Gateway ML6721 CPU and memory upgrade.

AlmostAMyth

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Jul 17, 2016
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I have a Gateway ML6721 with an Intel Pentium dual-core T2310 (1.46 GHz) 1 GB Memory 160 GB HDD. The P/N on the ram slot is 31MA8MB0030, the imprinted P/N on the underside of the MB is DA0MA8MB6DO, and the rev number is PCB MA8 M/B(6L,257*215,REV: D).

My question is: can I put an Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 (1.83 GHz) in this machine without any issues? It fits the slot, the CPUs are the same size, same pin configuration and look identical. I know looks and pin configuration don't mean they are interchangeable, but I lack the technical knowledge to know if this swap will improve performance or create problems.

I also have two 2gb memory cards from another Gateway laptop that will fit this machine. The max supported memory is 2gb. Can I run the machine with just one of the 2gb memory cards or would I need to use both cards? I know the machine would only recognize 2gb if I use both cards but I'm not sure if I can just use one card without an issue.

I'm replacing a cracked motherboard and would like to install the upgrades when I put it together so any input would be appreciated.

Thank you!
 

voltoid27

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Sep 17, 2014
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Sadly, that laptop has a crappy chipset (Intel GL960) which limits you to 533 MT/s FSB speeds. Since no 533 MT/s Core 2 Duos exist for Socket P, you'll need another Pentium Dual-Core. In your case, the Pentium Dual-Core T2410 is the fastest you can use, which gets you a nice 36% clock rate boost.

As for the RAM, the GL960 supports a max of 3GB of RAM, and from what I've read here (http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/gl960-chipset-processor-upgradability.212097/) using 2 2GB sticks can cause problems, but using a 1GB stick and a 2GB stick works fine if the 2GB stick is in the second slot. The problem is that you can only use a dual-channel configuration with 2 matching sticks of RAM; that means 2x1GB will be faster than 1GB + 2GB in bandwidth but 3GB could have the edge if you go over 2GB of RAM usage. Since you already have the RAM though, just throw the 2GB stick in the second slot and call it a day.
 

AlmostAMyth

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Ok, thank you for that information. I do have a couple of questions in reference to your answer. Again, pardon my ignorance on this stuff. Physically working with the components is no problem for me, but as far the workings of the components when mixed and matched I'm not that knowledgeable.

So as I understand it the T5550 wouldn't work because of the 667 FSB speed? The speed of the chip would exceed the bus speed of the board and cause problems?

Since the machine came with 1GB ram I have two 500MHz cards and the two 2GB cards from the other machine. Can I use one of the 500s and one of the 2GB without any issues? Sorry for this question, but which ram slot is considered the second slot? The one next to the board or the upper one? Thanks.

 

voltoid27

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Well, I wouldn't say it would outright not work, but it certainly won't run at full speed if the system boots. The T5550 gets its 1.83GHz speed by multiplying it's "base clock" (FSB/4) by it's multiplier, in this case (667MHz/4)*11=1.83GHz. On a 533 FSB, that gets reduced to (533/4)*11=1.46GHz, and that's if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, it just won't work at all. So the T2410 is the best I'd recommend since it's a 533 FSB part natively.

Right, you'd use one 512MB stick and one 2GB stick. If the RAM slots are labelled on the board there should be a "0" slot and a "1" slot, in which case you'd put the 2GB stick in the "1" slot. Basically, if you have problems with this configuration just swap the sticks and it should work.
 

AlmostAMyth

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Ok, thanks voltoid27. I just got the machine together and booted. OS is installing now. I left all the original equipment in the machine just to make sure the motherboard is good. I don't want to risk getting errors for the configuration changes before I'm sure the machine runs as it should without the changes. I'll let you know how it works out.

 

AlmostAMyth

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Well the motherboard worked but the hard drive is toast. I got XP installed and kept having it crash when I installed the last of the drivers, the touchpad. So after reinstalling several times and having it crash, the last install I only installed the chipset and graphics drivers. Then I ran Crystal Disc and got Reallocation Event Count and Current Pending Sector Count errors. Then I ran Data Lifeguard and even though it said pass on the initial screen it failed the quick SMART test. Then I tried the extended test and the drive was buzzing and making weird noises like I've never heard a hard drive make before. It never even finished the test. Not sure why but I left it and came back later and Lifeguard wasn't running or even still open.
 

