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Memory problem after BIOS update

by ronrep / October 25, 2004 1:19 PM PDT

Hi, all:

I recently flashed my bios from A02 to A05 on a Dell L433c w/ 512MB RAM (256 in each of the two slots). Immediately after, system failed to boot because only 4MB RAM was recognized on POST.
Repeated tries showed 16 or 24, but never enought to boot Win 98SE. If I remove one DIMM, system boots normally. In fact either DIMM in either slot works normally, but not both together.
I took out one of the DIMMs and successfully flashed back to A02. Now boots normally. Reinstall second DIMM and have SAME PROBLEM! I guess it's not the BIOS after all. If I put either DIMM in either socket, machine works normally; if I put in both, neither A02 nor A05 BIOS will recognize more than 24 MB of RAM. Problem began immediately after the first BIOS flash. I'm starting to think about some kind of secondary chip or mobo damage. The diagnostic lights show all 4 green. Any ideas?

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Re: Memory problem after BIOS update
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 26, 2004 12:25 AM PDT

Have you used a microscope to inspect the memory sockets for damage?

Bob

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Re: Memory problem after BIOS update
by ronrep / October 26, 2004 1:47 PM PDT

Hi, Bob:
No, but would not the fact that each socket functions individually argue against socket damage?
Thanks, as always, for your help.

Ron

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Re: Memory problem after BIOS update
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 26, 2004 2:19 PM PDT

I'm going to write no. Here's why. It's entirely possible the failed connection is a Chip-Select or "other" that will only make a difference when both are present. My background includes embedded controls with... various types of these sticks of memory.

I'd make the visual inspection if it was my machine. My collection of tools include some small dental surgical tools that have brought back such boards. But if I didn't look at the sockets then I would have never repaired them.

Bob

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Re: Memory problem after BIOS update
by ronrep / October 27, 2004 2:40 AM PDT

OK, Bob. I am prepared to embark on this new level of troubleshooting. I'll presume that something on the order of 10x magnification would show something I may recognize as abnormal. I'll further presume that I may end up using the machine w/ 256MB RAM, but will advise if I make any progress...thanks again.

Ron

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10X
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 28, 2004 1:18 AM PDT

If your eyes are sharp, 10X might do. I have to use 20X today...

Bob

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Re: Memory problem after BIOS update
by R. / December 2, 2004 11:43 AM PST

funny, I tried to reply, but it didn't seem to go through, so I'll try again.

Anyway, I have the *identical* system with the *identical* problem. 128mb, 256mb - all work individually in either slot, but *NOT* together.

What gives??? (also have A05 BIOS)

Ran

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BX based?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 2, 2004 8:40 PM PST

The BX chipset has limitations which will show up as noted. There is no cure except for owners to use supported sticks of RAM and to go with what works.

Bob

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Re: BX based?
by R. / December 2, 2004 10:20 PM PST
In reply to: BX based?

Hah! I've got somewhere!

It turns out the BIOS is in fact the culprit!

I started testing out different BIOS's, and when I flashed to the A00 BIOS, voila! Both 255mb sticks worked, and Memtest86 gave *no* errors!!! HAH!

Now, I've got to see whether I can begin flashing "upwards" and determine at what point I lose the ability to use both modules!!!

Pretty weird!

Ran

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