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2 gigs of RAM on a m848a v5.0 motherboard.

Posted on 2009-04-14
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Hello, I just upgraded my m848a v5.0 with 2 gigs of OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1gb) PC 3200 memory. and a Radeon HD 3850 agp video card.  I cannot get the Bios to recognize more than 1 gig at a time no matter what I do. I had 1.5 gb of ram installed prior to the an old 1gb stick of ram failing, and it was recognizing the 1.5gb just fine.

I've tried each of the separate 1gb ram sticks in both DIMM slots separately, and it works fine. But as soon I try putting both sticks in at the same time. It will simply only read 1 of the sticks.  I've set the "clear CMOS" jumper and back, and I've went through all the BIOS settings, and none of it appears amiss.  The only thing I haven't done is flash the BIOS since the only BIOS update says that is changes "the POST screen chipset string". And it seems unlikely that's what's causing my RAM problem. I also have no flash drive or floppy drive installed to flash from.

Any ideas? or is my best bet simply to find a way to flash the newest BIOS?(I'm also skeptical that this is the solution since many others seem to be using 2gb of RAM on this board w/o any hassle)
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Question by:Zraxius
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11 Comments
 
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Assisted Solution

by:synx
synx earned 600 total points
ID: 24140863
I have had this issue before.  Twice, actually.  Both times I was able to determine that each memory stick was fine by itself, but for some reason the two just wouldn't work together in my particular motherboard.  I had some spare memory sticks and swapped them in.  
Some memory sticks just don't play well together on certain motherboards.  I ended up getting two new sticks (a different brand), and they worked fine.  I took the two "bad" sticks and put them in a different computer, and they worked.  Go figure...

Good thing memory is cheap now... are you able to get new sticks?
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garycase earned 900 total points
ID: 24141467
This is most likely a memory density issue -- your new modules are the wrong density for this board.   The easiest way to be sure you have the right memory is to use a site like Crucial, which has a memory selector tool that will list the correct modules for your board.

Just buy a pair of these:  http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=M848A
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Author Comment

by:Zraxius
ID: 24142252
Well, I was thinking that maybe I'd buy a stick of RAM from Crucial and pair it with the OCZ I have in there. So to somewhat "simulate" that, I replaced 1 of the OCZ sticks with the old Kingston 512 PC2700 stick to see if the PC would clock down the PC3200 to PC2700 speeds, & recognize 1.5gb. It would only recognize the 512 if it was in Dimm #2(without recognizing the 1gb in Dimm#1) and when the 512 was in Dimm#1, the PC wouldn't boot.

Before I did this I was right on the verge of immediately buying a stick of the Crucial RAM, but this little test has me wondering if I'd just be throwing more money away.

One other thing I found of interest is that Crucial lists a memory sticks' density as its size(512mb, 1gb, etc..) on the left side of the site.  If that's the case, wouldn't my 1g OCZ memory be the same density as a Crucial 1g memory stick?
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 24142392
No, the size of a module (512MB, 1GB, etc.) doesn't determine its density.   The number of chips and the internal organization of those chips determine the density.   For example, a 64 x 16 chip has the same number of bits as a 128 x 8 chip.

How many memory chips are on your OCZ modules (8 or 16)?

The downclocking (PC2700 vs PC3200) isn't the issue here ... it's almost certainly a density issue.  In fact, the PC3200 may already be running at PC2700, depending on the clock frequency of your CPU.  [You could confirm this with CPU-Z:  http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php ]
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Author Comment

by:Zraxius
ID: 24143689
Interestingly enough, CPU-Z saw both of the RAM sticks, and says they are both running at PC3200 speeds. That's weird, cause I double checked and both BIOS and WINDOWS are still in denial that a second 1gb stick exists.

The OCZ modules have 16 memory chips just like the old modules that used to work, but I did notice that for some reason crucial suggests the PC2700 over the PC3200, but the Crucial PC3200 modules are still compatible as well.

I'll think long and hard about biting the 84$ bullet and getting the Crucial memory(my Newegg RAM is non-refundable), but I gotta say that the choice isn't clear cut just yet for me since other than the suggestion of PC2700 RAM over PC3200, I don't see the difference in what I've just purchased.
Here's the link to my memory.....maybe you can spot the difference:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227210

One more thing...Crucial's info on my MB states that is has a max component density of 512. What exactly does that mean? What's the component density of the RAM I've bought?
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 24143791
Max component density means it doesn't support chips greater than 512Mb (i.e. 64MB chips).   But that's not the only spec that matters ... it also depends on how these chips need to be internally organized -- and that's not so easy to deduce from the manufacturer's specifications.   My best guess here is that you need 64 x 8 organization; and that you have chips with a 128 x 16 organization (high density chips).   Either will give you 1GB with 16 chips ... but only the low density modules will work correctly on your motherboard.
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Author Comment

by:Zraxius
ID: 24143859
Alright, well I'll try the Crucial ones, and get back to this thread as soon as I test em.
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by:synx
ID: 24149430
Good luck.  I almost always buy from Crucial.
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Author Comment

by:Zraxius
ID: 24204303
I just finished installing the Crucial RAM, and I'm getting the exact same result. CPUZ still see's the RAM, but the motherboard does not. Reset CMOS again.....stilll only recognized 1GB. I downclocked the memory from 200mhz to 166mhz to match the FSB. Still nothing. Someone please help me figure this out. I don't want to have wasted more money on a still lackluster performing PC after investing in upgrades.

If you're thinking thatI should have just built a new machine well......I wanted to buy a new MB and start over, but that just wasn't an option this time around.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 24206687
Call Crucial and detail what's happening => they apparently "got it wrong" on their selector;  but they'll replace the modules with ones that work.   Not sure what you mean about downclocking the memory -- the memory Crucial's selector suggests (per my link in my first post) should have automatically been set to 166MHz ==> you DID buy from Crucial using their selector ... right?
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Author Comment

by:Zraxius
ID: 24230312
Yes, I did use their selector. They suggested one that was at 166MHZ, but it also says that the 200MHZ RAM was compatible. So I got that one.

What I did was mix a stick of the crucial RAM with the OCZ RAM, and VOILA! it worked. Granted, It didn't seem to work the first time, but out of desperation I switched the two sticks of RAM around to different slots, and to my pleasant surprise.....the machine shows, and performs like it has 2GB of memory.

I wanted to also note that the RAM is still manually downclocked to 166MHZ in the BIOS.
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