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Frequently Asked Questions

Will adding more memory improve Web-Browsing?
Internet browsing speed depends on several factors, including your modem connection speed, traffic on the site you're visiting, and the other components in your system.

You will probably notice the biggest improvement from additional RAM if are viewing or working with large files , such as photos and digital audio and video, or if you switch between your browser and other applications often.


How do I know when its time to upgrade my system memory?
There are several signs indicating it may be time to upgrade your memory.

If you see your mouse pointer turn into an hour glass for significant periods of time, if you hear your hard drive working, or if your computer seems to work more slowly than you expect, the reason is probably insufficient memory.

When the memory is full, your system transfers data to the hard drive. This is called swapping. Since the hard drive is considerably slower than DRAM memory, your system seems slower altogether


Memory for 386 Computers
The majority of 386 computers uses 30 Pin SIMMs, though some 386 computers may use 72 Pin SIMMs. When upgrading 386 computers, the modules must be installed in pairs, inserting two 30 Pin SIMMs per bank. This would usually be Fast Page Mode (FPM or FM)


Memory for 486 Computers
Most 486 DX computers uses 72 Pin SIMMs. Modules may be installed one SIMM at a time or 1 socket per bank

Most 486 SX computer utilize 30 Pin SIMMs. Modules must be installed in 4 pieces at one time or 4 sockets per bank.

Some 486 computers (both SX & DX) utilize both 30 Pin and 72 Pin SIMMs on the same motherboard.

Memory Type: (FPM) Fast Page Mode DRAM, both Parity or Non-Parity, depending on the motherboard requirements.


Memory for older Pentium Computers (586 Computer)
Many early Pentium computers with CPU's in the 60MHz to 166MHz range have 2 banks of two SIMM sockets on the motherboard, each bank must have a pair of the same value and type of memory to be utilized by the system.

These early Pentium computers use 72 Pin SIMMs, and installation requires 2 SIMMs per bank to upgrade as there are 2 sockets per bank.

Many of the later generation Pentiums with frequencies of 166MHz through 233MHz have both 72 Pin SIMM sockets as well as 168 Pin DIMM sockets and use either 72 Pin SIMMs or 168 Pin DIMMs. Some motherboards were able to use a combination of both on the same motherboard. Usually, those Pentium computers utilizing 168 Pin DIMMs require at least 1 DIMM at a time, or one socket to be filled per bank.

The memory types usually consisted of EDO (extended data out) DRAM in matching pairs for later generation Pentiums, with older Pentiums (60MHz -100MHz) requiring FPM (Fast Page Mode DRAM.) Newer 100MHz to 200MHz MMX computers, CYRIX 6X86 and AMD 586 class processors uses EDO or FPM. The latest generation of the x86 Pentiums use SDRAM DIMMs, DR DRAM and now some motherboards are being released that support DDR DRAM.


Memory for Pentium Pro Computers (P-6 (686) Processor)
The majority of Pentium Pro or P6 or 686 Computers use 72 Pin SIMMs, and installation requires 2 SIMMs per bank in order to upgrade. (2 sockets per bank) The memory types used in these early Pentium Pro units consisted of either Parity or Non-Parity FPM or EDO (A large number were configured with Parity FPM). Later releases of Pentium Pro motherboards used 168 Pin EDO in DIMM format.


Memory for Apple Macintosh Computers
Mac Quadra 700, 900, 950, and Macintosh II series computers use 30 Pin SIMMs. Installation requires 4 SIMMs per bank of the same value.

Mac IIfx uses 64 Pin SIMM modules.

Mac Plus, Mac SE, Mac Classics, Classic II, Color Classic, Mac LC, LCIII, Performa 200,400, 405, 410, and 430 utilize 30 Pin SIMMs.

New Quadra's, newer Performa's, and Centris series utilize 72 Pin SIMMs.

Most Macintosh computers come with onboard permanent memory and can utilize 72 Pin SIMMs 1 at a time.

Mac Performa 6400/180 & 200 models require 168 Pin DIMMs to upgrade.

