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Does Too Much RAM Equal Loss of Audio?


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#1 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:14 AM

Hi All

Last weekend I decided to investigate the idea of speeding up my Pc a bit so I started looking into adding the extra stick of RAM I've had laying about for a while.

The Pc I've got is a Dell Dimension 4500 (according to the writing around the start-up button). However, I ran one of those scans offered by Crucial and it said that I had a 4500S. What difference does a letter make? - well, in this case, twice as much allowable RAM and as I already had the 1GB maximum allowed in the 4500, I was keen to up grade it to the 2GB maximum allowed in the 4500S.

So, anyway, not having Dell's paperwork to confirm or deny the specification and as the computer was bought from Dell Market place and so (as I understand it) is likely to be non-standard, I decided to go with Crucial's scan and add the RAM.

When I booted up everything went fine, the new RAM was recognised by the Pc and, as you can see, is recognised by a Speccy scan here. I even got a bit more speed and smoother processing from it. In fact, everything seemed to be going really well until I discoverd that I've lost most of the volume on the audio. I can just hear it if I put the on board volume to the max and turn up the speaker volume to the top too.

My question is, could this loss of volume have been caused by the fact that the Pc is, in fact, a 4500 and not a 4500S as suggested by Crucial and so is now running too much RAM? Indeed, a broader question(s?) might be -

Is it a problem if I've fitted too much RAM?
Could it harm the rest of the innards of the Pc?
Does too much RAM just not work and the improvement in performance is all in my mind?

I know that the definitive answer to the volume question is to take out the extra RAM and see what happens. But my Pc is situated in such an awkward position that to do so is a half day job - (I have to remove book shelves and stuff to access it). So I wondered if anyone has had experience of this sort of thing before and could offer me some advice. Or does anyone know of a diagnostic test I could run that would give me an answer as to why I've lost audio before I go digging out the Pc.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.
Regards

Paul Eamonn

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#2 noknojon

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 06:43 AM

Or does anyone know of a diagnostic test

Memtest 86+ is the best way to test RAM sticks (use METHOD 2)
Other Related Information is listed below -
Computer RAM - How To Information
What Happens With Too Much RAM in a Computer?
Check your sound driver updates SoundMax Integrated Digital Audio Driver 5.12.01.4070

#3 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:16 AM

Hi noknojon – many thanks for your reply and the links.

I was pleased to read that my extra RAM hadn't been burning up bits of my computer as I typed. In fact, as I am running Xp and provided I have understood what is said in the motherboard specifications, my 2GB is Ok. I did look in the BIOS at start up and saw that it was registering both sticks of RAM.

Regarding Memtest 86+, I have actually run this test off an .iso disc and everything was reported as Ok. I must say thought that I'm a bit confused by your reference to 'Method 2'. As far as I was aware, all I had to do was boot into the .iso disc and it would do the rest (8 tests in all) or is there a special way to run the test so as I access this 'Method 2'?

Also, thanks for the link to the SoundMax driver. I had been unable to find that anywhere. Sadly, however, after I had downloaded it, I tried to install and got back the following message -

Severe
(White X in Red Button)
Driver not found! Reboot your system, and run this setup again.

I did as it asked and I got the same message again. Then I took the 'Uninstall' option, rebooted and then tried to install it. Unfortunately, I got the same message again.

Can you tell me what it means when it says – 'Drive not found'. I thought that was the driver! Or am I being thick here? More importantly, is there anywhere else we can go with this?

Anyway, many thanks again for your help so far.

Edited by Paul Eamonn, 20 May 2012 - 08:17 AM.

Regards

Paul Eamonn

#4 hamluis

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 10:06 AM

Since you have a Dell system...you should be using Dell drivers provided at the Dell website. The Dell site shows no support for Soundmax audio, so I have no understanding why your Speccy reflects such.

http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/19

First, I suggest that you install http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=5591&lang=eng&OSVersion=Windows%20XP%20Home%20Edition*&DownloadType=Drivers .

