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Why would the BIOS return a memory error on a random DIMM slot?

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Merlin the Wiz

This problem sounds like a mis-match between the BIOS and the embedded pre-CPU controller firmware. I check for and update the BIOS. After reading all of the notes available on the changes made to the BIOS. With todays motherboard designs, I doubt if the CPU has not initialized when you get this error. Particularly since pressing the power on/off button causes the error to step from one memory slot to another. The motherboard manufacturer (not Dell) may have a flash firmware fix for this problem, but finding the manufacturer may cost more in time than the whole computer is worth. I ahva seen similar problems due to defective surface mount capacitors. Good Luck!