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Dell Mini 9: An Upgrade Odyssey

An unknown tidbit that may interest you if you're a Dell Mini 9 owner is that the max ram that a mini 9 can hold is 2GB, yes I said 2GB. Why does Dell not offer that much when you try to order them you ask? That's because of good old closed source software, in order to ship the Mini with Windows XP instead of Windows Vista (because XP licenses are cheaper), there are some hardware specs that the Mini needs to be below, one of which is a maximum installed memory of 1GB. The Ubuntu kernel that dell ships with Ubuntu versions of the notebook however has been modified by dell to to have a maximum memory limit of 1GB. argh! but we'll get to that later, first let's learn how to add another gig of ram...


First off, the Dell Mini 9 only has one memory slot, so you'll need to grab a 2GB chip from your favorite hardware supplier. Here's what I've successfully used.

2GB, 200-pin SODIMM, DDR2 PC2-5300 memory module

Once you have your new 40$ piece hardware it's time to grab your trusty phillips head and get to work.

  • STEP1
    Flip your mini over so that the hinges are away from you, you'll see a rectangular piece that has your service tag sticker, with one screw at either of the top corners, unscrew those and gently pop the piece off using the provided lippy area (yes, that's a technical term)

  • STEP2
    Now that you've gotten the cover off, you'll be able to see four areas (or quadrants if you want to get technical) and if you've followed all the directions up until now (and the hinges are away etc) then the RAM we are looking for will be in the top right quadrant. You should see two little silver arms, one on each side of the RAM chip, use your fingers (you can only see one of mine because I am holding the camera duh!) and gently pull them away from the chip until the RAM pops up.

  • STEP3
    Now that you gotten the old RAM out, gently insert the new chip at the same angle and push it down until the silver arms click over to hold it in place.
  • STEP4
    Reattach the cover and behold your Dell Mini, action packed with 2GB of RAM!! note that you'll have to pop the cover into the little silver clips around the perimeter of that area. it'll require some force, just start at the bottom and move up to the screws and then tighten them

  • Now if you're a windows user, this is the end of the road for you. If you are an Ubuntu user, the kernel on the Dell distro of ubuntu has been limited to only support 1GB of RAM (blame M$) so you'll either have to recompile the kernel, or just reinstall your favorite regular distro of ubuntu. I'll have a link to a tutorial of that here soon, just check the comments.

    Searched words: 
    dell mini 9 memory ram upgrade 1gb 2gb how to install ubuntu limit


    Kernel update

    Have you tried to install a new kernel with apt-get or synaptic from a Ubuntu mirror?

    That was my plan, I haven't

    That was my plan, I haven't actually done it yet because I am still looking for a remixed version of the Ubuntu kernel which uses power as conservatively as the dell ubuntu kernel. Dell's version can squeeze about 3.5 hours out of the battery where the regular ubuntu desktop will provide about 2.5 hours. Got any recommendations?

    crippling Ubuntu to please Microsoft.

    the kernel on the Dell distro of ubuntu has been limited to only support 1GB of RAM (blame M$)

    Son of a bitch!!!

    I bought the Mini 9 because I heard so much about Ubuntu but am afraid to install it by myself.
    I used the Acer One's Linux at my sisters and loved it and thought why not get a pre-installed Linux that would be raring to go instead of a frustrating experience considering I have little computer knowledge..

    i am disappointed that Dell was forced to sell us crippled software.

    It looks very easy to upgrade the ram on the Mini 9 (I saw the video for how to do it on the Acer One and needed a good stiff drink just to watch it, never mind do it!) but unfortunately I dotn have the courage to do the re-installation of Ubuntu.

    I will definitely be back to see if you do a video or tutorial for that.

    Ubuntu 8.10

    I just wanted to take a moment to point out that the latest version of Ubuntu, version 8.10 (uh, Intrepid Ibex, I believe, whatever that means...) does have support for Intel Atom processors... What this basically means is that you can up your RAM on your Dell Mini to 2GB AND get about 4 hours of battery from it as well.

    All you have to do is grab the latest version of Ubuntu...

    now you know, and knowing is half the battle...

    Reinstall Ubuntu

    The reinstall of Ubuntu is very easy - I did it myself with an external dvd drive. I have the Ubuntu disk if you need it. I would be willing to trade for a Windows XP disk. Contact me at - NO SPAM


    I'm happy I found this article. I was looking for a mini PC to run Linux, and this one interested me, but I prefer to have min. 2 gb of ram. Now I'm all set, just need the money.


    Update Help

    You say all you have to do is grab the latest version. What is the easiest / best way of doing this? I am still learning this OS but would like to get my 2 gb working. thanks.

    Any Downside Effects of Adding More RAM?

    I very much appreciate your suggestion for increasing the Mini9's RAM to 2GB. But I have a couple questions before I try it. I have the XP OS. Since the Mini9 runs hot, will the added RAM make it run hotter or slower and also drain the battery quicker? Thanks.
    Do you also have any comments on the SSD upgrades that are showing up? i.e. http://www.mydigitaldiscount.comCategoryProductList.jsp?cat=Browse+By+Brand:MyDigitalSSD:MyDigitalSSD+PCI+Expres...

    What's the difference between MLC and SLC? And again will upgrading put a strain on power and thermal dissipation?

