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RAM,memory management and BIOS

by ClaudiaWalky / June 21, 2010 9:31 AM PDT

I have a 5 years-old custom pc with this components:

-MoBo >>>> Giga-byte 8vm533m-rz mini ATX
-processor>>>> Pentium 4 2,26GHz Northwood
-BIOS >>>>>>>>Award (Phoenix) F2 09/17/2004
-chipset>>>>>> Giga-Byte VT8751 ProSavageDDR P4M266 System Controller
-memory>>>>>>>2 184-pin DDR DIMM sockets, supports up to 2GB DRAM (Max)

[I had two memory sticks until my problems began:
NovaTech Solutions 1GB DDR PC3200U DDR-200 (3-3-3-8 2-11-0-0)
Infineon (Siemens) AED660UD00-600C88X 512MB DDR PC2700U DDR-166 (2.5-3-3-7 2-10-0-0)]

-On-board sound
-Storage Devices >
+WDC WD800BB-00JHC0 80GB (ATA10:75GB (C:) FAT32
+WDC WD1600AVBB-00SYA0 (160GB, :149GB (D:) (E:) (F:) NTFS
+Toshiba StorE-Alu USB-HD 500.1GB:466GB (H:)

-Encore ENLTV-FM
-USB mouse
-ps2 keyboard

-Windows XP SP2

Everything was perfect until the 2nd week of May.One day my security software

went bad.Avast was deactivated and Spybot didn't work either.I think but can't recall for sure that it was when the RAM went wrong.But there's one episode I remember well.That special day I powered on the Voltage Stabilizer as always.The previous night I forgot to power off the power strip (where I plug monitor,modem and power supply) and also forgot to unplug the USB-HD.So when the power went on,WOW!,the USB-HD light flashed as never before.After that nothing seemed wrong.But some days later,when I went on with the routine of power on my pc,the BIOS sent that awful continuous sound of bad RAM.
After 3 intents,it finally got into Windows.Next time I powered on I had to do the 3

intents again.I went on a frenzy search of probable causes before declaring the RAM guilty.
Finally,I checked the sticks one by one,and the 1Gb was the culprit.After trying a parallel

installation with no luck,I sent it to the store and after a check they changed it.But when

I tried to use it,I couldn't.Even though the BIOS didn't sound bad(so the stick was ok) the

computer couldn't enter Windows as normal.
After some intents,and trying safe mode,the system sent a warning:"boot.ini file

corrupt" Ok,let's make a parallel installation...When it was installing files,it warned a file couldn't be copied.Retried and it went through the end.By the time it went into the

configuration steps,a BSOD appear(as with the previous parallel installation with the bad

RAM).But this time I took the time to read it:It sent an error of memory management.
I took the 1Gb memory stick out and left the 512Mb one alone.Sob...Previous new parallel install,I began searching for a cure for the last 15 days with not much luck.I was sure the MoBo was ruined and if I were lucky enough, it could be something that can be fixed by someone good at electronics.One day,trying everything, I run the scan from Crucial and the answered was:

* Maximum Memory Capacity: 524288 MB
* Currently Installed Memory: 512 MB
* Available Memory Slots: 1
* Total Memory Slots: 2
* Dual Channel Support: N.A.
* CPU Manufacturer: GenuineIntel
* CPU Family: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.26GHz Model 2, level 9
* CPU Speed: 2278 MHz

WHAT?!?! 524288Mb?!?!?!!

And yesterday I read somewhere someone was advised to reset the BIOS and another one to

upgrade it in cases similar to mine.

So here,finally,my (3) question(s):

1- Is there any possibility that a corrupted BIOS can cause this memory management

problem? Can this be the problem and not the motherboard itself?
If it's so,

2- what are the odds to upgrade or reinstall Award BIOS without any danger? I read

that even an expert can ruin the MoBo by doing that.But then I found a video tutorial in

YouTube using the Q-Flash in Gigabyte MoBos and it seemed so easy!....if the power doesn't

go off.My Gigabyte doesn't have dual BIOS as newer Gigabyte MoBos.

