Installing a Memory Upgrade in the Alienware M15x Laptop
Installing a memory upgrade is one of the best ways to improve the performance of a laptop. More memory means that applications and games will be able to run at their full potential without having to compete for resources. Extra memory will also improve multitasking since you will be able to run more programs at the same time. In general more memory will lead to a faster and more responsive computer. Since the release of Windows 7 6GB of memory has quickly became the new standard. Gamers and users wanting high performance are even installing 8GB or more in their systems. In this hub I will be showing you step by step how to take your Alienware M15x to the next level of performance by upgrading the memory.
Before Getting started
For this upgrade you will need the following items.
- Phillips screwdriver (Small Tip)
- Replacement memory modules (DDR3 204-PIN SODIMM)
When working on any laptop make sure to use a screw driver that is the correct size for the job. Stripping screws on a laptop can be a headache to repair. Find a clean place to work on the laptop that is free from sources of static electricity. Cats, carpet, and computers do not mix!
Step 1 - Selecting memory
The Alienware M15x has two memory slots and is able to accept up to 8GB (4GB per slot) of DDR3 memory . Before you purchase memory you should check to see if you have a free slot available or if both slots are occupied. If both slots already have memory modules installed then you will have to remove one, or both of the modules and replace them with larger capacity modules.
The easiest way to check for available memory slots is by entering the BIOS. To enter the BIOS menu restart the computer and press F2 while the computer is starting up. On the bottom of the main screen you will see memory bank 0, and memory bank 1. Next to each bank will be the capacity of the current memory modules installed. If there is not a capacity listed next to a bank then it is empty.
The next thing to take into consideration is the speed of the memory. The M15x will accept either PC3-8500 (1066 MHz) , or PC3-10600 (1333MHz). The PC3-10600 modules are faster by about 300MHz. If you want the absolute fastest performance for gaming go with the PC3-10600 memory upgrade.
Step 2 - Removing the battery
First make sure the AC adapter is disconnected, then turn the laptop upside down. The battery release switch is located just below the battery. While holding the release switch to the left tilt the battery upwards and it will lift out of the computer.
Step 3 - Removing the rear compartment door
The next step is removing the rear compartment door from the laptop. There are two small screws which hold the door in place. Using a phillips screw driver remove both of the screws and set them aside.
After removing both screws slide the rear panel down and towards the front of the laptop as shown in the second photo below. It may take a bit of pressure before the door slides off, don't force it though.
Step 4 - Installing the memory upgrade
Locate the memory door and remove the two phillips head screws securing it in place. Next slide the memory door towards the front of the computer to release the tabs, then left it upward to remove.
If you need to remove any of the existing modules slide the silver spring-locks on each side outward until the module springs upward, then lift it out.
To install a new memory module perform the process in reverse. First set the module into the slot at an angel making sure the pins are seated in the connector. Then gently press the module down until it lays flat, you will hear a click when it locks into place.
Step 5 - Finishing up
Once you have installed the memory upgrade you'll need to reassemble all of the pieces.
- Replace the memory door and secure the two screws holding it into place
- Replace the rear compartment door cover and slide it upwards to lock it into place
- Install the two screws that secure the compartment door
- Install the battery
To verify the installation of your memory upgrade you can enter the system BIOS by
pressing F2 during boot or from within windows open the control panel
and double click on system. You can start taking advantage of the extra memory by playing some games or maybe seeing how many programs you can open up at once. If your looking for other ways to improve the performance of your Alienware laptop you might want to upgrade your hard drive.