Memory Type: Fast Page Mode DRAM


How do I troubleshoot a memory failure without a memory tester?
Simple techniques to isolate possible memory problems.Remove the modules one by one from motherboard.
The simplest method of isolating a possible failing memory module is by moving modules, swapping them between slots on the motherboard. If the motherboard has "SIMM" modules, the slots must be filled in pairs, therefore this form of testing is only valid if you have 2 pairs of SIMM modules. If your motherboard uses "DIMM" memory modules, and you have 2, then you can remove one, run the tests and then swap it for the one removed and test again. By selectively removing one module one at a time from the system and then running tests, you should be able to isolate the bad module quickly. Be sure to mark which module passes or fails and then switch that one with the other. Always place the modules in the slots by filling slot 0 (zero) or slot 1 (if the is no slot 0) first. Most motherboards using SIMM modules require that slots be filled in pairs, therefore plan accordingly. If you only have two SIMM modules, you'll need to borrow or purchase another pair.

Swap the modules out.
If you only have two memory modules, such as in the case of 2 SIMMs, swap and rotate modules to find which module is defective. This technique can only be used if there are two or more modules in the system. Change the location of two modules one at a time. As an example, place the module from SIMM slot 1 into slot 2 and place the other module from slot 2 in slot 1. Run the diagnostic test, and if either the failing data bit or address changes, you know that one of the modules you have just swapped is defective. If the PC boots fully with the first combination and then you swap the modules and the PC fails to boot, you then know that the module's) in slot 0 (zero) is defective. By using combinations of module swapping, you should be able to find the defective module.

Replacing modules with known good ones.
If neither of the above two methods are available to you, or you are unable to make a determination by following those methods accurately, you are left with two possible alternatives, either sending your memory modules to a testing facility or swapping them with known good modules. Use known good modules and selectively replace one module at a time to identify the memory failure. This is the easiest of all of the methods to detect memory failure.

Last ditch effort - Remove and Clean the metal contacts.
If your PC system is older, sometimes dust and oxidation will cause poor contact in the SIMM/DIMM slot. Remove the module and clean the gold or tin contact following the procedure outlined above. Usually contact cleaner or video and audio head cleaners work the best, although a good grade of nail polish remover will work as well. Make sure you remember which slot is being used, and be careful not to reverse the module while reinserting into the SIMM/DIMM slot.

You can also try to identify a memory failure by using the motherboards BIOS beep codes.
BIOS beep codes are normally used when adequate diagnostic methods are not available. Most BIOS developers and motherboard manufacturers have devised a simple way of telling you if your system is having problem by having the BIOS emit beeping tones from the built in speaker on the motherboard


Simple Guide to Troubleshooting Memory Failures without a Memory Tester
This section of our FAQ is written with the presumption that you have at least a general understanding of the PC operating system and that you are capable of performing the diagnostic procedures detailed below.

We will attempt to describe the entire process in detail, however it is beyond the scope of this FAQ to provide all the necessary information to cover all possible PC memory failures. For further assistance with non-memory related failures, please consult our technical support department or our online support system. If your particular question is not addressed in this section please send us an e-mail and we will do our best to provide you with the right answers.

When you are experiencing memory or other failures on your PC, there are several issues to be determined. Run through each of the following to try and determine as much information as possible. The following are typical of memory failures:

* PC system does not boot-up
* HIMEM.SYS does not load
* Memory failure due to system hanging up, or system rebooting after running a large program.
* Failure during the installation of win3.1, Win95, Win98 and Windows NT
* Windows programs are unstable
* Continuous beeping sound emitted by system during power up
* Continuous ram count during boot-up , without loading Windows program
* No display other than blue screen on the monitor during boot-up
* Totally no video display on the monitor.
* System hang or rebooting after prolong usage.

If you have followed our earlier suggestions regarding the swapping and cleaning of memory modules and the above problems persist, you may need a well trained technician to perform further diagnostics and apply corrective measures.

