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Three Long Beeps/RAM Problem?

I recently switched some EDO RAM in one of my machines and installed it into another old PC.

When booting up the old PC I receive three long beeps. According to research this is likely to be a RAM problem. I have made sure the RAM is firmly inserted into the sockets, tried installing the RAM modules into other sockets (one stick at a time, 2x 8MB sticks) and have put the original RAM that was previously installed and working fine back into the machine and I still get three annoying long beeps.

Can anyone help?


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Avatar of dbrunton
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Make and model of computer?

This is so we can confirm that the 3 beeps are memory errors for that computer.  It is fairly common though that they do mean memory error but no harm in checking.

And what happens if there is no memory in the sytem?  Any beeps?

Also blow out the memory chip sockets in case there is dust in them and generally clean the motherboard (vacuum or blower) of any dust that there may be around.  Also what environment was this computer used in?  If this was in a garage or workshop environment then the machine may be full of dust or grit in its components.

Also there is a good chance that a memory socket is damaged.  Look carefully into them and see if there are any burn or damaged parts.
If you put the original memory back in and you're getting the error, it's likely to be something else causing it.  Do double check to make sure you're putting the memory in the correct way (it's keyed, and should only go in in one direction).

Once that's done, pull out and push back in all expansion cards - especially your video card.  Double-check all your power connections by reseating the connections on the motherboard.

If it still won't boot, it's likely to be a CPU issue.  This is unlikely, because you'd have had to fry the CPU or motherboard while replacing the memory, but it's not impossible.
Avatar of QuinnDex

on ibm or AST Research BIOS(the only computer models to use 3 long beeps) its a keyboard error

ami bios 3 short beeps is memory

award doesnt have 3 long or short beeps in its error codes but anything other than 1 long 2 short  beeps indicates a ram problem

you could have damaged the socket inserting the ram, try the ram in a known good computer to test
Avatar of richardgrayuk


Okay, I have used one stick of the original RAM that works fine (tested in another computer) in all four RAM sockets and I am still getting the same problem.

Am I looking at a CPU or PSU problem?

I installed a PCI Slot Voodoo 3D Blaster Banshee Model: 6760 graphics card, could it be that this graphics card is somehow too advanced for the CPU (a Pentium Model SX968 90 MHz) and fried it?
Avatar of QuinnDex

put the computer back to the original configuration that it was last working in. then change 1 thing at a time till it works or doesnt, you should then pin point the problem
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Paul MacDonald
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HI Paul,

I put another graphics card in (an old ISA slot Cirrus Logic) that used to work fine and received the same problem. However, in the original configuration there was one pair of modules (2x 16mb) and I was trying to boot with just one module. I will put the old pair back in and see what happens.
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I have got the machine working again. The problem was related to the RAM. The solution was that I had to install the RAM in pairs AND install them into two particular sockets (the other sockets may have become defective).

Many thanks to everyone for their input!

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