Technical Support

Thank you for using our technical support. Ensuring our products work properly in your system is very important to us. The following troubleshooting tips, faqs, bios information and installation directions should help you resolve your computer issues. Please feel free to email us at tech@ComputerMemoryStore.com with any further tech support issues.


Quick Tips

  1. Try using our memory alone in your system, then add your old memory.
  2. Install the largest capacity module first. If your system can run with single memory sticks then install one at a time.
  3. Make sure the memory is pushed in and seated properly in the slot. Most problems are solved if you push the chip down and make sure it is clicked in. Laptop memory is especially prone to this mistake.
  4. Update the BIOS to the latest version before you install the memory.
  5. Always install RDRAM RAMBUS and DDR DIMMS in pairs.

Installation Guides

Need help installing your memory? Choose the type of memory you are installing below for an installation guide.

BIOS Updating

BIOS is the core software/hardware processing center in your computer. Most RAM errors and boot failures result because the system BIOS is not updated. Some computers require that the BIOS be updated before accepting new RAM memory. This can be easily done with a simple download from the computer/motherboard manufacturers website. Please visit the download or technical support section of your manufacturers website for an updated BIOS. You may need to contact your manufacturer if you are unable to locate BIOS update files for your system.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of upgrading my computer's memory?

Upgrading your memory is typically the easiest and least expensive way to upgrade your computer for a significant boost in performance. The computer's RAM memory is its workspace, or where all of the instructions it needs to act on are stored temporarily. Think of the RAM as the desk you use to sort through your work. If the size of that desk is small, your efficiency is limited in comparison to a larger desk that allows you to work more effectively and efficiently. Similarly, a computer with more RAM can work more efficiently because it does not need to retrieve information from the hard disk drive as often. A memory upgrade is particularly helpful for users who work with large files, have more than one program open at one time, or use memory-intensive applications such as games or graphics and video editing software. ^Top^

How do you know it is time for a computer memory upgrade?

There are several signs indicating it may be time to upgrade your memory. If you see your mouse pointer turn into an hourglass for significant periods of time, if you hear your hard drive working, or if your computer seems to work more slowly than you expect, the reason is probably insufficient memory. When physical memory is insufficient, the system uses Hard Disk Space as memory. This is called "Virtual Memory". Since access time of Physical memory is in tens of NanoSeconds and Access time of Hard Disk is in MilliSeconds, the system slows down considerably. ^Top^

What is the difference between ECC and Non-ECC modules?

ECC stands for Error Correcting Code. It is a special feature in RDRAM modules that prevents malfunctions in the chip. But, ECC must be supported by the system in order to use ECC modules. Furthermore, one cannot mix ECC and Non-ECC chips even if the system supports ECC memory. At any given time, all the memory installed in a system must be of the same type. Most systems that support ECC are sold by the manufacturers with Non-ECC memory installed, so be sure you know what kind of memory is currently in your system before you purchase an upgrade if you are planning on keeping your old chips. ^Top^

Will mixing brands, sizes, and/or types of memory cause problems?

Using cheap no-brand, generic RAM can be a common source of system failure, so make sure that you purchase RAM manufactured by one of the major manufacturers. Cheap, no-brand RAM can be especially prone to failure if the processor has been overclocked to a faster speed than its designated speed by increasing the system bus, from a default of, say, 100MHz to 112MHz, if the 112MHz setting is supported by the motherboard but probably not by the RAM. The cheap RAM will probably not be able to handle the increase and cause Fatal Exception and Page Fault failures. The motherboard's newsgroup will also contain postings about troublesome brands, or anomalies, such as having 64MB of RAM working perfectly well and 128MB, as two by 64MB modules, refusing to work.

All of the PC's purchased during the last three years should be able to cache as much RAM as you are likely to install.Also make sure that it is of the right type (EDO/SDRAM/, uffered/unbuffered, error-checking code (ECC) RAM, etc.), and check the motherboard's website for compatibility issues. The specifications will be listed in the motherboard's manual.Windows 98 can itself use as much RAM as any current motherboard.

However, installing more than 64MB of RAM on a system running the original (FAT 16) version of Windows 95 will slow the system down. Not being able to cache more than that amount of RAM means that it takes its time accessing it. Windows 95 versions OSR 2.0, 2.1, and 2.5 (FAT 32 versions) can all cache the same amount of RAM as Windows 98.

