problems with boosting RAM

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Dan Pavlica, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Dan Pavlica

    Dan Pavlica Guest

    I'm wondering if anyone has experienced anything like this and can
    give me some advice. I have a three-year old Compaq 5-series (not
    exactly sure what the model number is right now.) It originally had a
    pentium 3 and 128mb of RAM. It wasn't running badly, but I decided to
    give it a little RAM boost and got a 256mb upgrade from Best Buy. The
    guy at Best Buy said the RAM I bought was sure to work in my computer.
    It should work with both PC100 and PC133. I looked at the old one, and
    it's a PC100. Anyhoo, I installed the additional RAM (I've done this a
    time or two before, on other computers) and everything seemed to be
    fine for a little while. I could see under control pannel that I now
    had 384mb (128+256) and then all hell broke loose. Computer started
    crashing a whole lot and I started getting messages about bad sectors
    on my hard drive, first time I've ever seen that. Scan disk and defrag
    would not work, just produced more crashes. I have quick-restore which
    wasn't even letting the computer boot up, so I booted it off my
    Windows 98 CD. Then I formatted c: and I'm slowly trying to get back
    to where I was. I reinstalled Windows (Millenium edition this time)
    and the computer will start up as it should. Graphics look funky, but
    that's all. I shut her down, replaced my original 128mb RAM card with
    the new 256 (instead of just adding the 256 in the second bay) and
    tried to boot it up. And no, it stops and doesn't go anywhere. The new
    RAM card might be bad, but it shouldn't. And it should be compatible.

    Now, a friend of mine said that you have to DOUBLE RAM every time you
    upgrade, or you have problems. In other words, I should have bought
    another 128. But I once added 32mb of RAM to the existing 64 on an old
    puter and it worked fine, better, faster, as expected.

    Any ideas, comments, similar experiences, suggestions?
    Dan Pavlica, Jan 28, 2004
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  2. The only RAM that is guaranteed to be safe and stable in a Compaq is
    RAM that has a Compaq label on it. Many aftermarket companies will
    happily sell you RAM that they say is "compatible" with Compaq, but
    it's not.

    BinaryBillThesailor, Jan 28, 2004
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  3. Dan Pavlica

    Thor Guest

    Not likely to have had anything to do with the RAM. Do a thorough scandisk
    to try and verify the integrity of the harddrive.

    Scan disk and defrag

    Compaqs can be picky about their RAM upgrades. I suggest going with Crucial
    memory next time. They guarantee compatibility with brand-name models. I've
    upgraded more Compaqs more times than I can count. Crucial has never given
    me a problem with Compaqs or any other brand they specifically recommended a
    particular module for.
    This is not the case with SDRAM. Your friend is mistaken. Although in the
    old days of 30 and 72 pin memory, you needed to add RAM in pairs and match
    their capacity in most cases. RDRAM (Rambus) memory also has rules about
    adding modules in pairs. DDR SDRAM used in Dual channel mode also needs to
    be matched in size, but your SDRAM system does not require this, nor do you
    need to "double" the original capacity. As long as that particular model of
    Compaq supports up to 384MB it should work just fine. My guess is that you
    probably got a bad module, and you may also have harddrive issues if you are
    getting bad sector warnings. The fact that "everything was fine for a little
    while" tells me that the module may have just gone bad on you. If it was bad
    from the start or incompatible you should have likely noticed problems from
    the start.
    Thor, Jan 28, 2004
  4. Faulty RAM *CAN* cause this. The RAM corrupts the data and then writes
    the corrupt information back onto the disk. The fact that you started
    having these problems immediately after installing non-Compaq branded
    RAM should tell you something.

    BinaryBillThesailor, Jan 28, 2004
  5. Dan Pavlica

    Thor Guest

    I didn't say it was not possible, I just think it unlikely. In all the times
    I've dealt with bad RAM, it's never manifested itself in a bad sector
    warning. Windows complains about bad sectors at bootup when it has had a
    read failure from the drive. It is possible that bad RAM can influence the
    OS's interpretation of things but I think it a pretty rare event for a read
    error from the disk. He might well have bad RAM, but at the same time, the
    drive could have been going south, and could also cause the types of
    problems he is having. It certainly doesn't hurt for him to check the drive
    with a thorough scandisk now does it? And lastly, one doesn't need to use
    Compaq branded RAM. A good quality brand matched to the make/model is
    adequate. Crucial DOES guarantee compatibility. To quote from their site:

    "Once you know what system you have, we know exactly what memory you need.
    Just select your system make and model in our online Memory Selector, and
    we'll give you a list of memory upgrades that are guaranteed 100% compatible
    with your system or your money back."

    I've NEVER had a crucial memory problem in a Compaq or any other brand of
    computer when it was the recommended type for the system in which it was
    Thor, Jan 29, 2004
  6. In this case it's very likely, since the problem started right after he
    installed non-Compaq branded RAM, and his computer started locking up, and

    Maybe I just have a lot more experience with Compaq Computers.
    Actually, yes it can hurt very badly, and cause him to lose data, if the
    messages were due to faulty RAM.
    Yes, Thor. I already said that many memory companies will be very happy to claim
    their RAM is 100% compatible with Compaq, even though in many cases it is NOT.
    We aren't talking about any other brand of computer, Thor. We are talking about
    Compaq, which is a special, specific case. I too have seen non-Compaq brand
    memory work in a Compaq. The fact remains that I have seen MANY cases where it
    didn't, even with money back guarantees. The bottom line is that for Compaq PC's
    it is much safer to stick with Compaq RAM. In this case, the poster installed
    non-Compaq RAM, and now has the classic symptoms that frequently occur when you
    do that.

