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Can I reduce dissipation by using PC3200 memory in place of PC2700 at 2700 clockspeed.

Posted on 2007-11-21
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
In my ajp 480d (Pentium 4 circa 2003) laptop, after a memory failure (i.e the computer would not go through POST) I changed 2X 512Mb DDR SDRAM SODIMM 2.5v PC2700 for a new pair of memory cards. I.e. no change to the configuration.

If I am not very careful i.e. leave lots of room under the PC, take care not to run too many programs intensely, it shuts down without warning. By that I mean the computer powers off instantly, not that Windows/Linux crashes. I have carefully cleaned all the airways in the portable and can confirm that both the memory fan and the cpu fan are operational. The memory is crammed into a small hole with a tiny fan, which is speed controlled, directly on top of the memory.

If I am really careful (lots of space under the pc, stop working when I hear the fans), I can keep it going for hours.

I suspect the problem is that the memory is too hot. I can hear the memory fan running at max speed immediately prior to the shut down. I am fairly sure that the problem is not cpu temperature since the cpu fan is not normally running at max when the shut-down occurs.
So, on to my question: would installing faster memory (PC3200) without changing anything else reduce the power dissipation in the memory? i.e. still running it at the existing clock speed. What I am really asking is does memory have similar characteristics to processors in that de-rating reduces dissipation?

Note that I have no facility that I can find in the bios to fiddle with voltages, clock speeds etc.
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Question by:Sanktwo
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michko earned 250 total points
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I don't believe going to pc3200 will make any change.  Your ram rarely causes heat issues.  If they are, then it's indicative of other problems, typically within the motherboard itself.

I'd recommend doing some testing.  Download and install SpeedFan (http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php).  This will give you a lot of information on your system, including voltages, fan speeds, and temperature.

Ultimate Boot CD (www.ultimatebootcd.com) has a wealth of hardware tests.  Run memtest86+ and test your ram.  You should do this one stick at a time.

In order, I'd be looking at:  CPU, motherboard, ram, power supply.
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by:Sanktwo
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Thanks michko, here is an update.
First, thanks for the warning that memory is not normally the culprit. I hope it is not the motherboard (end of portable!).
I downloaded and installed Speedfan (after some difficulties with the download process). I have run it, but I am disappointed in the information it provides. It gives good info on the disc reading the "SMART" information. It shows two temperatures, the disc at 48C and the cpu either at 67C or 62C. It just flips between these two values but those changes do not seem to correspond at all to the cpu fan going on and off if I load the cpu. There are no "fans" showing and thus no fan info.

I can read the memory config which is:

Scanning SMBus at $8080...
Decoding DIMM #0
 Memory type is DDR
 Module Rows : 2
 Levels : 2.5V
 Parity : NO PARITY
 Refresh Rate : 7.8us
 Total Size : 512MB
Decoding DIMM #1
 Memory type is DDR
 Module Rows : 2
 Levels : 2.5V
 Parity : NO PARITY
 Refresh Rate : 7.8us
 Total Size : 512MB

I then downloaded the latest beta version of Speedfan which seems to be able to read the temperatures better (it seems).  The temperature graph now shows a range of temperatures between 59 and 67 degrees celcius. Still no fan or voltage indicators though.

There is just on other thing that I failed to mention. Seemingly related to the "total power down"; there are two LED indicators which flash in concert at about half second on, half second off, for several seconds. This is usually when the memory fan is at its loudest. The computer does not always stop immediately after that though (sometimes flash 3 times, sometimes 5 or more). The LEDs are "caps lock activated" and "num lock activated". My computer manual says nothing further about other uses of these indicators.
I have found (for example) http://www.notebookforums.com/thread18658-8.html which mentions someone else with flashing caps and num lock lights BUT, for them, that seems to happen with high cpu temperature which seems not to be the case for me. (btw sager is also a clevo).

Next I will run the memtest, but that involves writing cd so it will take me a little longer. In fact the computer has been stable for the last 2 hours.
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by:shaunadem
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Hi
I have a Clevo d480w and have the same problem. Speedfan gives as you say gives a CPU  temp between 62 and 67 degrees - presumably this is acceptable. The ram fan does run continuously again as you stated. I have cleared out all the airways on the heatsink (no change). I suspected the fan - got a new one - absoluely no difference. I've even replaced the heatsink and again no difference, obviously replacing the heatsink compund at the same time. The machine does feel hot but I suspect that 67 degrees is not abnormal as some Toshiba Centrinos I have worked on have been even hotter. My next move is to replace the mobo as I know of one which is reasonably cheap (around £50). I will keep you informed.
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by:Sanktwo
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Shaunadem, thanks for the comfort of not being alone. I have been away for a couple of days and not yet been able to write the cd for memtest. I maybe should have said that this was not the first heating problem I have had with this computer. The cpu heatsink got blocked with cat fur (my cat loves to cuddle this computer OR he is sneaking onto the Internet when I am not looking) resulting in the cpu fan running more or less continuously and frequent shut-downs. I removed heatsink and cleaned the airways but failed to notice that the original heatsink fitters had left the foil cover on top of the heatsink compound on top of the processor. I carefully added compound on top of this but the problems did not stop. Second attempt I removed the foil, cleaned the actual cpu thoroughly and carefully re-assembled with compound. In terms of cpu fan, the performance is much better and it only runs now and again under normal operation. I am sure that it is not this that is causing the latest shutdowns.
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by:Sanktwo
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Thanks for the pointer to Speedfan - that information gave me the clue to what was wrong. Thankyou.
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by:Sanktwo
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I have not yet fixed the problem, but I am pretty sure what it is despite Shaunadem not fixing it by replacing the fan. I watch the temperature with Speedfan. What I noticed was that when the "memoy" fan ran for a long time and the "num lock" and "caps lock" lights flashed a lot, I could hear a ticking from underneath the computer. I looked carefully and saw that the main fan was vibrating about 1cm in each direction but not rotating. If I blow into the fan, it starts at a low speed and the temperature drops quickly. What I suspect is either the fan bearings have got a bit "sticky" with age or there is a problem with the driver hardware not giving enough power to start the fan.
Despite the fact that I bought the "maintenance manual" for this AJP/Clevo laptop, it contained only instructions on how to change memory, dvd drive, wifi, bluetooth etc. and absolutely zilch about how (for example) to get into the case to change the fan. It is easy to remove the memory fan (on the memory cover) and the processor heatsink (needed to change the processor) but the processor fan is buried in the body of the portable. I doubt I could get another anyway. I intend to put the portable on an external fan since I normally only use it where I have power. Thanks for your efforts experts.
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by:michko
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Sanktwo - thanks for the close.  I also did some research on this model and couldn't find any specific directions on how to replace that fan.  For most laptops (although I haven't had to work on any Clevo laptops) to get to that fan you pretty much have to disassemble most of the case.  If the manual you have shows you how to remove the keyboard, that's usually the way to start heading.  Unless there are screws that will allow you to remove the bottom of the laptop case.  Best of luck
michko
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