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Dell laptop RAM upgrade issues


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#1 cancon

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 07:06 PM

Harware:

2003 Dell Inspiron 5100 Laptop, Pentium 4, 2.4GHz. Windows XP operating system.

 

Hello all,

 

I've been reading about the possibility of upgrading the RAM in my laptop, the widely accepted maxium memory upgrade is 2gb (1gb x 2), provinding the bios be upgraded to A32 and keeping the RAM speed PC2100 (DDR 266MHz) and no higher. Up to now I've been runing the original 256mb card in the primary slot (DIMM A), and aftermarket 512mb in the secondary slot (DIMM B ).

 

Recently I purchased two 1gb PC2100 cards on ebay, but I can only ever have one of the new cards installed without having problems. Essentially, the computer does not like to see the 1gb card in DIMM A, however both new 1gb cards work fine in DIMM B. The computer only runs at full memory if I keep the old 256mb or 512mb in DIMM A. If I try to run the computer with 1gb installed in DIMM A, I get an error which reads approximately: "Memory read/write failure at "xxxxxxxxx". Read "xxxxxxx", Expecting "xxxxx". Decreasing available memory." The "x" locations are numbers, having to do with the DIMM locations and memory addresses, probably not necessary for the trouble shooting of this problem. When 1gb is installed in DIMM A (plus any other configuration in DIMM B ), the memory is decreased and windows runs at 512mb. So far the maximum working configuration I have found is 1.5gb (512mb in slot A, 1gb in slot B ).

 

Does anyone have any advice on how to get the full 2gb to work?

 

Thanks in advance!


Edited by cancon, 26 May 2013 - 07:07 PM.


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#2 jhayz

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:25 PM

:welcome: to bleeping computer cancon

 

Were you able to upgrade the BIOS version as you posted? Is this the link you were referring to BIOS upgrade? How many slots does this laptop have?


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#3 cancon

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:44 PM

Hi, thanks for your reply.

I had succefully upgraded the bios before installing the new memory, however I used the lastest version, A32.

This laptop has only two RAM slots.



#4 jhayz

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:43 AM

Try the crucial memory scanner http://www.crucial.com/systemscanner/   and see compatible memory also. Do you notice when the 2 X 1 Gb sticks are installed in the BIOS section information and that they are being recognized? Do you see any video allocation for system RAM?


Edited by jhayz, 27 May 2013 - 12:45 AM.

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#5 cancon

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:16 AM

The Crucial scan tells me that my new 1gb RAM is PC2700, while the label and auction were advertising PC2100.

Curiously, it also says that my max memory is 1gb, yet it reads 1.5gb installed. So, maybe there is an issue with the computer not recognizing PC2700 in slot A. While RAM is back-wards compatible, this processor is old and may have issues reading it.

 

The bios information is not so detailed - it only shows the total value of RAM. There is no info as per what is installed in the individual slots. The video allocation is 512mb, IIRC, I'll double check.


Edited by cancon, 27 May 2013 - 10:48 AM.


#6 jhayz

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 02:06 AM

- it only shows the total value of RAM

The total value is?

The video allocation is 512mb

That should be it. :) Do you see any option to lowering it to half and then rechecking the remaining system RAM in Windows?


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#7 cancon

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:11 AM

Bios info:

 

Level 2 Cache: 512mb

System memory: 1535mb

Video memory: 32mb

 

From what I can tell there is no way to change any of the fields of that bios window.

So total Ram is 1535mb which is correct, as the 512mb and 1g cards are currently installed.



#8 jhayz

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:40 PM

Hmmmm... it seems that there are other users on the Dell forums having the same problem you were having on the maximum RAM upgrades. The discussion is here.


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#9 cancon

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 10:49 AM

I know, I've been through all the dell postings before I decided to upgrade; there are success stories that are based on upgraded bios and proper low-speed ram. GAH. I guess I'll just suck it up and be happy that the upgrade even worked at all. 768mb > 1.5g is fine by me. I successfully down-graded the bios to A31 to eliminate poor fan speed control, attempted the ram switch again, but no differences found.

Thanks for your help



#10 jhayz

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:51 PM

While I don't see any specific fix for the RAM upgrades on the last release A32 version, it certainly is a confusing mix stories if certain users where able to use the full 2 Gig RAM modules for the Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop.

 

 

 

Issues Fixed:

1. Fix CD/DVD drive disappeared in boot menu during POST if the drive is DVD+/-RW.

2. Update thermal table to improve the "Thermal dust" issue on Inspiron 5100.

3. Set fan to turn on at boot by timer only 30 seconds and then follow thermal table fan PWM definition.

4. Added support for "Get keyboard Active Row" and "Get LCD Lid Current State" into Diags BIOS interface. 5. Enable ABIOS cacheable to speed up the resume from suspend.

 

http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/04/DriverDetails?driverId=R87515


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