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Do some 1st gen Core i series systems not take newer RAM?

by cwatkin / September 1, 2014 5:13 AM PDT

I recently have upgraded an HP G7-1150US laptop from the stock 4GB of RAM to 6GB and then 8GB. This is a 1st generation Core i3 laptop that can take up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM. I upgraded the BIOS to the latest version on the HP website.

The RAM I used is from systems that were upgraded to larger capacities. As this computer is a cast off to run a security camera system, I didn't feel like buying RAM just for it so I re-used other cast off RAM.

Anytime I used RAM from a newer generation of laptop, the computer had memory issues. The first try didn't even get it to boot. It would post but get a BSOD on start. The next RAM booted the system but ha a BSOD within hours or days depending on how it felt. Since it wasn't doing this before I upgraded the RAM, I went back to 4GB until I got ahold of 8GB from a same generation system. The older 8GB set worked jut fine.

I know the RAM from the newer systems is good as they ran great. Is there some incompatibility between RAM types on the earlier generation Core I series chipsets?

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All Answers

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Same ram...
by Willy / September 1, 2014 5:36 AM PDT

Since you have different ram modules, did you check the specs. Further, when you fully populated all ram slots, it definitely demands tighter timing control and that maybe your problem. You really introduced two possible sources of problems, timing and different specs which include timing. use the pgm. called Speccy and note the difference of ram. If HP offers to be able control ram setting, do so. BUT!!! HP hardly allows that to be done, its pretty much "locked-in" as in using auto-setting by default, but check the bios area. You best bet to control this issue is to have all ram be the exact same.

tada -----Willy Happy

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I have to go with true.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 1, 2014 5:49 AM PDT

This issue is a pretty old one dating back to early Pentium days. In short if you can't decode all the specs you want all sticks to be same make/model, size.

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by cwatkin / September 1, 2014 6:14 AM PDT

I did some experimentation with the RAM and it wasn't that the sticks were different. I used two different sticks but both were from a 1st gen Core I system. One was a 4 GB and the other a 2 for a total of 6GB. Worked like a champ. Identical 4GB modules pulled from a Sandy Bridge or higher system will not work well. The timings may be different on these modules but I didn't check. They have been juggled around and installed in other laptops that don't have this issue.

Usually RAM problems like this result from a failure to post at all and/or beeping of error codes. BEhavior where the system boots and then messes up is usually reserved for failing RAM. I find this interesting.

One thing I don't like is how many OEMs like Dell and HP lock down all the settings in BIOS. I am sure part of this is so people don't do something stupid.

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A 4GB and a 2GB stick would indeed be different.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 1, 2014 6:17 AM PDT
In reply to: RAM

And some memory controllers can't support this or that stick.

As to lockdown, if you are going to make a million machines, you must lock it down or else your support is hammered with folk that tinkered trying to overclock to worse such as "your machine lost my data and I'm suing."

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by cwatkin / September 1, 2014 6:37 AM PDT

I think maybe it is something about the memory controller or BIOS just not being able to support a certain module.

I certainly can understand mass market systems being locked down. The kinds of people I see would amaze you. Or maybe they wouldn't. It is just frustrating for a tinkerer/enthusiast to have to deal with and that is why I usually build my own where the BIOS is more open.

That being said, some systems (usually desktops) have a motherboard that can be flashed with the BIOS from the underlying motherboard maker such as MSI or Asus. I have seen this on both Gateway and Compaq/HP systems. You basically turn the motherboard back to the specs of the open variety and the system no longer thinks it is an HP, Gateway, or whatever. I have never bricked one doing this but understand the risk. It will either usually take without problems or refuse to update and then I have lost nothing.

