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RAM is RAM or so I Thought

Posted on 2006-11-08
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
So I've got 2 128MB 168-Pin DIMM SDRAM that I specifically bought (from Crucial.com) for an old Gateway Essential 400 (Celeron).  Well I was recently given an old Dell L800 Pentium 3 that had a whimpy 64MB Ram so I thought I could just swap out the 64MB stick and replace with my old 2 128MB sticks.  Not so...  Upon boot-up the PC just beeps 3 times in a row then a slight pause and 3 more beeps and keeps that up.  No sign of any HDD action or anything else.  What's going on ?  I read the specs and they are the same for both machines so I thought for sure they would both work in my newly acquired old Dell.
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Question by:dockboy549
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Expert Comment

by:tim_cs
ID: 17903970
Have you double checked to ensure that the RAM is fully seated?

What about trying to put in only 1 at a time just to make sure both are Ok?
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 17904669
check on the ram manufacturer's site if it is compatible with your mobo
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Assisted Solution

by:phototropic
phototropic earned 20 total points
ID: 17904776
Check to make sure no cables were dislodged etc. With older pc's, opening the case and replacing components can cause all kinds of connectivity issues... reseat the RAM, check the CPU and any PCI/VGA cards to make sure they are properly seated, check cables.  If no luck, try a minimal boot - if still nothing, try removing all RAM and powering up. Do you get the same 3 beeps?
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Author Comment

by:dockboy549
ID: 17905961
Yes the 2  128mb sticks still work in the old Gateway, so they're still good.
Yes the 64mb stick from the old Dell P3 still work so there is nothing wrong with the Dell PC.
Which according to Crucial.com both PC's take the same RAM according to the specs of same.. 168-pin DIMM, SDRAM PC133, 16Meg x 64, Non-parity, 133, CL-2 or CL-3.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 17906733
are the sticks both with chips on 1 side, or has one chips on both sides?
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Author Comment

by:dockboy549
ID: 17907207
Chips on both sides for both sticks.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 20 total points
ID: 17907294
then i would say that it is a case of 'they like it or not", like Compaq's not liking all brands, wanting Kingston.
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Accepted Solution

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davidis99 earned 110 total points
ID: 17908773
When RAM is specifically engineered for a particular model, it very often cannot be used in a different brand of PC, even if the specs are close.  In this case, as you already noticed, the CAS ratings for the each PC's memory are different, and that, along with Crucial having different models  of RAM for the L800 and the Gateway, tell me that generic RAM may work in both, but brand specific RAM will be a problem.
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Author Comment

by:dockboy549
ID: 17913841
Thanks to all for your comments/suggestions.  
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