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Replace Dell Memory and Computer Won't Power Up

Posted on 2016-08-10
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
Seems to happen allot with Dell computers. Purchase additional memory and computer won't power up. Doesn't do anything, place the original memory back and it powers up fine.

We're confident the replacement memory is the same type, verified by three different companies / techs.

Contact Dell support, their input the computer takes "special" memory needs to be ordered from Dell.

Any information regarding this appreciate.
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Question by:WORKS2011
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 41751306
"special" memory is not that unusual.  When I worked for HP many years ago, it turned out that they were testing memory chips for special specs.  Regular chips wouldn't work in the machine.
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by:WORKS2011
ID: 41751312
...like the special capacitors that caught fire in Micheal Dell's workstations years ago. Sorry, find it hard to believe a standard workstation takes "special" memory, especially when the "special" memory is marked up 40 - 60%.

I knew I should have bought Lenovo's for my client.

FYI - what to say about HP other than they only sell printers now, am I right on this.

With all this said thank you for the input. Do you know anyway to get around the "must pay Dell" procedure in place.
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by:Michael Machie
ID: 41751314
Before I finished reading your entire post I was telling myself you need to buy memory from DELL directly due to compatibility. Then I read they said the same thing to you. One of the reasons I stopped buying from them actually.

However, you may have luck with looking in the bios to see if any memory options exist. Obviously take note of the current settings before changing anything, but I have seen memory module options in some bios that can cause those symptoms.

There may be other reasons and some others may be able to add something, but that is my immediate take.

Feel free and share more info on your hardware and memory types so people know what we're dealing with to better assist.
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by:garycase
ID: 41751315
"...  FYI - what to say about HP other than they only sell printers now, am I right on this. "  ==> NO !!   HP sells both desktops and laptops and indeed has some VERY nice units at pretty attractive prices !!
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garycase earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41751319
r.e. your Dell memory issues => I've NOT seen this problem at all.    Are you CERTAIN you're buying the right kind of modules?

Provide a couple of examples ... e.g. the specific model PC you're trying to upgrade and what memory modules you're buying for it.    Are these workstations that require ECC?    ... or do they perhaps need registered modules and you're buying unbuffered?   etc.    It's also possible you need low voltage modules and are buying standard voltage.
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 41751326
I also have some HP computers that specify memory using a particular brand of memory.  I have been able to find it on eBay so it didn't cost too much.  I wondered if maybe they got a deal on 100's of thousands of memory sticks that had a little bit different timing than other brands.
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by:WORKS2011
ID: 41751329
@Michael I have started ordering Lenovo's for all my clients as well, stopped with Dell altogether. My opinion is only product they've done well on is the PowerEdge server and even this the support is pretty basic, I've never found anything useful from support. Product I like.

@garycase not sure I agree with your statement, sounds a little like you're happy with a good price. Curious how this compares with quality product. My experience with HP...I've refused to have one for the last 5 years (other than printers) and it's worked to my advantage...less headaches.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 41751331
I've got about a dozen Dell Optiplexes and whatever I chuck in them (memory) works fine.

What make model Dell do you have?
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by:garycase
ID: 41751336
I wasn't recommending HP systems -- just noting that it's NOT true that "... they only sell printers now ...".    I don't buy systems from ANY of the manufacturers ... I build all of mine.    But I do help a lot of folks who have Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. systems ... and simply haven't seen the compatibility issues with memory modules you noted with any of them.   You do, of course, have to be sure you're matching the specs stated for the modules; but as long as that's true, I've not seen any problems.
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by:WORKS2011
ID: 41751346
@garycase, my bad, appreciate the clarification.

Other issue is this specific problem doesn't have a hard error, it creates a dump file which changes from memory error to IRQ error. Very vague and every time I call Dell if they're diagnostics doesn't give a hard error they pretty much act like nothing is wrong.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 41751383
What happens if you swap the purchased memory for the memory that is already in the machine?  Will it boot?
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by:WORKS2011
ID: 41751422
@dbrunton doesn't do anything, fan won't come on it literally sits doing nothing...well, the power button has a light on it which has a steady flash, the monitors go into power save mode and this is it. As soon as I put the original memory in boots up fine. Can't even get into the bios with the new memory. I'm not onside right now but will be in about 30. I'm going to see if I can make a memory change in the BIOS with the original memory then boot with the new memory. I'll have an update shortly.
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by:WORKS2011
ID: 41751477
I'm certain the memory is bad, please take a look at the dump file and share your thoughts. I converted it to a text file. Shows memory corruption.

Looking at the BIOS now to see if I find a setting that allows me to swap out the memory. Will keep you posted.
Memory-Dump-File.txt
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by:WORKS2011
WORKS2011 earned 0 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41751513
According to the Dell tech, who was actually extremely helpful have to use DDR3L and there's no sign of this on Dell's site, order info, etc. Nice to know and thought useful to share. She also said there isn't anything in the BIOS preventing third party memory from being installed.

DDR3L is a dual voltage capable memory SoDIMM, which supports operation at both 1.5V and 1.35V. DDR3L is also pin-compatible with DDR3. DDR3 is a single voltage capable memory SoDIMM, which supports 1.5V operation only.May 1, 2016

We updated the Chipset driver and Video driver, not sure where she got information to do this. I'm also going to return the DDR3 and purchase DDR3L for testing purposes.

I'll keep you posted.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 41751523
Look at the following article

http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/04/SLN153768

You should be able to identify if the present memory is DDR3L from that.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41751547
I suspect you simply tried to use a standard DDR3 SODIMM, and that's why you had issues.     DDR3L modules are designed to run at 1.35v instead of the standard 1.5v for DDR3 memory.    An "L" module will also work at 1.5v; but a standard module will NOT work at the lower voltage.
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by:web_tracker
web_tracker earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41753309
Systems utilizing this generation of processors are not backward compatible with regular DDR3 memory modules. that is what was suggested in the article posted above, so Gary is right the system board will not work with the ddr3 modules because of the lower voltage put out by the mobo 1.35 volts.  The Dell mobo does not provided the voltage nececssary to run the DDR3 memory sticks. Thats why you get no life when you power the system on with these sticks. So the first Dell tech you talked to was correct the mobo does require specialized memory which is the DDR3L chips. End of story....
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by:garycase
garycase earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41753330
Note that while it's true it requires a specific type of memory, it is NOT "specialized" for the Dells.   DDR3L is very common these days.

Note also that DDR3L modules will work fine on systems that have the higher 1.5 voltage memory bus -- so if you're not sure, or if you just want to stock a few modules that will work on both DDR3 and DDR3L memory buses, just buy the DDR3L modules.
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by:WORKS2011
ID: 41755852
Hi everyone, I've been out of town just got back, haven't had the opportunity to follow-up. I believe I can locate DDR3L memory locally tomorrow. If so I'll replace and test and provide feedback. Dell said if it works they'll send memory since the unit is still under warranty.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 41782767
This is what I believe the best answers to this question are.

garycase suggested a low voltage memory chip which is what the questioner says is required for this computer.  Other posts add to this statement.
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