Cxx Aptiva
Aptiva Cxx Memory Upgrade
dollar for dollar the BEST upgrade you can
perform on your IBM Aptiva these days is to

My 2176-C66 (like many Cxx Pentium model Aptivas) came with 16MB RAM installed from the factory in the form of (2) 8MB speed up many applications I highly recommended that you UPGRADE to 32MB, 48MB, or 64MB...the more the better!

The Aptiva Cxx memory can be upgraded to 128MB...there are 4 slots for SIMMS (Single Inline Memory Modules) and one slot which can take a DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module)...the DIMM MUST be a 168 Pin 16MB EDO chip...what I recommend is installing SIMMs:

SIMM memory MUST be installed in pairs...while I personally recommend installing 2 16MB SIMMS (for a 32 meg Upgrade to 48MB total) you CAN add 2 8MB SIMMS (which will give you a 16 meg Upgrade to a total of 32MB)

You should obtain SIMMs with the following Specifications:
  • 72 pin
  • Tin lead
  • 32 bit (non-parity)
  • EDO
  • 60 nanoseconds
Any BRAND memory will do...

...I've installed memory modules supplied by a variety of different companies including PNY, Kingston and Crucial/Micron with no problems. I'd suggest checking out Crucial as their RAM is very competitively priced and they stock memory for virtually all Aptiva systems Factory-direct memory upgrades

CHECK the RAM SPECs for YOUR model: Aptiva Memory Configurator
Determine what memory is recommended for YOUR system~!


The following section is provided for individuals who are
familiar with working inside a computer. If you are inexperienced
with computer hardware, or have difficulty following this quick
installation, please refer to your computers user guide
Have a certified Repair Center install your memory FOR you

**NOTE **
Always unplug the power cord before doing any work inside your system. Your memory modules, as well as many other components inside your computer are sensitive to static electricity. Always ground yourself before touching sensitive components.

InstalIing Memory on Cxx Aptiva Models

  1. Remove any jewelry (ring(s) and wristwatches)
  2. Turn off the computer and disconnect the power cord.
  3. Unplug everything from the back of the tower
  4. Remove the cover by removing the two screws by the handle and sliding the tower's case forward and off
  5. To prevent damaged to any components, ground yourself by touching the power supply's metal chassis
  6. Remove the single MWAVE card retaining screw.
  7. Without detaching the wires, move the MWAVE card out of the way.
      **NOTE** If you DO disconnect any connectors or cables,
      please mark them so they can be reconnected properly
  8. You should find 2 8MB, 60ns SIMMs in slots #3 and #4
  9. To make it easier, loosen the SIMM in slot #3 and lay it back in an angle towards the SIMM in slot #4...this will give you additional room to insert your new RAM chip in the necessary 45 degree angle
  10. Align a SIMM module above the #2 slot [see FIGURE 1-1]
    FIG 1-1
  11. Using both hands, place & hold your SIMM module at a 45 degree angle and insert it into the #2 SIMM socket
  12. Repeat Steps 9 and 10 inserting a SIMM into the #1 slot
  13. Once the modules are fully inserted into the sockets, rotate the SIMM modules upright until you hear the SIMMs CLICK or LOCK into position (including the SIMM in slot #3 which we earlier loosened)
    [see FIGURE 1-2]

    FIG 1-2
  14. Check memory to see if SIMM is seated properly by checking the SIMM alignment holes (you should see a plastic tab in each hole)
  15. Reinstall the MWAVE card and secure it with the retaining screw
  16. Reinstall the cover on the tower

  17. Reconnect all cables which have been disconnected (mouse, keyboard, printer, speakers ect.)
  18. Turn your monitor on and power up your Aptiva
  19. Upon BOOTING watch to see the system memory count pass the old 16MB mark and rise to about 32meg...(a LOVELY sight~!)
  20. As long as you have installed the correct speed RAM (ie 60 nanosecond) you should NOT have to enter the system utility setup (if however you have installed 70ns chips you will have to use the Setup Utility to change your memory timing setting)
  21. Confirm a problem free install by checking the amount of MEMORY in Control Panel:

    • Click START
    • Point to SETTINGS
    • Double-Click the SYSTEM icon
    • Choose the PERFORMANCE tab


    AFTER installing the additional RAM I noticed an IMMEDIATE increase in system performance and particular such applications as MS PAINT and Sound Recorder were CLEARLY IMPROVED.

    Now there is a debate about where the "saturation point" is on RAM (the point past which any more is "overkill", a waste of $'s and results in little to no performance gain). IBM indicates in Adding Random Access Memory (RAM) to your Aptiva that the "saturation point" may be 16MB, and that increasing RAM from 16MB to 32MB only results in an approximate 1-2% increase in performance.

    Personally I disagree, my guess-timate is that I see at least a 5-10% increase on my C66 since upgrading from 16-32MB, particularly in memory intensive image programs.

    Be aware in advance though that doubling the anount of installed RAM will NOT double performance. And that while there is a jump in speed after going from 16-32MB, there is a far less jump going from 32-64MB, and going from 64-128MB an even less significant improvement.

    How Much is Enough? - Revisited

    When I originally published this page back in the Spring of 1997 8MB SIMMs of the spec discussed were going for about $50-60 each. Today in the Fall of 1998 RAM is at an all-time low in price, and for that same $50-60 one can buy a pair of 16MB SIMMS. Obviously with RAM dropping that low in price thoughts of "cost efffectiveness" and "saturatuion points" go out the window.

    RAM prices dropped so fast that less than a year later I ended up giving away the two 8MB SIMMs I originally installed and installed 2 16MB chips for a total of 48MB, and likely at some point in the future I'll remove the two original IBM 8MB SIMMs and install 16MB or perhaps even 32MB modules.

    My 1.5 cents at this point is that as the difference between a 16MB upgrade and a 32MB upgrade is often as little as $20, one would have to be nuts to consider less than 16 meg SIMMs.

    Is There Such a Thing as TOO Much RAM?

    On many IBM Aptiva PCs there is a limitation in the amount of RAM which the system can cache. Due to the older chipsets installed on older models (Mxx, Axx, Cxx and 2159-Sxx systems) these systems can only cache up to 64MB of RAM, therefore for many applications 64MB is a "practical maximum" and users upgrading RAM beyond that point often see little or no performance gains (and in fact under some conditions gave actually reported a drop in performance!).

    Exceptions to the above are users who scan and edit large graphics or use CAD or other applications that use a VERY large amount of RAM (even though uncached, actual physical memory will always perform faster than hard disk space used for Virtual Memory). For those users with such needs RAM above 64MB may well have some benefit, but for the average user although the system can physically accept up to 128MB the system should be considered "maxed out" at 64MB.

    SUGGESTED UPGRADE: (2) 16MB SIMMs [32MB Upgrade]
    TOTAL COST: $50.00-80.00
    (16MB RAM of this spec is currently going for $25-$39@)

TO DON5408's

© 1997 Don Schneider AKA DON5408