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You are repeating what others have done.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 2, 2014 3:20 AM PDT
In reply to: mem
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You didn't say what RAM speed you added or started with
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2014 11:43 AM PDT
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It was PC3-12800 RAM
by cwatkin / September 2, 2014 1:35 AM PDT

Both the old and new RAM were PC3-12800. I also put in some slower stuff as an experiment and it worked fine but that was 4 GB (2x2GB). I suspect that this was one of those cases where the motherboard just didn't like some of the RAM I gave it. This wasn't anything special that would require different voltages. It was just run of the mill OEM memory pulled from factory laptops.

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by bob b / September 2, 2014 3:26 AM PDT
In reply to: It was PC3-12800 RAM

What that machine supports is 1333 ram.
You can put in 1600 and in theory it will clock down to 1333 but it adds another variable.
In single channel mode there is a large margin for error.
In dual channel mode that margin shrinks.

Folks that want to run dual channel will normally get a "kit"......two identical sticks.
That does not mean the ram will work in your machine but it gets you closer.

You seem to have a bunch of ram sticks and your trying to find two that will play nice together and give you 8GB of ram.

It may not be possible......a fun exercise I suppose.
Look into memtest86 as a testing tool.

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Pretty much.
by cwatkin / September 2, 2014 5:46 AM PDT
In reply to: ram

I did find two sticks that work nicely in the machine and give me the max supported 8GB. They are matched and are both older modules.

Some systems seem a lot more forgiving about RAM than others. This one is obviously not one of them. I also tried a 2x2GB set that allowed it to post but it got a BSOD on startup. All this RAM works just fine in all the other systems I have tried it in. This one just seems extra picky.

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Good to hear it's resolved.
by VAPCMD / September 2, 2014 9:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Pretty much.

After many years of building and upgrading PCs....getting all the RAM you anticipate to use at time of purchase or build is definitely the way to go.


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You swapped until it worked...
by Willy / September 2, 2014 11:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Pretty much.

It was off red to run Speecy and when it reports the specs, you have a more firmer standing on what you dealing with. Instead you swapped until you got a set that worked. If you run Speecy NOW, you can see what is being accepted and how if you check what other ram sticks provide. Decent ram have a decal/sticker offering some specs as well. You finally provided that this is PC3, and here there is a minor difference that not all PCs will accept just any PC3 ram, because of slim and minor difference.


Some ram controllers aren't as flexible and generally in laptops that's a critical point. While desktops, it seems to offer at least a bios level setting to tweak it all in as in not being OEM based PC. In effect, OEM based restrictions may fall on either the top or low end of the ram being installed. In other words, the range of ram speed maybe geared to slower vs higher, or visa-versa. Notice, on the 2nd link a minor voltage difference. Yes, DDR3 and PC3 are interchangeable.

tada -----Willy Happy

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by cwatkin / September 3, 2014 2:57 AM PDT

I mentioned it was DDR3 in the first post but didn't give the speed. Also, the model of the laptop was given and could be looked up as HP is good about providing their specs online.

That being said, I did look at the RAM that worked. EVERY stick of the 1333 MHZ RAM fired and worked fine in this unit. The main problem was that all RAM of this speed was 4GB sets and I was trying to get up to 8 GB. The Kingston link above specifically mentions that some entry level systems such as the Core i3 will not support 1600MHZ. Interesting.... Obviously some will work in this unit while some will not. I am also guessing that since this is one of the earlier systems to support DDR3, that might play a role. Either way, I have it maxed out on RAM so I am happy.

The thing I thought was odd is that when RAM isn't properly supported by a system, it will refuse to post and beep error codes. It is rare to have one actually post and try to boot or successfully boot and then get a BSOD when RAM isn't supported.

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Laptop runs cooler with right RAM
by cwatkin / September 5, 2014 11:52 PM PDT
In reply to: RAM

I noticed that the laptop fan had been running very hard and the bottom felt quite hot with the RAM that was giving BSODs. I figured that the cooling heatsinks had gotten clogged with dust and was going to blow the unit out. All the RAM is 1.5V and the spec calls for 1.5V. I thought that this was also odd about the other RAM running so hot.

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