When it comes to installing memory make sure to always use the same brand and type of memory at any given time. With regard to size, you can use different sized modules, but make sure that any two modules sharing a bank (two slots together) are the same size. ^Top^

I have more than 512MB of memory, so why does Windows say i have less?

If you have more than 512MB RAM and are running Windows 95, 98, 98SE, or ME, you may not have enough cache to handle all of your memory. Solutions to this problem can be found at Microsoft's Web site: http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q253/9/12.asp

Microsoft has a tendency to change the links to KB articles, so if a link fails to work enter the article's Q number in the search box on the following page. As you can determine from the information in the link itself, the Microsoft link above leads to the article with the Q number of Q253912. For more information see the link below. http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?pr=kbinfo&

Too much RAM can cause problems with some versions of Windows. Note that if you are upgrading your RAM memory, a computer using Windows 95 or Windows 98 (first edition) will not recognise more than 256MB. Moreover RAM that Windows cannot cache (recognise) will be accessed as slowly as the virtual memory swap file (win386.swp) that Windows creates on the boot hard disk drive to use when the amount of RAM runs out. Therefore, adding too much RAM can slow down a system considerably. Unless you are using a non-Windows operating system such as Linux, and unless you employ the fix a link to which is provided below, you must have Windows 98SE or run a later version to use more than 256MB of RAM. This limitation does not apply to Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Moreover, it has now become known the Windows 98 SE (second edition) has trouble with 512MB of RAM and more. Windows 9.x systems were not designed to use large amounts or RAM. Most home users of Windows 9.x are unlikely to require this much RAM in any case, so, if possible, it is advisable to install less than 512MB. If you need to use more, use Windows 2000, or Windows XP, both of which are based on the Windows NT architecture. Windows 95, 98, and Me are based on Windows 95 architecture. If you have more than 512MB of RAM installed and this causes any problems, you can restrict the amount of RAM used to 512MB (or any other amount) by entering msconfig in the Start => Run box, clicking the Advanced button, and enter the appropriate restriction in the Limit memory to... box - and enable it with a check mark.

There is a configuration file fix that can be applied to make Windows 98 function with as much RAM as you are likely to throw at it at http://aumha.org/a/memmgmt.htm. Please read the following excellent article: Windows 98 & WinME Memory Management. ^Top^

Can i mix parity and non-parity modules ?

No. When adding new memory, you need to match what is already in your system. Parity modules have an extra chip that detects if data was correctly read or written by the memory module, depending on the type of error. However, a parity module will not correct the error. You can determine if your system has parity by simply counting the number of black memory chips on each module. Parity (and ECC) memory modules have a chip count divisible by three or five. Any chip count not divisible by three or five indicates a non-parity memory module. ^Top^

How much RAM is enough?

The answer to this question is a straightforward...it depends. It depends upon what you are using your computer for and what operating system you are using, to take the two most obvious factors. If you are using Adobe Photoshop or doing video editing all the time, and want to be able to run office applications, and surf, and do email, all at once - well, then you may need a fair amount of memory. If you are a typical home user and mostly use your computer for email, surfing, a word processor or spreadsheet, and the occasional game, then you won't need quite as much. In terms of how it affects you, the end user, having the right amount of memory = faster computer.Here's some general guidelines for the typical home user (note MB = Megabyte, the main unit in terms of which memory is sold; the higher the number, the more memory you have):Windows 95 - Seems to be happy with 16 MB. Anything over doesn't get you much performance increase, but if you have anything less, I'd seriously consider getting more memory. The benefit can be quite substantial.Windows 98/Me - Seems to work fine with 64 MB. You will probably see a significant performance increase by going to 128. Anything over 128 generally doesn't get you much.

Windows NT (Workstation) - Seems to be happy with 128 MB for most things.
Windows NT (Server) - Can run with 128 MB, but more is better. Definitely consider getting 256 MB or more if this server is going to have a heavy demand on it.
Windows 2000 - At least 128 MB, and basically as much as you can throw at it. Seriously consider 256 MB or more if it's got a heavy demand on it.
Windows XP - Hard to say, but 256 MB minimum, and almost certainly would work better with more.
Windows Vista - Microsoft recommends at least 1 GB for Vista Premium/Business/Ultimate editions, but 2GB is a much more realistic minimum
^Top^

Can I mix PC100 and PC133 SDRAM DIMM's?

