Alright, I upgraded the RAM in a Vostro 3450 laptop a couple of days ago. Went from one 2GB PC3-10600 stick to two 2x4GB PC3-10666 sticks.
My process was as follows:
I am out of ideas of what might be going on? The only thing I am left with is a motherboard problem that manifested more than an hour after installing the RAM and passing multiple checks and with no indicators that it was dropped or abused in a way that would cause a motherboard problem.
As far as I can tell, it's getting past POST (because it knows there is RAM there) and failing before it can get to even loading the BIOS or doing anything with the screen. Did I screw up somehow? Based on what I know, this is a textbook RAM upgrade. Is there anything I missed? Thoughts, suggestions, ways to fix the damn laptop?
Thanks for such a detailed post! I agree with your diagnosis in that this sounds like a motherboard failure, unfortunately timed very close to your upgrade. I would suggest before replacing parts though, that you attempt clearing the systems NVRAM / CMOS settings to see if this has any effect, if you have not already.
This could be performed by simply removing the systems CMOS battery and RAM, then holding the power button down to clear any residual power. After clearing reinstall the CMOS and memory and attempt to power up.
Hopefully the cause is merely NVRAM corruption and clearing will have you back up and running but let us know how it goes.
Okay, I'm working on it now. Super annoying with this model. Have to go all the way down to removing the system board to remove the button cell battery then reassemble halfway to hit the power button just to disassemble it again to put a fresh battery (as long as I'm this far I'm replacing the sucker) to then reassemble it again and see if it helped.
while you are taking it apart, try booting with minimum components connected - leave memory in as you are getting the 2 beeps, disconnect keyboard, touchpad, media buttons, wifi card, speakers, etc, only leave motherboard, heatsink with fan, memory and power button(it is the left most cable on the palmrest). Remove the right hand side I/O board(the one with the wifi card) as well if it is still not booting.
If with minimum components it gets further than before it means something else is causing the issue and the memory swap is just a coincidence
I will personally bet on the right hand side IO board
Dell forum kept failing to post my update a few days ago and I got fed up. long story short, CMOS battery didn't help. I used a brand new replacement battery (I triple checked the battery type) and tried different HDDs while I had it open.
I see someone has posted another suggestion of bad IO board, I'll test that this afternoon