March 7

A Gig of RAM on a PowerBook?
What you need to know

By David Nagel
Senior producer

You may recall that a couple weeks ago Kingston Technology Co. Inc. released the highest capacity memory modules ever for the PowerBook—512 MB each. In that news story, we mentioned that there were certain restrictions to using these SODIMMs to bring the PowerBook (FireWire model only) to a maximum capacity of 1 GB. Thanks to the folks at Kingston, we now have a little more information for you.

The first step for adding memory—always—is to power down, remove the battery and remove any other cables (including a modem line, if any). Always hold your memory modules by their sides, avoiding contact with any other parts.

Your PowerBook has two slots for memory located underneath your keyboard. Pop up the keyboard using the release tabs (located near the F1 and F9 function keys). Remove the screws holding down the heat shield and lift it off. There you'll find your slots. One of them will already be occupied, so, if you want to get your machine up to 1 GB, you'll need to remove it completely and replace it with a 512 MB module. The second slot will hold your second 512 MB module.

Pop those babies in; put everything back together; and you're on your way to gigabliss.

One very important thing to keep in mind, however, is that when you reach the 1 GB limit, you will no longer be able to sleep swap your batteries. In other words, you will need a complete powerdown when switching to your back-up battery.

"The restriction on sleep current is required not only to maximize the battery life but to meet the limitations of the backup battery during sleep swapping of the main battery," says Craig Tilmont, portable strategies manager for Kingston. "Developers of RAM expansion modules that exceed the limit on sleep current must include a warning to the user that battery sleep swapping may not work with those modules installed."

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