The Dell Inspiron E1505 and its maximum memory

Last year, I got a deal I couldn’t refuse on a Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop. It’s old and quirky, but modern enough to make it serviceable. It has a dual-core processor and SATA2, so you can put an SSD in it. It uses DDR2 memory, which isn’t as cheap and plentiful as DDR3, but at this moment isn’t unreasonably expensive either.

Its biggest problem is that it’s officially limited to 2 GB of RAM. Officially, that is.

You can actually put 4 GB of RAM in it. You’ll get 3.2-3.3 GB of usable memory if you do. Supposedly, due to the chipset, that’s all you get regardless of whether you install a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system. My E1505 won’t even let me install Windows 7 AMD64 x64, so maybe mine didn’t even come with 64-bit processor. I understand there may be driver issues with it anyway.

The question is whether it’s worth putting 4 GB in it. Right now, a 2 GB DDR2 SODIMM costs $25-$30, and a 1 GB module costs $15-$20. So putting 4 GB in it wastes about $7 worth of memory. That’s a shame, but there are bigger tragedies in this world.

Mine originally came with 512 MB modules in it, which I replaced with 1 GB modules last year. Those modules were displaced by other upgrades, so they were essentially free to me. So I could upgrade to 3 GB for $25, or upgrade to 3.3 GB for $50. I think the decision would be a lot harder if I didn’t already have a 1 GB module (and a good quality one at that) for the second slot.

Somehow or other I ended up with a pair of 2 GB DDR2 SODIMMs, so I installed them. I can verify they work. It may have been coincidence, but after I installed the additional memory, my marginal battery went over the brink.

Not long after, I installed an SSD. The SSD made a bigger difference in performance than the additional memory, but it cost a little bit more too.

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