Am i being scammed by Toshiba? Laptop RAM question.

My wife and i bought a new laptop today. It’s a Toshiba Satellite A65-S126 (specs on this page).

The Toshiba website, and the Circuit City website (we got the computer at CC) both say that this computer comes with 256Mb of RAM. Also, the sticker placed by Toshiba on the computer itself says that it has 256Mb of RAM.

When i turned the computer on and looked in system porperties, however, it only showed 192Mb of RAM. I called Toshiba about this, and the guy on the other end of the line told me that, because this computer uses 64Mb of shared RAM for its video display, that RAM does not show up on the System Properties box.

Now, between the two of us, my wife and i have had three other computers over the past few years. Her old laptop had 128Mb of RAM; my old desktop had 256Mb of RAM, and my new desktop has 1Gb of RAM. And in all those computers, the amount advertised by the seller was the amount displayed in System Properties.

So, is the tech guy at Toshiba on the level? Or have i been stiffed for 64Mb of RAM? The detailed specs for the computer do indeed say that the graphics controller uses 64Mb of shared memory. But should this preclude that 64Mb from showing up in System Properties?

And, on a related issue, should i buy another stick of RAM for this computer? I can get a Kingston 256Mb DDR SODIMM stick (designed for this particular Toshiba) for $68.

Yep, shared memory does not show up in system memory and is generally not available for general useage. Avoid video cards with shared memory when possible. Also, more memory is always a good thing.


The Toshiba guy isn’t lying to you. In fact, it’s fairly common for laptops to use part of the system RAM for video RAM. Some desktops over the years have done it too. You might even have an option in the BIOS to specify how much system RAM is used by the video card.

You can look at the system performance in the task manager to see if you are using up all of the RAM and how much you are hitting your page file. If you aren’t using all of your physical memory and aren’t hitting the page file much, then extra RAM won’t mean diddley for the overall performance of your computer. On the other hand, if you are whacking pretty hard on the swap file, then extra RAM could make a huge difference.

It’s on the up-and-up. You’re supposed to understand that shared memory is like that. How are you supposed to understand that? Heck, I don’t know, but you’re supposed to. :dubious:

More ram’ll help, but not much. It really depends on what you’re doing. If you’re gonna game then new ram will help greatly. If not, then it probably won’t help all that much.

Don’t be fooled by “designed for XXX” ram. So long as it is ddr(in your case ddr 333) and Sodimm it will fit in your laptop. However very rarely a laptop will require low profile sodimms. I’ve never seen it in anything but the smallest of thin and light notebooks though.

68 bucks isn’t a bad price, but I found the same ram here for 50 flat + shipping.

If you are not doing anything with 3d graphics, I would reccomend going into the bios, and setting the shared video RAM to use 32 or 16 megabytes, which is plenty or 2d work, and would free up a bit to make things run a bit smoother. And next time, get a laptop with a discrete video card that has its own RAM. :slight_smile:

Given the nature of most laptop video chipsets, the uses it will be typically be put to, the reasonably speedy nature of the video subsystems on modern 2-3 gigahertz notebooks, and the fact that 256 megs of RAM there’s usually plenty of system RAM left for smooth and efficient system operation, shared system and video memory is largely a non-issue, unless you are gaming on a notebook, and if that’s your plan there are big screen, discrete memory notebooks made for that and most start at 1500 to 2500 and up.

The bottom line is that shared video memory on fast, modern XP notebooks is not nearly as big a deal in terms of system performance impact as it was in the past, and for most users it’s an absolute non-issue. If you need more RAM just drop in another 128/256/ 512 meg RAM module. They are not that expensive.
see for good memory deals.

It’s not just Toshiba, my HP Pavilion ze5500 is the same way. Curse you, video, for dropping my RAM below the reqs for the World of Warcraft beta!

Well, Dragonblink if your computer has an integrated graphics chip, I doubt it would play World of Warcraft very well, no matter how much RAM you have.

In windows XP, 256 MB is considered the minimum for usable performance with 512 being ideal. If your not using the graphics card for any intense 3d applications, then drop the video ram all the way down to 8MB. Anything above that is wasted anyway.

In windows XP, 256 MB is considered the minimum for usable performance with 512 being ideal. If your not using the graphics card for any intense 3d applications, then drop the video ram all the way down to 8MB. Anything above that is wasted anyway.

I’d like to know who comes up with these minimums. It seems to be usually the marketting guys not the techie guys.

My XP box only has 128 MB of RAM and I’ve never had any sort of problem with it. The only things that runs slowly on it are some of the high horsepower electronics development tools I have, which could slow just about any box to a crawl.

Run taskmgr and see what your memory load is.

Typically, Windows XP itself requires 130MB to 150MB by itself. Word takes maybe 20, IE another 20. Outlook, another 20 and your starting to hit the hard drive and your computer slows down as everything pages in and out.