RAM is another one of those things that is rarely explained, but if you’re curious, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about it. RAM is short for Random Access Memory, and it’s the part of your laptop that helps your operating system and applications keep running as you’re using them.
In all the news about the recent Intel Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, what has gotten relatively little attention is the potential for a hardware security flaw similar to the one being dealt with in firmware. That is, what happens when a computer manufacturer decides enough is enough and decides to add a hardware security module in the silicon inside a computer?
RAM is the memory in your computer. To put it simply, RAM is the short-term memory, “working memory” so to say, of your computer. Determining the speed of your computer is not only dependent on RAM but on the speed of the processor as well, which is what determines how fast your computer will run. Since the processor will only access the RAM it needs for the task at hand, RAM tends to be the bottleneck in any computer.
The laptop business has recently seen a boom, with innovation reducing physical footprints by almost 50%. Manufacturers are working on improving efficiency via different methods, thus laptops are now more lighter and available in thin and ultra-portable chassis.
When comparing laptops to desktops, laptops have the advantage in terms of portability, but their similar continuous effort limits their lifespan.
When we buy a high-end laptop, we want it to last a long time in order to get the most value for our money. When we can simply extend the lifespan of a desktop by adding and removing obsolete components, it may be a one-time investment for more than three years.
Laptops never had the same level of flexibility as desktops, but older models did have some upgradability, and we could change out some components with larger capacity ones and still using them. However, with today’s laptops, this is not feasible or is much more restricted.
Today, we’ll discuss one such limitation that is becoming more common with computers.
Many manufacturers have switched to laptops with soldered RAM chips, which are difficult to replace. As a result, the life of a laptop has been significantly shortened, and you are obliged to replace it every three to five years.
There may be an extra free slot, however due to the way computer RAM works, even that spare slot’s usefulness is restricted. We’ll go into more detail on this when we get into the nitty-gritty of soldered memory.
In a laptop, why is RAM soldered?
This is the first question that comes to mind.
The apparent explanation is that manufacturers have slashed manufacturing costs to the bone. Laptop manufacture is a competitive business, and those who couldn’t keep up with the competition were wiped out. Take Toshiba, for example. After having to cut down its operations for approximately five years, it chose to sell off its entire PC business to Sharp in 2018.
If a giant like Toshiba couldn’t withstand cutthroat competition, there’s little reason to believe that others would, leading to a rat race to lower manufacturing costs. Result? With gadgets that cannot be updated, consumers and end-users must face the brunt of the burden.
Another advantage of soldering memory chips is that it allows for premium pricing. It functions in the same manner as cellphones do. All other specifications stay the same, with the exception of RAM and storage, however the cost of a larger storage version of the same device is much more than the cost of a microSD card of the same capacity that you can purchase aftermarket and increase the capacity yourself. Many cellphones nowadays do not have a MicroSD slot, which is an example of this.
As a result, if laptops are offered with upgradeable memory, customers will purchase the cheapest model and upgrade at a reduced cost.
Then there’s the broader technological ecosystem, which thrives on the notions of “trend” and “outdatedness” day after day. Every day, new technology emerges, and a three-year-old laptop seems to be an eon old. You must update if you do not want to hear chuckles from behind you when you open your Sony Vaio at work. Even if your Vaio is still in good shape and performing well, newer technology and design would act as psychological hurdles to you ditching the Vaio in favor of a brand-new Gigabyte Aero.
Cost-cutting has a trickle-down impact. Simple soldering of the RAM would not save a manufacturer much money in terms of manufacturing costs, but when we look at it holistically, we can see that soldered RAM takes up less space, resulting in a thinner chassis. Thinner chassis imply fewer vents and less space for effective thermal management, resulting in smaller cooling fans and an even thinner chassis. It’s time to promote the thin laptop as a new trend and charge a premium for it now that production costs have been reduced.
Manufacturers may take advantage of end-users’ apprehension over being labeled “outdated,” knowing that consumers would seek for a new gadget in a few years anyhow to keep up with the nebulous notion of “trend.” As a result, eliminating upgrade choices seems to be a reasonable approach to boost sales.
