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Memory upgrade hangs computer

Posted on 2002-03-05
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I have a PC clone, Pentium III, 450MHz running Windows 98(SE) with 128Mb of RAM.  Here's the specs...

Motherboard is PCCHIPS Slot1 M741lmr

I recently purchased a 128Mb RAM upgrade
(PNY-SDRAM/PC100/DIMM).  This matches the RAM specs
from the users manual.

After the new chip is installed (in DIMM socket #2), the system boots fine, recognizes the additional memory and then hangs up the system after about 10 to 15 minutes of operation.

When I remove the new RAM chip - everything is OK.
Norton reports the new RAM chip as OK during testing.

I suspect some kind of timing problem but have reached a deadend for answers.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



 
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Question by:mediasmyth
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by:hangman
ID: 6843567
You're not trying to upgrade it to 256 Mb of RAM I hope !! When you are upgrading the RAM you **MUST** use exactly the same type in both sockets. If you try the RAM module by itself in DIMM socket #1, my bet is that it will work fine. If that is the case, buy another one and put that in the second socket. Do NOT use your old RAM with your new RAM
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by:pjknibbs
ID: 6843677
hangman: I don't think that's true, to be honest, at least not on decent motherboards (which counts out PCChips, obviously ;-)). Certainly I've had mixed PC-100 and PC-133 SDRAM in a computer before and it hasn't had the slightest problem--I also had a computer with 2x64 and 1x128 Mb DIMM in it, and that also ran without a hitch.
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by:jhance
ID: 6843911
Clearly the RAM module you purchased is defective.  

Return it to the place of purchase and get another one.

And I'll 2nd pjknibbs comment that hangman knows not what he is talking about.
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by:BOFH
ID: 6843987
What brand is the original dimm?
I have found sometimes that 2 different makes of dimm just dont play together (this happens when upgrading Compaq pc's for example)
try getting another pny chip or try the pny chip on its own
just to make sure its not faulty

Best of luck
BOFH
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by:HDWILKINS
ID: 6844118
Pull the origional memory out and run with only the new memory.  If that works, then there is nothing wrong with the new chip.

If the new chip works by itself and the old chip works by itself then they simply aren't compatable.  Don't spend a lot of time on this.
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by:magarity
ID: 6844487
This is almost certainly a case of a defective part.  Memory for standard PCs is a commodity, like wheat or oil.  Incompatible memory is like incompatible breakfast cereal.  (Statement does not apply to certain off-brands that need proprietary memory, like HP and Compaq servers.  Which makes me wonder, if they merge will there be two types of incompatible machines sold by the joint company???)
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by:willinois
ID: 6844524
After investigating your motherboard specs....I agree with jhance, and I will third the comment about "pjknibbs comment that hangman knows not what he is talking about. "
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6844584
looks like the hangman got a suspended sentence.
install PC133 with PC100 or in some cases 66mhz regularly & have had very few problems.
testing individually is a good idea but if they don't work together you'll need to get something that will work with either the old ram or get an extra stick of the new stuff & pitch the old stuff.
gut feeling is the new one is faulty but try it on its own first.
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6846043
The new memory chip was manufactured by PNY.
(suppose to be "guaranteed compatible") Here's the specs:

SDRAM PC100 DIMM 128Mb (PNY Part# 64174ESEM4G17T)

Norton Diagnostics MEMORY test reports everything
is A-OK with the PNY card.

Could the original RAM (128Mb) be incompatible with the new RAM (the PNY) even when the specs match?

Also, is there anything I can do to tweak the BIOS that may correct this?

Thanks for all the comments.
 

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by:HDWILKINS
ID: 6846090
Pull out the old chip and if it works, its not compatible.

HW
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by:hangman
ID: 6846420
If I know nothing, then why is the system hanging. Sure you can mix your RAMs, I've got one a computer here that has mixed RAMs and works fine, but that is not always the case. With the same computer, I put in a different stick of RAM and the for the first time I saw linux crash. For best results, don't use different RAM. My original suggestion still stands. Try the new stick by itself, and if it's stable, it means that the RAM is incompatible. It happens !!

