Dell Inspirion 5100 RAM

startropic1

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Oct 18, 2017
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I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 that I'm repairing for someone. I'm trying to install 2GB of RAM (two 1GB simms.) I've now got two different sets of RAM that when I put them in, the laptop turns on but the screen stays black. When I put the existing 512MB simm back in it turn on fine. When I put any of the 1GB simms in along side the 512MB simm the computer comes on but gives me a RAM read error message. (This only happens when a 1GB simm is in there.)

Now I'm reading conflicting information online on whether or not an Inspiron 5100 can be upgraded to only 1GB or 2GB.

Could someone please clarify the situation for me? The 1GB simms are PC2700s DDR simms.
 

william p

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Sep 22, 2010
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Dell lists 1GB as maximum memory cpacity for that system. Sometimes the BIOS update can increase that, sometimes not. The BIOS or chipset may not have the capacity to read the larger modules. Or it may only read some 1GB modules and not others.

Chip characteristics

DRAM density
Size of the chip is measured in megabits. Most motherboards recognize only 1 GB modules if they contain 64M×8 chips (low density). If 128M×4 (high density) 1 GB modules are used, they most likely will not work. The JEDEC standard allows 128M×4 only for slower buffered/registered modules designed specifically for some servers, but some generic manufacturers do not comply.[7][verification needed]
Organization
The notation like 64M×4 means that the memory matrix has 64 million (the product of banks x rows x columns) 4-bit storage locations. There are ×4, ×8, and ×16 DDR chips. The ×4 chips allow the use of advanced error correction features like Chipkill, memory scrubbing and Intel SDDC in server environments, while the ×8 and ×16 chips are somewhat less expensive. x8 chips are mainly used in desktops/notebooks but are making entry into the server market. There are normally 4 banks and only one row can be active in each bank.

This is like the x64 low density, and x128 high density issue on DDR2/3, some machines need one or the other.
 

startropic1

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Oct 18, 2017
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the BIOS did need to be updated, but it's still not taking the 1GB simms.
 

william p

Distinguished
Sep 22, 2010
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Dell lists 1GB as maximum memory cpacity for that system. Sometimes the BIOS update can increase that, sometimes not. The BIOS or chipset may not have the capacity to read the larger modules. Or it may only read some 1GB modules and not others.

Chip characteristics

DRAM density
Size of the chip is measured in megabits. Most motherboards recognize only 1 GB modules if they contain 64M×8 chips (low density). If 128M×4 (high density) 1 GB modules are used, they most likely will not work. The JEDEC standard allows 128M×4 only for slower buffered/registered modules designed specifically for some servers, but some generic manufacturers do not comply.[7][verification needed]
Organization
The notation like 64M×4 means that the memory matrix has 64 million (the product of banks x rows x columns) 4-bit storage locations. There are ×4, ×8, and ×16 DDR chips. The ×4 chips allow the use of advanced error correction features like Chipkill, memory scrubbing and Intel SDDC in server environments, while the ×8 and ×16 chips are somewhat less expensive. x8 chips are mainly used in desktops/notebooks but are making entry into the server market. There are normally 4 banks and only one row can be active in each bank.

This is like the x64 low density, and x128 high density issue on DDR2/3, some machines need one or the other.
 
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