Hello fine people,
This will help me potentially upgrade my laptop. It started with trying to determine if Win7 64bit would run on it in spite of Dell's assertion that it could not. All indications were that the Intel components seem acceptable to this end so I started looking into it and have run into these questions regarding RAM support. I need an Engineer interested in shooting holes in my plan. You can stop reading now if you can't help with clarification about the specifications for the Intel PM965 chipset and/or skip to the bottom for the root questions.
I'm seeking technical documentation and advice on the maximum memory supported by an Intel 82PM965 controller. I am aware that Dell is the primary source of information regarding this, but they are simply not knowledgeable and seem to lack access to documentation. The box is a Dell Inspiron model 1720 laptop with a T8300 processor and PM965 chipset. The BIOS is Dell's A09 (the most current and last ever update). It is of course legacy equipment but a perfectly good piece of hardware that I've had since new. I used the Chipset Identification Utility to positively identify the chipset here:
The Intel ARK page for this device provides the following information concerning memory:
Mobile Intel® PM965 Express Chipset
(Intel® 82PM965 Memory Controller)
|Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type)||4 GB <<======= This is some of the information I seek clarification about.|
|Memory Types||DDR2-533 / DDR2-667 <<======= What does "dependent on memory type" above really mean? (specifically)|
|# of Memory Channels||2|
|Physical Address Extensions||36-bit|
|ECC Memory Supported ‡||No|
It is widely "known" (or accepted) that the max RAM is 4GB on this Inspiron. That is the only documentation available and what Dell clings to as well. Others have done real world "experimentation" seemingly proving the 4GB limit to be wrong. There seems to be no issue with stability etc. In a nutshell:
1) 6 GB RAM seems proven to work.
2) 8 GB RAM seems proven NOT to work (the machine will lock at POST, likely a BIOS limitation )
3) The mismatched 2GB/4GB RAM combo seems proven to still allow dual channel operation. (Intel® Flex Memory Access might explain this.)
Please see these URL's to clarify what I'm saying above. They may at least be informative to the desired outcome.
Now, aside from all the self indulgent back-patting going on at these links, they appear to contain enough relatively solid technical info to be noteworthy. I'm simply attempting to mitigate my risk of throwing good money away on RAM that may be doomed because of a lack of documentation and clarification about the 965 chipset.
Memory Configuration Tools at various memory vendors say that DDR2 speeds of PC5300 (667 MHz) OR PC6400 (800 MHz) SODIMMS will work. It should be noted that the URL's above both seem to use PC5300 DDR2. The DDR2-533 in the specs above would indicate PC4200. Perhaps this is enough background so now on to the root questions:
1) Will the PM965 support more than the 4GB referenced in the specs above and if so, under what conditions? (i.e. With DDR2 PC5300 only etc.)
2) What does "Dependent on Memory Type" in these short specs really mean? (what are the details, variables, requirements etc?)
3) Can it be confirmed that it supports DDR2 PC-6400 RAM with an 800 MHz FSB? (The PM965 specs above don't indicate that, but the T8300 processor in the system seems to indicate that it must).
4) What other considerations concerning the PM965's role might I not be properly considering? (i.e. MUST the CAS latency of the RAM be the same? Other "tolerance" or limitation considerations? I'm aware of normal "best practices" when using dual channel RAM configurations.)
5) If 6GB of RAM seems feasible, what might be done to keep everything happy and not inadvertently cripple performance in spite of more RAM? (i.e. proper chipset drivers to use, RAM latency or type considerations etc.)
Thank you all in advance,