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Latop RAM not recognised after BIOS update...

Hi,
I have a Sony VAIO Laptop (PCG FX105K) that, when I bought it, was upgraded by having a 256MB SDRAM (100mhz) stick placed into DIMM slot 2. [Adding to the 128MB SDRAM (100mhz) stick in DIMM slot 1 that came with it.] The BIOS and Windows 2000 registered this correctly as having 384MB of RAM in total. All was well until 3 days ago, when I decided I'd perform some updates to it as I hadn't done so for a long time. This included, installing a new FLASH BIOS update that I acquired from the SONY VAIO Link website and taking out the 2 sticks of RAM to remove any dust around the motherboard. I put the 2 sticks back in securely but when I booted the computer up, in Windows and in the BIOS, it said I only have 128MB of RAM. My first reaction was that I hadn't put the RAM back in properly, so I opened up the laptop bottom again and made sure they were in place properly to no avail. Then I thought that it was the 256MB stick that had gone faulty, so I switched the RAM into opposite slots. (128MB in Slot 2, 256MB in Slot 1). To my surprise, it said I had 256MB of RAM (still not the 384MB though). So it seems to me like it doesn't want to use the RAM in DIMM slot 2... I had upgraded the BIOS (Phoenix) to version R0243U0, so I went back onto the Sony site to see if there was a "roll-back" to restore the original BIOS. I downloaded and installed the earliest one I could find(R0217U0) and applied it yet it still only recognises the memory placed in DIMM slot 1.

Any ideas? - I am really stuck with only 256MB of memory, it's running at a snail's pace.

Thanks in advance

Seb. Hollington

Computer Spec
---------------------------------------
Intel Pentium 3 550Mhz/700Mhz
20GB Hard-Disk Drive
*256MB of RAM* - With a stick of 256MB in Slot 1 and 128MB in Slot 2. !%£$%£!%
DVD-ROM
Onboard (Shared Graphics) - 11MB...
2×USB Ports
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SebHoll
Asked:
SebHoll
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1 Solution
 
tfjeffCommented:
see if the system will start up with memory only in dimm2.  If not, verify that the memory works in another system, if it does, you more than likely have an issue with the dimm2 slot on the systemboard.
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
OK, Thanks - I'll try it... If there is an issue with my DIMM 2 slot, what can I do about it? Would it be hardware or software related? Can I fix it without having to dish out a load of cash to some Sony technician? :P

Thanks

(Will post again later to tell tfjeff whether or not the computer starts up...)
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
In answer to tfjeff's question, when RAM is only placed into DIMM slot 2, the computer won't start up. The memory, I'm quite sure, works on another system and as I mentioned earlier, either stick of RAM (128MB of 256MB) put into DIMM slot 1 will register...

Any more suggestions?
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tfjeffCommented:
Try blowing out the dimm2 slot with a can of compressed air to remove any dirt/lint/debris that might be in the slot.  If that doesn't work its very likely that  you have a bad motherboard.  Just incase something very strange is going on, it may be advantageous to make sure those modules will work together in another system though, before you shell out the cash for a new motherboard or a new notebook.
Wait for other people's suggestions too, as I am by no means an authority on this stuff ;)
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nobusCommented:
you can check if the ram is compatible at www.kingston.com or www.crucial.com
Some motherboards do not like mixing memory brands or speeds. Are they of the same spec?
If it does not work together, you can try reflashing the bios to the older one.
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
The memory sticks used to work together so I don't think that it is down to memory incompatibility. But I'll check all the same... (:-|)
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nobusCommented:
you could have had a problem with a slot not recognising double sided memory, so that 256 Mb became 128, and seeing the other stick, so you got a total of 256 mb. So cleaning the slot is a good idea, switching the slots is possible too.
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rindiCommented:
Also visually check the contacts of the slot, maybe one is bent wrong or looks loose. Maybe you hit something in the slots mechanically the first time you cleaned the syste. You can try rebending those so that contact is made.
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
I've checked and double checked that there isn't anything in the slot(s) both visually and also using compressed air, to still no avail...

I've still not managed to find any article on the interent about that neither (that provides usefull information) :-S.

