Memory Upgrades Beyond Manufacturer’s Recommendations

We’ve probably all heard to check with your computer system or motherboard manufacturer to find out what the maximum installable amount of memory is for your computer. I’m guessing that’s what most of the third party memory companies do also since who in their right mind would go against the manufacturer’s recommendations? I suggest also checking with the motherboard chipset manufacturer.

I own a Dell XPS 410 that’s used as a test machine. The operating system is Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Hyper-V role installed to allow for multiple guest virtual machines, but with a manufacturer supported maximum memory limit of 4 GB, it leaves a lot to be desired as a virtualization host.

Searching for memory upgrades on Dell’s website finds the information shown in the image to the left. This is the exact same information you’ll also find on all of the major third party memory manufacturer’s websites.

On Dell’s website, the motherboard specs state it uses an Intel P965 Express chipset and supports 512 MB or 1 GB memory chips for a maximum of 4 GB of RAM:

On Intel’s website, the specs for the P965 Express chipset state it supports 8 GB of RAM:

The question at this point: Does the chipset support 8 GB of memory and the motherboard not have enough memory slots to take advantage of it since the Dell specs state a maximum of 1 GB memory chips? The motherboard has four memory slots.

Since I use my XPS 410 as a test server running multiple guest VM’s at the same time, this was definitely of interest to me.  I decided to take a chance and purchase two Corsair 4 GB memory kits each of which included two 2 GB matched sticks of 800 MHz DDR2 RAM for a total of 8 GB. Based on the specs from Dell, these memory chips should not have worked.

The system completed POST (power on self test) with the 2 GB memory chips installed:

BIOS System Info showing the model and BIOS version:

BIOS Memory Info showing the system detected the 2 GB memory chips without issue:

OS System Information:

You’ll need an operating system that supports 8 GB of RAM, but other than that, I haven’t experienced any issues with using 8 GB of RAM in my Dell XPS 410.

My test server is now much more capable of running multiple guest VM’s at the same time while maintaining a remarkable level of performance. I’m taking advantage of the new Hyper-V Dynamic Memory feature in the release candidate of SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 since 8 GB of RAM still isn’t much memory for a virtualization host server. Here’s a screenshot of Hyper-V Manager with the dynamic memory feature in use:

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12 Comments

  1. facebook layouts

    thnx

    Reply
  2. IP lookup

    I am certain I’ll be back again.

    Reply
  3. John Bishop

    Thanks man You rock. IM waitin on UPS man right now with my newegg shipment 🙂

    Nothing beats Solid backed up and proved info

    Reply
  4. Kevin Bower

    Thanks Mike I am looking at upgrading my old dell, already had 2x2Gig in it will get 2 more…

    Reply
  5. Michael B.

    I took the leap and did this upgrade to my XPS 410 before seeing this blog. After upgrading to 64-bit windows 7 It worked for me as well. I have 4 sticks of “Super Talent 2GB DDR2 SDRAM DDR2-800(PC2 6400) 240-Pin Non-ECC Unbuffered Desktop Memory”. I have a total of 8GB that my Bios and operating system sees. My Windows Experience Index went up to 5.9. Not sure why it didnt go higher, Im not even sure I know the clocking speed. I was also disapointed to find out that the BIOS is locked! I wanted to overclock the RAM and CPU.

    Any thoughts on unlocking the BIOS for overclocking?

    Reply
  6. Mad Hatter

    someone just shared a link to this page with me and it made me lmfao as it sounded like i wrote it i am selling my xps 410 but have used it for the exact same purposes with the same operating systems and done the same research for the ramm on it (also a comptia and microsoft certified pro) hit me up on http://www.google.com/plus
    Sincerely
    M4d H4TT3r

    Reply
  7. Michael B.

    I found a way to overclock my xps 410 dual cpu higher than 2.39ghz and 2.4ghz. Since bios is locked I found a software program that does it (and can be set to automatically apply setting at windows start up). The program is called ClockGen, download at http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=189
    Also here is a youtube video that helps to figure out how to do it, also with more links to download clockgen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yXW4pqLE70
    (the PLL for the xps 410 is SLG505YC56D
    I set mine to overclock at 2.65Ghz, could probly go higher but this seems safe. The core temperature only get a few degrees hotter than before ( around 33 C) even running SC2, which is no problem.

    Reply
  8. Al Mendigorin

    Hi Mike,

    Glad I found ur site. Are you still reponding/active?? I have Dell XPS 410 E6300 and recently upgraded audio card, video, psu, some extra ram from other dell I had (4gb at this time). I am looking to go to 8gb like you did. In process of price hunting for the 2 ea. corsair 4gb value ram. I do have Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit on sys. I would like to go to a faster cpu. Do you know what faster cpu other than 6600 this sys. may be I can max out at. Looking to overclock as well as I may be adding a dual fan kit at rear of tower. I saw on YouTube a person who did fan mod. I also came across a person who overclocked some how a E6300 to 4MHZ+, wonder what cooling and trick he has.

    Hope all is good and hope to hear back from you, soon.

    Al

    Reply
  9. Al Mendigorin

    Mike,

    I found a good deal on the 8 GB Value Select Coasair ram like you mentioned for my Dell XPS 410/9200. I researched more and it appears I could upgrade the Intel Duo Core E6300 in rig to a E8400, so I put a bid on e-bay and won a new one cheap ( alot of use ones available ). All indications say I should not have problems installing and with out changing anything in the bios. I don’t think I will attempt any overclocking. I am fully updated with chipset, bios versions as well. I have a new tube of silver thermal paste with cpu cleaning kit. My understanding the cpu should run cool, but If works, I will be testing mem and cpu hard. My exsisting cpu fan and cooling fins should be ok. I may go as far, depending on temperatures and install a dual fan 82mm kit in rear of tower as I saw it done on YouTube on the 410, I may purchase anyway just to be safe. I am hopeing not to get into any water cooling or expensive cpu cooling device. I will keep you informed, as the ram should be coming first and I will install first b4 cpu. Wish me luck.

    Reply
  10. Al Mendigorin

    I had np with 8GB DDR2 ram in XPS 410. However, no way to get the E8400 running. Ordered new mobo, Asus LGA 775 1333FSB. The cpu was new, but no return policy via e-bay seller. I sent back the 8GB ram and purchased Cosair 8GB DDR3 vengeance. The mobo will not take only 8GB with some checking I did online. I bought the grandson a gaming type case, hard drive as well. Literally building from scatch. I found great price on 5.1 headset and speaker sys. With a special splitter cable, and on/off switch of headset, no pulling out/in of cables to sound card. The headset with 5.1 is awesome. You actually hear your ememy behind you. Keep you posted again. Need to learn how to o’clock ram and cpu safely. Doing more research on it.

    Reply

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