BTW
This article from Kingston explains what I have already said

http://www.kingston.com/tools/umg/newumg08.asp

quote
"Remove the new memory and see whether the problem disappears. Remove the old memory, reinstall the new, and see whether the problem persists. Try the memory in different sockets. Swapping reveals whether the problem is a particular memory module or socket, or whether two types of memory aren't compatible."


and

"To verify that the new memory is causing the problem, remove the new memory and see whether the problem goes away. Then remove the old memory and install only the new memory. If the error persists, phone the memory manufacturer and ask for a replacement."

Don't be so quick to condem
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6846439
"When you are upgrading the RAM you **MUST**
use exactly the same type in both sockets"

someone touched a nerve! I think it was the MUST word that got the expected reaction. in some cases ram needs to match but in most there is a backward compatibility.

your second comment is excellent however.
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by:ahmedabdin
ID: 6846795
i think this problem from the data bus speed,if is 100 u must install ram that it's bus is 100 ,and so if it is 133...
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6847293
ahmedabdin...
 
The bus speed is 100.
Motherboard is PCCHIPS Slot1 M741lmr. (see original question)

Anyone have thoughts on tweaking the BIOS to throttle back the timing?


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by:magarity
ID: 6847467
I'm impressed at how dilligently mediasmith refuses to answer whether the new stick by itself works.

Norton Diagnostics is far from the best.  To test the memory, use memtest86 from www.memtest86.com
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6848341
magarity...

Yes! The new PNY stick works by itself -- with no problem.

Even if I swap the slot positions for the old and new RAM the problem persists.

...still stumped.


 
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by:willinois
ID: 6848478
Here's a shot in the dark...you have capacity for 3 DIMM's on this board, right?  

1) are you putting them in in the correct order 1, 2 then 3?
2) or perhaps the DIMM connection #2 is faulty..try skipping it, and put the second stick in #3.  It won't hurt anything if it's wrong.
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by:willinois
ID: 6848479
Here's a shot in the dark...you have capacity for 3 DIMM's on this board, right?  

1) are you putting them in in the correct order 1, 2 then 3?
2) or perhaps the DIMM connection #2 is faulty..try skipping it, and put the second stick in #3.  It won't hurt anything if it's wrong.
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by:willinois
ID: 6848541
FROM THE MANUAL

Install Memory

The mainboard has three DIMM slots which can be installed with memory modules. You must install at least one memory module in order to use the mainboard. You must install the first memory module into DIMM1 so that it can share memory with the onboard VGA system.

For this mainboard, you must use 168-pin, 3.3V memory modules installed with SDRAM memory chips. If you are using a processor that runs on a 100 MHz system bus, you must use memory that operates on a 100 MHz memory bus (PC-100 memory). If you are using a processor that runs on a 66 MHz system bus, you must use memory that operates on a 66 MHz memory bus. You can install any size of memory module from 16 MB up to 256 MB, so the maximum memory size is 3 x 256 MB = 768 MB.

The edge connectors on the memory modules have cut outs, which coincide with struts in the DIMM slots, so the memory modules can only be installed in the correct way.

On the DIMM slot, pull the locking latches at either end of the slots outwards. Position the memory module correctly and insert it into the DIMM slot. Press the module down into the slot so that the locking latches lever inwards and lock the module in place.

I knpow this may not help, but it might spark some thought by another expert.
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by:Moondancer
ID: 6848597
ahmedabdin -->  Please do not lock questions with Proposed Answers unless you are the first 100% correct responder.  I see that mediasmyth has already rejected this, so my aciton is not needed here.  Please read the Guidelines, Member Agreement and the Q/A process available from the HELP DESK link.

Moondancer - EE Moderator
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by:ravi_19
ID: 6849866
WHY DONT YOU TRY ONE RAM OF 256 .INSTEAD OF TWO RAMS.
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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6850319
The 741 is a little older. Check to see how many chips you have on each module.

Newer RAM modules have higher desnsity chips (less chips with more RAM in it) Seeing as how you have an older PCCHips board, the memory controller may not be able to address the two different modules at the same time.

Thus resulting in the working of each module seperately.

