Going from 2GB to 4GB of RAM prevents boot up? What's going on?

By pcgamer808
May 30, 2008
  1. First off, my specs:

    WIndows XP Pro (SP3)
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe (Wireless Edition)
    2GB DDR2 800 (PC6400) - OCZ OCZ2N800SR2GK (More on this later)
    PNY 8800 GTS 640 MB (OC to 660/1010)
    AMD 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz (OC to 3.21)
    CORSAIR 620
    Some lame 80GB IDE along with a plain DVD drive (IDE)

    Here's the situation. I've been playing on this thing for over a year already with no problems after the initial setup. Just recently I got a hold of Age of Conan and thought maybe it was time to step up on my RAM since the game requires 2GB and I wanted to go a bit over to ensure smooth gameplay.

    So what I did was I went back to where I bought the PC in the first place and placed a second order for the exact same RAM which is the 2GB of OCZ stuff which was about $28 after rebates, I couldn't say no.

    It comes in today and I put it in, only to find that it doesn't work. I can't boot up with all four in. No post, just black screen. I've had a successful boot with 3 sticks, but that quickly ended as soon as the Windows login screen came up. I've tried the two new sticks alone and they allow boot up - I've tried putting them in all of the four slots to make sure none of my slots are bad, and all slots seem to be fine.

    The thing that's really puzzling me here is that all four of these sticks should be identical. They look the same, share the same model name, and even have the same timings, so why on earth won't they boot up together?

    In another test, I tried using one old stick, one new stick, in dual channel. It worked for a while, long enough for me to install SP3 to see if that'd do the trick, but upon reboot after the SP3 installation, I got a post, went to Windows login and immediately bluescreened to a restart. Can't get it to work.

    As of now I'm just using my two old sticks and I'm thinking it could be that the RAM is bad. Am I missing something here or should I just RMA the junk?

    P.S. - I do realize that using 4GB in XP 32-bit means I'll miss out on a bit of RAM, but at $28 for these new sticks, I don't mind sitting on 3.2GB.

    Thanks in advance!

    Going to take a nap. I'll check up when I'm back.
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Lots of systems have this problem... It is a Windows XP issue with certain motherboard... They max out at 3.5 GB allowed. If you want to use all four, switch to a 64 bit version, or change the board.
  3. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    I agree

    I'll just add,
    Does this motherboard take 4 GB.You have to be sure of this.
    Read the manual about your ram slot sizes. allowed.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,467   +1,760

    Cantankerous.......It Is.....

    See if you can find a memory map of your board. That'll show you if the board is 32 or 64 bits in BIOS. You probably don't want to hear this, (I know I wouldn't), but the most you might be able to get to post is 2 1GB sticks, with 2 512MB sticks.

    XP 32 bit really likes 2GBs, not so much more than that. You have to implement the "3 Gigabyte switch" or it will not even allow programs to use the additional memory past 2GB. Anyway, you might be a little disappointed, since the system will likely improve from great to great plus a little, not from great to fantastic like I think you're hoping it will.
  5. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    The answer is here Deluxe&SLanguage=en-us
    Link didn't seem to work,.You have to cut and paste the whole line above to us Deluxe&SLanguage=en-us
    Try this on if it's all blue.Both work,click first named 4 GB.

    heres the FAQ answer
    If you installed total 4GB memory, the system will detect less than 4GB of total memory because of address space allocation for other critical functions, such as:

    - System BIOS (including motherboard, add-on cards, etc..)
    - Motherboards resources
    - Memory mapped I/O
    - configuration for AGP/PCI-Ex/PCI
    - Other memory allocations for PCI devices

    Different onboard devices and different add-on cards (devices) will result of different total memory size.
    e.g. more PCI cards installed will require more memory resources, resulting of less memory free for other uses.

    On a SLI system, since PCI-Ex graphic cards will occupy around 256MB, another 256MB will be occupied after you install a 2nd PCI-Ex graphic card. Hence, 2.75GB memory left only if two SLI cards installed on A8N-SLI Premium while 3.0GB memory left with one graphic card without other add-on devices.

    This limitation applies to most chipsets & Microsoft Windows 32-bit version operating systems.

    If you install Windows 32-bit version operating system, we recommend that you install less than 3GB of total memory. If more than 3GB memory is required for your system, then below two conditions must be met:
    1. The memory controller which supports memory swap functionality is used. Chipsets later than Intel 975X, 955X, Nvidia NF4 SLI Intel Edition, Nvidia NF4 SLI X16, and AMD K8 CPU architecture support memory swap function.
    2. Windows 64-bit OS which can address more than 4GB memory.

    You can check below URLs for reference:
  6. pcgamer808

    pcgamer808 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the responses.

    Again I'd like to state that I know I will be getting less than 4 GB of RAM if I get it to work, I'm not worried about that. The problem here is that I can't get the system to start up with 4GB installed.

    And regarding zipperman's post - My manual tells me similar things regarding the 3GB recommended for WINXP32bit, but it also says the warning is just because the system won't actually be able to make use of all 4GB and shouldn't cause any usage problems at all.

    So I'll check up on the RAM slot sizes. It's strange because my room mate has a lower quality Gigabyte board and it accepts all 4GB of RAM and starts up. I think this particular ASUS board that I have was one of the higher quality boards that was around at that time.

    I just checked the manual and it says that the system supports up to 8GB in certain OSes, while XP 32-bit can support up to 4GB - whether it be 2x2GB or 4x1GB sticks.

    This is starting to drive me nuts. This RAM is pretty good and I'd like to put it to use :( I've even updated the BIOS.

    Thanks again for responses. Please if anyone else has any idea what's going on, let me know!
  7. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Another option

    asus support is very good at replying to problems.Send them a report.
    You may have a faulty board.If it's still warranted,exchange it.
    But see what they suggest.
    You have proven 4 gb is useable.What sizes are you useing ?
    I was told in earlier mbds with 4 slots and useing 2,to use slots 1 and 3.
    This was from a Repair Man i know.So if you have 2 sticks x 2 gb,give it a try.
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    The answer is to put two modules of 1 gb, and 2 modules of 512 mb each. That answer has been previously give as a known solutions. Some motherboard, but certainly not all, will refuse to load if they have 4 GB of memory installed.
  9. pcgamer808

    pcgamer808 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    To Zipperman -
    I have 4x1GB sticks and four available slots. I'm not sure about my warrantee, but I'll check up on that, thanks. I'll try giving the help center there a buzz.

    Unfortunate about the 2x1GB and 2x512MB being the only way some boards get to work... I'll see what they say over at ASUS. I can't return the RAM at this point because it functions properly and it was my fault for not checking so I'll just have to live with it.

    Thanks to everyone for their input. I guess it really just lies in ASUS' hands now.
  10. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    So my The answer is here
    didn't explain it ? Use the link to go right to your mbd.
    Read it there then.Same message i copied and pasted here.
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