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PC133 RAM on a Gateway 100MHz Motherboard won't work

Posted on 2003-02-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
Hi,
I have a Gateway 500Mhz 128Mb RAM machine running W98. The motherboard is a Gateway Tabor3 WS440BX with a clock speed of 100MHz. I bought Generic SDRAM 128MB PC133 as I had read on the boards that the RAM would be clocked down.
I am having problems installing Generic 128MB SDRAM I purchased. My computer already has 128MB DIMM SDRAM installed and has 2 empty slots.

1) When I put the RAM in the 2nd or 3rd slot, the computer detected 256MB of RAM on the boot screen then attempted to boot Windows 98 and failed with "While initiating device VPICD....Windows protection error"

2) I removed my old RAM and put the new RAM in slot 1. The computer would not boot, no beep was detected and no signal sent to the monitor.

3) I installed Windows XP on another partition to see if this might detect it but that wouldn't boot either.

I took every precaution to make sure the work environment was static free and the RAM was inserted correctly, so I don't believe this to be the problem.
I rang Gateway and got through to someone who said PC133 would not work I would need PC100. Is this true? Do i need to get PC100 RAM which is more expensive or could the RAM I have bought be faulty,

Thanks


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Question by:cometscomeback
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18 Comments
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:rrhunt28
ID: 8027643
I do not know anything about the error you are getting so i can not help you there.  The memory is supposed to clock down, and usually does, sometimes however you get into situations where the motherboard does not like the memory for whatever reason.  It is possible to get a bad stick but more likely your motherboard is just picky.  GOod luck.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Kingsize
ID: 8027667
You are getting typical RAM errors.
Ask for a replacement.
0
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 8027913
This is not a PC133 vs. PC100 RAM problem.  It sounds like a BAD RAM issue.  The RAM module you got is just plain DEFECTIVE.

That's the most likely explanation and it's almost an epidemic problem these days.  With the LOW prices (and LACK of PROFIT) in the RAM business these days, quality has suffered.

It's possible, but much less likely that the specific "type" of RAM you got is incokpatible with your older motherboard.  This is rare with 128MB modules but could be the case.  But I thing the BAD RAM scenario is most likely.
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Expert Comment

by:dgroomes
ID: 8027954
I have used128meg and 256meg  pc133 memory in a pc100 computer with no trouble.  I have used 256meg pc133 memory in a pc100 computer and only seen 128meg, but works reliable other wise.   this article may have your answer why the new memory does not work.  

http://www.memory4all.com/learn/General_Memory_FAQ.pdf

it has a section talking about 32x4 and 64x4 memory will not work with 440BX mother board but the 16x8 and 32x8 memory will.  you might also try using your old memory and looking at the bios setting and seeing if memory values are changing from the old to the new. if there are changes see if you can manually change the setting for the new memory to those for the old memory.  good luck.
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Expert Comment

by:bradleymr2
ID: 8028144
The comments above about memory clocking down are generally true.  However, I have seen some Dell computers and some Gateway computers require a specific type of memory.  For example, my Dell computer (800Mhz) at work will only support PC-100 memory (I get "beep codes" if I try to use PC-133).  However, on one of my computers at home I am running PC-100 and PC-133 memory (using a FIC motherboard).

I would recommend using the memory recommended by Gateway, which would be the PC-100 memory.  There really shouldn't be that big of a price difference between the two types.  One thing for sure though is that this problem has nothing to do with your operating system, as the problem is occuring before the operating system takes over.

Good luck!
Ryan
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Expert Comment

by:SHONNER
ID: 8029228
Putting PC133 RAM on a motherboard designed for PC100 RAM is like putting a 666MHz CPU on a motherboard designed for a 500MHz CPU and trying to slow it down to 500MHz speed.  It's not a good habit to start.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 8029260
Oh good grief!  This is not a "good/bad" thing.  It just is.

