Re: Extra RAM Installation Blues Vol 3
- From: "pmj" <post@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 08 Jan 2006 07:26:55 GMT
"Hawkeye23" <me@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
> Having struggled long but unsuccessfully over the past couple
> of weeks to add an additional 256MB 168Pin DIMM PC133 SDRAM module
> to the apparently identical 256MB SDRAM module that has always been
> there, I am perhaps beginning to see faint tracks in the information
> jungle which I hope with your help and advice may lead us somewhere.
Yep -I saw (& read through!) your other Posts, with the various bits
of Info that you had found about the RAM Modules & BIOS/Motherboard
I was going to Post up a Reply with various Comments & suggestions,
for you to work through, so as to get a bit more of an insight into
what's what (& thus *hopefully* be able to get it all sorted!)
but I see that in this Post you have arrived at some reasonable
conclusions, which are pretty much what I had also arrived at,
so I won't duplicate it all by Posting that Reply now.
This Reply will have a few suggestions to try out, based on what
Info you have got so far...
> The situation at the end of Vol2 was that either the new or old
> module when inserted in the first (of 3) DIMM slots on its own
> would work and show in CP/System/General and MSI a RAM of 256MB.
MSI being msinfo32.exe (the micro$oft System Information Utility)?
I ask that, cos MSI can also stand for MicroStar International,
which happens to be the Manufacturer of the Motherboard that I have
in this Machine!
>... Putting a second module (either new or old) in the second
> or third DIMM slot did nothing in that the same tools still only
> saw 256MB RAM and not 512MB.
& does the same thing show up in your w98 Installation as well?
& not just in WinXP?
If it was just WinXP, it might have been worth doing another Install
of WinXP, with the RAM already in place, rather than the way it has
been done at the mo (Installing WinXP & then adding the extra RAM)
That shouldn't really matter, cos WinXP should find & work with the
extra RAM anyway, when it's fitted in.
But since you may well have to do another WinXP Install anyway
(cos the 30 Day Activation period will be up in a couple of weeks?) -
it won't do any harm to do another Install (now that you have had
a bit of experience/practice of doing it!
> I have since then ran a whole series of Specialist RAM Utilities
> some of which were recommended here in UPS (CPU-Z & PCWizard),
> one of which I had already found in Google (SPDReaderV1.4) and one
> I had for years but never used in anger(SiSoft Sandra).
Also, it might be worth running an actual Memory *Testing* Utility,
such asmemtest86 available from...
That Runs from a Boot Disk (so it doesn't involve windoze at all
& *thoroughly* checks the RAM.
> From this morass of information I distill several conclusions which
> I hope those more experienced than I will comment on.
> I think there must be two different ways of testing/measuring
> RAM memory.
> The first actually tests and mearures how much of the RAM works in
> a practical sense. It must be the BIOS (or CMOS?) that does this
> since if the RAM doesn't work the pc beeps incessantly immediately
> you power it on (POST?) as I have found out. This measurement appears
> on the first BIOS page (Standard CMOS). And I suspect that the
> figures reported by Windows in Control Panel and MSI it gets from
> BIOS - at least they always seem identical.
windoze will report (& use) the total Value of Memory that is present,
as being what the *BIOS* tells it is available.
> But then when you look at the info produced by the various utilities
> they are not identical at all.I think some measure the RAM in a
> practical way like BIOS but some also measure it by just reading
> this SPD EEPROM little chip which provides very detailed info on the
> spec of what is on the RAM module but not whether it is working in
> a practical way.
Yep, that's exactly what the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) is for.
It tells the BIOS what *capabilities* the RAM Module has.
& the BIOS can then use those figures, or (in some BIOSes) you can
Manually Set the various Figures & Settings to be used.
> So the SPD Readers all find both of the 256MB modules for a total
> memory of 512MB,while the practical measurers find the second DIMM
> socket empty (which it isn't) and report total memory of 256MB.
> Some utilities seem to measure both and report both the contradictory
> pieces of info.
That seems like a very reasonable appraisal of the Info & the
> The second tentative conclusion I have reached concerns the spec
> of the two memory modules - old and new. After running all these
> special RAM test utilities all the results of all the tests of all
> the properties are identical down to the last microsecond of refresh
> or nanosecond of access timing and latency etc,etc.
Yep, I noticed that as well, so I came to pretty much the same
conclusion as you, here...
>... So if these two modules are incompatible it must be in some way
> that is not identifiable by the finest utilities in UPS.
When I was looking through those Listings & Reports of the RAM Info
that you Posted up, I even had a look at the Hex Dumps (of the SPD
RAM thingy) as well!
& I noticed that there *are* some (very noticeable) differences,
Dump Module #1
<snip identical Lines>
40 AD FF FF FF FF FF FF FF 01 37 31 56 33 32 36 33
50 35 41 54 38 2D 48 20 20 20 20 20 41 41 45 00 10
60 06 B1 30 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
Dump Module #2
<snip identical Lines>
40 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
50 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
60 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
See the difference there?
But actually, all that turns out to be (when you convert the Hex
Characters to ASCII) is the Manufacturer (ID), Part Number, Serial
Number & Manufacturing Date of each RAM Module!
