Friday, November 28, 2008

Upgrading Your Mini 9's RAM Guide

It's no secret that the Dell Mini 9's maximum RAM size is 2GB. Dell purposely configured the Mini with a maximum of 1GB of RAM so that they could ship it with Windows XP.

In order for an OEM to buy a Windows XP license from Microsoft, their computer's specifications have to be below a predetermined minimum. If the Mini shipped with 2GB of RAM it would have been above the minimum and customers would be forced to buy Vista.

I can understand how this is beneficial to Windows users. I would prefer to run Windows XP over Vista on my Mini. Windows XP runs faster, takes up much less disc space, and is more memory and power efficient.

This memory limit doesn't make sense for Linux Users. We were only offered an upgrade to a maximum of 1GB so the Windows users could get their Mini's with XP. I'm not angry because it is an easy upgrade that anyone can do. It's also much cheaper for you to upgrade the RAM yourself.

WARNING: For users still running Dell's custom Mini OS based on Ubuntu 8.04, Dell modified the kernel and limited the maximum amount of RAM that Mini OS will see/use. If you want to upgrade your RAM over 1GB you will have to recompile your kernel or install a non-Dell version of Ubuntu. You can download Ubuntu here and use Ubuntu Mini's install guides to help you get everything up and running.


1. What You'll Need
01-tools
1- Unplug your Mini 9
2- Phillips Head Screw Driver
3- Groundind/Static Bracelet
4- 200pin DDR2800 (PC6400) RAM
5- Remember to read the instructions first.


2. Remove The Battery
03-remove_battery
Slide the battery locks outward and pull the battery out.
You do not want electrical current running through your Mini while upgrading.


3. Unscrew and Remove the Back Plate
04-unscrew_backplate
Remove the two philips head (crosshead) screws highlighted in the red boxes.


4. Remove The Old RAM
05-mini_guts
Gently push the silver headed white tabs on the side of the RAM DIMM outward to release the RAM. This should cause it to slightly angle outward.

06-angle_up
Gently pull the RAM out from the DIMM slot. It should release easily.


5. Install the New RAM
07-line_up
Line up the notch on the RAM to the notch in the DIMM slot (where is says REV).
Push the RAM into place at a 15 degree angle.
Once RAM is correctly aligned and fully inserted gently press down to lock it into place.

08-final



6. Replace The Back Cover & Screws
02-back_of_mini




7. Check Your RAM
In a termianal type:
head /proc/meminfo
Screenshot-red@red-mini: ~

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.

21 comments:

Ryan said...

FYI you can get the ram on ebay new for about $20.00.

redDEAD said...

Same for many internet retailers. I was able to get my 2GB stick for $21 shipped.

The only place I wouldn't go is www.dell.com or a brick and mortar store, they tend to be overpriced.

Netman said...

I am looking at upgrading my memory to 2gb as well. I used the ubuntu UNR image for my installation;
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UNR

Is this image the normal 8.04 installation or the dell restore version?

I am pretty sure it isn't, but I wanted to check that it will support 2GB of memory.

redDEAD said...

netman,

No it is not the Dell version.

Brad said...

Actually, if you're willing to shell out $160, the max memory could be 4GB:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231202

Ryen said...

So I have what might be a stupid question.. what could I be doing on my Mini 9 that would require 2gb of RAM?

At this point I can run Amarok, Open Office, and be watching a YouTube flick and only be accessing about 37% of 1gb, am I missing something?

Cheesus Jrist said...

Turning off the paging file is the main advantage of upgrading from 1 GB to 2 GB.

Anonymous said...

what is the max. amount of ram that can go into this netbook with ubuntu??

redDEAD said...

I believe it is 2GB, but you'd be better off calling Dell and asking them.

Anonymous said...

redDEAD - Why 200pin DDR2 533 (PC4200) RAM when Dell's site says DDR2 SDRAM
Memory Speed: 800 MHz ( PC2-6400 )?

Robert Townsend said...

It looks like Dell is now offering 2GB ram ($50) and 64GB SSD ($75) options for the Ubuntu builds now.

Mike said...

As far as I can see the Dell site specifies DDR2 533, not 800 MHz (PC2-6400). Is it worth spending the extra on faster RAM? Presumably not if the system will only clock it at 533 anyhow.

redDEAD said...

mike,

You are right. Dell's site specifies DDR2 533, not 800 MHz (PC2-6400). You can change the RAM speed in the BIOS. But the cost difference is about 2-3 dollars.

Mike said...

Really? I'm still running A03 and stock RAM but I cannot see a setting for the speed. If there's no ability for the Dell to use the faster memory it seems pointless to spend the extra even if it is a very small amount. But if it can be made to do it I'd give it a go!

bGottier said...

I just installed Ubuntu tonight. I got my Mini yesterday from Best Buy, and it came with Win XP. Thanks to this site, everything works great, however, I noticed that when starting Firefox it looks really messed up, and then magically fixes itself. I was wondering if the RAM upgrade to 2GB might fix this.

Carson Wright said...

The Kernel was crippled but it would seem that they must have made some changes because the Mini 9 is now able to be bought with 2GB of ram. Does anyone know if that update has gone to the dell ubuntu repository so that I can put extra ram in my computer now?

Andre Alforque said...

@Carson Wright: I will let you know in two weeks. Received my Mini 9 (4gb/512mb) last week, and the 2gb RAM should be here in the next week or so.

redDEAD said...

Yes, the kernel has been patched and you can upgrade to 2GB of RAM on Dell's Ubuntu.

William said...

Can I install 667MHz ram on it? Will it work? I bought one for 19 bucks.

redDEAD said...

William,

Yes you can.

Jamie said...

The speculation about 4GB RAM is incorrect; the chipset can't support it, so if you do buy one of those $160 4GB sticks, all you'll get is a light that comes on. No POST, no anything. QED.