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Fast Page DRAM compatability with Intel Premiere/PCI II Motherboard

Posted on 1999-01-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have an Intel Premiere/PCI II motherboard - 90 MHz - in my PC.  I've had four 8-MB SIMMs installed for years, and never had a memory problem.  Last week I ordered two 32-MB SIMMs from the same mail-order company that sold me the PC four years ago, asking them to provide me with SIMMs that are compatible with my MB.  Well, they have already sent me two sets of 2 SIMMs, and my motherboard is not able to recognize 64 MB.  When I install two 32-MB SIMMs, the system only recognizes 32MB.  If I install two 32-MB SIMMs and two 8-MB SIMMs, the system recognizes 48MB, not the 80MB actually installed.  If I install all four 32-MB SIMMs, the system only says there is 64 MB installed.

I am absolutely sure I've installed the memory in the correct SIMM slots; I understand how the banks work, and I know the memory must be installed in pairs.  I know for a fact my 32MB SIMMs are Fast Page Mode memory and not EDO, and I know my MB can take only FPM.

The 32MB SIMMs are double sided, as are the original 8MB SIMMs I've been using successfully for years.

The company I bought my PC from and the 32MB SIMMs claims they don't know how to fix the problem - I've been on the phone with their Tech Support organization several times, and they've given up.  So I'm at a loss.  They won't refund my full purchase price, claiming they don't guarantee compatibility.  I claim THEY screwed up by selling me a part they claimed would work in my PC, but it really doesn't.  I'm looking for any hard technical data that proves the Premiere/PCI II motherboard indeed CANNOT accept 32-MB, double-sided SIMMs.  (And by the way, that MB will only accept tin-plated leads, which these SIMMs do have.)  I have been to Intel's web site, and since this MB is out of production, they have limited information.  I have downloaded technical information about this MB from Infotel's web site, but nothing in the literature I have indicates there should be a problem.

Also, I have upgraded the MB's BIOS to the latest version available, according to Intel's web site.  Apparently the BIOS I now have installed is the last ever distributed for this MB.

So, there you have it.  If you can provide me with definitive information either way - the MB absolutely should accept those 32MB SIMMs or it cannot - I'd be most appreciative.
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Question by:MattEE
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Author Comment

by:MattEE
ID: 1138278
Edited text of question
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Accepted Solution

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jhance earned 150 total points
ID: 1138279
This is a hardware problem with your older motherboard.  It was designed before 32MB SIMMS were made and shortcuts were made in it's design that prevent the use of 32MB double-sided SIMMS.  There is not a BIOS update for this as it's a hardware design issue with the chipset.  You may have success with single sided 32MB SIMMS but that is not guaranteed.  
I'd suggest a simpler and probably cheaper solution.  Get a new motherboard that DOES support 32MB SIMMS and replace yours.  In fact, with a P90 you have a lot of room for upward improvement.
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Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1138280
Your motherboard doesn't expect more than 16MB per SIMM:

> When I install two 32-MB SIMMs,
> the system only recognizes 32MB.

16MB from the first SIMM, and 16MB from the second SIMM.

> If I install two 32-MB SIMMs and two 8-MB SIMMs,
> the system recognizes 48MB, not the 80MB actually installed.

16 plus 16 plus 8 plus 8 is 48MB.

> If I install all four 32-MB SIMMs,
> the system only says there is 64 MB installed.

4*16 is 64MB.

> They won't refund my full purchase price ...

I agree with the other responses: invest in a new motherboard,
since you are "stuck" with the RAM you've purchased.

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Author Comment

by:MattEE
ID: 1138281
Thank you for the help.  Live and learn....
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