One fix would be to find a BIOS update, this may or may not work. You're taking a BIG chance updating a PCcHips BIOS, I personally won't do it without a EEPRom programmer handy just in case.

PC Chips is famous for mass confusion when in comes to MB identification and BIOS updates for each revision.

Joe
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by:ComTech
ID: 6850729
NOTICE to all new Experts!  PLEASE do not use the Answer button as this locks the question, and pulls it from the Acitve questions list, therefore no other Expert can join in.  It is up to the Question ASKER to determine whose comment he/she prefers.  This is also why you see seasoned Experts NOT posting answers, but comments.

If you will go the bottom of the page, there is a short explination, and then click on the "click here" link to learn more.  You will also notice you will be accepted by other experts quickly rather than alianating yourself from other Experts, who often work together to solve an issue.

Thank you for uderstanding and welcome.

Regards,
ComTech
CS Admin @ EE
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6863025
I've tried the following...

New RAM stick in DIMM #1
Old RAM stick in DIMM #3

This has delayed system failure (lockup) up to 1.5 hrs. (as opposed to 10 minutes when the sticks are next to each other)

Could this be a heat problem?  Case is open with cover off.
The extra space between DIMM #1 and DIMM #3 may be providing more air circulation --> heat dissipation.

Any thoughts?
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by:willinois
ID: 6864978
Actually, the case being off will eventually make it heat up, not keep it cool.
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by:hangman
ID: 6879727
I think willnois must be on another planet, as I've always experienced a cooling of the cpu when the case is open.

mediasyth, when are you going to award points for this question. Heat dissipation between RAM modules will have no effect whatsoever. I have two 256 modules sitting next to each other at about 35C, stable as a rock. When are you going to understand that there is a conflict between the RAM modules and there is nothing you can do about it. So be fair and award the points to the first person who answered your question correctly.
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by:willinois
ID: 6880298
Let me explain the planet I live on.  Cases are designed with baffling to direct the cooling fan airflow directly around the CPU, by removing the case the airflow is actually decreased - Kind of like blowing air through a straw vs. blowing through a paper towel roll.  More direct airflow is obtained through the straw.  Also, if the case is left open more dust will collect, which will act as an insulator keeping heat from dissipating away from the CPU and other components on the motherboard.  Kind of like wearing a coat while you run a mile in the summertime.

Basics in any A+ PC repair class.  Also on the test!
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by:pjknibbs
ID: 6880325
willinois: I don't know what cases you've been using, but I've NEVER seen a case with any sort of baffling inside--they're all basically open boxes with some shelving for hard drives. Even if the case DID have some sort of clever baffling, chances are it would be rendered redundant because the IDE and other cables in there would totally disrupt the carefully contrived airflow.

As for dust, I think your argument would only apply for a machine which wasn't turned on very often--the fans in any machine which is left on most of the time will force plenty of dusty air through the case and will thus cause an enormous dust buildup anyway.
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by:jhance
ID: 6880331
I agree with willinois here.  

Any properly designed case will perform at its best when used according to design intent.  That would be fully assembled.  Now there are substandard cases that don't work right and perform better with the cover off but no reputable system builder uses junk like this.  Many home-brewers might since they look for things like low prices over design quality.

But it's somewhat of a mute issue.  The 35C operating temp for the memory modules that is mentioned is very cool indeed.  No heat related problem need be of concern until the manufacturers rate operating temp. is reached.  Last time I checked, PNY memory was rated to operate to 70C.  So 35C is not even close.
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by:jhance
ID: 6880337
pjknibbs,

Hmmm, we must be looking at different cases.  I've got several and they all have air ducts and baffles in them that are clearly there to enhance and direct airflow.
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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6880359
What about the RAM situation? Is this guy still alive?

Joe
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by:HDWILKINS
ID: 6880376
Some PII, III and IV chips have a baffle and some don't.  Depends on the specific chip and the housing.

However, how anyone can take two chips that clearly won't work with each other and take that to thinking that this is a heat problem is beyond me.