    BinaryBillTheSailor, Jan 29, 2004
  7. Dan Pavlica

    Dan Pavlica Guest

    Thanks for your help. Like I said, I've installed RAM before and never
    had problems. I heard weird stuff yesterday such as "you always have
    to double what you have", or "you always have to install EXACT same
    RAM sticks" and such. Compaq shouldn't own my computer after I paid
    hansomely for the damn thing. I should be able to install parts from
    other makers, as long as they are compatible, and my memory stick is
    supposed to be. Last night, I reformatted the HD, reinstalled Windows
    and all that, then I got ballsy and plugged in the 256 stick again.
    Now everything seems to be working fine again, with 384mb (128+256)
    total. We'll see for how long. Like I said before, I never had
    problems with my HD till I installed that memory. It could be that the
    memory installation weirded everything out, or it could be a
    coincidence. I'll tell you if same problems happen again. I just
    wanted to share my experience, get some opinions and, hopefully, learn
    something out of it. Thanks again.
    Dan Pavlica, Jan 29, 2004
  8. Dan Pavlica

    Dan Pavlica Guest

    Ok, here's the latest update: I formatted the HD, fixed and
    reinstalled everything, left the memory upgrade in, and the computer
    worked just fine. Once again, that didn't last long. It started
    crashing like crazy all over again, till it couldn't boot up on its
    own, same as before. Now I'm sure it's the memory addition that's
    weirding everything out. I bought this memory from Best Buy, a 256-mb
    upgrade for my Compaq, which should be able to handle even more RAM
    than I have now. The new RAM was the right speed all - PC100. That was
    the memory that the "expert" sales dude at Best Buy told me to get. I
    hear Crucial guarantees their memory - if they sell it to you, they
    guarantee it will work on your computer (so I hear.) I think I know
    where I might and where I definitely will not do my shopping from now
    Dan Pavlica, Jan 30, 2004
  9. Dan Pavlica

    Night_Seer Guest

    Have you tried it WITHOUT the memory module in it? I mean if its
    crucial memory, it should be fine, unless you just got a bad one. I
    would still check your hard drive in another computer or something.
    Night_Seer, Jan 30, 2004
  10. Dan Pavlica

    Thor Guest

    The module he has isn't from Crucial. It's from Best Buy. Probably a cheap
    generic module.
    Thor, Jan 30, 2004
  11. Dan Pavlica

    Night_Seer Guest

    Best Buy sells Crucial...have been for a while now...bought one from
    there about a year ago.
    Night_Seer, Jan 30, 2004
  12. Dan Pavlica

    Thor Guest

    They also sell other cheaper brands. In any case, even if he did get crucial
    from best buy, (which I don't believe he did), it's no guarantee that the
    best buy "tech" selected the proper module for his model of Compaq.
    Thor, Jan 31, 2004
  13. Dan Pavlica

    colin Guest

    Go a pair of 256`s on the compaq and sell the 128 to a mate that has prolly
    only a 64 to swap out.
    colin, Jan 31, 2004
  14. Like I said from the beginning...

    The only RAM that is guaranteed to be safe and stable in a Compaq is
    RAM that has a Compaq label on it. Many aftermarket companies will
    happily sell you RAM that they say is "compatible" with Compaq, but
    it's not.

    BinaryBillTheSailor, Jan 31, 2004
  15. BTW - The issue is not quality. I agree with everyone else that Crucial RAM is
    excellent quality. Just don't use in in your Compaq. The issue is that Compaq
    motherboards and RAM are deliberately designed together to narrow the field as
    to what Memory is compatible. You need RAM with the Compaq label on it. Anything
    else "may" work, but if you are looking for reliability, a stable machine and
    data security, you need to buy the RAM from the folks who designed both the RAM
    and the computer you are puttiung it into. This advice does not apply to
    Gateway, Dell, or any other brand of mass produced PC. For any of those you can
    buy Crucial RAM and it will perform as advertised.

    BinaryBillTheSailor, Jan 31, 2004
  16. Dan Pavlica

    Night_Seer Guest

    Yes that's correct, but I didn't assume...he said Crucial in a previous
    post, and I believed he was telling the truth. That's all.
    Night_Seer, Feb 2, 2004
  17. Dan Pavlica

    Thor Guest

    Whatever the case, that's not how I interpreted what he was saying. I think
    he was merely commenting about where he will try buying from in the future
    (Crucial directly rather than Best Buy), because of what I recommended to
    him. I think Best Buy sold him generic RAM, and he was just speculating on
    buying Crucial next time, and not buying from Best Buy. Oh well, perhaps if
    he reads this he can clear it up.

    Thor, Feb 2, 2004
  18. Dan Pavlica

    Night_Seer Guest

    I understand now, I just read it wrong...thanks for clearing it up.
    Night_Seer, Feb 3, 2004
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