Then...I suggest that you uninstall the audio driver you previously installed...and try to install Analog Devices ADI 198x Integrated Audio, http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/19/DriverDetails/DriverFileFormats?DriverId=R46202&FileId=2731122139&productCode=dimension-4500&urlProductCode=False .

The Dell site lists various optional audio drivers, with various ones being applicable to that system, depending on what the customer wants.

Louis

#5 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:28 PM

Hi Louis - thanks for your reply.

Ok, I did as you said and installed the chipset driver - that went fine. I then uninstalled the drive I had installed earlier and then installed the one you recommended.

At first I had a bit of a problem getting it installed but, eventually, I got there.

However, after all that, the audio still isn't working as it should be and the following details have been noted -

  • Sound is still only just audible when all the controls are up full. However, that is better than it was after I had installed the SoundMax driver when there was no sound at all.
  • FYI SoundMax is still involved in the system somewhere as it is SoundMax that seems to be the name in every control in Control Panel > Sounds.
  • After I installed the the driver suggested by you the little volume control (speaker) reappeared down by the clock. I only noticed its absence when it came back.
  • So as to be sure that it wasn't a connection issue I put the speaker plug into the front headphones port on the Pc. While it achieved nothing in the way of improving the sound (apart from generating horrendous white noise) it did prompt the PnP to detect new hardware. The system then prompted me to download a driver from 'Sigmatel' (sorry I didn't note down the full name). Soon after it started to download, there was a msgbox that came up and said something about it not being Microsoft approved and that it may damage the system. So I clicked on the 'Stop' button. However, since I realised my mistake of not noting the full name, I have tried to replicate the PnP action but have been unable to.

So that is the story so far. I believe I have uninstalled the wrong(?) driver, installed the Chipset driver and installed the correct driver but all to no avail.

If you have any more ideas I would really appreciated them.
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#6 hamluis

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 01:36 PM

Post a screenshot...from Device Manager, please...with the Sound, Video and Game Controllers detail...fully revealed.

Are there currently any yellow or red markings by any item in Device Manager?

Thanks :).

Louis

#7 abauw

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 03:52 PM

[*]Sound is still only just audible when all the controls are up full. However, that is better than it was after I had installed the SoundMax driver when there was no sound at all.

For sound, sometimes it need right driver version to make sound in maximum quality (sorry, I couldn't find good word in English for this).

[*]FYI SoundMax is still involved in the system somewhere as it is SoundMax that seems to be the name in every control in Control Panel > Sounds.

Go to Control Panel - Add Remove Programs and check does Soundmax shown up in there?

[*]After I installed the the driver suggested by you the little volume control (speaker) reappeared down by the clock. I only noticed its absence when it came back.
You could make it shown up again.

Go to Control Panel - Sound and Audio Properties and check on Place Volume Icon On Taskbar

[*]So as to be sure that it wasn't a connection issue I put the speaker plug into the front headphones port on the Pc. While it achieved nothing in the way of improving the sound (apart from generating horrendous white noise) it did prompt the PnP to detect new hardware. The system then prompted me to download a driver from 'Sigmatel' (sorry I didn't note down the full name). Soon after it started to download, there was a msgbox that came up and said something about it not being Microsoft approved and that it may damage the system. So I clicked on the 'Stop' button. However, since I realised my mistake of not noting the full name, I have tried to replicate the PnP action but have been unable to.

Could you provide information like hamluis say.
I think something weird in here, a screen shot will answer that :thumbup2:

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#8 noknojon

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:51 PM

Hi -
Sorry that my first link was wrong and as per hamluis, for Dell computers you always need the specific Dell Drivers

As to "What is a Driver" the following item may clarify the issue a bit for you -
Most modern hardware is "plug and play," meaning the devices will work without requiring driver installation. However, even if a hardware device is recognized by the operating system, installing the correct drivers may provide additional options and functionality for the device.
For example, most mice work automatically when they are connected to a PC. However, installing the appropriate mouse driver may allow you to customize the function of each button and adjust the mouse sensitivity. Some keyboard drivers allow you to assign functions to specific keys, such as controlling the volume or opening specific applications.

