Question about Upgrading a Laptop

Started Oct 13, 2012 | Discussions
GegeNY
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Question about Upgrading a Laptop
Oct 13, 2012

Hello,

I have a HP Pavilion HDX9494nr like this one here :

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001BAZY7W/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=14420251524&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12406296231639275798&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_noo6lu3o5_e

This is a few years old 20.1" laptop and I really like it.

It came with Windows Vista Home Permium 64-bit. & 4 GB Memory

Now I have Windows 7 Ultimate on it, is it possible to add more memory or 4 GB is the maximum?

Maybe someone may help me about that.

I thank you for your help.

Gerard

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Jim Cockfield
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Re: Question about Upgrading a Laptop
In reply to GegeNY, Oct 13, 2012

I don't think it will work for anything larger than 2GB SODIMMs (typical for most laptop chipsets that use 667Mhz or 800Mhz DDR2).

Crucial says it's limited to 4GB total (2x2GB, which is what you already have in it, since it only has 2 slots for memory):

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=Pavilion%20HDX9494N

So, I would not expect to be able to upgrade to any more than you already have now (it looks like it's maxed out at 4GB total already).

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Jim Cockfield
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corrected link...
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

According to Crucial, it's limited to a maximum of 4GB total using 2x2GB (which is what you already have in it):

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=Pavilion%20HDX9494NR

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GegeNY
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Re: corrected link...
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

Thank you Jim.

I did check at Crucial, but I was thinking maybe with Windows 7 Ultimate I could use more memory, so I think this is not the case.

To bad because this is a superb computer.

Thank you again for your help.

Gerard

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Jim Cockfield
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Re: corrected link...
In reply to GegeNY, Oct 13, 2012

GegeNY wrote:

Thank you Jim.

I did check at Crucial, but I was thinking maybe with Windows 7 Ultimate I could use more memory, so I think this is not the case.

To bad because this is a superb computer.

Thank you again for your help.

Gerard

I did a search for that model on newegg in memory reviews, and couldn't find anyone that had upgraded it using memory from there.

Every once in a while, Crucial gets it wrong.  But, most of the time, they're right (and they'll usually even show more memory than the manufacturer shows some models can use if the chipset is capable of larger modules than were sold with a given box).

As for the Operating System, actually, you need 64 bit Win 7 just to use the full 4GB in it.  32 Bit Windows is only going to use a little over 3GB of memory, no matter how much you have installed.  Sometimes manufacturers sold systems with 32 Bit versions of Windows with 4GB in them (just because it's better to install matched paris of SODIMMs), even though 32 bit versions of Windows won't use more than about 3.2GB of the 4GB.

So, as long as you installed 64 Bit Windows 7 Ultimate, you should be able to use all 4GB of the memory you have installed (but, the same thing would apply to 64 Bit Win 7 Home Premium or Pro).  It looks like it sold with 64 Bit Vista Home Premium (which would also use the full 4GB)

So, chances are, you used a 64 bit version of Win 7 Ultimate when you upgraded it.  But, it does come both ways (they offer both 32 bit and 64 bit Versions of it), and if you installed 32 Bit Win 7 Ultimate, then it's only going to use around 3.2GB of the 4GB you have in it.

You can tell the OS you've got installed by clicking on your Start Button, then "right clicking" on Computer and selecting Properties.   Once you get to the Properties Section, you'll see a System section with a System type row.   If it says 32 Bit Operating System, it's not going to use the full 4GB you have installed.   If it says 64 Bit Operating System then it should use the full 4GB.

How much memory you can use depends on if you're using a 32 bit or 64 bit Version of Windows, not whether it's Home Premium, Pro or Ultimate.

Being able to use more memory with anything other than 64 Bit Home Premium only comes into play if you need more than 16GB (64 Bit Home Premium supports up to 16GB of memory).  So, you need to go 64 Bit Win 7 Pro or Ultimate if you need more than 16GB of memory.

But, your hardware would still need to support the amount of memory you want to install, and from what I can tell, your system can only use 4GB total (it has two memory slots and the max SODIMM size you can use is 2GB of 667Mhz or 800Mhz DDR2 according to Crucial).


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Jim Cockfield
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Re: corrected link...
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

IOW, using Ultimate has nothing to do with being able to use more memory.

Even the 64 Bit Vista Home Premium that was on it to begin with supported up to 16GB as far as what the Operating System could use.

But, your hardware doesn't (it's limited to 4GB total using 2x2GB of 667Mhz or 800Mhz DDR2 SODIMMs according to Crucial, and they're usually right).

