Sam works as a network analyst for an algorithmic trading firm. He obtained his bachelor's degree in information technology from UMKC.
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 article, 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 that 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 angle, 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 you're looking for other ways to improve the performance of your Alienware laptop, you might want to upgrade your hard drive.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: The max memory in an Alienware M15x Laptop is 32GB (2x16), isn't it?
Answer: No, the M15X can only support 8GB max. It has two slots that can support 4GB each.
Omar on July 07, 2020:
someone has tried to increase the memory from 8 to 16 gb on a Alienware Mx15?
Drew on April 23, 2020:
Mate i think you may have may have missed out on upgrades that people have performed over the years and the M15X does support 16GB of DDR3 as long as you have a quad core cpu installed such as 720QM, 740QM etc....
So NO! The M15 is NOT LIMITED to 8GB of ram!
It supports 16GB and i have installed 2X 8GB ddr3 Corsair ram sticks at 1333Mhz to confirm it but i have I7 740QM cpu wich allows that.
Paul on December 12, 2019:
Ok I have read that it needs 2x4 GB
Is this the right one?
Memory Laptop Kingston ValueRAM, 4GB, DDR3, 1333MHz, CL9, 1.5v, Single Rank x8
Thanks, will check out later :)
Paul on December 12, 2019:
I own an Alienware M15x bought back in 2010 and I am looking to upgrade my Ram, from 6GB to 8GB . My guestion is: can i simple put in my computer a single slot 8GB memory or do I have to get 2x4GB memories? Thanks in advanced, Paul - Romania - :)
Terry Milburn on February 10, 2017:
Awesome article, Sam. Just wondering. I`m finally upgrading my Alienware M15x with a SSD, GPU and RAM. I read your description of what to look for, and was wondering if this would be adequate: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Kit-16GB-2X-8GB-PC3-1060...
I have 4 GB of RAM currently.
christoshendez on January 17, 2012:
Thanks for the hub mate! Just got my first alienware computer - bookmarked this, ill probably need it.
Sam Kear (author) from Kansas City on May 24, 2011:
Thanks for the feedback blueorpurple!
blueorpurple on May 19, 2011:
excellent hub indeed and u seems very intelligent too.