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Adding RAM

By dmeisse ·
I have an old PC I have added RAM (12 to donate and it doesn't see it. It is an 166 with 30 GB HD. It had a 32 and a 16 which were replaced with 2 64's. It only sees 32MB, any ideas?

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by Jaqui In reply to Adding RAM

did you check the bios to make sure it's updating?
that is usually the problem.
also would try to flash the bios with any needed updates to it for the hardware on the system.

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by willcomp In reply to Adding RAM

What type of memory is it? SDRAM, 168 pin EDO, or 72 pin SIMM?

Since it is obviouly an older motherboard, 168 pin memory would probably be EDO rather than SDRAM. If 72 pin SIMMs, limit may be memory channel capacity (although most Pentium motherboards will accept 64MB SIMMs).

Motherboard manufacturer and model might help also.


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by TheChas In reply to Adding RAM

Since you had 2 different size RAM modules to start with, I assume that the motherboard accepts both 72 pin SIMM modules and 168 pin DIMM modules.

In the early days of DIMM modules, a lot of bizarre limitations existed.

"Typically", these motherboards all required low density double sided DIMM modules.
Some even required specific clock lines and CAS latency rates.

I still have an old socket 7 motherboard with a 32MB per DIMM limitation.

I recall a Gateway system that had a 16MB per DIMM SDRAM limit. But could run 64MB EDO DIMM modules.

If the motherboard does have 72 pin SIMM sockets, I suggest that you install 4 32MB EDO SIMMs to end up with 128MB of RAM.


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by OTL In reply to Adding RAM

I like the above answers (update Bios, verify maximum ram for the system)

Reverse the Ram and see if it goes up or (Woe is the bad stick) sees nothing for ram. Then try individually to see if one works better than the other. Saw this on an EDO system required one specific Simm to be in the primary slot and even then system was unstable (one was almost good and the other was trash), all new (server grade) fixed it completely. May find one useable and the with the 32 Meg it would expand your system a great deal ! (96 Meg sounds better than 48 Meg)

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Adding RAM

With some of those old M'Boards you had to use either SDRAM or the 72 pin stuff you could not mix and match. Some also had a voltage jumper for different voltages as well, it's been a long time since I've looked at one of those so I'm not sure what the voltages where.

But for starters remove all but one stick of SDRAM and then on boot up go into BIOS and see how much RAM is visible to the system. If it is exactly what you fitted then shut down and remove it and install another stick and repeat the procedure again.

If you only see half of the installed RAM capacity you have fitted High Density RAM to a Low Density M'Board and it will be unable to read half of the available RAM and be unstable as well.

Now if you are using the 72 pin RAM from memory you need two sticks fitted for it to work so if it will not boot up you have a bad stick and it might require a bit of fiddling about to get it to work. A 166 will work perfectly OK on 48 MEG which sounds like SDRAM provided you are only running 95-98 or an early version of NT more would be nice but isn't really necessary and may even be impossible to get working on that particular M'Board.

If you have the M'Board book read it to see if there are any size limitations on RAM as different M'Boards had different capacities and limits particularly if they had 72 and 168 pin RAM Sockets. If you do not have the M'Board book boot the computer and pause on the POST Screen and write down the BIOS String on the bottom of the screen and the maker of the BIOS which should be to wards the top of the screen. You can then visit the BIOS Makers Web Site and decipher the meaning of the string as it has the model number and maker in it. You can then visit their Web Site if they are still around and download a manual for that M'Board.

If that is of no help you can visit

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

To find out the maker and model number of the board but the maker may no longer be around depending on actually who made the M'Board.

I hope that is of some help.

Lets know how you get on.


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by RCOM In reply to Adding RAM

If it only reads half the RAM there is a conflict with the type you instlled. You need to find matching RAM.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to Adding RAM

no points, i just want to thank all the repliers for the fascintating tutorial on RAM. I always shudder inwardly when I have to upgrade RAM. If possible, this is one time when I really hope i can find the manual. first I go to the mfg website and look for specs for adding RAM and/or the manual. If too old or unidentifyable I visit and email or call them. Haven't done this for year or so so can't say how it goes now but when I use them they help me lots and lots and lots. they just need bios number. saves time. also am using good prices, excellent service, decent return policy, reasonalbly quick ship. they specialize in parts for laptops...
thanks again to all for the valuable information about RAM. you guys are amazing to me. regards, Sgt

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by wlbowers In reply to Adding RAM

Some older pc's had a size limit on the ram modules.


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