The only time you need anything more than 64 Bit Win Home Premium (and the same thing applies to both Vista and Win 7) for memory upgrade purposes is if you need more than 16GB of memory (if you need more than 16GB total, then you need either Win 7 Pro or Ultimate).  But, your hardware still has to support more.

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Jim Cockfield
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P.S. 2x4GB kits...
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

Now, manufactures do make 2x4GB of 1.8 Volt PC2-5300 and PC2-6400 SODIMM modules.

You'll see some kits like that here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007609%20600006176%20600000401&IsNodeId=1&name=8GB%20%282%20x%204GB%29

But, HP says it limited to 2x2GB total in it's specs:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01490775&cc=us&destPage=document&lang=en&lc=en&product=3747924&tmp_docname=c01490775

Crucial also says it's limited to 2x2GB on it's page for it:

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=Pavilion%20HDX9494NR

And, I could not find anybody that's tried using 2x4GB in your model searching through reviews of laptop memory.

But, HP did have a BIOS update for it dated January 2011.  Get that here (and it should also install OK from Win 7, even though it says Vista, since the underlying kernel is the same with both Vista and Win 7):

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=ob-91708-1&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&os=2100&product=3747924&sw_lang=

So, it's possible the last BIOS update included support for larger 4GB SODIMMs (the BIOS would need to be able to recognize the larger modules).   Sometimes BIOS updates come from the chipset manufacturer that HP and similar vendors are using, and they sometimes include updates to support newer memory modules, CPUs, etc., even though HP may not be aware of everything that the BIOS updates have in them.

The only way to find out for sure if a later BIOS updated added support for larger 4GB SODIMMs would be to update your BIOS to the latest version and try a set of 2x4GB and see it it's recognized (or not).

But, you'd be taking your chances, since it was only designed to use 2GB SODIMMS to begin with, and I have not found anybody that's tried larger 4GB modules in one (and you'd want to try a matched pair of 4GB modules as in one of those 2x4GB kits for a better chance of it working, to find out *if* the last BIOS update included support for larger modules).

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Jim Cockfield
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More on trying an upgrade to 2x4GB for 8GB total...
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

If you decide to spend that much money to see if you can upgrade to 8GB (by replacing the 2x2GB in it with 2x4GB so you'd end up with 8GB), I'd make sure the vendor you buy it from will accept returns.

It looks like some of those kits are 667Mhz with a latency of 5, or 800Mhz with a latency of 6.  Your laptop works either way with 2x2GB kits.  So, if the BIOS updates added support for 4GB modules, chances, a kit like that would work.  I'd probably stick with this set for $164.99 if you decide to try it (as those specs with 667Mhz PC2-5300 probably more closely match the memory that HP originally shipped with it, only they're larger 4GB modules):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148275

Also, I see that someone with an HP DV9700 said it worked in that laptop (which is also limited to 2x2GB for 4GB total according to both HP and Crucial) if you look at the feedback for it), and they were able to use a 2x4GB kit like that for 8GB total.

I'd make sure to update your BIOS to the version shown in my last post for a better chance of it working (there is little doubt that it would *not* work with the original BIOS, so you'd need a newer one for sure for a better chance of the larger modules being recognized, as they were not being sold when that system was first produced, which is why the specs show it limited to 2x2GB total).

That's also a lot of money for 8GB of memory.   Keep in mind that newer laptop models use DDR3 versus DDR2 now, and you can buy 2x4GB for under $50 with a new laptop model (whereas you're spending several times that much for a 2x4GB kit of DDR2 like that to give you 8GB total).

Again, there's no way to tell if it would work without trying it, as officially, your model only supports 2GB modules (with two of them giving you 4GB total, as you have now), and I have been unable to find anyone that's tried larger modules like that in your laptop model searching through customer feedback of that memory type.  But, it's possible the last BIOS update added support for larger 4GB modules (as you see that from time to time with BiOS updates for older models).

Jim Cockfield wrote:

Now, manufactures do make 2x4GB of 1.8 Volt PC2-5300 and PC2-6400 SODIMM modules.

You'll see some kits like that here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007609%20600006176%20600000401&IsNodeId=1&name=8GB%20%282%20x%204GB%29

But, HP says it limited to 2x2GB total in it's specs:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01490775&cc=us&destPage=document&lang=en&lc=en&product=3747924&tmp_docname=c01490775

Crucial also says it's limited to 2x2GB on it's page for it:

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=Pavilion%20HDX9494NR

And, I could not find anybody that's tried using 2x4GB in your model searching through reviews of laptop memory.

