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Trouble with RAM Compatibility

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I recently purchased two 2 GB sticks of RAM to upgrade my laptop with. I figured this would significantly improve the performance of my laptop, but it has been hard for me to tell a difference. I understood when I bought the memory that my Vista 32-bit operating system would only recognize 3 gigs of RAM. However, I recently ran a performance test and it said that while my Total Physical Memory was 3 GB, it said the available RAM was only 2 GB. Is there any way to know my computer is running up to its potential? Thanks!!
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Neil Jones

Neil Jones

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Many laptops take a chunk of system memory to put a picture on the screen. Taking an entire gig is unlikely but still possible.
Laptop performances are generally low overall and the performance curve based on the amount of memory decreases as you add more.

For example, a laptop has 256Mb of memory. You taking it up to 512Mb is a noticeable difference.
Under Vista, going from 512Mb of memory to 1Gb is the same noticeable difference bearing in mind Vista's a lot more heavy than XP.
Going from 1Gb to 2Gb is just about noticeable, going from 2Gb to anything higher probably won't be noticeable.
A lot depends on what the computer is being used for as to how much memory you need. A Gig of memory is IMO the minimum under Vista.

The performance tests under Vista are nothing more than, with all due respect, an opportunity to show off how good your computer is. I wouldn't pay much attention to it. Vista Service Pack 1 changes the figure in System Information to show the proper amount of memory installed including graphics memory but that's cosmetic.
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