Thanks anyways for you suggestions

Any more???
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rindiCommented:
How did you clean the slots the first time? Did you use any liquid solvents or water?
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
no, just a can of compressed air that I boght from my local computer store....
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rindiCommented:
Then you will probably just be able to use this one working slot from now on, or get another mainboard.
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
What makes you say that? - Couldn't it just be software related... I thought that coping with just 1 slot might be end up being the case but I decided I'd try this forum to see if any of you have any ideas?

Still living in hope... :-P
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rindiCommented:
The way I understand you the BIOS already doesn't see the 2nd slot, also you still had the same problem after reverting to the old BIOS version, so no, I don't think this is software related (except if you have a special option in your BIOS where you can turn the 2nd slot off, or if there is a setting which would allocate the full ram in your 2nd slot to the video card, maybe look for video ram settings to make sure, I personally haven't yet seen anything similar, though).
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nobusCommented:
test each slot woitn only one stick, note the result. this should tell you if the slot and ram are ok or not
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
With 128MB of RAM only in:

DIMM Slot 1: Fine (Shows 128MB)
DIMM Slot 2: Computer doesn't start up

With 256MB of RAM only in:

DIMM Slot 1: Fine (Shows 256MB)
DIMM Slot 2: Computer doesn't start up

With 128MB of RAM in DIMM Slot 1 and 256MB of RAM in DIMM Slot 2, shows 128MB.
With 256MB of RAM in DIMM Slot 1 and 128MB of RAM in DIMM Slot 2, shows 256MB.

Hope this helps
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tfjeffCommented:
sure seems like dimm2 slot is bad to me
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
I think you are right but I hope we're not 'cause I can't afford to buy another motherboard for the laptop, I might as well by a new one with the cost of a new board + installation....

Anybody anymore ideas? - If so, they will be greatly appreciated...
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tfjeffCommented:
you might be stuck with running only 256mb ram, unfortunately I don't think that model supports anything larger than 256mb per slot
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
That's the annoying thing as it can take 512MB of RAM but only with having 256MB of RAM in 2 seperate slots (DIMM 1 and DIMM 2) as oppose to only having 1 stick of 512MB RAM in DIMM slot 1. It really could do with having 512MB but it's looking at the moment, very unlikely that it can be upgraded... And it's really slow, with it paging everything, with 256MB of RAM in it at the moment....
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nobusCommented:
check out the contacts of slot 2 carefully, maybe you can find something that blocks 1 contact ( like a piece of transparent tape, or glue) otherwise, i think you have a bad slot.
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rindiCommented:
Sometimes you might be able to find 512MB sticks that work. You could try taking your laptop from shop to shop and trying them. If you can find such stick that works, get it but make sure you can give it back after 2 or 3 days if it doesn't work. Then thoroughly test it using memtest86 from http://memtest.org giving it at least 5 passes if it doesn't fail before. Make sure you have upgraded the system back to the new bios again before you go to those shops, as it is more likely a new bios will recognize 512MB ram.

You could also try to get a motherboard via ebay, you might be able to get one cheaper that way, if you feel comfortable enough to change the board yourself, which can be tricky on a laptop. You could also check the slot for a bad soldering connection, but also that is difficult, as the the soldering points often can't be reached by hand.
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
Cheers, I think I'm going to follow your advice (nobus + rindi) and I'll buy another can of compressed air, upgrade the bios to the newer version, check all the connections again for bad-soldering/glue/tape etc, and if it still doesn't work - I'll try rindi's idea of trying to find a 512MB stick that will work in DIMM slot 1. I really don't want to risk replacing the motherboard as although I am comfortable doing it in a desktop PC, everything is so tightly packed in a laptop and I wouldn't know where to start... :-|

Does anybody know of any such make/model of memory that will give my laptop 512MB of SD-RAM (100Mhz) with just using a single DIMM slot???

Thanks

P.S: Will let you know when I manage to gather all the maintanence pieces. (Compressed air etc...) and if not 512MB RAM...
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rindiCommented:
I don't know of any make, any might work. It is best just to go from shop to shop and try. Normaly kingston memory is good, but just yesterday a colleague of mine had more luck with a "no name" stick.
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nobusCommented:
you can check it out at www.kingstoncom, or at www.crucial.com
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SebHollAuthor Commented:
What am I looking for on those websites?
How do I look for memory that will work?
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nobusCommented:
sorry, it should be www.kingston.com
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