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with using PC133 RAM at 100MHz.  In fact, you'll usually find that PC133 RAM COSTS LESS than PC100 RAM and so it makes good financial sense also.
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Expert Comment

by:SHONNER
ID: 8029379
Not all brands of PC133 RAM work when used on a 100 bus.  It's not a given that it will always work.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:Baddog
ID: 8029463
comet.....
   One thing to check in the PC100 is if it is populated on both sides of the module. If the PC100 stick is populated (has chips) on both sides, then the PC133 must be the same.  I just recently upgraded memory on a 100Mhz bus QDI and bought 256MB PC133 and it would detect the memory OK, but would give me errors during startup.  Changed the memory to a module (PC133) with both sides populated and it works just fine. I think it has to do with the density of the modules.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 8030407
Don't forget to make sure you match up Cas Latency as well.  If your mobo manufacturer calls for CL2, use CL2 not CL3.  A lot of the inexpensive PC133 is CL3 or CL2.5 right now.  

I also agree that for the most part PC133 should work in any 100MHz system.  There are very few occasions where it doesn't though.

Also, I hate to say it (because I know people will say I'm wrong) but inexpensive, generic RAM isn't necessarily a good idea.  I know, I know, it works for lots of people without any problems . . .  but for those for whom it doesn't work, it's not worth it.  I prefer to stick with a high quality manufacturer selling the right RAM with a lifetime warranty, even if at a premium.  I usually prefer crucial myself, but to each their own. . .  One reason I like buying from crucial is they will send me the RAM according to the manufacturers specifications, just choose the make/model of your system and voila, they tell you what you need and how much, and if it doesn't work, it's THEIR problem, not yours ;)
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Expert Comment

by:lkicker78
ID: 8031469
Definitely bad ram!!!!!
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Author Comment

by:cometscomeback
ID: 8032228
Baddog
Yes my original PC100 RAM is populated on both sides, the new PC133 RAM is populated just on one.
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Author Comment

by:cometscomeback
ID: 8620992
Ok its a couple of months later and I've returned that RAM.
I bought a stick of PC100 RAM from another vendor.  But when i put it in I continue to have problems and the PC will not boot. I actually have 2 new sticks of 128MB I have tried them seperately and the computer just gives a series of beeps and freezes. I find it hard to believe the 2 sticks can be faulty. It has been suggested by a friend i flash the bios but i can't find any info on my motherboard on the web

System Mainboard
Manufacturer : GATEWAY
Model : Tabor3 WS440BX
Version : Tabor3 4000608-215
Serial Number : A

Bios Info (i think it says Phoenix on the boot screen)
Manufacturer : Intel Corp.
Version : 4W4SB0X0.15A.0013.P08
Date : 04/22/1999
Plug & Play Version : 1.00
SMBIOS/DMI Version : 2.10
ID No. : FC 01 00
(EE)PROM Size : 512kB  (4Mbit)

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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 8621089
so . . .  Like I thought originally, NOT bad RAM, but mis-matched RAM . . .

For your system I strongly recommend you match up to the specifications of the RAM you have.

Although you haven't given us the model of your PC, it would seem you have a Gateway Essential - 500 PC.  That particular system board in your PC requires CL2 RAM.

Crucial Part#'s and RAM information for your system is as follows.  If you don't buy crucial, you'll have to at least match up the other specs in order for it to work.

P/N:  CT183174
SDRAM, PC133 • CL=2 • Unbuffered • Non-parity • 7.5ns • 3.3V • 16Meg x 64

P/N:  CT166264
SDRAM, PC100 • CL=2 • Unbuffered • Non-parity • 8ns • 3.3V • 16Meg x 64

My recommendation though, order from Crucial.  And no, I don't represent them in any way other than I'm very, very satisified with their product.
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Author Comment

by:cometscomeback
ID: 8775733
AlbertaBeef before I accept your answer, I have a bios update for my bios, would there be any benefit in upgrading my it in the hope that it might detect this RAM?
0
 

Expert Comment

by:SHONNER
ID: 8777701
Does the BIOS's ReadMe file say it will fix the problem you're having?
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Expert Comment

by:CleanupPing
ID: 9569347
cometscomeback:
This old question needs to be finalized -- accept an answer, split points, or get a refund.  For information on your options, please click here-> http:/help/closing.jsp#1 
EXPERTS:
Post your closing recommendations!  No comment means you don't care.
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

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AlbertaBeef earned 150 total points
ID: 9574540
cometscomeback:  No, I don't think a bios upgrade will help.  Don't know why I didn't respond earlier, sorry.
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