HW
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by:willinois
ID: 6880430
Are both chips SDRAM?
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6884326
If this is not related to a heat problem, why does the system fail faster (in 10 minutes) when the RAM sticks are next to each other? As opposed to 1.5 hours when RAM sticks are put in DIMM #1 and DIMM #3.

What else could account for this additional time?

Also, as far as cooling is concerned -- case ventilation is usually acheived by pulling in air from the outside, through the case and exhausted it via the fan. With the cover ON, more efficient air flow is possible since the volume of air IN the case fairly small. I agree with willinois on this point.



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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6884627
Once again, how many individual RAM chips are on each stick of RAM? Does one have less than the other?

Joe
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by:willinois
ID: 6885624
joe ags,

Shouldn't matter unless it's SIMMS
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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6885696
Chip density makes all the difference in the world.

Older Memory controllers cannot address high density modules that are produced today.

If, this system works with EACH module by itself then the memory controller cannot properly address both RAM modules together. This isn't rocket science here.

Personally I think this question should have been closed a long time ago if the new RAM has less chips on it.

Or if a BIOS update is available and downloaded and the issue was resolved.

Joe
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by:willinois
ID: 6885770
joe aps,

Good info I did not know.  I don't mean to doubt you, but is there anyone out there that can confirm this?

Also, when you say "older memory controllers"  what time frame are we talking here?  If it's running DIMMS, the controllers should be within the past 4 years, which I (being used to working with legacy systems) would not consider all that old.

Thanks
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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6885886
Willinois, when I say "Older" controllers in general I mean anything older than about a year and a half old.

Back about two years ago, they didn't have 128mb or 256mb modules with 2 or 4 chips on it.

Now it seems that "Media's" MB can control the module, it just can't properly control the two (if they are different) together.

I could be totally wrong if the two RAM modules are identical, we'll have to wait and see what "Media" says..

Joe

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by:willinois
ID: 6885919
Joe,

Thank you for the info....that is something I would never have thought of.  Good stuff, I will remember this lesson!  We will both wait for Mediasmyth's response.

I am surprised that the users manual that "media" refered to did not mention this, but then again if it was written when the system was made, then they would have needed to see into the future to predict the RAM chip evolution.

Willinois
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6885966
OK I got one or two too many email notifs on this. Thought this was case closed days ago but apparently that's not the case. For whatever reason, these ram sticks don't like to work together and I've never seen a BIOS update or a cooling fan that will change this scenario. Take the PC to your ram supplier, explain the situation and get them to find one that works. It may be a case of getting another one like the new one and discarding the old one.
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6887360
This has turned into quite the debate!

joe aqs...
Both RAM sticks have 8 chips on them.  The original RAM stick that came with the PC is 3 yrs. old.  The new one was made by PNY.  Both have identical specs as far as I know. (SDRAM, PC100, DIMM, 128MB) Each one works fine by itself.

No one can explain the difference in "time to failure" as explained in my previous comment.

...let the theories rage!
 
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by:willinois
ID: 6887610
Some things are not meant to be logically understood.  You don't live in the Bermuda Triangle by any chance?  Have a Yeti for a friend?  
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6887779
willinois,
Good one <-:
No, I don't live in the Bermuda Triangle.
But I'm beginning to think this is just a case of
"The Ghost in the Machine".

Maybe I should ask Madame Cleo.

 

   
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by:willinois
ID: 6888818
Or Gorden Sumners.  I think I spelled that right?
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6888891
"...let the theories rage!"
The theory has been put into practice and the fact is these 2 sticks don't like each other. One of them has to go.
willinois: that's Gordon Sumner alias Sting.
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willinois earned 50 total points
ID: 6889252
Thanks Wiz!
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by:mediasmyth
ID: 6894110
I've hired an Exocist to drive the demons from my PC.
This seems to be the only solution to this memory problem.

willinois...
I'm giving you the points for this question since your advice was as close as we could get to solving this problem. You also posted the manual references (even though I have the manual) and offered the best advice on keeping the case ventilated and cooled properly.

Thanks to everyone for all the advice.
     
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by:Moondancer
ID: 6897828
I corrected this grade for you, since you did not add comments that could possibly explain the "C" grade you assigned.
Moondancer - EE Moderator
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