Dr.Love38
1 Nickel

Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

Hello, I have a 1100 laptop running XP home, Ver 2002, SP3. It came with 2 128mb cards and has been running fine since new. I decided to upgrade the memory to gain a little more speed.I used the Dell scanner and the Crucial scanner to check for possible upgrades. Both said 2 512mb cards would work.

I ordered the recommended 512 cards from Dell. I removed both 128 cards and installed the 512 cards. The system would not boot up. It starts for a second then shuts off.I then changed back to the 128 in slot b and left the 512 in slot a. It loaded no problem and showed 640mb of ram.And it was a lot quicker loading and shutting down.

I then tried other combinations including loading with 1 512 in slot a , nothing in slot b, OK, The other 512 in slot a, nothing in slot b, OK. To me this verified both new cards were OK. I then tried both new cards in slot b, nothing in slot a, NO BOOT. Then a 128 in slot a and 512 in slot b, NO BOOT. This tells me there is some type of grading on the slots where slot a is the primary or whatever.

I have read on other posts and sites wher they say you have to load the latest A32 bios before upgrading memory. I have NOT read where this helped the situation. I did try to load the bios from the Dell site using my service tag to locate downloads for my system. I tried it with  512 in slot a and  128 in slot b and it said I was trying to run the flash update on an unsupported system. Why, I don't have a clue, unless it had to do with having the 512 card in which I doubt. Like I said I have not read anywhere that the bios update fixed this issue. The Dell site states what is fixes and memory upgrades is not listed.

I have searched this forum and half the internet for a solution before I posted here. I know there are some posts on here about this issue but I have not found any answer so far.

Any ideas would be helpful,

Thanks    

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8 Krypton

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

You must upgrade to A22 before you upgrade to A32.

http://www.bay-wolf.com/bios/i1100/I1100A22.zip

 

The BIOS update should fix the RAM problem.

 

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Dr.Love38
1 Nickel

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

Thanks ejn63. I am at A02 now. Can I go to A22 from here and then to A32? 

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8 Krypton

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

Yes.

 

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Dr.Love38
1 Nickel

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

Update on my memory upgrade. I updated my bios from A02 to A22 with no problems. I then updated to A32 with no problems. The problem is I still cannot load up with both 512mb cards in. The laptop does work a lot better and faster running at 640mb versus the 256mb. I still wish I could get both cards in. All I gained is a flashing amber and green power light that never changes no matter the state of the battery. Which is pretty annoying.

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jingleheimer
1 Nickel

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

My Dell Inspiron 1100 had one 512 MB card, and I wanted to buy a second such card to upgrade it to the maximum memory capacity of 1 GB. I installed a 512 MB card from crucial.com that matched all the specs for this machine. When I put it in the DIMM B slot with the old 512 MB card in DIMM A, I could boot to the BIOS config screen but the screen didn't display right. Thinking there might be something wrong with the new card, I decided to try only one card at a time. So I removed the old (working) card and moved the new card to DIMM A. In this configuration, it wouldn't boot. Instead it flashed two of the three lights next to the power button for 5 seconds and then powered itself down.

Thinking the card was defective, I returned it for a replacement, but the next card behaved the same. I went through 4 more cards. All of them failed the same way. One of them was even manufactured by Dell! Yet my old card worked fine, so I knew the problem was related to the new memory card and not a problem elsewhere in the laptop.

I Googled for others who had encountered the problem but nobody had an explanation for why the problem occurs. I have now figured out why some memory cards fail in the Dell Inspiron 1100 and others work.

Here's the reason some memory cards won't work in Dell's Inspiron 1100 and others will. Count how many chips are on the card. Divide the card's memory capacity by the number of chips. If the result is more than 32 MB, it won't work! The designers assumed that no chip on a memory card would ever have more than 32 MB.

By releasing a piece of hardware with this limitation, they created a situation where a memory card can match all the specs (DDR PC2100, 200 pin SODIMM, CL=2.5, Unbuffered, Non-ECC) and still be incompatible because with this hardware design, maximum memory per chip on the card is an unpublicized spec. that will prevent the machine from working if the chips exceed the 32 MB limit!

If you have a 512 MB card with 8 chips on it, it will never work. The only ones that do work are the ones with 16 chips.