3- Someone knows of a complete tutorial about configuring a BIOS after reinstalling


Thanks in advance!


PS I don't know if this is normal,but now with only 512Mb when I plug
the USB-HD in one of the back 2.0 USB,the mouse in the frontal 1.1 USB freezes and I have to plug and unplug it every 15-30 seconds to use it.And I can't plug the scanner in the other frontal USB because the mouse become equally unresponsive than with the HD.

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The problem is that BIOS updates are usually uncalled for.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 10:06 AM PDT

If the BIOS went bad you only need to know it would fail (hard!) There is a checksum that would fail and you would see the usual CHECKSUM FAILURE on screen. In other words, that's not it.

AMI BIOS Beep Codes
*Computer gives 1 short beep when system boots successfully.
*Except for beep code 8, these codes are always fatal.
1 beep Refresh failure
2 beeps Parity error
3 beeps Base 64K memory failure
4 beeps Timer not operational
5 beeps Processor error
6 beeps 8042 - gate A20 failure
7 beeps Processor exception interrupt error
8 beeps Display memory read/write failure
9 beeps ROM checksum error
10 beeps CMOS shutdown register read/write error
11 beeps Cache memory bad

1 short: System boots successfully
2 short: CMOS setting error
1 long 1 short: DRAM or M/B error
1 long 2 short: Monitor or display card error
1 long 3 short: Keyboard error
1 long 9 short: BIOS ROM error
Continuous long beeps: DRAM error
Continuous short beeps: Power error
(source google.)

But I suggest you research BAD CAPS and do the inspection for such soon.

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Thanks for your quick response.
by ClaudiaWalky / June 21, 2010 12:57 PM PDT

Shrucks!I was hopeful to be able to fix it myself and forget about a technician.I will take my pc to one tomorrow.I was reading and they say is not easy to see when a bad cap is bad.And as you advised me,it's urgent to check it before it ruins everything.I will have to pray to see my computer back in a very short time.Thanks,R!

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So this left me to wonder.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 9:45 PM PDT

If you inspected it or not. I can't tell. A few members put this off and reloaded the OS a dozen times before they did the visual inspection.

As to not being able to tell, the good news is that when this is the problem, you see them in seconds.

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Yes, I did.
by ClaudiaWalky / June 22, 2010 1:46 PM PDT

But see nothing.I used a loupe and a flashlight but saw nothing obvious.But I?m backing up files to take the computer to the technician as soon as possible.
Did you expect I should've seen a leak or something evident? Nothing at all.No electrolytes or something looking like old batteries.They look clean(aside of the omnipresent dust)and with no bulges or anything else.They are flush to the board.I can't see anything abnormal.But I'm not a trained eye in this question.But I don't have a 20/20 sight! Haha!
Is there anything else you can think of as a cause of my computer misfortune? Thanks,R!

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Remember this looks to be 5 years old.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 23, 2010 8:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes, I did.

Which is sadly the design life of most PC parts today. While we can swap memory sticks, motherboards and CPUs the problem is that in a shop this can rack up a bill larger than a replacement machine.

Good you looked at the caps but next up is even more inspection. I have a microscope I can go over a board with (only 20 power) to look for board or solder fractures and see if any pins are bent in memory sockets. But today this rarely is used since a new board is the cheap fix versus labor.

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Yes,I know.Too old for computer standards.
by ClaudiaWalky / June 23, 2010 3:03 PM PDT

But I'm not ready to jump into a new acquisition right now.
When the shop gave me the new RAM in exchange for the faulty one,the technician told me they would need to inspect the mother if I still had problems.He mentioned the same things you told me as probable causes.I guess I have no other way out than taking my pc for an inspection.Let's see what they find.If they fix it,good.Just in case,I will begin to compare pros and cons of buying a new mother to keep the rest of the hardware(it isn't too expensive,it's an old model) and buying a whole new computer.
As soon as I know the cause of this strange behavior,I will post it.I always like to know how a mistery is solved,don't you?

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