With the advancement of technology, even products that are just a few years old will become outdated, and you will be forced to spend money on a new product within a few years.
After soldering CPUs, it’s time to solder RAMs. Additional SATA slots are still available, but storage will ultimately be soldered to keep a laptop small. You’ll have to pay if you want to stay current and on trend. If you run out of storage, you’ll have to either pay for a subscription-based cloud storage space that requires a data plan, which adds to the subscription fees but provides a more complicated overall user experience than locally accessible storage, or buy a new laptop with more storage capacity.
That leads us to the following point.
Is it true that soldered RAM is bad?
It all depends on your point of view and the warranty term. For individuals who can afford to update to a new device on a regular basis and change the equipment within the warranty period, it makes no difference whether soldered RAM is good or bad. They are entitled to an RMA even if the soldered RAM fails. However, not everyone can afford to spend $1500 every two years on a high-end laptop. They’d want to keep their laptops for a long time, and the idea of soldered RAM or other hardware that might be updated by the user would be tough for them to accept. First, because of the restricted scope of upgrading that we saw before, and second, since you can’t easily switch out defective parts, the expense of fixing these devices beyond the warranty period is huge.
Let’s look at how numerous RAM modules operate to have a better understanding of this.
Misalignment of Frequency and Specification
If you have a vacant slot and one of your RAMs is soldered, you must determine if the soldered memory is DIMM-SODIMM/Single Channel-Dual Channel/ECC or Non-ECC/Buffered-Unbuffered/DRAM-SDRAM and replace it with a RAM of the same speed and specification. Any speed or specification discrepancy will either compel both modules to run at the lower module’s speed or show an error message about a memory issue, preventing the OS from booting.
Problems with Capacity
Memory modules with capacities of 6GB or 9GB are very rare. Because RAM capacity is measured in twos, it is typically doubled when upgrading for the greatest benefits. If you already have an 8GB memory stick soldered, you should purchase another 8GB to make a significant improvement. Finding a RAM stick that meets both the aforementioned criteria and the capacity requirements may be difficult.
‘No amount of memory is adequate for a lifetime,’ Bill Gates famously remarked. As a result, if you plan to run intensive programs, you may run out of memory, and even doubling the total memory with an update may not be enough. You hit the ceiling too quickly with soldered memory.
As a result, you’re restricted in terms of updates while using soldered RAM. There are many factors to consider here, since the soldered module is permanent and can only be de-soldered for upgrades on rare occasions. Even the vacant slot may be rendered unusable if the soldered memory has difficult-to-match requirements. Some of the damaged cells of a soldered RAM may become faulty, which you can detect with the Sysmark MemTest86 program, and there’s nothing you can do about the blue displays that occur from time to time. You can only save your data if you have a backup.
Is it possible to repair soldered RAM?
Despite my desire to say no, there are certain guaranteed answers, but they are exclusively restricted to service centers. If your soldered memory fails during the warranty period, you’ll be in luck, since a simple RMA will either repair or replace the device. Good luck with the saved data, since you won’t be able to back it up until you make it a practice to back up critical data on a regular basis. Memory issues may not manifest themselves immediately, and once they do, the laptop becomes useless until they are resolved.
Upgrading an old house is a do-it-yourself project. It is not possible to repair or replace soldered memory.
If you are outside of warranty, you may be required to pay an expensive fee to a local expert (with no assurance of success) as well as a premium to the service center for the complications involved. Interfering with soldered RAM raises the risk of the mainboard being damaged. Once the de-soldering process has begun, it is difficult to stop in the middle since the solder points are typically hidden under the RAM stick. There’s a lot of complex circuitry all over the place, and even a little hiccup or calculation error may cause the laptop to blow up.
A faulty soldered memory would almost always need replacing the whole motherboard, since even a repaired soldered RAM does not ensure long-term performance. Replacing the whole motherboard after the warranty has expired may be very expensive, and adding a few dollars to the expenses would buy you a totally new laptop.
What Are the Signs That Your RAM Is Soldered?
