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  1. #1
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    Memory chip damage?

    After a friend of mine upgraded the memory on his Dell (a recently bought Media Center PC), I took the old 125ram chip and put it in my Dell which is a little older, maybe 6 months. It didn't work. After taking it out, I cannot get my Dell started again. It does not even POST. Can an incorrect memory chip do that kind of damage to a PC? I had read many times that if memory was not the correct type, then removing it and putting back the old chip would be all you need to do. I am a little nervous that I have damaged something seriously. Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    First - I assume you mean 128Mb and not 125Mb. It has been my experiance that when the wrong ram module is inserted, it is the RAM that is damaged, and not the motherboard. This assumes, of course, that the RAM module was physically compatible with the slot and it was not forced into the slot, damaging the slot.

    Did you use proper anti-ESD practices? That is, did you ensure you were properly grounded to prevent static in your body from destroying the RAM while handling the RAM? Did you have the PC completely powered down AND UNPLUGGED before you pulled the old and inserted the new?

    You said it does not POST - are there any beeps?
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  3. #3
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    Recent tests (by me!) with a Power Meter indicate that when in use a PC consumes around 80-150 W (depending on the PC and on what it's doing), whereas when it is powered down or hibernating it still uses 1-2 W.

    I don't think it is always appreciated that parts of a powered down PC are still 'live' (sometimes there is a green LED showing), until after the power cable has been pulled out of the rear socket and for a few seconds after (5-10), until capacitors have discharged...

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  4. #4
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    First, why was there only one memory stick and did you simply add the stick to your existing RAM or swap it with one of the existing sticks ??? RAM MUST be installed in matched pairs or at least matching types. You cannot simply add one stray stick of just any RAM to a system. Try pulling out all of the RAM and then reseating the original RAM sticks in your system in their original slots, being certain that they are properly seated. If this doesn't resolve the problem, remove them again and try using different RAM slots (could be a bad slot on the MOBO) again being certain that the RAM is properly seated in the slot. It's unlikely that swapping RAM has damaged your motherboard.

    Also, a little information about your system, model #, OS, RAM, etc. would be helpful.
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    I think your 150W may be a bit conservative for today's modern PCs and may lead some to think a cheap 200W supply is sufficient, even providing 33% overhead. Certainly just surfing the web or reading email is not taxing and requires little effort. But if the that PC is used for advanced games, video editing, "folding" or some other CPU and graphics intensive tasks, then the requirements are likely to be higher, often much higher - especially with the current crop of PCs that include advanced CPUs, very powerful graphics cards (or two!), 2 - 4 Gb of RAM, multiple drives in a RAID, several fans, etc.

    I recommend folks check out the eXtreme PSU Calculator for an idea of your requirements.

    As for power on the PC after unplugging, you are absolutely correct that residual voltages remain for a few seconds, even after removing the power cord (or hitting the master power switch if the PSU is so equipped) - I should have mentioned that. For a little more background, the ATX form factor standards call for +5Vsb (standby) voltages to be applied across several points on the motherboard at all times. This is to allow for such features as the front panel power switch, "wake on LAN", "wake on modem", "wake on mouse/keyboard" as determined by settings in the BIOS. On many motherboards, it is also used to keep the CMOS live, preventing the battery from running down during log down times. This 5VDC is more than enough to destroy RAM if the module's contacts come across it - which can easily occur during install and removal.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  6. #6
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    Thanks for the good advice. I'll get more info and post back. Much appreciated.

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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    Hi there Bill,
    -----------------------------------------
    think your 150W may be a bit conservative for today's modern PCs and may lead some to think a cheap 200W supply is sufficient, even providing 33% overhead.
    ----------------------------------------

    I think you may be misunderstanding what John is stating. He says it CONSUMED 150w. There is a big difference in what power is consumed and what a PS is rated to supply. Thus a 500w PS can supply 500 watts but if the unit is only asking for 150 watts, that's what ( watt ) it will get.
    I'm sure you know that.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    Ahh - perhaps you are right, my apologies if I misinterpreted - yes a 200 watt supply will draw almost (depending on efficiency and overhead such as internals fans) the exact same amount of power from the wall as a 500 watt supply when connected to the same load. This should not be confused with the power requirements of the PC's components, therefore, the power calculator may still come in handy. My apologies again if I caused more confusion.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  9. #9
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    No apologies needed, Bill.
    Just clarifies things a bit.
    Too many people think that what a unit is RATED at in its specs, is what the device will actually draw. A PS will draw 500 watts or a power brick will draw 1 amp of current, when the label states that. So they think.
    BOB
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  10. #10
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    It does not help that the PSU makers play with the figures - they are almost as bad as stereo and HT audio equipment makers rating their power amplifiers. You see a 5.1 amp rated at 600 watts, then discover they measured one channel driven at a time but added them all together in the printed specs (instead of all channels driven at once), used peak to peak across 4 ohms (instead of RMS across 8 ohms), 100Hz to 15KHz @ 10% THD (instead of 20Hz to 20KHz @ .005% THD) - suddenly that 600 Watt amp is really a 20 Watt amp! <img src=/S/bummer.gif border=0 alt=bummer width=15 height=15>
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    In other words, you can make numbers ( specs ) say whatever you want them to say.
    BOB
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  12. #12
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    Re: Memory chip damage?

    Just about.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

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