I'm trying to make an old laptop work better. I already have a single spare stick of ram and it currently has a Dual Channel RAM configuration. Is 2x2GB DDR3 PC3-10600 CL9 SODIMM Dual Channel Ram configuration or 8GB DDR3L PC3-12800 CL11 SODIMM RAM Single Channel Ram Configuration better? Furthermore, the computer only supports 8GB of RAM total, so buying another 8GB stick would be waste of money because I would achieve the same effect as buying 2x4GB RAM.
Dell Inspire 15 N5010
It would be for office tasks. The whole reason I am looking into this is because at idle it sits at 50% RAM usage with the current configuration. This is with 0 start apps and many hours of optimization and no anti-virus installed.
I know Dual Channel is better when the total RAM is the same, but in this case using Dual Channel results in half the ram. Also, please note the type of RAM.
For the record, this is technically my grandfather's laptop. He couldn't even use it before I started working on it.
After I worked on it, I updated it from Windows 7 to Windows 10 64bit. I guess you can consider that "reinstalling windows" since it installed Windows 10 for the first time. The laptop in question really isn't worth dropping money into; it's very old. I told him that if money needed to be dropped on it, he should just buy a new laptop. I'm primarily concerned about the consistent 50% RAM usage at idle with no start up items or anti-virus installed. Remember, currently it has a total of 4GB of RAM (2x2GB) and this would give it 8GB which reduce idle RAM usage to 25%. Something else I would like to mention: I do have 2x4GB ram sticks, but Dell does not specify that RAM with "generic compatibility" and instead lists all compatible models which this is not one (most of the Inspire Laptops are compatible though).
A SSD should be more worth than RAM in any case. 250GB are really cheap nowadays.
Windows 10 manages the RAM usage very well and dynamically. For an office PC you won´t need more than 4GB. 8GB would be better but it´s not necessary. If the RAM usage would be 100%, windows won´t stop running, it would clean unnecessary apps out of the RAM and the workflow shouldn´t be influenced. In some situations (windows updates, tons of chrome tabs opened) it might get laggy, but still ok.
Did you try the 8GB or 2x4GB yet and checked the speed?
The compatibility is depending on the installed CPU and BIOS version.
Update the BIOS if the 2x4GB won´t run (with the 2x2GB installed)
About your RAM question: I absolutely intend on updating the bios before doing anything. Furthermore, I cannot try anything yet because my grandfather hasn't arrived yet. He was supposed to be here last Tuesday, but developed conflicts. When I was working on the computer before, I was visiting him. He should be here in about a week. I will update the feed when I try the upgraded RAM. On a side note, thank you for that website. I will take that into consideration if the 2x4GB doesn't work.
About your SSD recommendation: If I was going to put my grandfather through transferring everything to a new drive, I would rather put him an a new computer. This one is incredibly old. Like I said before, it's not even worth putting any money into.