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Thread: Adding RAM

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    I am not a hardware man, and I really need help with this problem.

    I decided to upgrade the RAM on my Toshiba Satellite A110 from 1.5 to 2 GB, which is the max to the best of my knowledge. I bought a 1 GB device with which to replace the half GB, and did exactly that. Take out one and replace it with the other. I didn't bother to test it at the time.

    In the midst of a major install it now appears that I have 1 GB - in other words I have actually lost a half GB. The memory may not be seated properly or something easy like that, and I can certainly zoom back to the shop in the morning, but I am worried that I should have flashed the BIOS or some other not-so-simple thing. I haven;t found anything obvious in a web search, and thought I might get an answer here.

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Peterg,

    Since your laptop supported 1.5 GB of ram, there should be no problem in supporting 2 GB.

    When I need to order ram for customers, after trying different sources, I always end up at Crucial to check for compatible ram. Crucial has a Memory Advisor (no download or plug in required from Crucial) that you can use to identify your maximum compatible ram for your specific laptop model. I have found the Memory Advisor at Crucial's site to be almost foolproof. It also works for desktop memory, and if one does not have a name brand desktop, it can provide the specs based on the motherboard model number.

    Using that tool can confirm the max memory your system can handle and give you the specs so you can pick the ram up locally, or order from Crucial, whichever you prefer.

    I ran your model through the Memory Advisor, and according to the Advisor, your A110 supports a maximum of 2 GB ram (two slots 1 GB each), and also supports dual channel memory, so you will get the best performance by installing two identical 1GB sticks of ram. The specs on your memory are: DDR2 PC2-5300 • CL=5 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR2-667 • 1.8V • 128Meg x 64 . If you buy two sticks identical to these specs, you will get the best performance. If your old 1 GB stick is original, then buying another 1GB with these specs should meet the requirements.

    It is possible your new stick is not seated correctly, so you can remove it and reseat it just to make certain. If that makes it detectable in your BIOS and in Windows, but it is not identical (to the original 1 GB stick) for a dual channel setup, it will still work fine, but will not achieve full performance. I would say the difference in performance would be practically imperceptible.

    Note: There is also a system scanner tool listed next to the Memory Advisor, but that tool requires a download to your computer to work.
    Hope this helps
    Deadeye81

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Did you check the specs of your board by going to the manufacturer with your make/model and determine the exact type of RAM neded?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Shepard View Post
    Since your laptop supported 1.5 GB of ram, there should be no problem in supporting 2 GB.
    That was a false assumption on my part, Iím afraid.

    It appears that 1 GB is all I ever had (the specs all seem to say that the max is 2 GB), and that threw everything off. Even Windows reports 1 GB of memory no matter how much I have above that, and the original memory was 512 MB.

    I installed SIW to see what it says, and it reports that the max memory is 1024 MB. Under ĎMemoryí it claims that the maximum capacity is 1024 MB and in ĎDevice Locator Slot 1í it reports my 1024 MB (complete with brand, serial number, and date of manufacture) and in ĎDevice Locator Slot 2í it sees and reports similar details for my second 1024 MB device. I still canít break the 1 GB RAM barrier, however. (And there are only two slots I am aware of in my machine.)


    Thank you for all of the work you put into your detailed report Ė I assure you I have been trying to validate what I can, but my claim that it was running with 1.5 GB was an embarrassing false assumption on my part. (Now 2 GB looks even more attractive.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterg View Post
    It appears that 1 GB is all I ever had (the specs all seem to say that the max is 2 GB), and that threw everything off. Even Windows reports 1 GB of memory no matter how much I have above that, and the original memory was 512 MB.
    You should check what the BIOS sees. If the BIOS only sees 1GB then Windows will only see 1GB. Try swapping the slots in which each memory stick is installed.

    Also, check with Toshiba to see if there is a BIOS update.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Peterg, I am a little confused now. How many sticks of ram do you now have in your laptop, and what size are the two sticks?

    Your board should have two slots, each of which should support a maximum of 1GB each, for a total max ram of 2GB. If you put a 2GB stick of ram in one slot, your system will only see it as 1GB.

    I could not find the specs on your laptop on Toshiba's support site. However, I did find another site , and this site as well, that states the original Toshiba specs on your model. The PC2-4200 ram is the original, but the PC2-5300 ram is backward compatible and easier to find now. Note it is also stated that your board supports a maximum of 1GB per slot for a total of 2GB.

    If you put 1GB in both your slots and your BIOS does not see the full 2GB, then I would download a BIOS update from Toshiba. They have a BIOS update dated 1/15/2009 for XP and one on the same date for Vista.
    Deadeye81

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    Peterg is 100% correct. The Tosh Sat 110 series has 2 slots, each will support up to 1GB memory modules and preferably should be installed in matching pairs to get best performance in DUAL CHANNEL mode.

    I too recommend purchasing from Crucial. They guarantee that it will work with your Tosh.

    Terry

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    This is just to let you know that I am still with you, but after one totally sleepless night and a rough day today, this may take a while. My best bet is to go to the shop tomorrow (= today) since I bought the memory so recently, and even if it costs a manageable amount more, I really do need 2 GB.

    You definitely hit all the right buttons, so to speak, and to mention a few, the BIOS only sees 1024 (and only reports about 80% of that) and SIW reports what I really have, right down to the date of manufacture of each individual 1024 device, but it also reports the maximum memory as 1024.

    I flashed the BIOS using the XP program, since Vista sounded so specific, and that didnít help, and if Iím feeling brave in the morning I might try Vista, but if itís a matter of swapping or matching hardware Iím best off at the shop, especially since I bought a hard drive at the same time and I am perfectly happy with that. That particular item was manufactured less than a month ago, so I do have confidence in the dealer.

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    I apologize for not reporting the outcome in a timely fashion, but something finally jogged my memory and I realized that I never did tell you the outcome.

    I had it done at the repair shop, and while the guy certainly knew his stuff he ended up going through the sort of things we discussed in the thread. The new memory stick did indeed work properly, but I had to leave the computer at the shop overnight for the guy to get it to work. (There is no indication that he swapped the new stick for something else, but it seems that getting the settings right, or the sticks in the correct slots and doing things in the right order, is a fussy business. He didn't flash the BIOS, either.)

    So the upgrade was successful, but the mystery remains. I never did find out how he did it.

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterg View Post
    I apologize for not reporting the outcome in a timely fashion, but something finally jogged my memory and I realized that I never did tell you the outcome.
    <snip>
    So the upgrade was successful, but the mystery remains. I never did find out how he did it.
    Perhaps the laptop also had its memory jogged?!
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

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