Saturday, May 12, 2012

Acer Aspire One Netbook 2GB RAM Upgrade

Netbook: Acer Aspire One 532h-2807 model, Intel Atom N450
Ram: CORSAIR VS2GSDS800D2 PC2-6400 2GB 1X2GB DDR2-800 SODIMM Memory RAM Stick
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate (apparently all here should work equally well with Windows 7 Starter edition)

Pros: Good Price - $22 at NCIX (musta caught it on sale!)
Cons: AAO Netbook would not turn on at all with the 2GB Corsair chip installed, until I'd upgraded its Bios to the latest version (1.26 as of this writing).

The Experience:
The Corsair site has a great interface to find your ram for your specific machine.  (None of the other ram mfg even listed my specific model 532h).

Likewise, the Acer site has an equally easy interface to get you to the proper precise upgrade software for your specific product. 

Just wish the rest of the search had been so easy.  Spent far too many hours searching forums, youtube, etc, etc, etc, with very little luck on specifics in the end, both for what ram might work, how to's and what not to's, etc.  Everyone seeming to have different experiences so was very difficult to know just what to safely do in the end.

Did find some posts on the AspireOneUser forum (thanks everyone!) which let me know that the 6400/800 ram was the way to go, not the used 5300/667 I'd been looking at getting for $20.  In the end the faster Corsair stick was only $22 brand new (plus tax of course) but with that I had the option of return if it didn't work, something I thought I might have to do when first installed.

However, there were many different brands and sticks and configurations recommended and equally NOT recommended in the same moment so was indeed a challenge and bit of a gamble to know which way to go.

The Corsair RAM Stick: (First - Update the Netbook's BIOS!)
The Acer Aspire One Netbook 532h-2807 (N450) would not turn on at all with the new 2GB Corsair chip installed until I had updated the Aspire's BIOS from 1.08 to 1.26 (latest version as of this writing).  The Acer power button would light, the fan whir for a moment, and then nothing, just silence and a black screen, power button glowing nicely.

Unplug power and battery to allow restart and try again. Tried remove and reinstall the chip and reboot a few times too of course just to be sure but no luck.

So, reinstalled the old stick, run the Bios update, and once BIOS successfully updated to 1.26, with the new 2GB RAM stick installed the Netbook booted perfectly with all working smooth as silk.  (And yes, it already seemed faster.)

The Acer Bios Updater via Windows App:
Along with the newest Bios versions, the Acer site has a Bios Updater exe app that will run the complete bios upgrade right from within Windows so no need to use an external drive or usb stick or diddle with DOS etc for bios update or touch any other settings anywhere. 

All you have to do is download both the specific bios for your machine and the bios updater app from the Acer site to your netbook, unzip 'em, run the updater app, click OK, sit back and let it do its thing.   Very slick (and very quick!).
(...well, after I'd searched half the freakin' internet first trying to be sure nothing would go wrong!)

Okay, Let's Gamble:
Just went for it in the end as no real specific info or vids to be found, and absolutely no Bios Upgrade help docs at all on the Acer site, other than a warning in red text NOT to update the Bios unless instructed by them to do so. Huh?? Obviously just covering their asses in case you fry your machine in the process.

There's no docs with the updater app either, nada!, not a one, which was why I wasn't sure if had to run it from an external drive or not, or perhaps upgrade any other software or firmware before proceeding etc. There are too many stories online of folks sadly finding out only after their machine was turned into a lightweight boat anchor that some firmware upgrade was imperative to be done before upgrading the bios.  (And I don't even own a blowup dingy so absolutely no use for an anchor of any size!)

Finally just crossed my fingers and hit the okay button (or whatever it was called!) and it was over before I knew it! ...thankfully in a good way. That's why I'm posting this "review", hoping might help someone else down the road.

I can only assume if you have this same model of Aspire One, run the same Bios, get the same ram stick, that all shall work equally well for you.

Obviously both the Bios and RAM upgrades went great once finally decided which brand and model chip to buy, and finally drummed up the courage to run the Bios Updater.  With all the warnings from other users on the net was a tad nervous might brick the 'book with the Bios update, or get a Ram stick that wouldn't work, but all is wonderful in the end. 

(Anybody wanna buy a used 1GB ram stick?  Ha!!)