Which (obviously) are different & are what is shown (in Plain ASCII
Text) in the previous Section of the Report, anyway.
The other stuff, such as the Frequency & Timings are (as you noticed)
So, yes, whatever is causing the incompatibility is something really
> The third and final issue I wanted to ask about was the question
> about whether there were some settings of the pc that could be
> changed which might make the incompatibility (if that's what it is)
> less sensitive.
Yes, there are some Settings in the BIOS, that *might* help sort
> From what I've said above it is now clear(?) to me that if so these
> settings can only be in the BIOS/CMOS. And now we are in unknown
> territory which I only know is dangerous.
Not necessarily "dangerous", but yes, you do need to be careful & be
aware of what you are doing in the BIOS - if you change the wrong
Setting(s) - to the wrong Value, then you may not be able to Boot the
But most BIOSes have a "Reload Defaults" Option, which is like a sort of
"Get out of Jail" card.
It's only *Flashing* the BIOS (so as to Update it with a later
Program & Settings) that *can* be dangerous - if you screw that up,
(for instance, if the Power is switched off (or fails), during the
Flashing, or if you try to Flash the BIOS with an incorrect ROM Image),
then you can end up with a completely dead machine.
> When we were with your help multibooting fiddling at least we had
> files and folders which we could look at/back up/rename/edit,etc.
> Here we have nothing and what can you do when things go wrong.
> Just changing the settings in the existing BIOS options I can just
> about face up to but I need someone to suggest which options might be
> relevant to this problem.
Jeff Gaines has already mentioned some of the Timing Settings (in the
BIOS) that you could try altering.
But I think that there's one Setting which you would do well to try
anyway, before (or as well as) those Settings.
Look for a Setting called something like "ReSet Configuration
Data" (or ESCD - Extended System Configuration Data)
As far as I was aware, I though that Setting only applied to the
PnP (windoze Plug & Play) Data that is stored in the CMOS RAM,
but it may well apply to various other CMOS Data as well?
Such as the RAM Info?.
The idea is that when you have been fiddling around with BIOS Settings,
&/or Installing extra hardware, sometimes the BIOS may not Read the
Info properly, when it does the POST (Power On Self Test) Routines
& ReSetting the ESCD lets it sort of "find it's feet"
That Setting *doesn't* restore the Default Settings, which is another,
different, separate Option.
I would suggest that you try Setting that "ReSet ESCD" Option to
"Enabled", Exit out of the BIOS Setup, Saving the Settings & then
Boot it back up.
That "ReSet ESCD" Setting is a sort of Toggle, - when you next Boot up,
before doing the POST, it ReSets the ESCD Data & then carries on with
the POST, Reading the Hardware details etc.
& that Option then goes back to "Disable", when it's done it.
> Then beyond that there was all this scary stuff that Charlie Drake
> found for us on the QDI site about updating the BIOS and AWDFLASH.EXE
> How can you embark on such things.
By first of all Reading up about it, on the various Sites that explain
things like that.
& by listening to any Comments & Suggestions that people come up with,
from their experiences.
Some people will tell you that it's really dodgy & scary - & others
will say it's a doddle!
It's actually somewhere in between.
It *can* end up with a completely dead, Non Bootable Machine, but that's
>... How can you make a backup of data you can't see.
By using the Backup Utility (or Option) that comes with the Flash
>... Some of you no doubt will have ventured on these dangerous waters
> and will be able to advise me and/or where I can read up about it.
> I hope so.
Oddly enough, one thing I have never done with my PCs, is to
"Flash the BIOS"!
I have read a load about it, so I know what to expect, (& the sort of
probs that may crop up & what can cause them & how to get round them)
but I've never actually done it!
BTW - you mentioned *paying* for a BIOS Upgrade?
You shouldn't need to do that.
You should only need to pay for a BIOS, if you got it from Unicore,
which is the Retail Agent for Phoenix, which bought up Award (the BIOS
But you should always get the BIOS Update from the *Motherboard*
Manufacturer, cos all BIOSes are Customised by/for the particular
Motherboard that they are designed for.
You must make *absolutely* certain, that you are using the correct
BIOS Update, for you particular Motherboard & Revision of it.
& Save (Backup) the existing BIOS, before Flashing it.
> Many thanks as ever.
Do, please, try that "ReSet ESCD" Option out?
& Post back with what happens.
It's perfectly OK to do that - it's non-destructive & you can do it
as often as you want, on a working (or non-working) Machine, with
BTW - you might also like to Run the "XPInfo" Utility, from
They have some very informative & interesting articles which explain
exactly what's involved in the WPA - windoze Product Activation Process
Have a Read through the "Fully Licensed WPA Paper" that they Published
(on that Site) & the FAQ as well.
& that XPInfo Utility will show you what bits of Hardware in your
Machine are being used (by the WPA) to keep track of whether the
WinXP Installation is in the same Machine is the or not.
So you can decide which stuff you can change, without needing to
ReActivate your WinXP, once you've Activated it.
- Re: Extra RAM Installation Blues Vol 3
- From: Rabbit
- Re: Extra RAM Installation Blues Vol 3
- Extra RAM Installation Blues Vol 3
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- Extra RAM Installation Blues Vol 3
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