AlmostAMyth

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It was (is) the original Hitachi 160 GB drive. I don't need anywhere near 2 TB on a new drive. Can you recommend a good quality drive in the neighborhood of 300 GB?
 

AlmostAMyth

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I got the drive yesterday and installed it last night. Got the o/s and all the drivers installed. No problems at all. Still haven't done the upgrades. I'll have to order that T2410 from ebay or something. It's cheap enough that I don't even want to mess around with the T5550 that I have. The faster ram is in my current machine so that I'll switch over when I'm ready to make the 6721 my primary machine.

This has been a fun project. Thanks for your help voltoid27.
 

AlmostAMyth

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Just wanted to follow up with the latest update. I have installed the memory and the T2410 CPU. I have the 2GB memory card closest to the motherboard and the 512 card in the top slot and it's working out fine. Windows sees it as 2.49 GB of RAM. It also recognizes the CPU for what it is. It's definitely snappier than it was with the stock configuration. Plenty fast enough for my needs.

I did try the T5550 for a few days and that ran without a hitch either. I read in the thread referenced earlier that someone reported having success with a 667 FSB CPU on this chipset so I figured I would give it a try. The only thing I noticed different is the T5550 runs about 20C hotter than both the T2310 and the T2410. It was still within specs though, it was up to about 80C when loaded, whereas the other CPUs are around 60C with the same load. I have the T5550 in another Gateway laptop, an M6846, and it runs the same temps as I got in this ML6721 laptop. So it must be something with that particular CPU. Maybe the faster FSB speed makes it run hotter?

What didn't work was when I installed the full 4GB of RAM. It appeared to be starting up, but when it got to where the desktop should come up it froze and there were a million lines going across the screen. So yeah, 4GB of RAM is no good.

 

voltoid27

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Glad to hear everything's working OK :) Yes, faster FSB speeds do generate more heat, best example I can provide is that the 533 FSB Pentium M chips are rated for 27W TDPs while the 400 FSB counterparts are only 21W.

About the RAM, from what I've read it seems that the problem isn't having 2 physical 2GB sticks but that the chipset can't address that much RAM. Maybe try booting up the system with the 2.5GB of RAM, then setting Windows' startup variable for max RAM size to, say, 2GB, and rebooting. After that, perhaps putting the other 2GB stick in will allow the system to boot, then you can set the max RAM to 3GB. No idea if this will work, but just a thought.
 

AlmostAMyth

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If I'm understanding this correctly, the startup variables are under System Properties>Advanced>Startup and Recovery>Environmental Variables? I don't see RAM or memory addressed in that list. Under System Properties>Advanced>Performance>Settings>Advanced there is a Virtual Memory section that has parameters I can change. It says:
Paging file for selected drive
Drive: C:
Space available: 75675
*Custom size:
Initial size (MB): 1524
Maximum size (MB) 3048
System managed size
No paging file

Am I in the right spot? Also, just want to make sure you know I'm running XP Pro.
 

AlmostAMyth

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Actually I think I'm just going to call it a day here. Thinking about reformatting in the future, I'd have to physically switch the RAM back to 2.5GB, reformat, then change the variable, then switch the RAM cards back to 4GB. If I'm somewhere where I don't have access to RAM it could prevent me from proceeding. The machine is working fine the way it is.

Thanks again v for your help.
 

voltoid27

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Yeah, that'd be a pain. In case you're curious, on my Win7 laptop (don't have an XP computer with me at the moment) I have to launch msconfig, then go to Boot -> Advanced Options and the option for max RAM is in the top right of that window.
 

AlmostAMyth

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Yeah, it's there on my XP machine also. You do realize that now that you've told me how to do it I'm going to have to try it, lol. Not tonight though, but I'll let you know what happens when I do it.
 
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