Lenovo ThinkPad W520 - Compatible RAM Modules

At Lenovo's website you can configure your ThinkPad W520 with up to 16GB RAM (32 on special orders). The 16GB RAM does add an additional $320 to the system's price. For those that don't want to pay that much money you can buy the modules separately and save a bundle (like Geico!)

By default you will get 8GB with your system.  These two modules take 2 out of the 4 DIMM slots. To get the 16GB you need an additional 2 RAM modules

Compatible RAM Sticks:
4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (part No. 55Y3711)
2GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (part No. 55Y3710)
1GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (part No. 55Y3709)

Available At:

Buying 2 modules would cost you $82. Add them to the existing modules and you have your 16GB.  You would save $238 by NOT getting it preconfigured.

Why would you go up to 16GB RAM?
I currently have 6GB in my HP system and that does a fine job for my needs.  But there are several select few professional/hardcore gamers that can use the extra RAM powers.  Some use it to run several virtual machines at the same time (for programmers debugging on multiple OSs this is important), others use it for loading large HD movies and images in editing programs like Sony Vegas and Photoshop, of course it can help dealing with hardcore gaming (and recording their gameplay perhaps).  So again it's only for a few rather special individuals.

Did you know that you can dock the W520 to the Mini Dock Plus Series 3?  Neat details ca be found on the W520's datasheet.

Published: Sep 2, 2011


  1. The $320 premium is an outrageous ripoff.

    Any standard RAM module will work with the W520. A set of 2 4GB RAM sticks from Crucial guaranteed to work with the W520 costs only 40 bucks.

    Lenovo charges you an outrageous TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS to put in two sticks of memory worth $40. They're essentially trying to profit from the enterprise customers who buy a couple hundred of these laptops and don't want to have to add in sticks of RAM into each one themselves.

  2. A business, like everyone, needs to make money. :) But the premium paid does add up quite a bit doesn't it? It seems that every company does charge charge quite a bit for these parts that usually don't cost that much. I guess everyone just have to be a bit smarter when shopping.

  3. Here's the reason why they charge that much:

    They're catering to enterprise customers - the guys who buy thousands of machines. The extra cost is worth it to an enterprise. Why?

    First, support. Extra RAM = another possible point of failure. And aftermarket upgrades present another source of confusion to the support techs, which means more wasted time. Downtime = money lost.

    Second, cost of installation. It is true that for a home user, sticking in a few chips is a process that takes 5 minutes - neglible. But the IT guy would have to do it himself, and that takes even MORE time - he would have to unbox the machine, pop in the RAM, box it again for the employee... probably 10-15 minutes (10 minutes times 500 computers is 5000 minutes or 83 man-hours - that's two weeks lost!) That's a LOT of time wasted. It's just cheaper to buy it from Lenovo.

    As for the home users, they don't care. The only home users buying high-end Thinkpads are either those with a lot of disposable income (who won't care) or those with enough geek skills to replace the RAM themselves.

    This kind of overcharging is also seen in the consumer market, but to a significantly smaller extent. In that segment, the assumption is either the consumer is too ignorant to know that the manufacturer is overcharging them, is not confident enough to replace the RAM (and willing to pay the small premium) or will replace the RAM themselves.

    In any case, the company wins.

  4. I've read various sources saying you should not max out the dimm slots in your machine if you can help it. As in, 2x8GB is more reliable than 4x4GB. Unfortunately, there are very few options for buying 8GB modules for laptop ram and they're significantly more expensive than 4x4GB - about $300. Still, this is cheaper than Lenovo's $320 4x4GB.

  5. Only 2 slot will support if you have dual processor.To support all the 4 slots, you need Quad core processor.I purchased 8GB from Lenovo with the machine and 4Gb installed on slot behind the laptop and another 4GB installed on slot under the keyboard.


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Hi. My name is Jesse, and I'm a technology enthusiast. I play with technology and share what I find on this blog. If you have any questions then please use the contact form below. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.



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