Question: Will adding more laptop memory affect battery life?

Read our answer below:

Memory just as any other electronic device installed within your laptop uses power in order to operate. Depending on the age of your laptop thus whether it uses SDRAM, DDR, DDR2 or DDR3 SODIMM modules, the amount of power used by the installed memory differs, and in general is as follows:


  • SDRAM SODIMM - up to ~5W
  • DDR SODIMM - up to ~3.5W
  • DDR2 SODIMM - up to ~2.5W
  • DDR3 SODIMM - up to ~1.7W

Consequently, the newer your laptop thus the more modern laptop memory technology it uses, the lower the amount of power consumed by each SODIMM memory module. This can be mainly attributed to three distinct traits:


  • Manufacturing process
  • Operating voltage
  • Number of memory chips per module

Every SODIMM memory module you install within your laptop will result in increased power consumption thus negatively affect battery life. In practise however the results will greatly depend on various aspects such as:


  • Whether your laptop is running in dual channel mode - running in dual channel mode means that whenever your system issues a read, write or copy memory request, both SODIMM memory modules need to operate in full power mode on a concurrent basis
  • The application(s) you run - software varies in its intensity to use memory not only in how much it consumes but also how frequently it depends on memory access. Software that is heavily dependant on continues memory access prevents the corresponding SODIMM memory modules from entering an idle power state
  • Virtual memory - virtual memory is simulated on your hard drive (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD). Theoretically speaking, the more laptop (physical) memory the less your system relies on virtual memory. In practise modern HDD's and SSD's are themselves very low power devices, practically like for like in terms of power consumption with modern laptop memory as denoted above
  • Whether the memory is overclocked - some laptops are specifically designed to enable overclocking via the BIOS, others can often be overclocked via special software intended for advanced users. In cases where laptop memory is overclocked, this automatically increases its power consumption ranging from a low increase (memory frequency has been increased only) to high increase (memory frequency and operating voltage has been increased)

Despite the above, keep in mind that laptop memory power consumption is generally speaking very low to low and while adding more will likely increase power consumption, the real world affect this has on battery life is minor. The top main power consumption hogs within a laptop remain the processor, LCD panel and graphics card.


Learn more about laptop memory in part 2 of the Laptop Memory Upgrades Guide


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