TechSpot

RAM Woes

By Shandolyn
Dec 7, 2008
  1. My laptop recently fried it's video card on me (thus resulting in it needing a new motherboard) and so here I am forced to use the "spare" computer.

    I surf the Internet (which I can still do on the laptop) and I play WoW (which I cannot do on the laptop).

    The spare computer is an emachines W3503. It uses standard 3200 DDR RAM, upgradable to 2GB. Additionally, I want to upgrade the video card (there is a PCI-E slot onboard), however I wanted to see if a RAM upgrade would suffice or at least to see how it ran with just a RAM upgrade. I realize this machine is not wonderful, and I don't want to put a lot of money in it, but it's all I can do at the present because I can't afford to go buy a new system or to pay the $400-600 to replace my laptop's motherboard.

    So I went and bought two 1GB memory sticks. I get home and install it, power on the system and the monitor won't connect. The self test is all that shows on the monitor. I reseat the sticks, switch them around, run one in one slot alone, then switch, etc. etc. Finally I put the old craptastic 512 stick back in the thing and it powers up normally, monitor and all. Another thing I noticed when I had the new RAM installed was that the fan sounded like it was about to become airborne. It was NOT loud due to the cover being off alone, this was notable noise. The fan sounded normal, it was just really loud.

    I really am not sure what is going on with it. I've heard of bad memory sticks being bad right out of the package, but what are the odds that TWO of them are?

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm about at my wits end with these machines. :confused:
     
  2. BorisandBailey

    BorisandBailey TS Enthusiast Posts: 154

    I think my head would be spinning in circles over this. I looked at the specs of your computer and it looks like you've done everything correctly. Just to double-check, here are the specs I found:

    RAM

    * Installed Size 512.0 MB / 2.0 GB (max)
    * Technology DDR SDRAM
    * Memory speed 400.0 MHz
    * Memory specification compliance PC3200
    * RAM form factor DIMM 184-pin
    * RAM configuration features 1 x 512 MB

    I have had trouble with one stick of memory being bad and I suppose two sticks could be bad as well. Perhaps replacing them with a different brand may solve the problem. One thing I found with one computer with a RAM problem was that I didn't have it as securely fastened as it should have been. I'm a bit of a klutz but a slight nudge and a click can make all the difference.

    I'm surprised at the price of laptop motherboards! I was not aware of that.
     
  3. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

    .


    Question: these new sticks, do they carry a sticker with a Voltage on them ?
    ( some need more than others, more than the industry spec default)

    With the old sticks in your system, you could alter the Vmem in BIOS (try with +0.1 V added to start with)

    Then shutdown, switch to the new sticks and reboot ...


    .
     
  4. Shandolyn

    Shandolyn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    BandB: I'm assuming that at least once during the entire ordeal that it was seated properly. Like I said, I did this numerous times to no avail. And yes, my head is spinning in circles...I'm wondering if I have a headache from that or the beating it against the wall. Additionally, I tried muttering cuss words at it and that didn't help either. :dead:

    For my particular laptop, yeah I priced the mobos for it from $400-600. I even found one at some place for over a grand, but I figure that was just highly overpriced and didn't even bother including it. Just FYI, my laptop is an hp zd8230us. From what I've found out on google searches and hp's own site, this thing was improperly engineered for the cooling system and they're notorious for burning out the 3D accelerators on the integrated video cards. There was talk of a lawsuit on some old threads (most were dated at least two years back), but I don't think it ever went anywhere. If anyone recalls, there was a lawsuit for about the same problem with the zd7000 series laptops and hp had to fix them. I just really hate that this happened to the thing. Even with it being three years old it was a damn fine machine and ran the game perfectly. I'm wondering if they are that high due to the supplies folks being aware of this problem and trying to rake in money for it or what. This is the first laptop I've ever owned and thus the only reason I've had to do price checks on motherboards, so I don't know how the comparison is with other models as far as price goes.

    noor: I see nothing on these sticks that indicates the voltage. Not sure if that is coded somewhere into the numerous numbers that are on the stickers or what.

    This is what I've got sticker-wise on the sticks:

    Side one: Bar code sticker
    AVM6428U52C3400KX-XP (above the barcode)
    122100-4521-111808MM (below the barcode, along with a "Void if Removed" warning)
    1GB DDR DIMM 400MHZ

    Side two: Another bar code
    MYD-1GB400 (under the barcode)

    And that does it for the sticker info.

    I'm at work at the moment and can't do anything to my computer (yes, WoW addicts CAN hold jobs!). I'm going to take it back today and exchange it in hopes that both of these things are bad and that the new ones work when I put them in. If they don't I'll try your suggestion and see how that does. If THAT doesn't work I'll probably just take it in to the shop and have them look at it or something. I mean it's a simple RAM installation; it shouldn't be this damned complicated!
     
  5. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

    .


    I don't know where you bought those sticks from, but none of the numbers/codes you posted can be retraced to a maker/page ...
    Very odd !

