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Old 01-15-2006, 06:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New motherboard is creating 'phantom' RAM and won't recognise the real stuff...

I have just replaced my computer's motherboard and CPU, from an ancient ASUS model (too old to even be recognised on the ASUS website) and an AMD XP CPU (1.1GHz) to a new MSI K8T Neo motherboard with an AMD Sempron 2.0GHz processor, both brand new. I thought that it would be possible to use all the other components until I can save up enough for a new graphics card, RAM etc.

All of the other components seem to work fine. After making all the connections and starting up for the first time, Windows (XP) loads successfully... but VERY, VERY slowly.

About an hour after loading, I finally manage to right-click on 'My computer' to be told that I apparently have "AMD Unknown Processor - 2.0 GHz" and "64MB of RAM".

This is what surprises me, because in the DIMM ports at the time were three 256MB PC2100 DDR sticks, all three identical - two which were in the motherboard I had before (as identical as can be - sequential serial numbers and everything), and another one from another PC purchased at around about the same time. So not only is the PC not recognising that it's actually got 762Mb of RAM stuck in it, but it's creating 64Mb out of nowhere!

I've tried swapping the sticks around and taking some of them out - no change, either in the display or in overall performance. I had a look through the BIOS (wiht the instruction manual close to hand), but nothing jumped out at me - and I really don't know what I'm looking for!

Really confused! Any ideas what's going on? Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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when it POST's, does it say how much RAM it sees? that will tell you for sure if it is the motherboard's problem.
also, do you have an onboard video card?
if so, it might for some reason be on a really high setting for shared video RAM
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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No, it doesn't say anything about RAM in the POST - not 64Mb, not 762Mb, not anything.

There's no video card built into the motherboard, if that's what you mean. But I have installed my old video card to enable me to connect my screen (the motherboard doesn't have a connector for the display lead). What's shared video RAM?
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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shared video RAM is the part of your RAM allocated to an onboard video card

does it say anything on POST? or does it just have an MSI screen or something?
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It briefly flashes the MSI logo, then says that there are no SATA RAID controllers installed and spends a few lines huffing and puffing (not a problem because they control extra hard disks, which I haven't got). Then it does the same thing for the Promise SATA controllers (again, no extra disks). Then it says "press <del> to enter setup" and then after a second or two loads Windows XP.

I guess the ammount of video RAM is defined by "AGP aperture size" in teh BIOS, which "controls how much system RAM can be allocated to AGP for video purposes.", according to the manual. It's currently set on 128MB, and can go up to 256MB. So even on its highest setting it wouldn't take enough RAM to leave only 64MB left for other stuff.

I've just realised - my graphics card is a "nVidia 64MB..." The motherboard can't use the memory on the graphics card as system RAM, can it???
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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no, a PC cannot use the RAM on a dedicated video card as system RAM
at the POST, does pressing delete at the MSI screen show anything else?
if so, you can press "pause/break" to stop what its doing so you can read what's written
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No, nothing else. And it's started doing another irritating thing - if you start it up from a complete shutdown, after loading windows the first time, it displays "lsas.exe. The endpoint format is invalid" in a dialogue box. The only button available is "ok" - clicking on it prompts the computer to go through the whole Boot sequence AGAIN. Interestingly, the second time through, it loads the welcome page with no problems. That REALLY confuses me!
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Old 01-15-2006, 07:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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the slow booting would be due to it having little RAM, so it is forced to use paging file (a file on the hard drive that is used as RAM)
and hard drives are a lot slower than RAM
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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From browsing around, it seems that the k8t motherboards are a bit picky about what RAM configurations it will accpet, but mine don't seem to be obviously wrong - I mean, they fit in the slots, so they must be the right kind of sticks, right? Is there any way the RAM sticks I've got might not be compatible with the motherboard, even if they fit in correctly? And if that is the case, can anyone suggest what sticks WOULD work? I don't want to buy the wrong ones. Actually I don't want to buy any at all, but...

Even if they are the wrong type, where is the 64Mb coming from???
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