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Unable to Add Memory to My Toshiba A215-S5837

#1 User is offline   loops07 

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 09:54 PM

I am trying to add ram to my Toshiba A215-S5837, Windows Vista Home Premium 32-Bit with Service Pack 1 laptop. I currently have 2gb of ram and was looking to purchase a 4gb kit. However, a website I visited to purchase a kit had a disclaimer that Window's Vista 32-Bit versions would only recognize or utilize 3gb of ram. What does this mean? And by the way, the website only sold 4gb kits.


When I called Toshiba for clearification I was even more confused than before. The rep recognized the compatibility issue and stated that if I added 4gb of ram that I may get an error message and that the laptop would only recognize one of the 2gb sticks. The rep suggested that I use a 2gb stick in one slot and a 1gb stick in the second slot for a total of 3gb (because they sold 4gb kits as well). But I thought it was preferable to add matching memory sticks to a system? The rep also said I could do nothing for now until they release a Bios update for the issue? As if. Either way, the rep did not sound confident in any of the suggestions.


What do I do? Where can I purchase a 3gb kit for Toshiba? Thanks in advance.
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#2 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 01:58 AM

Hi Loops. First, let's clarify. Windows Vista will absolutely recognize 4GBs of memory. The individuals who misinformed you really should research their information before providing assistance.

Now, that being said, there are two ways that this forum recommends to check the memory compatibility of your computer:

- The computer manufacturer's information listed within either the Owner's Manual or the manufacturer's website

OR

- www.crucial.com (This site is a great utility that will detail what your computer will handle.)



Since the Toshiba technician was very confused, to say the least, let's check crucial. Before we do that, you are correct, it is always better to get matching pairs of memory modules. Unfortunately, crucial.com does not have your specific model computer on file. According to Toshiba's specification of this computer, it comes with the 2GBs of memory that you initially indicated. The memory specification are:

Memory Speed

PC5300 DDR2 667MHz SDRAM

However, what it does not state is how many memory slots your computer has or the maximum memory this computer will hold. Also, the memory speed information is misleading. At first glance it looks good; however, two things stand out:

# If the memory is DDR2, it would be PC2 5300
# SDRAM is related to desktop computers. SO-DIMM is for laptops


This is not to say that your laptop does not or cannot have the listed memory. I only state this because the information seems off. When I did some digging, I found this .pdf Specification Sheet for this computer on Toshiba's website which details everything you need to know:

http://cdgenp01.csd....ent/product/pdffiles/detailedspecs/satellite_A215-S5837.pdf


According to this .pdf sheet, your computer maxes out at 4GBs of memory and, presumably, has two memory slots. Right now, you more than likely have two (2) 1GB memory chips. In order to stay consistent, you would want to get two (2) 2GB memory chips for a total of 4GBs.

Since we have that out of the way, let's check one of the lowest priced online retailers, newegg.com. According to newegg.com, here are the selection of 4GB memory chip kits or 2GB memory chips that are compatible with your computer:

2GB Memory Chips and 4GB Memory Kits

I must stress that the above list is for current memory chips (PC2 5300 SO-DIMM). Before you do anything, I would strongly advise you to take out one of the current memory chips and read the sticker information on the chip itself. This will give you, and us, and better indication of what your computer really has.
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#3 User is offline   rgreen4 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 04:10 AM

Loops - to add to what MPH said, I noticed that when I upgraded my self built computer from 2GB to 4GB with Vista Home Premium, the System Information Panel said it had 3.4GB of memory. It recognizes the 4GB, but can only utilize 3GB+ because of the memory mapping of 32bit Windows. When I upgraded to SP1, the panel shows the full 4GB of memory.

Whether it can use it all, I don't know. I do know that a lot of systems are being sold with 4GB, and although some are being sold with 3, I don't recommend that path, for as you stated and MPH confirmed, it is better with a dual channel memory setup (and most machines do now) to install memory in matched pairs.
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#4 User is offline   piyushsingh 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 05:34 AM

rgreen4 said:

Loops - to add to what MPH said, I noticed that when I upgraded my self built computer from 2GB to 4GB with Vista Home Premium, the System Information Panel said it had 3.4GB of memory. It recognizes the 4GB, but can only utilize 3GB+ because of the memory mapping of 32bit Windows. When I upgraded to SP1, the panel shows the full 4GB of memory.

Whether it can use it all, I don't know. I do know that a lot of systems are being sold with 4GB, and although some are being sold with 3, I don't recommend that path, for as you stated and MPH confirmed, it is better with a dual channel memory setup (and most machines do now) to install memory in matched pairs.


hi rgreen
when did you upgrade from 2 to 4 gigs ? Ya , you are very right in saying that SP1 shows the exact amount of memory installed rather than what it is capable of using.That's why the system information changed from 3.4 to 4.0 GB in your case. But you will still be able to use only about 3.4 GB. So that extra 1 GB chip will actually always give you less on a 32-bit OS. But still upgrading to 4GB will be recommended to get that little bit of extra ram , and its always better to get matched pairs for dual channel operation in case you upgrade to 64-bit in near future.

I haven't yet increased from 2 gigs, but i think your task manager should still report less than 4 GB . Can you confirm this for me , whether its the same or not by looking into your task manager.
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#5 User is offline   loops07 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 11:22 AM

Yes, Toshiba was confused, which is not reassuring to me, the consumer. I contacted Crucial as suggested and the rep assured me that I could install the 4gb kit, although the system will only use 3gb to 3.4gb. They did not recommend installing unmatching sticks (2gb and 1gb sticks), as the Toshiba rep suggested. Although I am seeing a lot of 3gb laptops on the market. Crucial is updating their system so that this laptop will be listed. The ram they suggested is,
www.crucial.com/store/listmodule/DDRII/~DDR2%20PC2-5300~~200-pin%20SODIMM~~REGULAR~~4096~~2048~~1024~~N~~Y~~Fully%20Buffered~~Registered~~NON-ECC~/list.html
Thanks to all.
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#6 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 11:33 AM

Hi Loops. I am glad that we were able to help you resolve your problem. Once you get the new memory, follow RGreen's advice and upgrade to SP1. Windows Vista should and absolutely will use all 4GBs. If you have any additional questions, please post.
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#7 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 11:56 AM

You always need to be careful as to what the OS can support and what the computer hardware can support.



As pointed out, 32-bit OSs can support up to 4 GB of RAM. In the case of Windoze (whether XP or Vista), you will generally NOT get full use of all 4 GB of memory. How much depends on what you graphics card setup is and how Windoze maps memory. As noted, you will effectively get about 3 to 3.5 GB of useable memory with Windoze with 4 GB of physical RAM installed.



Beyond that is what the hardware and BIOS can handle. While Windoze can handle 4 GB, not all computers can. Some computers might be limited to what size memory chips they can handle...i.e. they might not "like" 2 GB DIMM. Some computers can handle 2 GB DIMMs, but the BIOS can only handle maybe 2 or 3 GB of RAM. Now, in most cases, currently available computers can handle 4 GB just fine...whether a desktop or a laptop. But, this was NOT as much the case about 2 years ago. My MacBook Pro (just about 2 years old now) can handle a MAX of 2 GB of memory, even though the Mac OS that it is running is perfectly capable of using up to 4 GB. Currently MacBook Pros can handle 4 GB of memory just fine.
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