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ram/motherboard issue


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#1
smoiu

smoiu

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Hi, i am not sure if this is an issue or not so would appreciate some advice before i get on the phone to dell again. Yesterday my new (<8 days) dell inspiron 1501 laptop had a problem booting, it gave a blue screen as soon as it got to windows and the built in dell diagnostics boot up check showed a ram fault.

I phoned dell and they asked me to remove one of my ram sticks as i have two and see if it works. Not only did it work but the laptop seemed faster than it used to, after that he asked me to check that the ram was the problem and not the slot so i put the faulty ram in the other slot - it didnt work, and then the good ram in the other slot which did work, however it was much much slower than i'd ever seen the laptop boot up. The technician said that this was just down to the laptop reconfiguring the ram slots and it woud be faster next time, he sent out some new ram which will arrive soon and that was that.

Today though i turned the laptop on and it was still very slow, so i swapped the ram over to the other slot and it was fast again, the times for the bootups are: 1minute 39 seconds in one slot, and 54 seconds in the other slot, a massive difference. It also shuts down much slower, 39 seconds compared to 28. The Vista performance function does not show any difference in speed, it gives it a 3.9 score for both slots, whereas when i first got the laptop with 2gb of ram itgot 5.1, i doubt its accuracy at doing much more than measuring how much ram it actually has though.

Can anyone explain to me why this speed difference may be occuring please? Is it natural for one slow to be faster than the other, do i need to change some settings when i swap the ram over or should i be worried that there is something wrong with one slot, causing the other ram stick to break and for it to run slowly?

Thank you for any replies, either allaying my fears or giving me reason to phone dell again and sorry for the length of the post, i didnt want to miss anything that might be important!

System Config:

Inspiron 1501 Turion 64 X2 TL56 (1.8GHz, 512K)
15.4" Wide Screen XGA TFT Display: 1280x800
Memory Dual-Channel 2048MB (2x1024) 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Hard Drive 160GB Serial ATA (5400RPM)
Fixed Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Drive
4 Cell 29WHr Primary battery
ATI Radeon Xpress 1150 256MB HyperMemory
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#2
dsenette

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if a known good stick of ram works at one speed in one slot and a different speed in another slot...i'd suspect the motherboard....i don't know what the tech was talking about with the "reconfiguring the slots" deal as honestly they should be the exact same slot with the exact same config assuming that the ram they sent you were the same spec sticks (they should be)....and if their "configuration" story were true then...as they said...the problem would have rectified itself....

now...it's probable that you'll have to get the new stick of ram and see if things get better or see if it breaks the new stick as well before they'll be willing to replace the motherboard
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#3
smoiu

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Thanks for the quick reply! Thats what i thought; it didn't make much sense to me for one slot to be faster than the other.

What do you suggest i do when the new stick arrives? Should i just see if its faster (1-2 gigs of ram should make a massive improvement to vista i'm led to believe?) and if it is just leave it unless it breaks or should i take this issue up with dell now and just claim a repacement on the grounds that one slot is slower than the other?

One thing i forgot to mention somehow was when i took the cover off to get at the ram there was a distinct burning smell and the dodgy stick of ram still has a slightly smokey smell to it, is that normal for dead ram or does it suggest a specific problem?
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#4
dsenette

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it's your call....i hate sitting on the phone with tech support...but you've got a shot at getting it taken care of now instead of later

if they don't play ball...put the new ram in and see what happens

nothing is supposed to smell like burning plastic...but without visual inspection i can't say if what you're smelling is a result of the ram going bad...or the cause of it
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#5
smoiu

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Ok, the new ram should arrive tomorrow so i'll put it in and if there is a significant speed increase i'll stick with it, otherwise i'll assume its a bad slot and call them.

Well i can't see any physical damage such as blackened parts when comparing it to the other one so i guess thats a good sign, i can take a picture if theres something more specific you would look for but it's not a very good camera for close up detail unfortunately as its a phone with an led flash so either the is either the option of it being very dark or having a bright white spot in the middle of it :whistling: I'll have a go at getting a good pic.
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