PC100 SoDimm not working?

Posted on 2012-09-20
Last Modified: 2012-09-22
I am trying to add memory to a Gateway SOLO 5300.  According to the I-Net it can hold 512MB of PC-100 or PC-133 (with Windows Errors).  It currently has 1 PC-100 CL3 SYNC memory module (PC100U-322-620).  I have tried three different PC-100 SODIMM 256MB modules one at a time in either slot and it will not boot.  I put the original 128 in and back to windows xp...just really slow.  I am doing this for a friend that has a very limited budget.  So...what am I missing with this?  Are there different types of SODIMM PC-100 modules with identical pins?  One of the three modules has decent markings...(256mb, SDR SODIMM, H  32VHS 0201P24298) Guessing it is a Kingston (has KS on it).

Anyway...I have been fixing pc's for about 20 years but was never an expert at memory.  Anyone have any ideas as to what I should be looking for?
Question by:WallyCode
    LVL 15

    Accepted Solution

    Unfortunately, yes, there are different kinds of PC-100 SODIMM.  There's low density and high density.  Kingston's valueram line (from memory, I think that's what it was called) usually was high denisity (cheaper to manufacture I believe).

    Lots of systems are incompatible with high density.

    As you know, this is a really old system.  Even with 512mb ram, it's going to be super slow....

    Might you be able to dig up an old laptop on Ebay that would serve your friend better or even an old desktop if the mobility isn't needed?

    Hope this helps.
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    some times the voltage of the ram sticks may be different, yeah I agree not all ram are equal. If you can only upgrade the laptop to a total of 512 mb that is not very much ram. With an antivirus program windows xp works best with a minimum of 1 gb of ram. You can buy laptops cheaper than it would cost them to upgrade this one, unless you are not charging them for your time and the upgraded components you are adding to this laptop.
    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    Guys....totally understand the cheaper to buy new.  Funny thing is that I worked for Gateway Computers for 16 years.  Did 1.5 years on the Geek Squad part time.  I am a programmer/SQL developer/SSRS by trade...but still fix PC's as a hobby for friends.  This guy wants this REALLY old PC as a Backup only.  I bought two 256mb PC 100 chips for $10 (shipping included) which I told him would easily double the speed of his PC.  And I believe it will. But...I wasted my money as it won't boot.  I have too much pride to pass through the cost.  But...Before I purchase again..I want to know what I need to look for.

    What specs will indicate the proper memory?  CL2 vs CL3 (if that exitst)?  U vs H in the part number?  No Sync vs Sync in the verbiage (if that exists)?

    The thing is so old that I just don't remember that much.  I know that taking it from 128mb to 512mb will help a ton (not enough...but still).  Just don't want to waste more money on memory that the PC won't boot to.
    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    P.S.  I did Google this several different ways...but 99% of the hits want to sell me something.  I need to understand why the memory I bought (and the spare I had) will not work so I can purchase the correct memory and get this PC out of my house :)

    Thanks for the help in advance!

    LVL 82

    Assisted Solution

    by:Dave Baldwin
    I usually start by Googling the computer model followed by the word memory.  That usually brings up enough sites that can tell me what specs I need to look for.  Then I go to eBay and find it.  Doing that leads me to
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    put the original ram in and boot
    then go to the bios, and find the ram description - note also the voltage settings
    when replacing ram, it is also necessary you have the same ram voltage setting,

    you can go then in windows - and to the ram site for Corsair, or Kingston ( and use the ram selector to find your ram

    it is strange that 3 different sticks do not work - unless they are the same model, and not compatible?

    is this the correct marking?   PC100U-322-620
    LVL 5

    Author Closing Comment

    It's been a while since I've had to deal with a PC that is this old.  I totally forgot about the Low vs High density.  Weinberk pointed that out directly and DaveBaldwin's link showed memory with LOW DENSITY plastered all over them.  So I pulled back up my order and I did purchase High Density ram.  It is the right speed...right size...right pins...etc.  So I'm assuming my mistake was purchasing High Density.

    Thanks guys!


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