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Installing Memory (RAM)

There are a few factors you need to consider before buying your memory.

Buy memory that fits into the memory banks on your motherboard. You'll know what kind it is because of the length of the slot. Get memory that is the right speed for your computer so that it can use the memory without tripping. Look on the memory chip. Somewhere, it should say how fast it is. Look for a number after a dash, like "-80" or "-70". This is the speed in nanoseconds. Consult your motherboard's manual to see what kinds of memory it can handle. In general, you don't want to get memory that is any slower than the memory currently on your computer. On the other hand, don't exceed the amount of memory your motherboard can handle. Different boards have different limits. Again, consult your board's manual for this information. Also,  pay attention to chipset limitations, such as the TX's 64MB cacheable memory limit. 

Memory chips are organized in what are called banks. A bank is 1 to 4 memory card sockets, the minimum number of chips that must work as a unit. You will see on the circuit card part of the main (mother) board that there are the words Bank 1, Bank 2 written in white (the wording may be a little different depending on your board). You must have identical memory chips in each of the sockets in a bank. A half full bank spells certain disaster for a computer. You also can't put an 8MB chip and a 4MB chip in the same bank, you will need two 8MB or two 4MB chips together.

Here is a brief history of the evolution of RAM:  An older computer with a 386 or an early 486 chip usually has a 4 socket bank of 30-pin SIMM modules. A later model 486 requires only one socket of 72-pin modules. Pentium machines have two socket banks of 72 pin modules, meaning you must install RAM in pairs. 168pin Dimm is the latest version of Ram Memory, often called: PC100 and SDRam and are found with Pentium II and III. In all of these systems, the bank must be full for your system to operate. Follow these guidelines; lets say you want to add 16 meg of RAM to your Pentium machine. You could buy one 16MB SIMM, but this won't work because you will have a partially filled bank. You must buy two 8MB SIMMS instead, and install them in a pair.

Installation Instructions:

1) Turn off the computer, unplug it, and take off the case cover using a non-magnetic tool.

2) Create a static free environment.  Ensure that you are grounded by wearing an anti-static wrist band, available at your local computer retailer. The alternate would be to touch a shinny part of the metal case on the computer to discharge any static electricity. Avoid wearing socks on carpets as this builds static in your body. Computers are very susceptible to electro-static discharge (ESD), this discharge can and will damage chips. It is very important to eliminate static in your workplace.  More on ESD.

3) Locate the memory chip sockets. These are usual white or light gray in color and located near where the power wires plug into the motherboard. You will see the current memory chips in place.

4) When installing SIMMs, most manufacturers require the module to be inserted at a 45 degree angle, then "snapped" forward to the correct position. Most Pentium systems require matched pairs of modules.

5) Unlike SIMM installation, DIMMs may be "snapped" directly into the socket. Some DIMM sockets have minor physical differences. If your module doesn't seem to fit, please do not force it into the socket...  attempt to return the module for one that fits your motherboard. With DIMM chips, the setup is slightly different. There are little levers that hold the DIMM in place. When installing, you open the levers. They flip to the side. You then push the DIMM in place. Choose the correct memory slot. The slots are numbered, such as DIMM 0, DIMM 1, and DIMM 2. Choose the lesser, unused number. If this is the only module in the system, use DIMM 0. The notch is off-center, so it will only allow the chip in the right way. Once it is in all the way, close the levers. If you push the DIMM snuggly into the slot, the levers will actually close themselves. 

6) Some motherboards, especially older ones, need jumpers or dip switches changed to utilize the new memory. Consult the owners manual for your computer or motherboard to see if this is the case with your system. If so, follow the instructions given for the proper settings.

7) Put the case back together and plug it in. Turn the power on and wait for the expected error message. In most cases there will be an error and it is ok. The computer has noticed the added memory and wants to make sure that it is really there.

8) The CMOS or BIOS need to be set for the new memory. In almost all cases with modern BIOS programs, all you need to do is press the DEL or F1 key (whichever is specified) and the BIOS will do all the work. It will automatically set for the new memory amount and all you need to do is verify that if you now have 128MB of memory that it says 128MB in the standard CMOS setup section and then select "save and exit". Now as the computer continues to boot your new memory will be functional and you will be good to go.

Typical Trouble shooting tips:

Beeps when you start the computer are codes to alert you to problems.

1-beep means everything is OK. 2-beeps mean CMOS settings need to be set. 8-beeps mean the system can't find your video card. 1-long-beep means the system can't find any RAM.

Look on the paperwork that came for your computer or motherboard and ram for additional instructions and help.




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