But, HP did have a BIOS update for it dated January 2011.  Get that here (and it should also install OK from Win 7, even though it says Vista, since the underlying kernel is the same with both Vista and Win 7):

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=ob-91708-1&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&os=2100&product=3747924&sw_lang=

So, it's possible the last BIOS update included support for larger 4GB SODIMMs (the BIOS would need to be able to recognize the larger modules).   Sometimes BIOS updates come from the chipset manufacturer that HP and similar vendors are using, and they sometimes include updates to support newer memory modules, CPUs, etc., even though HP may not be aware of everything that the BIOS updates have in them.

The only way to find out for sure if a later BIOS updated added support for larger 4GB SODIMMs would be to update your BIOS to the latest version and try a set of 2x4GB and see it it's recognized (or not).

But, you'd be taking your chances, since it was only designed to use 2GB SODIMMS to begin with, and I have not found anybody that's tried larger 4GB modules in one (and you'd want to try a matched pair of 4GB modules as in one of those 2x4GB kits for a better chance of it working, to find out *if* the last BIOS update included support for larger modules).

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GegeNY
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Re: More on trying an upgrade to 2x4GB for 8GB total...
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

Thank you so much Jim for all your time answering about that.

I don't think I will take a chance to do it, probably not worth it.

Thank's again.

Gerard

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Jim Cockfield
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My gut feeling is that it would work
In reply to GegeNY, Oct 13, 2012

My gut feeling is that it would probably work, because someone stated that the Crucial set I mentioned worked in the DV9700, which uses the same Intel PM965 chipset as your  HDX9494NR.

See the feedback tab for this set of 2x4GB, and you'll see feedback from 2010 indicating that it worked in a DV9700 then:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148275

Note this review of one showing a PM965 chipset (shown under the specs tab for it)

http://asia.cnet.com/product/hp-pavilion-dv9700-core-2-duo-t7300-processor-2-0ghz-2gb-ram_specs-42811521.htm

Your laptop uses the same PM965 chipset (see the specs tab):

http://www.cnet.com/laptops/hp-pavilion-hdx9494nr-entertainment/4507-3121_7-33392163.html

Plus the last BIOS update available for your laptop is dated more recently than the last BIOS update for the DV9700 models HP offered using the same Intel Chipset (the last update for the DV9700 was in 2010, and it apparently works with 4GB modules based on that newegg feedback, even though it only "officially" supports 2GB modules (2x2GB for 4GB total).

Basically, those types of memory modules were probably not available at the time your laptop was designed, but it's common for BIOS updates to add support for newer memory types later in a product's life cycle. So, if  you've updated your BIOS to a later version since you got it, it might work (but, I'd update it to the latest version available).   Even if you don't upgrade your memory, it's probably a good idea to update the BIOS in it, as new updates often fix issues.  This update:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=ob-91708-1&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&os=2100&product=3747924&sw_lang=

Manufacturer's like HP don't usually publish new memory types that the BIOS updates include, so someone has to be the "guinea pig" to find out if newer memory types work in one or not (and I could not find anyone that has tested larger 4GB SODIMMs in your laptop model.

But, since I did find someone saying that it worked in a different HP model using the same Intel PM965 chipset (even though HP and Crucial also say that model is limited to 2x2GB), and the latest BIOS update for your laptop is newer (dated January 2011), I think it's more likely that the same set of 2x4GB of PC2-5300 would work in your laptop, too (provided you update the BIOS using the download I mentioned earlier).   It's also possible the original BIOS supported larger modules.  But, I'd update it to the latest version.

Again, even though the BIOS update .exe says Vista, it should install fine from Win 7, too (they just don't have a download for Win 7 because they never offered it with that laptop with Win 7).   The underlying kernel is identical between Win 7 and Vista.  So, if a program runs OK on one OS, it should run fine on the other.  Basically, it's just a simple program that flashes your BIOS firmware to a newer version and they used the same .exe for the BIOS update on multiple Operating Systems (XP, 32 bit and 64 Bit Vista).

So, it might be worth taking a risk getting that 2x4GB set if you update your laptop's BIOS, and *if* the vendor would let you return the memory if it doesn't work (just in case it's not recognized).

Again, that is a pretty steep price for 8GB of memory though.  4GB SODIMMs of PC2-5300 or PC2-6400 were not widely used, and so the prices for them are rather high.

In contrast, you could buy 2x4GB of (much faster) DDR3 SODIMMs for  newer laptop model for less than $50 now.

So, you'll need to decide how much you really like that laptop and if it's worth it to spend that much money on it to upgrade from 4GB (2x2GB) to 8GB (2x4GB) by replacing the 2GB models in it with 4GB modules like that set of 2x4GB of Crucial PC2-5300 that someone said worked in a DV9700 that uses the same PM965 chipset that your laptop uses.

