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Identical memory sticks - 2nd one is not seen... except...

by scottbomb / October 17, 2006 1:09 AM PDT

OK this is a weird one. I have an Abit A-20 mobo. It has 2 memory slots and is capable of a max. of 2 GB RAM. Ever since I built this computer abotu 2 yrs. ago, it has run with a single memory stick in slot 1 - a 256 MB DDR-SDRAM Corsair PC2700, part # VS256MB333. As you can see, this systems runs a 333 MHz bus with a 166 MHz FSB.

Now here's the trouble. I bought an EXACT COPY of the memory stick, another Corsair PC 2700 part # VS256MB333. Same stick, same size & type, same brand. I put it in slot 2 and the computer doesn't even see it. I swap the sticks. New stick in slot 1 and old stick in slot 2. Same problem. Computer (BIOS and Windows) only see the memory in slot 1.

Any ideas? Please help!

So you think maybe slot 2 is bad? Guess again. I bring up a nifty utility called CPU-Z that shows detailed info. about the CPU and memory and CPU-Z sees 512 MB RAM and it sees BOTH sticks individually. CPU-Z allows you to see what's in each slot and for slot 1 - there it is. Slot 2 - the stick is there as well.

So obviously the slot works and so does the new stick. I have software that can see both memory sticks but neither the BIOS nor Windows (XP Pro) can see the second one. This is very puzzling.

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A long shot...
by John.Wilkinson / October 17, 2006 11:25 AM PDT

The only thing I can think of is look through your system BIOS and see if there is an option to disable a block or stick of RAM. It's the only thing, aside from defective hardware, that would prevent the BIOS from 'seeing' the extra RAM.

One last thought would be to run memtest86 and see if it says anything different. It's possible that the slot is still damaged to a degree where the RAM is unusable but CPU-Z can still read the SPD information to properly identify the RAM. Memtest may be able to shed some light on it.

John

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CMOS reset? RMA the stick?
by someguy805 / October 18, 2006 3:47 PM PDT

Have you tried resetting your CMOS? Sometimes CMOS data gets funky and can cause things like this.

Also, try completely different known-good memory in slot 2, and cleaning that slot with a computer duster. If your computer can see the module in slot 2, ring Corsair and get a RMA for the stick.

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Corsair
by scottbomb / October 19, 2006 2:33 AM PDT

I reset the CMOS last night. Nothing changed. I've tried moving the sticks around and no matter what I do, the BIOS only sees 256MB.

I opened a trouble ticket with Corsair 2 days ago and they have yet to respond. Their website wants me to try memtest86 but I need a bootable floppy for that and guess what - Windows can't see the floppy in the drive! I bought new floppies and tried to format one as a boot disk and Windows says "no disk in drive a". The drive seems to work as it spins and lights up when I boot up. ARRRGH!

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Or a CD...
by John.Wilkinson / October 19, 2006 2:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Corsair

You can also burn a bootable CD if you like as opposed to a floppy. Just click here and download/burn the ISO.

In regards to the floppy not working, it's sounding more and more like a motherboard issue between RAM not being recognized/used and drives not functioning. I hope I'm wrong, though.

Good luck.
John

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thanks
by scottbomb / October 19, 2006 11:15 PM PDT
In reply to: Or a CD...

I've tried several times to make a bootable CD and just can't seem to get it to work. This link looks promising and I'll try it tonight. I only have a couple of days left to bring back the memory stick if it's defective.

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SOLVED
by scottbomb / October 20, 2006 2:23 PM PDT

OK, well, I learned a lesson today. The problem all along was that the modules were not correctly seated.

I swore I had them in correctly. After all, had I pushed them down any furthur, I would have broken the mobo. However, I had originally gone about it the wrong way. What made the difference? Laying the tower down on a FLAT surface (not standing up or at a 30 deg. angle - both of which I'd tried).

I actually unplugged everything except the power (the tower sits on the floor) and put it on my desk. Like I said, I left it plugged in. Many manuals will tell you to unplug the power but that is WRONG. They say this because they don't want to get sued should you do something stupid and get electrocuted (which would be awefully hard to do). We're not working on HV CRTs here. For proper ESD protection, you should always leave it plugged in so that any static from your body will go to the house ground. If the computer is powered off and you don't open the power supply, you're not going to get shocked. Unplugged, any static electricity has no where else to go except to possibly fry a CMOS chip.

Anyhow, after laying it down FLAT, I was able to properly seat the modules. The white levers on either end were actually coming up too far and therefore not pulling the modules all the way in. Appearently, CPU-Z saw enough of the modules to read the SPD while the BIOS couldn't see enough to read the entire RAM. Amazing.

I'm no novice, yet I am suprised how I spent an entire week pulling my hair out over this ****. I was so happy to finally see 512 MB on boot.

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