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I've got a Compaq 6910p 14 inch laptop with 1GB RAM, 2.0ghz Core2Duo and a Mobility Radeon x2300. I was wondering if

  1. Adding more RAM would help my computer
  2. If I add RAM, will I have to reinstall ubuntu, do something special etc.
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7 Answers 7

Adding more RAM will increase the number of tasks that you will be able to perform in your laptop without "feeling" that your computer "is slow", but your computer will be the same unless you change some architecture on it, basically:

  1. The MicroProcessor: the faster = the best. The tasks are processed by the CPU and not by the RAM, understanding this, we can say that your computer will be "faster" if you use a faster CPU.
  2. The File System Bus, which in certain cases is limited on laptop's motherboards. The wider the file system bus is, will allow the microprocessor to gather data from/to your devices and this way the computer will "feel" fast, but in fact the tasks are being processed based on the speed of your CPU.

I have an analogy for this:

Imagine that you have in an office 3 things:

  1. A man who will process the information in a desktop. (analog for the CPU)
  2. The desktop (analog for the RAM) and
  3. the file room, a place where the documents are filed. (analog for Data devices, hard disk drive, etc.)

With this analogy, the man (CPU) will process as many information as can fit on his desktop (RAM), information which is gathered from the file room. If the file room is having a feeder and short distance (file system bus), the man will gather the documents faster, put it on the desktop, process it and give results.

If you have an old man (slower CPU), he will delay doing his tasks, if the man is having a small desktop, will process just a little bit of information at once and if the file room is far or is having another old man feeding the documents, you can say what the results will be.

In a different scenery: a young man in roller blades will go fast for the information, in a giant desktop will be able to process lots of information and give results in a snap.

Anyway, improving just something will give the "feeling" that everything seems to be working "fast" but it is not, unless you arrange the items in a way that the data runs fast from place to place.

There is another considerations: The GPU (graphics card). The fastest that the results can be drawn on the Monitors, you will feel that the computer is working "faster". But remember, it's just an optical illusion. The data is being processed in the same way, but it is being drawn faster.

Good luck!

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I've got a Compaq 6910p 14 inch laptop with 1GB RAM, 2.0ghz Core2Duo and a Mobility Radeon x2300.

  • You mean this one? Here is a link to what I believe is the service manual.
    Your laptop takes 1 or 2 667-MHz/PC2-5300 SO-DIMMs. One of them is easy to access and replace since it is under a removable cover on the bottom of the laptop. (See Expansion memory module, page 48 in the service manual.)
    To replace the other you need to remove the keyboard. (Primary memory module, page 59.)
  • An easy way to determine what your options are would be to locate and open the panel on the back for the Expansion memory module.
    If there is a (512MB) SO-DIMM present then that means the most RAM you could have installed without replacing the SO-DIMM under the keyboard is 2.5 GB.
    Hopefully the expansion slot will be empty. This would mean you could install a 2 GB SO-DIMM in the expansion slot for a total of 3 GB.

I was wondering if adding more RAM would help my computer.

  • I think enough has already been said about this in the other answers. If it was me, I'd consider going to 2.5 or 3GB if it was not a hassle. Up to you if you want to go to 4GB since this would involve replacing the RAM under your keyboard.

If I add RAM, will I have to reinstall ubuntu, do something special etc.

  • Essentially, no. Ubuntu (or any modern OS for that matter) will simply recognize and use the extra memory when it starts up.
    There is a somewhat tedious issue of how much of the installed memory Ubuntu will actually use. But this really only matters if you install more than 3GB of RAM. Otherwise it's probably not worth bothering about unless you are curious.
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More RAM is useful if you are having lockups or sudden high disk activity as your system is using swap as it has run out of RAM.(Sometimes it uses swap even with lots of free RAM, but that is not harmful) It will help you with processing large amounts of bulky data, as will a CPU upgrade. As long as you don't exceed 3.5 GB, you won't need to change your kernel to use PAE, and you can just boot to Ubuntu and enjoy your new RAM.

I personally just use the xubuntu-desktop package from synaptic instead of Gnome as Gnome is sometimes a resource hog for me but Xubuntu works perfectly and is quite customizable. If you want to stick with Gnome, I do suggest at least 1.5GiB RAM, as your CPU looks fine. It may also help if you pick Ubuntu 2D at logon(From the wrench menu on newer versions, and at the bottom on older versions) as the regular mode can be quite a honeypot without great functional improvement.

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More RAM is always good as Linux uses this for cache so it will help, especially with modern web browsers eating up your RAM.

You don't need to do anything special when adding RAM to Ubuntu, when it powers up it'll just see it and use it. RAM is really cheap these days, if you can max out the RAM your laptop holds you'll have a much snappier experience.

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  1. Probably, I suggest you to have a look in the System Monitor. If you see a lot swap usage, the disk may be relieved a bit by adding more RAM.
  2. No you don't have to reinstall, Ubuntu will pick it up automatically

Before buying more RAM, I suggest you to look on the Internet whether it's possible to upgrade your laptop memory or not. Some laptops seems to be build in such a way that adding new RAM requires you to remove the whole bottom. Also, check whether you've actual a second free slot for RAM. Manufacturers tend to put two smaller memory modules in as its cheaper.

When buying RAM for a laptop, be sure to buy SODIMM RAM, desktop RAM modules do not fit in a laptop. The frequency should be at least the level of your current RAM as the slowest module determines the actual speed.

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My laptop has 2 slots, and one is open. –  Quinn Apr 25 '12 at 20:10
    
You can check memory and swap use from the command line: free. If you add the output of that command, we can take a look at how your memory/swap is used and if adding more RAM is a viable upgrade. –  jippie Apr 25 '12 at 20:29

While a definitive answer would depend on knowing exactly what programs you use, etc., 1 gig of RAM is not very much these days. Dollar for dollar, I suspect you will see more benefit from adding memory than anything else. RAM is inexpensive. Amazon, for example, is selling 8 gigs for around $40.

Research how to add memory to your laptop, and find out what kind of memory it requires. Then, look around for the best price.

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RAM is inexpensive, but it depends on the type of RAM. DDR-1 for example is still pretty expensive. –  user unknown Apr 26 '12 at 2:23

High suggestion to add more what you can pay for. Whatever it is Ubuntu or Mac OS X or Windows. More RAM will better on today heavy application, such as FireFox for internet open with multi tab etc.

Just unplug your notebook battery and power, then lose it back open the case, replace the old RAM, that is it.

Just before buy new RAM, need know that it is DDR2 or DDR3.

Best Regards, Jimmy Chan

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