I recently sold my Dell Inspiron 2650 laptop. It was a rather emotional transaction. I bought it in 2003, and it was instrumental in my growth as a designer. It saw me through the last leg of my education as an Architect and a full-time foray into the land of Planning and Urban Design. While I used it, I loaded it with my basic chockful of programs such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, ColdFusion Studio, Topstyle and Illustrator. It survived a couple of hard drive upgrades, from 30GB to 40GB to 120GB. It came with 256MB of memory upgradeable to 512MB and it had a fairly fast processor for its time.
It performed liked a peach, and it never let me down until I was wooed away by a super fast low profile Dell 530s desktop in 2008 which I eventually transformed into a speed demon with 4GB of memory, a 1GB video card and a pair of 1TB external drives to serve as my iTunes music and video repository. I hooked up the 530s to a 47 inch flat screen TV and the video card handdled it with out skipping a bit, the video playback and streaming quality is superb. I first hardwired the low profile 530s Dell desktop to my network and the Gigabit ethernet card has turned my NetFlix subscription into a video on demand service. Now fitted with an N600 wireless adapter, it is a nice addition to my home network, but we can talk about that one another day and let me stick to the subject at hand: the Inspiron 2650 and its memory limits.
I bought a new battery for the 2650 about 3 years ago, but shortly after I stopped using the laptop altogether when I finally conceded that it was too slow for my needs and switched to using the 530s, but that sort of had me chained to one spot. After waiting for the right sale, I finally purchased a Dell Vostro 2510 in 2009. The new laptop was ten times faster and with greater storage capacity than the old one so my faithful 2650 was confined to gathering dust.
I decided to sell it on eBay. So I ordered a new 120GB drive and loaded the operating system and drivers from the original Dell discs which I had faithfully set aside. Installed all four browsers (Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari) to give the new owner options, the latest Flash plugin, Java and Adobe reader. A dvd/cd burner that came with the system. Microsoft live essentials if its new owner liked messenger and windows live, and finally, iTunes and QuickTime for good measure. I also put in a new keyboard to give it a good makeover. It was in rather mint condition at this point. I decided I would also upgrade the memory. After doing research, I discovered that it could only handle 512MB in two 256MB memory modules. One inside the case and the second one outside on the rear through an access panel door. That was the the way it came.. two 256MB modules.
Getting access to the interior memory module was a bear! Thank goodness Dell’s service manuals are easily accessible online. I tried installing all kinds of configurations and memory modules only to concede that 512MB was the max, then I thought to myself… why not just one 512MB module inside? Why always force it to switch back and forth between the two modules? So I did. The faster handling of graphics by the single memory chip was noticeable.
The single memory module along with the paired down programs made it into one speedy Netbook, and that is how I sold it. It did not come with an internal wireless device, but I had fitted it with a Linksys PCMCIA wireless G card. With a crisp and sharp SXGA LCD screen, it was ready to have a new owner. The bidding did not pick up until the last couple of hours. It sold for $225.
The time came to ship it out. I carefully wrapped it in bubble wrap and packed the original printed literature, power cord, OEM CD’s and wireless card with the Linksys driver cd. One last look at the box, and off it went in the mail. I prayed it would help its new owner learn and master new skills just as it had helped me. It was the passing of an era for me, now I am off to revive a couple of dead iPod Nanos. Will let you know how that went.