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BIOS not detecting all memory

By kamotto ·
My system (Azza motherboard model 5VMD, VIA MVP3) will not read more than 196 MB of RAM even though I have 256 MB installed. Each stick will read the full 128 MB if I put them in by themselves. But if I have both installed together, system only reads 196 MB. This happened with several different brands of RAM. I made sure that they are both 16x64, PC100 (1 stick is from Crucial, the other from KByte). The BIOS is Award v 4.51 PG, and it reports SDRAM 8 ns in 2 banks. Could it be a setting that's off? Should I update the BIOS?

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by TheChas In reply to BIOS not detecting all me ...

The web site that I found for Azza was useless.
No information about older products, and NO downloads.

A BIOS update "MAY" be the answer IF the update specifically addresses a RAM limit.

If my memory is working right, this is a socket 7 motherboard?

If so, it is VERY possible that there are some bizarre RAM limitations.

I recall a number of strange RAM limits on early DIMM motherboards.
I had one that allowed up to 128MB in the first 2 DIMM slots, but would only use the 3rd DIMM slot if ALL DIMMs were 32MB or less.

What I believe you are hitting, is the address limit of the memory controller on the motherboard.
If so, there is NO update or work-around.

If you decide to look into a BIOS update, make sure that the BIOS is for the exact motherboard that you have.

Since Azza does not have any downloads, you may be stuck with a 3rd party BIOS seller.
Unicore software www.unicore.com sells customized BIOS for nearly all motherboards.
Expect to pay around $70 US for a new BIOS.

Chas

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by TheChas In reply to

Finally found some info on the MVP3 chip-set.

http://www.via.com.tw/en/apollo/MVP3.jsp

Looks like it supports up to 768MB of RAM.
So, any limits would be from the BIOS code, or the motherboard manufacture NOT using all of the address lines.

Chas

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by TheChas In reply to

Hi,

Got your message.

I would not spend money for a BIOS update.
If you can find a BIOS update that is for your specific motherboard, it would not hurt to flash the BIOS.
Just be sure to follow ALL precautions in the instructions.

I keep on hand a 128MB single density SDRAM DIMM. I use this as a test module to verify if a suspect motherboard has RAM limits, or just cannot address higher density RAM.

I suggest that you search for some older technology DIMMs and switch to those.
A pair of double sided (chips on both sides) 128MB DIMMs should do the job for you.

Your slowdown is likely caused by problems on the data bus related to the extra RAM that is not being seen.

Running with RAM that is not properly recognized by the BIOS is sort of like installing double wide drag slicks on an old Volkswagen Beetle.
Yes, the wheels still turn, but the extra weight and width of the large tires actually slows the system down.

Chas

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by kamotto In reply to

Poster rated this answer.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to BIOS not detecting all me ...

brands won't matter imho but 'kind' will. bet you have the wrong kind. double-check you bought the right ones by calling or visiting memory websites

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by kamotto In reply to

Thanks for your answer...I know I have the right "kind" - I triple checked and even tried different brands...

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by kamotto In reply to BIOS not detecting all me ...

Chaz

Thanks for your informative and knowledgeable answer. I too, had gone to the Azza website and found it useless. They have yet to reply to my e-mail, and I am not expecting them to. Since my post I added a 64MB stick in the 3rd bank and now I get 256MB (it's still not detecting all memory, but I was considering just living with it, except that now the PC seems SLOWER!).

Based on what I just told you and what you said about the BIOS, do you think an upgrade is in order, if I can find one that addresses the RAM issue?

I am going to give you the 125 points for your answer, plus a bonus if you continue to help me sort this through. I really appreciate your time.

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by kamotto In reply to BIOS not detecting all me ...

This question was closed by the author

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by kamotto In reply to BIOS not detecting all me ...

Thanks, Chas...

I am going to see if I can find the low density modules. I think that's the trick...

Again, thanks for all your help, and happy holidays.

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