Once a memory failure has been detected, identifying the defective module is not an easy task. With such a large variety of motherboards provided by so many different manufacturers, and with the many different combinations of SIMM/DIMM slots, it is difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to assemble complete information about a particular memory error mapping to a specific failing memory module.


What do the AMI BIOS Beep Codes mean?
The AMI BIOS is the most popular of the BIOS's used by motherboard manufacturers. You can usually determine quite allot about your computer systems BIOS by reading the screen display on the Top screen during power up and listening for beep tones if there is a problem.

Here are some basic procedures:
The usual procedure is to power up the PC and watch the monitor for error messages on the monitor screen and listening for the beep tones from the speaker on the motherboard inside the PC case. A single beep tone during the boot (startup) process is normal and does not indicate a failure as long as the system continues to boot up.

Here is a list of the most common beep tones
1 Beep tone - DRAM refresh failure
2 Beep tone - DRAM Parity failure
3 Beep tone - Base 64K RAM failure
4 Beep tone - System timer error
5 Beep tone - CPU failure
6 Beep tone - Keyboard controller error
7 Beep tone - Virtual mode error
8 Beep tone - Display memory read/write error
9 Beep tone - ROM BIOS checksum error
10 Beep tone - CMOS register read/write error
11 Beep tone - Cache memory error

Continuous Beep tone - Memory or Video memory failures


ECC vs. non-ECC What do I Have and Can I Mix?
When adding new memory, you need to match what is already in your system. You cannot mix ECC with non-ECC (non-parity) memory.

You can determine if your system has ECC by simply counting the number of black memory chips on each module. ECC memory modules have a chip count divisible by three or five. This extra chip detects if the data was correctly read or written by the memory module. If the data wasn't properly written, the extra chip will correct it in many cases (depending on the type of error). Non-ECC (also called non-parity) modules do not have this error-detecting feature. Any chip count not divisible by three or five indicates a non-parity memory module.

Using ECC decreases your computer's performance by about 2 percent. Current technology DRAM is very stable, and memory errors are rare, so unless you have a need for ECC, you are better served with non-parity (non-ECC) memory.


If two or more different speeds of memory (ex: PC2100, PC2700, and PC3200) are recommended for a system, what should I select?
Choose the fastest speed available for your system.
Memory in the same series (such as SDRAM, DDR, DDR2) is designed to be downward compatible. This means that:

However, PC100 will not step up to PC133. The same applies to DDR and DDR2 memory. To ensure the best performance, always select the highest speed listed for the system. It is better to be too high than too low.

The memory, as a whole unit, will run at the speed of the slowest memory module in the system.


Why do I need an anti-static wrist strap?
The anti-static wrist strap helps ensure that static electricity in your body is not transferred to a memory module or any other electronic part in a computer, which can damage sensitive electronic equipment such as memory modules, processors, and motherboards. It works by connecting your wrist electrically to a metal ground, such as a bare metal surface on a table, ensuring that any current and accumulated static electricity is discharged safely away from your hand. Only one wrist strap is required to ground your entire body.

During the installation of memory or any other component in a computer, most people will simply touch a bare metal surface before they begin their work. This will help if they do not move from where they are standing. But if they are move around in contact with cloth or carpet, static electricity may re-accumulate. The use of an anti-static wrist strap during the memory installation ensures that even new static electricity charges are discharged safely.


Will my computer system warranty be affected?
Opening up your system and adding memory will in NO WAY void your original warranty.

The Magnuson-Moss Act, enacted into law by the US Congress in 1975, protects consumers' right to use the products they want.

How does this work? In legal terms, the Act prohibits manufacturers from requiring consumers to use products or services from a particular manufacturer in order to keep their original product warranty valid. That means, in most cases, you don't have to upgrade with your system manufacturer's memory or memory from another manufacturer specified by your system manufacturer to maintain your system warranty.

In much simpler terms, you can add memory upgrades and your system warranty will remain valid!

That's great news in more ways than one. Not only do you save money buying memory upgrades direct from the factory, you also get the same RAM that's built into today's leading machines.