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Article Number: 000141827

Notebooks Cannot Complete Power On Self Test (POST) When Used With DDR3 Memory Module

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Article Content


Article Summary: Notebooks Cannot Complete Power On Self Test (POST) When Used With DDR3 Memory Module.

Table of Contents:
  1. What are the Issue Symptoms?
  2. Why does the issue occur?
  3. How to fix the issue?
  4. What are the differences between DDR3 or DDR3L memory?
  5. How to identify whether memory is DDR3 or DDR3L?
  6. Affected Platforms


  What are the Issue Symptoms?   

If a DDR3 SoDIMM memory module is inserted into a notebook that utilizes a
4th Generation Intel (Haswell) processor, the notebook will not complete Power On Self Test (POST)
and will generate an LED or Beep error code indicative of a memory issue,
depending on the notebook model.

For products that support LED error codes, the LEDs will flash the “ON FLASH ON” code and
then the computer will shut off, i.e. the 1st and 3rd LEDs will be solid and the 2nd (middle) LED will
be flashing.

For products that support beep error codes, the computer will generate beep code 2, i.e. two beeps
followed by another two beeps followed by another two beeps in an endless loop with a 3sec gap
between each set of two beeps.
SLN179053_en_US__1new_note Note:
SoDIMM Memory module is referred as "Memory" in this Knowledge Base Article.


 Why does the issue occur?   

Notebooks utilizing 4th Generation Intel (Haswell) processors require a new type
of memory known as DDR3-Low Voltage or “DDR3L”.

Dell Products utilizing this generation of processors will ship with DDR3L memory
from the factories, and will not be backward compatible with regular DDR3 memory.


  How to fix the issue?   

1.Unplug the AC adapter from the system and remove the battery.
2.Remove all memory modules and identify the DDR3 memory.
3.Replace DDR3 memory with DDR3L memory.
4.Re-insert the battery and plug in the AC adapter
5.Press the Power button. System should now boot normally .


  What are the differences between DDR3 or DDR3L memory?   

DDR3L is dual voltage capable memory which supports operation at both
1.5V and 1.35V. DDR3L is also pin-compatible with DDR3 (i.e. it will fit in a DDR3 socket).
DDR3 is single voltage capable memory which supports 1.5V operation only.
It is NOT compatible with systems using 4th Generation Intel (Haswell) processors, which
exclusively support 1.35V operation for memory.


  How to identify whether memory is DDR3 or DDR3L?  

All JEDEC compliant memory  must contain text that allows for identification.
Notice the difference in the text between the two attached pictures.
DDR3 has “PC3” whereas DDR3L  has “PC3L” in the JEDEC compliant text. 



 Affected Platforms 

Inspiron Inspiron 15R (5537)
Latitude Latitude E6540
Alienware Alienware 14
Alienware 17

Article Properties

Affected Product

Alienware 14, Alienware 17, Inspiron 15R N5110, Latitude E6540

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



Article Type