Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

So I've got a old Optiplex 980 that I've been trying to get up and running. I've bought 16 GBs of DDR3L Ram(two 8 GB Timetec Hynix chips.) Whether I install both chips, or if I try only one of them, the power light is blue, but the #3 and #4 lights up amber. The Dell splash screen comes up, but the blue bar only loads a little. If I try no ram, the #1 lights up, but the power button is still blue, so I presume this isn't a motherboard issue.

 

After moving the RAM cards around between slots, I've managed to progress pass the splash screen but get "alert memory population errors," After moving the cards a bit more, I've managed to get the computer to boot in an infinite loop(Splash screen loads, asks me whether I want to boot windows normally or launch repair, takes me back to the splash screen regardless of which option I chose, rinse and repeat.)

 

One card alone in any of the slots give me the original error. If one card is in DIMM 1 and one in DIMM 2, I get the loop. If one is in DIMM 1 and the other in DIMM 4, I get a "Memory population error for DIMM 4." If one is in DIMM 2 and the other in DIMM 3, I get a "Memory population error for DIMM 3." If one is in DIMM 1 and the other in DIMM 3, I get the original Splash screen freeze. If one is in DIMM 2 and the other in DIMM 4, I also get the original Splash screen freeze.

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8 Replies
bmcowboy
3 Zinc

Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

Hi @chugachugachuga ,

You don't have to presume what those diagnostic indicator signal stand for. There's a Reference Guide on Power LED and Diagnostic LEDs out there:

1.JPG

i.e. Problem from the memory modules.

Then, check on page #13 of the Optiplex 980 Technical Guide:

"Your computer supports a maximum of 16 GB of memory when you use four 4-GB DIMMs"

Memory DIMMS slots on your PC support up to 4GB only. Sorry to tell that those 8GB RAM will not work on it.

 

 

“May the Force be with Dell.”

Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

Aw man. I completely missed that. Thank you.

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bmcowboy
3 Zinc

Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

Hi @chugachugachuga ,

Not at all, man. If you found information above helps, please consider mark it as solution in order to benefit others in need. Thanks a lot!

 

“May the Force be with Dell.”
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johndevid4
1 Copper

Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

I create a message about it because I faced that problem when I used the windows7 operating system on my PC. Because in today's date most of the people know about it. Faced any kind of problem about windows then for you I suggest you visit  Windows update error code 8007000e 

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Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

So I ended up buying 4gb ram cards and my problem wasn't solved. It still loops, only this time, the error code is a bit different. Upon startup, the power light is blue, and the numbers change and appear in this order:

1 & 3

3 & 4

2 & 4

1, 2 & 3

2, 3 & 4

1 & 4

Then, on the Error Recovery page, none of the numbers are highlighted. I tried Startup Repair, F8 diagnostics, and didn't get any errors. I'm completely stumped.

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bmcowboy
3 Zinc

Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

What is the brand and model of those newly purchased RAM? And how did you populate them? Noted that RAM on Optiplex 980 must be installed in identical pairs as per the Technical Guide mentioned, and speed up to 1333MHz.

“May the Force be with Dell.”
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Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

Crucual RAM is highly recommended among us "techies" as it's guaranteed to work in Dell's.  Kingston Value Brand (KVR) almost never works.  The volts can be off in off-brands.

You might already know - Make sure all RAM sticks are the same brand, capacity, and MHz.  Though Dell's have a history of memory compatibility issues, that goes for most PC's.

Hopefully there isn't an issue with the DIMM slots themselves.

- Please consider giving posts you like a thumbs up.
- Please "Accept as Solution" posts that are a solution.

I'm a big fan of Dell, a Dell user, and not an employee. This forum is mainly user to user with occasional moderation or additional knowledge by a Rockstar or Dell employee.
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Re: Dell Optiplex 980 not making it past Splash Screen

So, I solved my problem by myself, by upgrading to Windows 10 via USB. I'm not sure why Vista wasn't working, but now it runs perfectly.