full throttling at all times with no power conservation allowed (accomplished simply by setting the power scheme setting on the laptop from "Portable/notebook" to "Always On") .  It really likes the extra RAM.

It now hovers in the 1100 KB range during normal activity and multiple files of my heavily object-filled Visio floorplans can be opened quickly at once.

Ahh, bliss....

And now I know where to put it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"You know you are dealing with a real geek when they get excited about a 2 GB RAM purchase."

Oh so true!