Our goal is never to scare you away from purchasing a laptop. Its purpose is to educate you and assist you in making informed choices. However, we agree that present trends are not beneficial to sophisticated users. There seems to be no way to stop the money from flowing.
To figure out whether the laptop on your wish list has soldered RAM, you’ll need to learn as much as can about it from review websites that conduct complete teardown reviews, YouTube reviews, and a thorough reading of the laptop manual’s upgradeability choices. Even a single phrase in the handbook such as “one free slot” or “8GB/4GB memory (fixed)” may indicate that soldered RAM is there.
If you already have a laptop, you may skip this step. You may utilize hardware scanner apps that can scan your laptop and provide all of the required information for free on the internet. Speccy is one such program that displays the free and available slots in a computer as well as the components that fill those spaces. You may get the hardware specs from Speccy and then do some further research to figure out what kind of hardware it is. The Crucial System Advisor is another program that identifies the kind of RAM installed and recommends improvements. To obtain the results, go to the product selection page and type in the manufacturer, product line, and model. This is how it seems.
You may avoid buying a new laptop every few years by making informed purchases. Even while MacBooks have soldered memory, they are very energy efficient and can easily outlive a Windows-based laptop. Upgrading to a new gadget contributes to the world’s growing e-waste, of which only a tiny proportion is recycled each year.
Devices with soldered components function just as well as upgradeable laptops in terms of performance.
Despite this, their lifespan is severely hampered by the difficulty of fixing them and a limited upgrade ceiling. We think that you should have the freedom to do anything you want with the equipment you bought for, and that you shouldn’t have to spend more money on a laptop than you need to.
What is Soldered RAM in a Laptop – Frequently Asked Questions
Do laptops with soldered memory cost less because upgrade possibilities are limited?
In reality, the reverse is true. Soldered hardware computers are more expensive because they enable laptops to be thin and light, allowing them to be advertised as ultraportable laptops for which customers must pay a premium.
Is there a simple method to detect and fix soldered memory issues?
If the whole module has failed, you are out of warranty and must seek repairs; prepare yourself for the agony of a burnt laptop. Running a thorough RAM check tool like RAM Check LX Memory Tester first to discover the precise locations of the issue may be a simpler way out. If a single memory chip (the black chips on any RAM stick) is the source of the problem, replacing and soldering that chip is simpler and safer than changing the whole RAM.
What should I do if I need more memory but am using a device with soldered memory?
Windows Settings > Performance Options allows you to increase the size of your page file. This functionality uses your SSD or HDD storage to temporarily assign it as Virtual Memory. It’s worth noting that, since SSDs are quicker than HDDs, utilizing your SSD for the procedure will provide better results. Increasing Page File, on the other hand, will not increase your actual RAM, and the speed gain will not be significant.
Is there a performance difference between laptops with soldered memory and those with unsoldered memory?
Both kinds of laptops would have the same performance if all other components were the same. However, with user upgrade options, you may simply replace out faulty memory or alter the speed and capacity of the memory (as specified by the mainboard and CPU) to improve performance and prolong the device’s life. You can’t tamper much with restricted settings, and you’ll have to buy a new gadget if you need more performance.
If you’ve browsed the previous pages of this blog, you should know that I’m not really a computer guy. I’m not much of an expert either, but I do know what I’m talking about when I write about computers. I’m going to tell you a little bit about computer memory, and about the different types of memory, including how it works, and what components make up a computer’s memory. I’ll also talk a little bit about a specific type of memory, and the reason why it’s important.. Read more about soldered ram upgrade lenovo and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is soldered RAM good or bad?
Soldered RAM is a type of RAM that has been connected to the motherboards main circuit board. This makes it more difficult for the computer to be able to change or upgrade its memory.
Why do laptops have soldered RAM?
This is because the RAM chips are soldered to the motherboard.
What is the point of soldered RAM?
Soldered RAM is a type of RAM that has been soldered to the motherboard. This makes it more difficult for hackers to access, as they would need to physically remove the RAM from the motherboard.
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