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Can an older laptop be limited to 2GB RAM?

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Heya! I have a Toshiba laptop from 2007. Still works great almost 12 years later, no jokes :) 

 

The only issue is the RAM -- it's running Windows 7 64-bit and frankly 2GB is now pathetic (2 tabs in Chrome + Excel + VLC, and I'm over 90% util lol). Plus I can tell it's utilizing virtual memory a ton. It came with 1 GB (two sticks x 512 MB) which I swapped to 2 GB (2 x 1GB) in 2011.

 

The original spec sheet said:

1GB (2 x 512 MB) DDR2 PC2-5300 (5-5-5-15) Maximum RAM: 2GB

 

Is there something hardware-side that restricts it to 2 gigs, or is that bogus and I can pop it to 4 or more? I know 32-bit can do up to 4GB and 64-bit can do up to 128 GB, but is there anything hardware-wise holding it back?

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quite a few older IMCs are limited to 2GB of RAM

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depends on the cpu in several ways:

- the maximum amount of ram the cpu will support (for example, 4GB)

- the maximum amount of ram per DIMM the cpu will support (for example, 1GB DIMMs)

- the maximum amount of ram per channel the cpu will support (for example, 2GB)

 

and as a result, the mobo could form a limiting factor in this regard.

 

and if your laptop is of the age where there was still a north bridge in the equasion.. it's all down to the motherboard and chipset, which is in the laptop OEM's control.

 

basicly, if they say 2GB max, you should consider 2GB max.

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Yes. chipsets such as Intel GM965 were known to only state they supported 2GB. Sometimes you'd get lucky and it'd take 3GB despite not officially supporting it. My personal laptop supported 3GB but would BSOD with 4GB.

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DDR2 limits you. 4GB DDR2 SODIMMs are becoming hard to find, and their price shows it. Your system may not even be able to accept 4GB SODIMMs.

 

2GB SODIMMs are still cheap and easy to get, so 4GB total is doable if your board actually supports it. Update your BIOS and give it a shot.

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Well, it would have helped to list the model of your Toshiba laptop - we could have checked the specifications to determine the chipset and processor and what other parts may cause limitations.

 

Mainly the chipset could limit you to 2 GB, the processor may limit you...

Maybe when the laptop was made and they validated memory sticks for it, they could only get 2 GB sticks in dual rank, double sided formats (lots of memory chips on stick) which may not be supported by the memory controller.

Maybe since then they managed to make bigger sized memory chips and you can now get 2 GB sticks that would work with that motherboard.

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14 minutes ago, rcmaehl said:

Yes. chipsets such as Intel GM965 were known to only state they supported 2GB. Sometimes you'd get lucky and it'd take 3GB despite not officially supporting it. My personal laptop supported 3GB but would BSOD with 4GB.

 

Thanks all for the info! I opened up Speccy and the motherboard tab does in fact say "Chipset Model: GM965" so that answers that.

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(it was solid when I built it in early 2010... now its not, but it still works wonderfully day-to-day!)

 

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In the case of HP laptops with that chipset only one of the RAM slots had a limit so you could put a 4GB stick in the unlimited slot and a 1GB stick in the limited slot giving you 5GB. It's not guaranteed but most laptops from that era even though they were limited to 2GB actually supported at least 3GB and sometimes more.

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