    If you can, swap them for 2 others from a known maker like Kingston, Apacer or any of the better known ...


    .
     
  6. Shandolyn

    Shandolyn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well I bought them at a local computer chain. Not a mom-and-pop type deal but not as big as Best Buy or Circuit City. We have several of these stores in NC, but they are nowhere else that I'm aware of.

    As I stated before, I know the computer is not an "investment" and therefore don't want to put a lot of money into it. The store I bought the memory at was priced at about $60 less per stick than the other two places mentioned above, so it is probably generic/offbrand RAM I suppose. I really am not sure if they even carry any other brand, but they may.

    I REALLY don't want to drop $200 on RAM. Especially for THAT computer. But I guess if the thing wants to be difficult and not accept it I'll have to do that or else suffer through lag and slowness while playing.
     
  7. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

    .


    The brands I mentioned are low-priced ones; it might just be because they are DDR (not DDR2) that they are now back up again in price ...

    I would look for a good set of DDR RAM on a reputable computer parts website if I needed DDR RAM for an older system.
    If you can get a set of sticks that have proved they are OK, then you 're there and you won't pay over the odds.

    Have you checked family and friends for parts from their old PC's ?

    What type and make of motherboard are they for ?


    .
     
  8. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

    .

    I know certain boards of those days were picky (to very picky) on RAM make and type !

    Certainly the ones with the first families of nVidia chipsets (the first with dual channel, etc.) come to mind ...


    .
     
  9. Shandolyn

    Shandolyn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I honestly have no idea off the top of my head. I ran an Everest on it yesterday but of course that information is at home on that computer.

    Intel(r) GC11010M (Grant County 1) is what's in the BIOS update ReadMe on emachines site.

    As for friends/family with old computers, that's pretty much a no-go. None of them really do anything on there that would constitute them to upgrade their systems and none of them are gamers. My family basically use their systems for internet surfing and Kodak easy-share cameras. Very vanilla, no frills type stuff. My parents, for instance, have had the same computer for oh, 7-8 years now.
     
  10. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

  11. Shandolyn

    Shandolyn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hot. Already got some picked out on a site.

    Going to take this RAM back and see if they carry any other brand at the store. If not I'll be ordering some of the Kingston today. Hopefully it is "compatible" or whatever with the computer.

    I'll update when I find out!
     
  12. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

    .


    I know from experience, that we used Kingston extensively (at my then job) to put in Compaq and IBM computers ...

    I think you can't go wrong with Kingston; good quality and reliable.


    .
     
  13. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

    .

    I 've checked the motherboard; it 's a real Intel motherboard ...

    I think a set of Kingston stick should do very well on that.

    I would certainly put the new sticks in on their own; not mixing them with the old ones.
    ( certainly on their own to start off with / testing )

    If you 've never altered anything in that system's BIOS settings, it should still be on 'Auto' regarding f.e. the memeory timings and Voltage settings / maybe you can check that out, just to make sure of that ...

    My searches came to this board: http://www.intel.com/products/motherboard/D101GGC/index.htm
    ( the number you gave points to a BIOS version for this Intel Motherboard ...
    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Filter_Results.aspx?strTypes=all&ProductID=2229&OSFullname=OS+Independent&strOSs=38

    here 's another Computer Profile Summary that points to the same Board: http://forums.techguy.org/networking/558233-solved-new-e-machine-will.html


    .
     
  14. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    e-crap machines are talked about ad naseum here on TS. when the PSUs blow - they also tend to take out the motherboard.
     
  15. Shandolyn

    Shandolyn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Went and swapped out the RAM last night at the computer shop. They tested the two I'd bought the other day and found that they were good, and swapped them out with a different brand. (FYI Noor: the old sticks are the "house" brand of a place called All Components.) Anyhoo I was feeling particularly gutsy and went ahead and bought a video card for it as well.

    Got home, installed the RAM, powered the thing up and it recognized it. Cut it off and installed the video card and that was installed without incident as well, unless you count me being absent minded and forgetting to hook the monitor into it.

    WoW runs perfectly on it too. Hopefully this will get me through until I can get a better machine after Christmas is over!

    Thanks for all your help and insight with this though, I'm glad it was an easy fix!
     
  16. noorman

    noorman TS Rookie Posts: 16

    .


    I 'm glad too you got it fixed this easy !

    If you want to make sure about the new RAM, you can run Super-Pi and also one of the tests of Prime95 (there 's one specifically for memory testing).
    If the RAM gets through those without crashing the applications, you can be sure your game won't crash because of unreliable RAM !

    I am one of a group of enthusiasts that use our hardware to the full with Folding@Home (for Stanford University) and we use those programs to test our computer builds before we let them run F@H; this because that appl. runs the CPU to nearly 100% usage 24/7 and also asks a lot of the RAM of a system !
    If we want a stable and reliable system running F@H, it needs to be completely tested, from PSU to CPU and RAM to Cooling performance ...

    Super-Pi

    Prime95 - 32-bit


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