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Inspiron 530 won't start ...RAM?

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Help!

Inspiron 530 XP SP3, 2.66Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo E7300, 2Gb RAM, 500Gb HDD

My Inspiron 530 has 2x 1GB Kingston DDR2 SDRAM from new. With increasing frequency (on startup), it runs the fans for approx 3 seconds, stops and repeats this for two more times. The LED remains amber. It then 'beep's' and starts up but doesn't put a picture on the screen - which remains in standby mode. The RAM is in Slot one and three.  Once it has started doing this, it keeps on failing to start........ but if I leave it until the following day, it will sometimes just startup normally with no problems!

Weirdly, after removing one of the RAM strips from Slot three (furthest away from the CPU), it has started up perfectly normally from the last dozen startups! I removed the RAM strip to just see if it made any difference to the startup problem.

I've read about reseating the RAM strips and have done this a number of times but with no joy............. the problem just re-occurs....

So ..... could it be a faulty slot? ...... If so would  I be better off buying a single 2GB RAM and putting it in Slot 1....... i understand this might give a slight drop in performance ..... but I hardly beat it up performance wise at the best of times......

Or is it faulty RAM ...... but it seems to run perfectly well with either of the two 1Gb RAM on their own in Slot 1........

It has all the original MOBO drivers, BIOS etc ...... I've not been brave enough to update them.......

Or is it something else?.........

Any suggestions gratefully received.......... and thanks in advance!!!!

John

 

Verified Answer
  • Well heres an update!........ I've run my PC with just one 1Gb RAM stick in at a time ...(used both of them for a few days each) and no probs..... and I've put them in slot 1 and slot 3 as well and all is well...... I want to follow all the advice you've given very kindly given me but I'm hesitating to do anything too major at the moment as I'm right in the middle of a whole load of work that has got to be finished in three weeks time and if I do something wrong and mess up my PC then I'm really in trouble .... However I've reseated the video card and put both RAM sticks back in and ..... .. all has been well since ...... no start up problems and everything is running OK.......... ????!!!!!!!! ....... I'll come back to this post if I have any more problems ......... but Ron and Dave..... thanks for your time ...... really appreciate it!!!!!

    John

All Replies
  • Check each stick in slot one. Put in one stick at a time and try to boot with the single stick in slot 1

    You may have a bad ram stick. If both check good  but them back into slots 1,3 and try to boot. listen to the beep code.

     HomeBuilt SandyBridge P8P67 i7 2600k @ 4.5 ghz 8gigs GSkill Ripjaws. Corsair 800D Case and AX1200 Ps X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty pro PCIe Sound Card
    Dell Studio XPS 1645  Window 7 Pro

    Forum member since 2003

  • Since you said either module works in slot 1, that's pointing to an issue with slot 3.

    Count the beeps, as Dave said. The beep code should give you some info about the problem.

    Have you tried clearing BIOS?

    Power off and unplug

    Press/hold power button for ~15 sec

    Open the case and remove motherboard battery

    Press/hold power button for ~30 sec

    Put RAM modules in both slots 1 and 3

    Now reinstall the battery (right-side-up!) and see if it boots with only mouse, monitor and keyboard attached

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • Thanks to both of you for your replies...... really appreciate it...........!!

    Unfortunately, it doesn't beep!!  I have read about a sequence of beeps pointing to problems but mine only beeps the once (as it does when it is starting up properly) ......... just the fans run three times as I described!! The fans always run 3 times ..... thats never any different when it won't start up .....

    I can't just look at removing the battery at the moment ...... I'll try later ....

    It's started up perfectly again this morning with just the one 1Gb RAM in slot one .... although obviously slower than when its got both 1Gb RAM in....

    If there is a problem with slot three ... what could that be??

    Thanks again!!

    John

  • Did you try the one ram stick at time to check to see if all sticks are good? What you can also try is to remove all the ram sticks and power it up. You should hear beeps at this time. A lack of beeps would point to a motherboard issue.

    If the ram slot were to be bad it would also require a new motherboard. As it could either be the slot or your ram controller which is part of the motherboard and not repairable.

     HomeBuilt SandyBridge P8P67 i7 2600k @ 4.5 ghz 8gigs GSkill Ripjaws. Corsair 800D Case and AX1200 Ps X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty pro PCIe Sound Card
    Dell Studio XPS 1645  Window 7 Pro

    Forum member since 2003

  • OK ....thanks for that...!!

    Both RAM sticks appear to work OK on their own .........

    I will be trying your suggestion of  clearing the BIOS .....please could you explain what that will do? ... I've never done it before and I'm always happy to learn new things!!

    If at the end of all this it proves to be a motherboard issue would buying a 2Gb RAM and putting it in slot 1 be OK .... I understand that the performance may not be the same as two 1Gb RAM but better than one 1Gb on its own?

    Thanks again !!

    John

  • Sorry! ..... I forgot to mention this ......... and I don't know if its important or not.....

    I have had three occasions in the last two months when I've had the dreaded 'blue screen' appear ...... This has happened at the same time on each occasion and it has been right at the end of the shutting down procedure just before the power turns off ....... I haven't got the code it gave out but I'll make a note if it happens again.......

    John

  • A blue screen is more likely a Windows (software ) error or possibly a hard drive error. That may not be related to the RAM issue.

    BIOS stores info about the hardware installed in your system (eg, type of hard drive, type of video card, amount of RAM , etc). That info is stored on a chip powered by the motherboard battery. Some times that info gets scrambled, typically when the battery is weak.

    When you remove the battery, BIOS gets reset back to the factory default settings, though some of the settings you need may not be the defaults. So before you pull the battery, reboot and press F2 to open BIOS setup. Copy down all the settings so you can set them correctly later.

    After you reinstall the battery, BIOS will look around at all the hardware again to see what's installed. So put both 1GB modules in their slots before reinstalling the battery. That way BIOS should see them and hopefully fix your problem. If it does fix it, then you may need to install a fresh motherboard battery.

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • Well heres an update!........ I've run my PC with just one 1Gb RAM stick in at a time ...(used both of them for a few days each) and no probs..... and I've put them in slot 1 and slot 3 as well and all is well...... I want to follow all the advice you've given very kindly given me but I'm hesitating to do anything too major at the moment as I'm right in the middle of a whole load of work that has got to be finished in three weeks time and if I do something wrong and mess up my PC then I'm really in trouble .... However I've reseated the video card and put both RAM sticks back in and ..... .. all has been well since ...... no start up problems and everything is running OK.......... ????!!!!!!!! ....... I'll come back to this post if I have any more problems ......... but Ron and Dave..... thanks for your time ...... really appreciate it!!!!!

    John