More RAM or more serious upgrade

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Erebus

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Feb 23, 2019
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Hello there,

I tried to post just after I registered my account, but it seems my post has been discarded without any explanation. So I'm posting it again.

I have a rather old PC which has been gradually updated. So some of its parts (HDDs, PSU) are decent, some more or less alright (video card, CPU) and some are pretty much junk. I've removed a floppy drive from this computer around a month ago.


The CPU is Core 2 Duo E6850 @ 3.00GHz.

But my motherboard only accepts DDR2 non-ECC unbuffered memory up to 8GB and has only two slots. Currently I have 4GB (2x2GB).

Generally speaking I am satisfied with my PC, I can browse the Web, watch videos, do some software development. But recently I've started to bump into problems. Web sites have become bulkier and IDE (IntelliJ IDEA) allocates more memory.

An obvious solution would be to add more RAM. But 2x4GB of non-ECC unbuffered DDR2 memory for Intel chipsets costs around 100 USD on eBay. (Less from China, more from the UK.)

Basically I'm considering two options:

  1. Buy 8GB of second-hand RAM for $70-$150 of eBay.
  2. Replace motherboard, RAM and CPU.

Caveat: I want to move to a foreign country in a couple of years, and I can't take my desktop PC with me. So I do not want a serious investment into my PC.

Also I do not want to reinstall software, which I'll have to do, if I pick the second option.

Which option is more practical?
 

vger

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Jul 21, 2016
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Hello

Since you are satisfied with your pc i would think just adding more ram would be a way to go. If you buy a mobo you will need new hardware to go with that mobo (ram,gpu,maybe a new psu...etc)

Also $75+ seems to be a bit high for that ram..
 

Erebus

PCHF Member
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Feb 23, 2019
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Well if you go to eBay, you'll get lots of 2x4GB lots for ~$20. But all of them have a notice: AMD chipsets only. I have an Intel chipset and need non-ECC unbuffered memory. I once purchased such a lot of eBay. The RAM cards do fit into the slot but the PC does not boot. I tried tinkering with BIOS setting to no avail.
 

Erebus

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Feb 23, 2019
10
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Hello again,
I've tried to tinker with my 2x4GB RAM chips again. No luck. The system does not even boot, no even BIOS config.

My chipset is:
  • Northbridge: Intel® G31
  • Southbridge: Intel® ICH7

RAM timings on my working 2x2GB RAM are: 5-5-5-15

I've tried to set timings manually. But as far as I understand the computer should boot to BIOS setup at least.
 

Bruce

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Oct 8, 2017
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Just to get my head around this, your 2x2gb setup was working, you changed to 2x4gb which didn’t work, and now even going back to 2x2gb isn’t working?

And it sounds like you have changed bios settings as well.

If that’s all true, I’d be resetting the bios back to defaults and using the 2x2gb hardware until I know the pc is stable again.

Of course now the rub is to get the pc started is seems.

Make sure the ram contacts are clean and the mono slots. Then just use one chip at a time to get the pc booted.

Also remove, clean and reseat other components like graphics card and CPU.
 

Erebus

PCHF Member
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Feb 23, 2019
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Ouch, sorry for ambiguity. My system has always been working and still works with my 2x2GB chips.

It does not work with my 2x4GB chips. (Yes, I've tried them one at a time, each.) I do not have any other computer where 2x4GB chips could be tested.

An article linked by gus states
Therefore, while DDR3 and DDR4 (and most DDR2) will usually work interchangeably between platforms
. I have DDR2, the question is which memory parameters (timings etc.) should I look for to get compatible RAM. Also what are signs of RAM incompatibility? Should the system boot and crash? Should I get any beeps? Post codes? Albeit I do not have a POST code card, or how is that device called.
 

phillpower2

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Support Team
Sep 9, 2016
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Can you post the brand and model name or number of the MB for us so we can check the specs, being an older board it may not accept 4GB sticks of RAM.
 

Erebus

PCHF Member
PCHF Member
Feb 23, 2019
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My motherboard does support memory up to 8GB.

I've just purchased 2 more 4GB modules. These modules are explicitly specified as compatible by the motherboard manufacturer. (The manufacturer provides a list of compatible RAM modules.) Let us wait for a couple of weeks and let the modules to arrive. I was able to purchase them for less than 30 EUR.

Thanks for educating me on that "AMD only RAM" issue.
 

phillpower2

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Sep 9, 2016
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Thanks, only two reasons that I can see why the 4GB sticks will not work, they are below the minimum 667MHz speed required by the CPU or both sticks of RAM are bad.

I've just purchased 2 more 4GB modules. These modules are explicitly specified as compatible by the motherboard manufacturer. (The manufacturer provides a list of compatible RAM modules.)
That is called the QVL (qualified vendors list) and on your boards QVL I could see five Xs 4GB stick options listed, never heard of one of the brands so hope that what you have purchased is from either G-Skill, Kingston or OCZ in that order.

I've tried to set timings manually. But as far as I understand the computer should boot to BIOS setup at least.
Incorrect settings in the BIOS can exhibit various symptoms depending on what is being affected and you only get error beeps if there is an onboard speaker, a black screen and no error beep is normally a sign of failed hardware.
 

Erebus

PCHF Member
PCHF Member
Feb 23, 2019
10
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Received my 2x4GB Kingston modules today. Tried to plug them into my PC. I was so sure that everything will go fine that replaced the screws on the case.

No luck.

The system does not work with the 8GB RAM, still does work fine with 4GB though.

The modules are Kingston KVR800D2N6/4G.

I tried them in all combinations. One module at a time, in different slots etc.

I tried them in combination with my working 2GB modules. Only the working module is recognized.
I tried to reset BIOS settings (CMOS?).

I tried different BIOS settings, not all of them though. There are way too many combinations ;-)

P.S.

While tinkering I accidentally squeezed one of the PSU wires between the RAM module clip and the RAM module itself. Seems it is just an insulation dent and everything still works fine. I do not want to cut the wire and resolder.

Symptoms are still the same. The system does not boot, no beeps, no display output.
 

Erebus

PCHF Member
PCHF Member
Feb 23, 2019
10
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Still does not work. I've returned the modules back to the seller, they are on their way back. My guess is that the modules were counterfeit.

The seller listed the modules as "AMD only", though they were on my motheboard's compatibility list. Perhaps I'll buy a new motherboard. I hope DDR3 or even DDR4 ram has better throughput not just sheer volume.

This thread can be closed. Thanks everyone.
 
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