It is interesting with it's display size.   But when you get into multi-year old laptops, the chances of having problems are going to increase as time passes (fans failing, display issues, battery issues, etc.); and you may be better off putting that money into a new laptop instead.   Of course, it's cheaper to spend that much on memory than it is to buy a new laptop, especially if you're already gone to the expense of upgrading the OS, etc.    Pros and Cons... it's like deciding if you want to do a major upgrade to a used car (engine, transmission, etc.) versus putting that money into a newer one. 

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Jim Cockfield
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Return Policies
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

newegg has a pretty good reputation for their return policy and that item is not marked as no refunds or replacement only.   They do reserve a right to charge a 15% restocking fee.  But, I doubt they would as long as you are careful with it and keep the original packaging.

http://www.newegg.com/HelpInfo/ReturnPolicy.aspx#41

Crucial also has a pretty good return policy on memory, with up to a 20% restocking fee at their discretion if you read the fine print (but, I don't know if they normally do that or not):  See their refund policy here:

http://www.crucial.com/support/returns.aspx

You could also buy that set from them:

http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?imodule=ct2kit51264ac667

Amazon also stocks it (at a lower price compared to newegg and crucial, since they have it for $151.99 delivered now:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001RB21J4/?tag=hyprod-20&hvadid=15468021459

They have a 30 day return policy on most electronics, and I don't see memory listed under the list of items that can't be returned:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_15015721_howto_non?nodeId=200572800#non

If you decide to buy from one of those vendors, I'd just make sure to keep the original packaging the memory came in and be careful with it, just in case it's not recognized by your laptop and you need to return it.

You'll have to decide if it's worth the expense ($151.99+) to go from 4GB to 8GB for how you use it (and the performance increase you may or may not see would depend on exactly how you're using one), versus putting that much money into a new and faster laptop (where memory upgrade prices would be much lower with newer DDR3 like most newer computers use now)

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GegeNY
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Re: Return Policies
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 13, 2012

Very interesting Jim, thank you so much.

I will think about all that and I will let you know if I decide to upgrade.

So you think I will not have any problem updating my BIOS with Windows 7 now installed instead of Vista? This because I need my computer!

Gerard

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Jim Cockfield
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Re: Return Policies
In reply to GegeNY, Oct 13, 2012

GegeNY wrote:

Very interesting Jim, thank you so much.

I will think about all that and I will let you know if I decide to upgrade.

So you think I will not have any problem updating my BIOS with Windows 7 now installed instead of Vista? This because I need my computer!

Gerard

For program running purposes, there wouldn't be any difference.  Win 7 is nothing more than  Vista with some bug fixes and enhancements (they use the same kernel "under the covers").  So, if a program runs on one OS, it will run on the other.   It's not something that even needs installing.  It's just a simple .exe you click on to run that updates your BIOS firmware.

I've never had a failure updating the BIOS on any of my PCs.   I tend to update them as soon as newer versions come out as a matter of practice.  I do the same thing with drivers.

Sure, there is always a chance of something going wrong, just like there's always a chance of something going wrong updating the firmware in your camera or other devices that have updates like that.

But, the update program for the BIOS is not something that needs to be installed or anything.  It's just a stand alone program that you click on after you download it and then follow the on screen instructions, and it's not even OS dependent since it will run on 32 bit or 64 bit versions of XP or Vista. They design those types of programs to be simple on purpose to avoid operating system specific issues.

I'd probably close all running programs and disable your AV protection temporarily to be safer.  My guess is that the on screen instructions are going to tell you something like that anyway (close all programs before continuing, do not interrupt it until it says the update is completed).  You don't want anything else eating up memory when you run it (although with 4GB, I doubt you'd have an issue even if were running other stuff at the same time, I'd still close all running programs to err on the safe side doing an update like that).

You just download it, then click on the downloaded program to run it, as stated in these instructions for it:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadInst?swfsequence=1&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&os=2100&product=3747924&softwareitem=ob-91708-1&sw_lang=

Again, you can get the BIOS update here:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=ob-91708-1&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&os=2100&product=3747924&sw_lang=

Basically, you want to make sure you do not interrupt it during the update.  So, I'd make sure the battery is fully changed and you're running from the AC adapter when you run the BIOS update program, and be careful not to touch any keys until it's finished.

As long as you don't interrupt it while it's updating your BIOS firmware, I'd consider it a low risk update.  I've done BIOS updates a number of times on my computers without any issues (again, I usually update my PCs as soon as BIOS updates are published for them).

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