    Dan Hakimzadeh is Right

    DL U8.10 up to 2g
    all ok I even up to 32ssd

    I kept winxp in the small area and just mounted that partion in u
    so if I need I can boot win

    no problem using ubuntu 8.10 you can even use the win exe from thier hp if you wanna dual boot
    md2020 not the wine

    BTW - using MicroXP

    MicroXP installed is < 100megs
    ubuntu is token 6+g

    Is there an easy fix to

    Is there an easy fix to increase the Hard Drive.
    I currently have the Mini 910 with only 8gb

    The easiest way is obviously

    The easiest way is obviously to grab a 16GB or larger SD Card and throw it in the drive on the side....

    I am sure the solid state drive inside can be replaced, one would just need to know the specs of what is in there now (if you do, please post it here) then you could grab something similar but larger and replace it.

    Can Mini 9 Handle A 4GB stick....?

    If it can hold a two, why not a four? Does XP not recognize it? Would you be able to install Vista if it recognized four?

    basically because you

    the chipset in the Mini9 supports up to 4GB (see below), a real (non-dellified) ubuntu install will recognize that much, and so will XP, I wouldn't put Vista on there, there's not enough beef in the Atom processor and there ain't enough HD space anyway.... now if you are well funded enough and inclined to try 4GB, please do while also keeping heat and power consumption in mind, and post your results here. I want to know, I care, really, you mean everything to me....

    from page 23 of

    Mobile Intel® 945GM/GME Express Chipset Feature Support

    1.1.2 System Memory Support
    • Supports single-/dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM
    Maximum Memory supported: up to 4 GB at 400, 533 and 667 MHz
    • 64-bit wide per channel
    • Three Memory Channel Configurations supported:
    — Single-Channel
    — Dual-Channel Symmetric
    — Dual-Channel Asymmetric
    • One SO-DIMM connector per channel
    • 256-Mb, 512-Mb and 1-Gb memory technologies supported
    • Support for x8 and x16 devices
    • Support for DDR2 On-Die Termination (ODT)
    • Enhanced Addressing support (XOR and Swap)
    • Intel® Rapid Memory Power Management (Intel® RMPM)
    • Dynamic row power-down
    • No support for Fast Chip Select mode
    • Support for 2N timings only
    • Supports Partial Writes to memory using Data Mask signals

    Mini 9 at 4GB

    I'm not sure what you're talking about. The Mini 9 only has one RAM slot; there is no "free" slot to use.

    That is correct, there is

    That is correct, there is only ONE RAM slot in total. The point of this post is that you can put more than 1GB of RAM in it... it is actually all in the pics above in the post

    4gb SD card should work, I

    4gb SD card should work, I use a 16gb SD card in mine with XP

    Dell Mini 9 RAM Rescrictions


    I will be getting a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu 8.04, great i use 9.04 beta on my Laptop a Dell inspiron 1525 with a 250 GB Hard drive, I was shocked to hear that there is a RAM Restriction, how do you get around the limitation, I have a 2GB Memory module on its way so not sure why Dell is so stupid to limit the Mini 9.

    Is there a fic for this stupid oversight? If can I get it.

    You should be able to use a

    You should be able to use a 2GB stick now, as Dell now allows you to add a 2GB stick in the ordering process.

    Ram type

    I noticed when I upgraded my ram, that the installed chip was a 1GB PC2-6400S. Won't the PC2-5300 slow down the buss speed? The new faster ram is more expensive, but I certainly don't want to slow this guy down. I've managed to get xp to run with only 5 services, have 5gb free on the 8gb ssd, and it's zipping along pretty good now.

    4 GB Ram

    I had already successfully upgraded my Mini 9 to 2 GB ram and a 64GB SSD. SO I decided to spend a few dollars more and ordered a 4GB PC2-5300 module.

    The short story is I could not get the Mini9 to boot, it seems to hang. I verified the memory in my Dell D830 and it worked fine.

    Any ideas???

    It's two banks...

    The mini can accept up to 4GB.... but actually this is 2x2GB. So unless you can access the other bank somehow (no idea how) you can only put the one 2GB stick.

    FYI: I just got 2 mini 9's a

    FYI: I just got 2 mini 9's a couple of days ago. I had ordered 2GB sticks of DDR2667's but found out when I opened the back that they in fact came with DDR2 800MHz memory inside. I should have checked before ordering.

    Mini 9 has a 533MHz bus

    Mini 9 has a 533MHz bus, so it really doesn't make a performance difference if 667 or 800 is installed.

    upgrade SSD for the Mini

    Upgrade on Dell Mini 9/Vostro A90

    I upgraded the memory with no problem, or so I thought. Then I installed Ubuntu Netbook emix 9.10, and now have no sound. It's not a simple fix, like a mute, or something stupid like that. I have followed what I found at , but this has not resolved the problem.

    As near as I can tell, Ubuntu is not recognizing my sound card at all... (Realtek ALC268). Linux Mint 7 run off a USB stick was recognizing the card, but still refusing to play sound.

    According to the guy at the Dell Ubuntu desk, this is because I have installed more RAM than is supported, and it is causing a hardware conflict.

    I am a relatively new user, but this does not sound quite right to me. Any suggestions?



    Google for mini-PCIe SSD

    Google for mini-PCIe SSD PATA 50mm.
    That should fit the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, Dell Inspiron 910 and the Dell Vostro A90.
    Actually, they're all the same computer, maybe with slightly different specs.

    tell me how can i upgrade my dell insprion 910 hard disk

    In my dell insprion 910 notebook hd is only 14 gb. so, can any one tell me how to upgrade my harddisk and where do i get this hd and how much gb is support for my laptop, what is the cost, from where should i buy

    rajesh kolawar

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