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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an old Dell Dimension L500r here running XP on only 128 Megs of RAM. It has two SDRAM memory slots and only one occupied so I added another 128-Meg chip; but, it is not recognized by the system. I changed to another memory chip and still, it will not see the extra chip.

The chips I have tried are a PC66 and a PC100. The processor is a Pentium III, 500 MHz.

I checked the BIOS and there is no way in there to change memory settings so I guess it is supposed to see the memory automatically.

Suggestions please.
 

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Replace old SDRAM with 2 new ones of same type... or a single 512mb stick. NOTE: to make sure the RAM is compatible, pull the original and see if the NEW one works.

Dells are like that...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I looked at Crucial and they don't reference memory for this machine by model number. They do have 16x64 for $22; but, since the machine will not see the 16x64 I added, I am hesitant to order (don't get calls for SDRAM anymore).

I could get a 256 for $80 and a 512 for probably twice as much; but, this old unit isn't worth that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
He had a machine there running Windows 98 that had 192 Megs of RAM, about 128 Megs more than it needed. We removed the 128 from it and tried it in the old Dell and it worked. We buttoned both machines back up and all is well.

Still, it bothers me that I had two memory chips that would not work even though they were an exact configuration match to the original, 16x64 (8 chips on each side of each stick).
 

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According to the tech specs for the L500r (http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dmum/specs.htm#memory) it should be able to use non-ECC 100MHz SDRAM in 32, 64, 128, 256, and 512MB sizes. The maximum memory is 512Mb total, although a BIOS update might have increased that to 1024Mb (1Gb) since the motherboard does accept a 512Mb stick of memory.

While Dell uses standard memory, occasionally there are instances where a particular type or size of memory won't work with a particular system. It is possible something in the configuration of that memory is why it did not work. Unfortunately there are a large number of memory manufacturers, and Dell is not able to test all brands/types with every system, so non-Dell branded memory cannot be guaranteed to work (although it should).

If you had any other questions on this I will be happy to answer them.

Larry
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't run into this in years but I have twice in the last week. I had another today in which I tried all eighteen SDRAM chips I had in my box and not one of them would work. I had double-sided, single-sided, four-chip, eight-chip, two-chip, PC-66, PC-100, PC-133, just about every kind you could think of and nothing worked.

By the way, the one today was another Dell of about the same vintage as the first one.
 

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It could be some very odd-ball Dell compatiblity issue. While on SPEC it SHOULD work - but Dell CAN easily set up the PC to only work with certain memory.

Now from what *I* can see - that Dell needs PC100 memory. On most standard mobos, if you install newer PC133, the systems can slow it to PC100 and live with it. BUT on DELLS, that becomes a possible issue - as you are having now. ALSO - if you actually FIND new sticks of PC100, 95% of the time - they are simply relabled PC133 - so try older sticks if possible.

This is why a lot of us techies do NOT buy Dells. But they are a lot better (generic) nowadays...
 

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Alex, re-reading your original post I thought of something to try and narrow down where the problem is.

You originally list the computer as having 1 stick of memory, and you added a second. What happens if you move the original 128Mb stick to the other DIMM slot on the motherboard? Also, what happens if you remove the original stick, and put the second one in its place (in the same slot)?

These two tests will verify, 1) whether the second slot works with known good memory and 2) whether the second stick of memory will work in a slot we know works.

PC133 should automatically down clock to match the board, but with a Dimension that old I'm not really sure. I am going to bug a friend of mine that has worked Dimension support for a while (my background is more with the notebooks) to see if he knows of any compatibility problems with memory on that system. I'll let you know what I find out.

Larry
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I didn't mention it above; but, I did try that. It made no difference; I just got missing-memory beeps.

These are quite old Dells. In the case of the first one, we finally found a 128 in the other of his old computers. In the case of the second one, I advised the lady to get a new computer. She agreed. It was a Dell running XP on 128 RAM and a Celeron processor. I am appalled that Dell would let that combination of weak processor and grossly insufficient RAM clear their door.
 

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Dell has been doing it for years. I've seen the ADs on TV for such machines

"Get a great Dell starting at $349.99!!" - but the stats on screen did state: celeron CPU, 128mb RAM, 40GB HD. By the time it was upgraded to something usable - it would be $600~800 easily.
 

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my guess is your slot is fubar
 

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Alex Ethridge said:
I don't know what fubar is; but from my post of 03-Jan-2007 05:42 AM
old WWII movie slang, so you know that the slot works, at least with a 128mb stick? that wasnt that clear to me.
 

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Glad to hear you found memory for the first one. I was starting to think the second slot was bad on its motherboard.

For the second system, an upgrade was probably the best way to go. As far as I know Dell did not ship Windows XP on systems that old, and at the time it was purchased 128Mb of memory was probably a decent amount for a normal email-and-web-only computer user.

As for options in systems, yes, Dell does offer computers with minimal amounts of memory and hard drive space. However, this is because there are actually a decent percentage of people that only want that much in a computer, for a number of different reasons (cost, intended use, etc). Systems with more memory or drive space (or other upgraded components) are for people that either want to have, or know they need, the best they can get.

And for those that were curious, the acronyms are:
SNAFU - Situation Normal, All F'd Up
FUBAR - F'd Up Beyond All Recognition

They are both actual military created/used terms ;)
 
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