The 1100 hardware design also has numerous other problems which are described at http://www.lieffcabraser.com/dell-inspiron-3.htm.

Talebearer
1 Nickel

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

Certian brands of chips do not function properly in the Inspiron 1100.  They may cause the computer to behave erratically. Chip manufacturers set different standards in their manufacturing processes and their programming  techiniques may vvary causing sllght differences in the operation of their chips. As I previously had experienced with this problem I will check my laptop and let you know the brand to use. You should use PNY DDR SODIMM chips.

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tuxedowilly
1 Copper

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

I was wondering why people seemed to have so many problems with upgrading memory on the 1100. Mine went smoothly. Then I read up to talebearer's post. Just by luck I had purchased  a single 512MB PNY DDR SODIMM memory card to boost me up to a solid Gigabyte. I bought the machine used, running at 640MB. I ditched the 128MB and plugged in the second 512MB. It booted right up and ran fine with the 1Gig confirmed. The boot-up went noticeably faster, too. I guess the machine is just very choosy in what memory it accepts. All I can say is, stick with PNY!

Certian brands of chips do not function properly in the Inspiron 1100.  They may cause the computer to behave erratically. Chip manufacturers set different standards in their manufacturing processes and their programming  techiniques may vvary causing sllght differences in the operation of their chips. As I previously had experienced with this problem I will check my laptop and let you know the brand to use. You should use PNY DDR SODIMM chips.

 

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sean5470
1 Copper

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

I got lucky upgrading my 2004 inspiron 1100. For starters, the issue many of you are having is the result, NOT from Dell's neglect in manufacturing these laptops, but if you do more research on the topic of "Low Density" versus "High Density" memory modules, you would find out that there area quite a few 'older' computers and even some of the newer motherboards that will only recognize and work with the more universal 'Low Density' module chip design. Counting this 1100 laptop, i own and use a total of three pc's that will only use the Low Density chips. And a little FYI for all of you owners, i don't know the exact maximum memory of these, though I would speculate it to be 2gig and NOT the listed 1gig. I say that, only based on the fact that i like to play around and I am currently runningmy 1100 with a 1 gig chip AND a 256meg chip installed and being fully recognized by the laptop. I have installed, a NANYA, 1Gig chip with the IC Chip markings of = "NT5DS64M8BG-6k" and a 256Meg Chip made by Samsung with the chip markings of "K4H561638D-TCB0". They both look to be DDR333's with a 2.5 CAS Latency. I have yet to get a hold of another 1 gig chip to see if it is seen by the bios and recognized fully. One can google the chip ID numbers to verify my installed chips. Don't be confused when the results come back as a 512Mbit and a 128Mbit chip though, as one has to remember that both of these modules are double-sided. At any rate, right-clicking and looking at my "My Computer" properties, it does indeed come right up with 1.25 GB of RAM . To summarize, the issue at hand is not only with Dell and I haven't done much research on the switch to the manufacturing of the newer High Density chips, but to make an educated guess, I would come to the conclusion that it was not a 'design error' in regards to not thinking that a chip would ever be bigger than 32Mbit, but it probably had more to do with the over all economy and manufacturing the IC chip cheaper. i.E. - 'make a higher density chip - result equals manufacturers having to put fewer chips on a pcb board......which would cut down on the over all cost of production per module".. Personally, I am more adept to go with the thoughts on that line, as everyone that manufactures anything is always looking to cut production cost to help them increase profit margins. PNY isn't at all a bad chip to invest in. Though I usually try to look for Kingston brand. Only because they have proven to me to be the most compatible with the most systems, time and time again. So, if your still having issues with upgrading your 1100, or any pc you have, and a generic module won't work,, you are probably looking at a "density" issue and you will need to specifically ask for the "Low Density" as they are the most likely modules that will work in almost all PC motherboards.

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etkyle
1 Copper

Re: Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Questions

Thanks for the tip! I just bought 2 "512MB PNY Optima DDR PC2700"s, which are supposed to be compatible with PC2100 DDR266 and PC1600 DDR200s, and they both worked great! Now I am running 1GB in my 1100 with no problems - it's like having a new computer for only $80 ($40 for each 512MB chip at staple.com). As tuxedowilly wrote, "stick with PNY!", I did and it worked - thanks!

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