Windows XP runs great on my Mini-Note. My only major complaint is that the 1280 x 768 screen is so sharp that I’m having a hard time reading some content. I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing Firefox with Opera for my portable browsing needs, since not only does Opera have a full page zoom feature (as opposed to Firefox 2’s text-only zoom), but you can set a default zoom level so that every new page you open is properly zoomed. While Firefox 3 beta 5 has a full-page zoom option, you have to manually zoom each individual page.

But I’m getting off track. The point is, that my HP 2133 Mini-Note, with a 1.2GHz processor and a 120GB hard drive runs Windows XP about as well as any 4 or 5 year old computer would. In fact, the PC boots Windows XP in just about a minute, which is about the same amount of time it takes my Eee PC to get to a working desktop. Eventually HP plans to offer Mini-Note customers the option to purchase a system with Windows XP preloaded. But for now you can only get a Mini-Note with Windows Vista Business, Vista Home Basic, or SUSE Enterprise. And that’s a real shame, because as Joanna Stern at Laptop Magazine has noted, it takes a full 2 minutes and 30 seconds to boot a Mini-Note running Windows Vista.

Now, boot times aren’t the end all, be all. And everyone knows Vista takes longer to boot than XP on most systems. But having to wait 2 and a half minutes for your PC to load before you can start working at the coffee shop, on the train, or wherever you are… that’s just silly. Stern managed to shave about a minute off of the boot time by customizing some settings (check out the Laptop Magazine blog to see how), but Vista still takes longer to start up than XP. Oh, and did I mention she’s using a Mini-Note with a 1.6GHz processor, not a 1.2GHz chip like mine?

So next up, Stern decided to try upgrading the RAM from 1GB to 2GB. She’ll be evaluating the performance over the next few days and posting her findings. But in the meantime, she shot a nifty little video showing how to upgrade the RAM in a Mini-Note.

It’s not quite as simple as upgrading the RAM in most Eee PC models. While many Eee PC units include a RAM access panel on the bottom of the unit, in order to upgrade the RAM in a Mini-Note, you’ll have to undo some screws in the battery case and remove the keyboard in order to pop out your RAM.

I had originally planned to do this upgrade myself. But honestly, in the few days I’ve been using my Mini-Note, I have yet to approach 1GB of memory use. I’m not sure there’s much need for more than 1GB of RAM in an XP machine I’ll be using primarily for web browsing and writing with a little audio editing on the side. But Vista is a much more resource-intensive operating system, so I imagine the RAM boost should help at least a little bit.

I did put 2GB of RAM in my Eee PC, but that’s because the Eee PC has just 4GB of storage space, so I didn’t want to dedicate any of that to swap space or a page file. If you pick up the 4GB solid state version of the Mini-Note, you might want to consider a RAM upgrade as well.



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8 replies on “How to upgrade RAM on an HP Mini-Note”

  1. Not to seem dense, but are your icons/text to small after changing them to a larger format in the Display Properties? I couldn’t find that you had looked at that in your articles and am interested to know myself while i weigh my options before i buy.

    1. Yup, I’ve switched to larger icons and text. When you’re sitting with the Mini-Note on a desk right in front of you, it’s not really a problem. But when it’s on my lap it tends to be a bit further away and harder to read. I’m still trying out various browsers. Opera is certainly the best, but it doesn’t render some of the pages I use on a daily basis very well, so I’m looking into K-Meleon, which uses the same Gecko rendering engine as Firefox.

    2. Whoops. I just noticed that I had changed my icons/fonts to extra large, but I had forgotten to change my DPI settings from 96 to 120. Now that I’ve done this, most things are a lot better. I’m still a bit disappointed with the default font size in Firefox and some other applications, but my eyes don’t hurt quite as much as they did.

  2. Brad,

    First, many many thanks to you and the other experts out there keeping the rest of us informed on the developments and various work arounds with these machines. I am still trying to decide which one will be best for me, but it is beginning to look like an ideal machine would be the 1.2Ghz Mini Note with the 120GB drive with a dual boot XP/Ubuntu load. Any idea on when HP is likely to make XP available without having to go the route of getting Vista with their downgrade option? Also, any hints on which of the new low power chips HP is likely to adopt (and when)? Hopefully you have the contacts to guide us further and do not have to resort to a crystal ball on this one. Keep up the good work.

      1. Just saw the interview with Kyle Thornton in Laptop Mag and he said mid may. Also, appears that HP has not yet decided whether to go with Intel or ViA low power chip. Guess we will have to wait and see. Again, thanks for all your work.

  3. nice work brad ! does upgrading ram help playback of 720p video ?

    what kind of frames are you getting on your current install ? cos ive seen a few reviews of vista videoplayback and they dont look too great, definately aiming at getting the suse install for myself

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