XPS R400 RAM Problem

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Matt, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Recently, I just purchased a stick of 256 mb PC133 ram for my 1998 Dell
    XPS R400. Dell says this machine will hold a max of 384 mb of ram,
    however, several articles on the web say that despite what Dell
    says-the computer will hold 256 mb sticks for a max of 756 mb.
    However, we tried installing the 256 and two 128's. The computer
    refused to boot to Windows. Am running Windows 98. Have moved the 256
    to different slots and have tried various combinations of dimms on the
    board. We reset the bios, and my brother says we need to reinstall Win
    98 and see if this will work. When we remove the 256 stick and
    reinstall ram to the orig. configuration, the computer does say "memory
    decreased in size". Anyone know anything that we might not be doing
    that would help?
    Matt, Jan 2, 2006
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  2. Matt

    Tom Scales Guest

    Make sure you have the latest BIOS. The memory change to 768 was common in
    this vintage, but only for the latest BIOS
    Tom Scales, Jan 2, 2006
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  3. Matt

    S.Lewis Guest

    You need 128mb sticks of PC100. Some have made PC100 256mb sticks work, but
    the 128mb sticks are the surest bet.

    You'll not be able to make the PC133 work, bottom line. That board has the
    intel 440LX chipset....I think.

    S.Lewis, Jan 2, 2006
  4. Matt

    Chuck Guest

    I believe you answered your question in the first half of the second sentence.
    The Dell Dimension XPS R Series has a maximum capacity of 384MB.
    A 128mb stick in each of the 3 slots = 384mb.
    Chuck, Jan 2, 2006
  5. Matt

    Chuck Guest

    Chuck, Jan 2, 2006
  6. Matt

    Matt Guest

    We do have the most recent A13 BIOS found on the Dell website for the
    computer. I believe the board has the 440BX chipset and not the 440LX
    chipset. I realize that Dell says that 384 is max. However, when you
    overclock a cpu, do you not surpass the company's retail specification?
    This is exactly what I am looking to do with the memory-trying to get
    the BIOS to recognize 256mb DIMMS. PC133 should work. It is backward
    compatible when installed in a 100mhz machine. It will revert to 100
    Matt, Jan 2, 2006
  7. Matt

    S.Lewis Guest

    You're right, Intel 440BX.........

    All that is good and fine. When you get the PC133 to work, post back. I
    maintain it won't work in the expected way of "throttling" back to 100mhz.


    I am not questioning that the machine can reach a total capacity of 768mb of
    PC100 SDRAM (3 x 256mb) - which is also the Dell posted spec for the later
    XPST models with the 440BX.

    The problem is that the DIMM is PC133.

    If anyone here has gotten this to work in an XPSR or XPST, I would
    appreciate someone correcting me. I happen to own both models among 5 other
    Dell systems.

    S.Lewis, Jan 2, 2006
  8. Matt

    M. Hale Guest

    I owned a XPST-500 up until 2004. It will only work with PC100 RAM.
    When I upgraded my XPST from 128 to 256 and eventually to 784,
    Crucial.com recommended PC100 and it worked. I had first tried with
    PC133 DIMMs installed and it would not boot past the BIOS screen with
    PC133 RAM installed.

    What is interesting is that I support a number of Optiplex GX1s at the
    school I work at. The Pentium II Optiplexs will not boot with PC133
    DIMMs installed, but the Pntium III Optiplexs work fine with PC133 DIMMs
    installed. Weird especially since the Pentium III GX1s were made around
    the same time as the XPSR and T were out. Must be a difference in the
    BIOS and/or motherboard.

    M. Hale, Jan 2, 2006
  9. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Before attempting to install the PC133 256mb module, I had two PC133
    128mb PNY (Spectek) DIMMS and one PC133 (cannot remember the brand
    name) 64mb DIMM installed. The XPS recognized the 320mb on startup. I
    know the ram was PC133 because Powerleap scanned the machine to tell me
    the specs before I purchased the 1.2 ghz upgrade. Powerleap told me
    the type of ram I had installed. Also, they recommended PC100 or PC133
    128mb DIMMS for a max of 384mb.
    Matt, Jan 2, 2006
  10. Matt

    Brian Dean Guest

    Matt - Stew has it right the RAM has to be 256MB PC100.
    I have two different Dimension XPS R400s running at greater than 384 MB
    through various combinations of 256 and 128 sticks...etc...
    One is running 3 X 256MB PC100 with no problems.
    I am also running a Celeron Tualatin at 1.2GHZ PC100 processor in one.
    Windows XP likes the additional RAM and the faster processor is great
    Of course none of these investments make any economic sense given the low
    price of new machines,
    but the early Dimension R and T series machines were built like brick sh*T
    houses and will likely out live me... so I keep them going as hobby.

    Here is the info you need to become an expert on these old Dells...
    this ram should work... of course PC100 is probably cheaper used on eBay...

    Brian Dean, Jan 2, 2006
  11. Matt

    peterfelgate Guest

    I would think this relates more to the density of the memory than
    whether it is PC100 or not. Most early PC133 256Mbyte DIMMS were low
    density (usually 16 chips, double sided) and worked in BX series
    motherboards; later ones tended to be higher density and don't. This
    is definitely true of the contemporary Dell GX1 range. I have various
    GX1s with mixes of PC100 and PC133 256 Mbyte DIMMS and a spare R series
    - I'll try the PC133s that work in the GX1 in the R series and report
    peterfelgate, Jan 2, 2006
  12. Matt

    Ben Myers Guest

    However, Dell (and other manufacturers) rarely update their specs to reflect
    availability of newer technology. Most 440BX chipset boards will handle 256MB
    PC100 memory, as long as the memory chips are low density AND the latest BIOS
    update is installed. However, it all depends on what Dell provided as a BIOS
    update, which originated at Intel to begin with... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Jan 2, 2006
  13. Matt

    Matt Guest

    I did see an article on the net that stated the 256mb ram has got to be
    low density. So, I believe you're on to something here.
    Matt, Jan 2, 2006
  14. Matt

    Tweek Guest

    If the DIMMS you have only have eight chips on them they are high density
    and will not work. You need low density modules that have 16 chips on them.
    Tweek, Jan 2, 2006
  15. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Great news! I bought a stick of Crucial 256mb PC100 at a local
    computer store today, and it worked beautifully. This stick of ram DID
    HAVE EIGHT CHIPS on each side, and I didn't think it would work. Well,
    I was wrong. I still see on the Powerleap Configurator the other two
    DIMMS as PC133 128mb Spectek Inc. memory. Anyway, my total memory has
    increased to 512mb, and that's all that matters to me.
    Matt, Jan 3, 2006
  16. Matt

    peterfelgate Guest

    ....which of course isn't helpful, as it says that 256 Mbyte DIMMS can't
    be used and that the max memory is 384Mbytes, both of which are untrue.

    The issue is that Dell specs often are reports of only what Dell have
    verified work in their systems (for example, many machines are spec'd
    by Dell to have a max HDD capacity of 20Gbytes when they take up to
    120Gbytes...) and of course report what is manufactured at the time the
    spec is published - when the specs were published, 256Mbyte DIMMS
    probably didn't exist!
    peterfelgate, Jan 3, 2006
  17. Matt

    Tom Scales Guest

    They also represent the system at time of introduction. They are not
    updated to reflect BIOS updates, as in this case.
    Tom Scales, Jan 3, 2006
  18. Matt

    S.Lewis Guest


    S.Lewis, Jan 3, 2006
  19. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Thanks, Stew!

    Matt, Jan 5, 2006
  20. Matt

    Don Cole Guest

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