A while ago I upgraded my GPU. And for some reason, my computer won't boot unless I take out 1 stick of my RAM. It doesn't matter which one. I have a dell Inspiron 530, and I can only have 2.5GB ram if I take out either of the 512MB sticks. Originally it had 3GB. I added an EVGA Geforce GTX 650. I have tried many solutions. My computer works fine with the 650 installed and all ram sticks in, but only in safe mode, or with no drivers installed. I have tried many things, including:
-Upgrading to a 550W Power supply
-Fresh driver install
-Re-installing Windows (w7 64-bit SP1)
-Messing with various bios settings
-Resetting bios to default values
-Using different RAM slots, every combination possible
-Removing a 512MB stick and adding a 256MB stick (with a slower speed)
-Flashing to older BIOS
-Booting in safe mode (this works)
-Using no drivers (this works)
-Trying drivers from Windows
-Trying drivers from EVGA
-Trying drivers from NVIDIA
-Trying drivers on CD
-Installing RAM first, then GPU
-Installing GPU first, then RAM
-Using different connectors to the GPU (either the 6-pin molex adapter that came with the card, or the 6-pin PCIe cable in the power supply)
-Testing the card in another system (works)
-Trying a different OS (tried Win8, 7, XP, vista)
-Trying a 32 bit OS or a 64-bit OS
The results: Every time, depending on what I do it is either an infinite bios boot loop, or a black screen after the "starting windows" screen.
So as you can see I just can't figure out what's wrong.
Thank you for your very detailed list of troubleshooting.
I'm still working on an answer and will be back. However, I have one question. Did you already try going into the BIOS, under 'Advanced Chipset Features'? There, you can tell the motherboard which video card you want it to use first. Try setting it to 'PCI'. Let's see if that changes anything with all the RAM installed. You might also try just simply resetting BIOS defaults ( BIOS flash doesn't reset defaults ).
I have already reset to default settings. Under Advanced Chipset settings, there are 2 options: PCI and PCIex. Neither of them work. However, there are more options when PCI is selected. Which ones should I choose?
Thank you for getting back. Are you talking about the options in the below screen shot? If so, I don't know if they will affect the video card issue you're seeing.
I've asked around and the general response I'm getting is that it 'sounds like a motherboard limitation'. One of my colleagues did have a similar issue and they eventually found out that is was a bad processor socket.
The highest video card we sold with the Inspiron 530 had 512MB of video memory. So the motherboard limitation theory is making a lot of sense at this point.
About the processor socket, should I take out the CPU and sent a picture? I know how to properly remove the CPU, and I've done it before successfully.
Interesting note about the shared video memory. It could have something to do with the problem. The cause could be that the on board video memory is managed as a 'percent of system memory'. Reducing the size of the video memory by removing a stick of memory, might be allowing the motherboard some kind of extra PCI device space.
Completely up to you on the processor socket. I think we have a motherboard memory management limit that's making your card not display. I'm guessing though.
From everything I've read, the video memory is managed by system firmware and there's not much one can do to adjust it manually. This makes since for an Inspiron since it was a lower cost option.