This is a guide to upgrading the RAM (memory) on the MSI CR500 laptop. It is a loose translation of the Japanese RAM upgrade wiki hosted at AtWiki.jp.
Before You Start
The CR500 comes equipped with 1GB of memory. This is enough for normal desktop usage, but if you plan to do memory-intensive things like video editing or playing 3D Games then this may limit what you can do with the machine. Luckily, you can upgrade the memory in the CR500 fairly easily. It has two memory slots, each of which takes SO-DIMM DDR2-800 (PC2-6400) memory. Each slot can hold memory cards up to 4GB, so if you take out the 1GB card that is pre-installed and put two 4GB cards in it is possible to have up to 8GB of memory.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 can only use about 3.25GB of RAM due to their 32 bit architecture, so if you plan to use either of them it is not worth installing more than 3GB of RAM (maybe 4GB if you really care about the remaining 0.25GB).
However, it is possible to create a RAM Disk, which can use RAM that is not detected by the OS. This can greatly improve the speed of working with large files in applications such as Photoshop (compared with working from the hard disk), so you may want to consider upgrading to the full 8GB of RAM if this is something you will use.
Also, if you are using a 64-bit Operating System, the 3GB limit does not apply, and the full amount of RAM up to 8GB will be detected.
You can buy DDR2-800 RAM cards in sizes of 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB.
Upgrading the Memory
To upgrade the memory, you will need to take the back cover off your laptop. This will tear the warranty sticker and void your warranty. You also run the risk of damaging the tabs that hold the back cover in if you are not careful, or possibly damaging the RAM or the motherboard, so think carefully before deciding to upgrade the memory yourself. You may want to take it to a computer shop and pay them to do it instead.
Make sure the environment you are working in is:
Free of dust
Free of static electricity
Not in extreme hot or cold temperatures
You will want to ground yourself to make sure you do not discharge static electricity into your laptop, as this may permanently damage it.
Remove the battery from your laptop. You don't want to get shocked whilst doing this.
Unscrew the screws that are holding down the back cover of the laptop with a small Philips-head screwdriver. There are 4 screws in total.
Do not undo the screw with the arrow and the circular icon near the Microsoft sticker - it is not necessary.
Keep the screws in a safe place. You will need them when you put the cover back on.
Starting from the side of the Microsoft sticker, slowly and carefully open the back cover.
Do not try and force it open - this will bend or break the flimsy plastic tabs that hold the back cover in place.
Use a small flathead screwdriver (the kind used to fix glasses is ideal) to push gently on the tabs. Lift the lid a little with a finger, then insert the screwdriver into the crack. When the screwdriver is above one of the tabs, push gently down and inwards. It does not take very much force to release the tabs, and you will be able to feel it when it happens.
It is easiest to work from the side of the Microsoft sticker to the outside, rather than the other way around.
This is what the back cover looks like halfway-open.
These are the rough locations of each tab. Use a small flathead screwdriver to get under the cover and gently push them open.
These are what the tabs look like from the inside.
This is what happens if you use too much force - the tab near the wireless adapter has been broken. (This is apparently the easiest one to break.)
An overview of the inside of the laptop.
The memory slots, situated to the left of the hard disk. Once you've got this far, the hard part is over.
The hard disk. It turns out it is made by Western Digital. (Mine was 320GB though.)
An example of the memory that can be used with the CR500. This one was bought from Amazon.jp for 2,480 yen (that's $26.54 in USD).
The memory card, de-boxed. This one is a 2GB card from Hynix.
Now it's time to put the new memory card in the memory slot.
Try not to touch the gold connectors when handling the memory card.
If the spare memory slot is hidden by the existing memory card, it may be necessary to take the existing memory card out first. If this is the case, push the metal latches to the outside to release the card. A spring will force one end of the card up - carefully pull it out and place it on a static-free surface whilst you attach the new memory card.
To put the new memory card(s) in, push the card in to the slot in the direction shown in the picture, with the back angled slightly upwards. Then push down on the back of the card and it should latch into place.
This is what the memory slots look like when both filled with memory cards.
A view of the inside of the CR500 after adding the additional memory.
Finally, put the back cover on again, do up the 4 screws, and put the battery back in.
Put the cover back on in the reverse order that you took it off. Start from the outside and work towards the Microsoft sticker.
Putting the cover back on is considerably easier than taking it off, but again be careful not to force it too much. The tabs should just pop back into place. If you're having trouble, try bending the whole back panel just a little.
Give yourself a pat on the back. That's it for the hardware part of the upgrade.
Boot back into your Operating System of choice. The new RAM should be automatically detected.
A screenshot of the new RAM being detected in Windows (the Japanese version). Notice where it says "RAM: 4.00 GB".
A screenshot of the System Monitor in Ubuntu Linux 9.10 after upgrading the RAM. This example is with 3GB of RAM - notice where it says "Memory - 535.5 MiB (19.3%) of 2.7 GiB".