Hardware Tips & Troubleshooting

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RAM Won't Work On New Motherboard

If you upgraded your motherboard and CPU to a brand new one, you might encounter with some RAM problems. Either the system seems slower or the total amount of RAM is displayed less than the actual amount during bootup (when you just power-up the computer).

The problem usually occur if you upgraded from a 486 to a Pentium or from non-EDO RAM to EDO. There are a few things you should know. In the older motherboards, you can slot in any RAM of any amount and run them smoothly. However, newer Pentium motherboards handle EDO RAMs differently. Every EDO RAM slots must run in pairs. For example, you can't plug in a 8 meg RAM with a 16 meg RAM and expect them to run together, producing 24 meg. Instead, you must have 2 RAM slots that contains the same amount of RAM (8 meg+8 meg or 16 meg+16 meg e.g) to have them running together.

Also a reminder, you can't plug in a single 32 meg RAM to produce 32 meg. You need 2 16 meg RAMs to produce that amount. So if you need 96 meg, you must fill the the RAM banks with a combination of (16+16 meg) + (32+32 meg). In shrt, every RAM must run in pairs. They must be placed side-by-side. You can't place a combination of 16+32+16+32 to get 64 meg. You need to place the same amount side-by-side like this: 16+16+32+32. Most motherboard has 4 empty banks for you to place your RAM. Newer motherboards has 6 empty banks. Still, you have to run them in pairs.

Older motherboards and non-EDO RAM don't have to run under this principle. That is why when you upgrade to a newer motherboard, it might not work. Now, back to the problem. Open the cover of your PC and check whether you RAMs are place in pairs side-by-side or not. If not, rearrange them. If you found out you have a combination of a mixture of amounts like: 4+4+8+16 meg, you have to plug one out, buy a new matching one, and replace it. (In this case, take out the 8 meg and by a new 16 meg to produce 4+4+16+16. You can take out the 16 and buy an 8 but that will be downgrading, isn't it?)

This should solve the problem. Also another reminder. SDRAMs don't have to run in pairs. Older motherboard only has 1 empty bank for SDRAM (however, newer ones have more banks). If you want 64 SDRAM, just buy one single 64 SDRAM slot, plug it out, and there you are! But, remember, SDRAM won't work together with EDO. If you plug them in together, the computer will either identify the amount of EDO RAM or SDRAM you have, not both. And it will also only utilize one of them.

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