The driver is what enables your computer to read the program, and makes it operate so that you can use it -
This is like putting fuel in a car so that you can operate it - Most people can relate to it if these items are translated (in a basic forn) to a car -
For computers - Read: Hardware (Computer Etc.) = Car - Program = Motor - Driver = Fuel - Operator = You - Without these in order, the computer will not work -
It can sound a bit confusing at first, but once you know that a computer driver is what makes the program work, you are there -
In your case the Sound drivers, for your Sound Card (hardware) are what are being looked at -

Thank You -
EDITED for spelling only -

Edited by noknojon, 20 May 2012 - 04:54 PM.


#9 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 04:29 AM

Hi noknojon – No problems about the incorrect link. I really do appreciate you making the effort to help and, anyway, there was no harm done bar generating a bit of confusion and, trust me, when I'm dealing with this sort of thing, confusion is my standard state of mind – so no change there then!

Also, many thanks for the explanation. It certainly sheds some light on the weird world of drivers for me! As a whole, I suspect they are a mystery to most of us!

There I was happily going along thinking that the PnP set up was all I needed while, in fact, all I was getting was the bog standard saloon. Whereas, if I install the hardware specific driver from the manufacturer, my old saloon gets changed into a Porche?

I have two initial thoughts on this. The first is – why don't the manufacturers tell us this (or do they in the 'small print' that people like me don't read?). Secondly, why do they have to make it so complicated? The names, just for a start, make my eyes glaze over. Thank goodness for you guys on Bleepingcomputer!

Hi Louis – I did actually look at the device manager yesterday to see if there were any yellow question marks but there weren't any and there aren't any now either. Anyway, I've attached the screen shot as requested. If it's not right or you need something else, just let me know.

Something else I should have mentioned yesterday at Note 2 in my last post regarding SoundMax. During the installation of the driver you linked to I got a SoundMax screen come up the same as I did when I installed the driver linked to by noknojon. So does that mean SoundMax is going to be in on the game no matter which hardware specific driver I use? Just a thought.

Hi abauw – thanks for joining in with the thread.

I've just looked in the Add or Remove Programs window and yes, indeed, SoundMax does have an entry. However, it says that it is used 'Rarely' and the last date shown was 08/09/2011.

Regarding the volume control. Yes there is a tick in the check box. But, in the past when the speaker wasn't showing up by the clock and I tried to check the box, when I clicked Ok I got an error message saying that something was missing (a .dll?). Sorry, but I can't remember the specifics.

Thanks again for your help guys. It really is appreciated.

Attached Files


Edited by Paul Eamonn, 21 May 2012 - 04:31 AM.

Regards

Paul Eamonn

#10 abauw

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 07:10 AM

Regarding the volume control. Yes there is a tick in the check box. But, in the past when the speaker wasn't showing up by the clock and I tried to check the box, when I clicked Ok I got an error message saying that something was missing (a .dll?). Sorry, but I can't remember the specifics.

Please try it again and when that pop up shown up again please write in in notepad or paper and paste it in here :thumbup2:

From Device manager it seems that no yellow / red mark, but could you go click SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio devices then go to Details Tab, Click under Hardware Ids and press Ctrl C (keyboard shortcut for Copy) and paste that string on your next post.

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#11 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:28 PM

Hi abauw - thanks for your reply.

Well, I'm not sure what to say to you all who have made the effort to help me.

A few minutes I booted up my computer to check my mail and to bring up Skype. Connecting to Google was Ok but when Skype started up I nearly jumped out of my skin! Yep, you've guessed it, the audio is working just fine again and with all the volume controls set to maximum and the speakers about a foot away from me, I got a bit of a shock.

So, it would seem that the problem has been solved as inexplicably as it arrived.

If any of you want to pursue it to try to find out the cause of it, I'm happy to answer any questions and post up screen shots and the results of scans. But, I must say, the question in my mind is - Is it worth it? I don't know. It's up to you.

Anyway, many thanks once again, for your help and I shall see how it goes from here.
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#12 hamluis

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 01:07 PM

What's life without an occasional mystery ?

Glad the problem seems to have gone away...post back if there is a relapse by the patient system.

Happy computing :).

Louis




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