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Determine system memory type and max memory - Dell PC

Posted on 2009-05-11
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
Hi,
I need to buy more memory for a clients Dimension 4550.

However Crucial.com shows two 4550's available. One at 533 and one at 400mhz.
How can I know which is right for the client?

Note I cannot run the crucial tool but I did run CPUz (see attached screen shot)
Also I have the service tag so can look up the original order, but even from that I can see no easy way of knowing.

One of the systems can take 1GB per slot and the other only 512K so it is important I know which.

Any advice apprceiated.

Motherboard-CPUz.png
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Question by:afflik1923
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28 Comments
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:MYCU
ID: 24356937
Boot into the BIOS and look at the memory information there. It should tell you the speed and type.
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by:chuckyh
ID: 24356972
It should be able to accept 1GB sticks for total of 2GB max.
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by:hmare
ID: 24356973
using the service tag on Dell's website you should be able to determine max ram. Divide by the number of slots, and you will know how big each stick can be.
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by:hmare
ID: 24357009
You can also search Dell's site for memory by service tag.
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by:Callandor
ID: 24357032
If you click on the CPU tab, it should show you the FSB (both motherboard and quad-pumped for the cpu).

The latest version of CPU-Z is 1.50, so you may want to update it.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 24357656
The Dell specifications show a maximum memory of 1GB using 512MB modules for either bus speed:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4550/specs.htm#1101572

However, the 845PE chipset supports 1GB modules ... so it's not clear whether Dell's documentation is wrong; Crucial is wrong; or some combination of the two :-)    Both Dell and Crucial occasionally make mistakes in their specifications pages, so it's hard to know which is correct without actually trying it.

The "safe" upgrade is to buy 512MB modules ... but it wouldn't hurt to try a 1GB module and see if the system supports it.
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by:Mark
ID: 24357658
and if you click on the SPD tab in CPUz it will give you detailed specs on each module installed on the motherboard.
Use this info to match new modules for the board.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24358154
Here are the slot pictures. Yes it is a bit confusing that it is not clear. I told the client they could upgrade but it's looking like they cannot perhaps (well they could only upgrade to 1GB rather then 2).

I cannot get access to the PC again so the information I have gathered is all I can give.

Motherboard-CPUz2.png
Motherboard-CPUz3.png
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by:garycase
ID: 24358291
The performance difference in going from 768MB to 1GB is very small -- I wouldn't bother.

... but if you can get a 1GB module to try, then I'd try that and see if it works => doubling the memory from 768MB to 1.5GB is definitely a nice upgrade.  (No need to bump it up to 2GB unless your client just wants to max it out ... not having matched pairs makes no difference since this system doesn't support dual channel mode)
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24358317
I agree. The only thing is, I only want to bother at all if I am certain that I can go to 1.5gb. Then not worth buying and then visiting the client with teh memory to do an install that does not work.
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by:Callandor
ID: 24358330
It's too bad you didn't get a screenshot of the CPU tab - that has the actual FSB setting.
cpu.png
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chuckyh earned 200 total points
ID: 24358365
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by:garycase
garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 24358426
Agree.   As I noted earlier, the 845PE chipset supports 1GB modules; and the article above confirms that the 4550's A08 BIOS will support the 1GB modules.   You simply need to be sure the BIOS is up-to-date; and be sure you use the correct density module(s) and it will work fine with 1GB modules.

Note that the FSB will NOT make a difference ... there aren't two different motherboards used => the same board supports both FSB's (depending on the installed CPU).   It's simply a matter of whether the BIOS is up-to-date and using modules with the correct density for this board.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24362371
OK. I'm going to have to get remote access to the system again.

I will get a screen shot of the main CPUz page. Anything else to get?
also what's the best way to get bios version (remember I cna't see BIOS as only remote connection)
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Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 100 total points
ID: 24364161
Take a peek in the registry to get the BIOS version: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/ht/biosverwin.htm
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24375873
OK - more detaikl from more screen shots.
So what do we think now. To be honest I would rather they got a new PC but what can I do.

pic1.png
pic2.png
pic3.png
pic4.png
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24375926
Also, the reason for the ram upgrade is becayuse the user complained about a slow down in IE browing.

I have installed version 8 but no major joy. There does seem to be a big delay before a page is slowed and I have completed all the normal spyware checks (malware bytes etc.)

I notice they have Notron and I assume it is down to this and thought more memoryt might help
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by:garycase
ID: 24376122
"... I notice they have Notron ..." ==> Simply removing Norton and switching to a much less resource-intensive antivirus product can make a BIG difference ... especially on an older system like this.    Try AVG, Avira, or NOD32 ... all three are excellent and much less CPU-intensive than Norton (AVG and Avira are available in free versions ... NOD32 is not).

Between that and a 1GB module (The BIOS seems okay ... I presume the "Dell -8" reflects the A08 BIOS) there should be a noticeable improvement in performance.

Other potential changes:   Turn off the Smartscreen filtering; suggested sites; etc. in IE8.   These features can notably delay the loading of a page.   As a comparison, you might also want to install Firefox and see how well it does on that system.  [Or, for that matter, Chrome ... which tends to be faster than either IE or Firefox ... although unless the user's willing to learn a new browser you may be restricted in what you can try].
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24376169
Good stuff Garycase. I wanted to say remove Norton but they just paid for another year. But if we think we can go for the memory. I will try and do as much as the other stuff.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 24376257
As long as they have their receipt, they can always reinstall Norton => I suspect they'd be very surprised at the performance difference if they simply uninstalled it (most folks are).

... but I doubt they'd want to reinstall it once they saw the difference.
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by:Callandor
ID: 24380408
Totally agree about removing Norton - it is one of the biggest resource hogs around.

FYI, you have a cpu running at 533 FSB.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24380469
OK. Well regarding the 533 FSB system Crucail says this can only go to 1GB:

http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/listparts.aspx?model=Dimension%204550%20%28533MHz%20FSB%29

Woud you agree with that then?
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 24380975
No, I don't think that's accurate.   Although both Crucial and Dell's own documentation indicate a max of 1GB using 512MB modules, this article clearly notes that the system supports 1GB modules (2GB total memory) as long as you have the A08 BIOS (you apparently do) and use the correct density modules (use one of the modules listed in this article to be sure):
http://en.community.dell.com/wikis/desktop/dimension-4550-maximum-memory-2gb-not-1gb.aspx

... as I noted above, I seriously doubt the FSB makes any difference => I suspect Crucial has simply updated their 400MHz FSB listing based on user feedback; but haven't altered the 533MHz FSB listing, so it still reflects Dell's specifications page.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24395610
OK one last check. I'm going to go for the following:

http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/partspecs.aspx?imodule=CT12864Z335

According to you guys it a 533 and acording to that Dell community link this is the part number to go for if you have a 533.
I will also recommend Norton uninstallation.

Any last comments
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 24398643
Assuming the list on the Dell community site is accurate, that should work fine.   Between that memory update and uninstalling Norton I think you'll find the system will be much more responsive.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24398743
It's done and ordered. Lets hope he's happy when I visit next week. Cheers for all the great input and I'll update when installed.

Cheers again.
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Author Closing Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 31580239
The 1GB memory module upgrade worked. Lots of useful answers here so hopefully I have split the points between the specific answers that led me to confirm information without doubt..
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 24490756
I forgot to press the radio buttons that says this solution was accurate etc.

Sorry. Would have ticked them all to being good.
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