Generally you can mix PC100 and PC133 memory in the same system. The faster memory will run at the slower memory's speed (in this case PC100). However, there are some systems that will not correctly run this memory configuration. It is rare, but we suggest you contact your computer manufacturer or motherboard manual for specifics. ^Top^

What is the difference between buffered and unbuffered DIMM's?

High density DIMMs have lots of chips on them and therefore possess a higher capacitive load on the address and control signals in comparison to lower density DIMMs. Some designers use redrive buffers on the DIMM to boost the signals to reduce system loading when compared to the same high density module without buffers. But the buffers introduce a small delay into the electrical signal, so adding buffers to a standard density module would have the effect of slowing down the signal, compared to the same low density module without buffers. ^Top^

What is virtual memory?

This is a method of extending the available physical memory on a computer. In a virtual memory system, the operating system creates a pagefile, or swapfile, and divides memory into units called pages. Recently referenced pages are located in physical memory, or RAM. If a page of memory is not referenced for a while, it is written to the pagefile. This is called "swapping" or "paging out" memory. If that piece of memory is then later referenced by a program, the operating system reads the memory page back from the pagefile into physical memory, also called "swapping" or "paging in" memory. The total amount of memory that is available to programs is the amount of physical memory in the computer in addition to the size of the pagefile. ^Top^

What is the difference between RDRAM and SDRAM?

RDRAM stands for Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory. SDRAM stands for Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. The two memories are completely different memory technologies and are not compatible with each other. RDRAM is a unique design developed by a company called Rambus, Inc. RDRAM is extremely fast and uses a narrow, high-bandwidth "channel" to transmit data at speeds much faster than SDRAM. ^Top^

What is the difference between 72-bit and 64-bit memory?

72-bit memory is commonly known as ECC memory. It has an additional 8 bits for Error Correction Check 64-bit memory is non-ECC. 72-bit or 64-bit configuration are typically found in 168 pin DIMMs. ^Top^

Will adding more RAM make my internet browsing faster?

Maybe. Internet browsing speed depends on a huge number of factors, including your connection speed, traffic on the site you're visiting, and the other components in your system. You will probably notice the biggest improvement from additional RAM if are viewing or working with large files (such as photos and digital audio and video) or if you switch between your browser and other applications often. ^Top^

How do I identify the size (capacity) of a RAM module?

It is possible to identify the chips by part number. You have to identify the size of each the chips on a module, and then multiply the size by the number of chips on the module to determine its memory capacity. Different RAM manufacturers have developed their own methods of identification, so it is has become difficult to identify the chips without looking up the exact part number on a website that provides the information. Luckily, the Internet has made doing this fairly easy via the Google search engine.

Unless they have been remarked by unscrupulous dealers that are selling substandard modules not passed for use in a computer as computer-quality, all of the chips on a particular module will have the manufacturer's name (or logo), and a part number printed on them. For example, a 30-pin SIMM module with nine chips on the module, could have the part number - KM41C4000AJ-8. Drop the AJ-8 (the first letter is usually the quality - A, B, C, etc.), then use KM41C4000 to conduct a Google search. The KM indicates parts made by Samsung. The 41 indicates that it is a 1Mbit x 4 part. This means that the chip holds 4Mbits. Eight of the nine chips hold memory, so this is a 8 x 4Mbit, or 32Mbit module. There are eight bits to a byte, therefore this is an 4MB module. The ninth chip is there to add parity. This was used as a means of checking for memory errors that is no longer used.

For a 168-pin DIMM module that has eight chips (no parity chip), and the part number - TMS626812DGE-12A - you would use TMS626812 to search for information on it. Each chip is a 2Mbit x 8 (16Mbit) SDRAM chip. There are eight chips, so this is a 16MB SDRAM module, which is slow compared to the fastest speed that SDRAM modules reached. The 12 in the part number indicates that the module has a maximum frequency (speed) of 66MHz. SDRAM modules, now superseded by DDR and Rambus RAM, reached a maximum speed of 133MHz. ^Top^



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