Help Me Choose: Memory

Random access memory (RAM) — commonly known as memory — is the temporary storehouse for the data flowing to and from your PC's processor. The more memory you have, the faster your games and other programs will run.

Alienware systems have the raw power to run next-generation multithreaded, graphics-intensive games or multimedia viewing and creation applications. Regardless of your processing needs you need the right amount of memory to help support your computing activities. Systems with more memory can:
  • Deliver better performance and be more responsive
  • Handle more open files and applications at once
  • Open larger files or load more game data (maps, textures, etc.)

Typically, 4GB of memory is a good minimum starting point for a gaming PC’s memory loadout. 4GB can enable systems to play most games at acceptable frame rates provided you have a sufficiently powerful graphics card. Stepping up to 16GB of memory will enable performance at higher settings for more intensive games and programs.

The Alienware X51 can support up to 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory, but if you feel the need to level up to more memory for greater performance, the Alienware Aurora supports a maximum of 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory.

How much RAM can my Alienware hold?
Most editions of the Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating system (OS) are 64 bit. The RAM limit for Home Premium and Consumer versions is 16GB. If you are running a 32-bit operating system (OS), such as Windows XP, Vista 32 or Windows 7 32-bit edition, you have a limit of 4GB of memory. To go beyond to 32GB you will need the Professional versions of Windows.

What is a DIMM?
A DIMM — or dual inline memory module — is a series of random access memory chips mounted on a small circuit board. DIMMs are installed in sockets on your Alienware's motherboard.

What does DDR3 SDRAM mean?
DDR3 SDRAM stands for "double data rate type three synchronous dynamic random access memory." This is the current generation of RAM, and it can transfer data up to twice the rate as the previous generation RAM (DDR2 SDRAM). Using DDR3 SDRAM helps you switch between applications, open documents and complete your daily tasks faster.

What does "1600MHz" mean?
The speed of the memory you purchase or add to your Alienware is measured in megahertz. Most Alienwares have start with 1600MHz memory speed capability, which is very efficient in handling modern gaming applications. Maximum memory speed is limited by the Memory Speed supported by the processor.