Why don’t more laptops have upgradable RAM? | Ask an expert

Q: Why is soldered RAM so common in laptops? It seems very unfriendly to buyers. To get the amount of memory I want, my options are limited to extremely expensive gaming laptops—but I only need the specs of a mid-range laptop.

A: Replaceable SODIMM modules make uncommon memory configurations in the budget and mid-range feasible, for sure. But your description suggests you’re looking at ultraportable laptops, which is the likely reason you’re striking out in your quest for replaceable RAM.

Thin-and-light laptops tend to use low-power DDR4 (aka LPDDR4) RAM, which is a type that requires soldering. Why choose it over the SODIMM variety? Beyond the direct benefit to battery life, LPDDR4 also has the advantage of taking up less space—and not just in height. The room gained by using soldered memory helps keep the laptop slim and can be put toward other purposes, like cooling or a bigger battery.

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