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Upgrading RAM in Windows 98 computer - Did I buy the wrong type

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April 3, 2013 8:30:38 AM

Hi, :) 

I'm upgrading my old Windows 98 computer to make it better for 'retro' gaming, and so I have a second computer in the house.

The motherboard is a MSI (Micro Star) MS-6183.

At the moment it has 128mb of ram, and I read in the manual that the mainboard supports a maximum memory size of 512MB. (Here's the manual: http://uk.ts.fujitsu.com/rl/servicesupport/techsupport/...)

First I ordered: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Komputerbay-512MB-133Mhz-DESKTO...

I installed it, and tried turning the computer on. It bleeped once, but nothing came up on the screen. I took the new ram out, and put the old ram back in, and it worked fine.

I was thinking that perhaps it could only take 256mb in each ram slot, so I ordered two lots of this: http://www.ebuyer.com/20094-extra-value-256mb-pc133-mem...

It arrived today, and I installed it, but the same thing happened. :(  I also tried just one of the 256mb ones, but still nothing.

Did I order the wrong type, or do I have to make a change in the BIOS, or were they all faulty?

Thanks.
a b } Memory
April 3, 2013 8:40:37 AM

Older computers (circa P4 and before) were very picky about ram (number of RANKS and positions of the memory, even orders in which they are populated). Your particular board supports up to 512MB's of ram if the modules are 128-Mbit density. I can't tell from the pictures of the ram if they are that way or not...

Also, there appears to be a new BIOS since msi switched from AMI to Award. Check to see if you have the latest BIOS and update your computer to it (with the 128MB working memory, of course), then check to see if this update enhanced memory compatibility. Some of the BIOS updates mentioned on MSI's website said there was memory compatibility enhancements, so the latest update should have all of that rolled in.

http://www.msi.com/product/mb/MS-6183.html#/?div=BIOS
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a b } Memory
April 3, 2013 8:42:04 AM

The max is 512(on page 11) - 2x 256 MB chips.

According to the warning(also on page 11) it only supports PC100.
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April 3, 2013 8:48:22 AM

god...if this was 1995 id be able to help ya...I lost all knowledge of that. I do rmrbr pc100 ram though and back then ram was very picky.
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a b } Memory
April 3, 2013 8:51:04 AM

Well, since you linked the manual, I guess I can simply tell you exactly what the manual tells us.......

This board has 2 memory slots and supports a maximum of 512mb total installed memory.
The largest size stick it will support is 256mb, or 2 x 256mb for a total of 512.

Then, right under that, with a big "WARNING" sign, it says and I quote "There is only one kind of DIMM specification supported by this mainboard: PC100."
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a b } Memory
April 3, 2013 8:54:54 AM
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April 4, 2013 3:15:34 AM

Thank you everyone for your replies.

jitpublisher said:
Then, right under that, with a big "WARNING" sign, it says and I quote "There is only one kind of DIMM specification supported by this mainboard: PC100."


The RAM I got from ebuyer says "Our standard dimms currently include PC100 and PC133 SDRAM modules.". I thought this meant it was compatible this PC100. Am I wrong?

Maxx_Power said:
Your particular board supports up to 512MB's of ram if the modules are 128-Mbit density. I can't tell from the pictures of the ram if they are that way or not...


That could be the problem. I must admit that I'd never heard of ram density. The ebuyer ram says "Each 168-pin DIMM provides a 64-bit data path, so they are installed singly in 64-bit systems.". Is this talking about density, or something else?

Maxx_Power said:
Also, there appears to be a new BIOS since msi switched from AMI to Award. Check to see if you have the latest BIOS and update your computer to it (with the 128MB working memory, of course), then check to see if this update enhanced memory compatibility. Some of the BIOS updates mentioned on MSI's website said there was memory compatibility enhancements, so the latest update should have all of that rolled in.
http://www.msi.com/product/mb/MS-6183.html#/?div=BIOS


I like the idea of it only needing a BIOS update. I tried to update the BIOS last night to version "w6183v11.exe" using AwdFlash version 8.82 (I made a bootable CD using 'FlashCD Creator', as I don't have access to a floppy drive at the moment). I put the CD in and booted up. AwdFlash opened, but said something like the BIOS I was trying to 'didn't match the version on the computer', and wouldn't continue.

After a bit of googling I found two links: http://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=220.0 and http://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=12214.0

The first one says that Tiny branded PCs (mine is Tiny branded) 'have a modded bios version'. The second link says I'd have to get new BIOS from Tiny. Trouble is, I'm not sure Tiny ever released an updated version of the BIOS, and they went into administration in 2002.

Any ideas?

henydiah said:
maybe wrong .. just guide read at http://www.mrmemory.co.uk/memory-ram-upgrades/model/MSI...


Do you guys think one of the ones Mr Memory recommends would work without updating the BIOS?
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April 4, 2013 4:10:27 AM

I forgot to say, just in case it's useful for anyone, the BIOS I'm running at the moment is:

American Megatrends A618301 V1.4MR 141199

And the AMIBIOS date is: 10/08/99
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a b } Memory
April 4, 2013 4:40:58 AM

same speed and just 256MB SDRAM is right for per slot .. i think right and no need update bios .. update bios used for unstable and bug reading bios
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a b } Memory
April 4, 2013 11:27:00 AM

panmanthe2nd said:
I forgot to say, just in case it's useful for anyone, the BIOS I'm running at the moment is:

American Megatrends A618301 V1.4MR 141199

And the AMIBIOS date is: 10/08/99


You MIGHT be able to force flash the BIOS (there are some risks here involved, if the boards are not identical). That BIOS version you have is definitely older than the latest MSI BIOS.
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April 5, 2013 8:04:52 AM

I'm going to try one from Mr Memory or Crucial, and if that still doesn't work I'll try a force flash.
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a b } Memory
April 6, 2013 8:26:49 AM

What you need to do is simply buy the memory the manual says will work on this board, apparently 133mhz memory, even if it is "supposed" to be backwards compatible to 100, may not work on this board.
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April 8, 2013 2:24:25 AM

ya force flashes were very picky back then...you could wind up with a bad board...stop beating a dead horse and upgrade.
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April 8, 2013 3:26:46 AM

ARICH5 said:
ya force flashes were very picky back then...you could wind up with a bad board...stop beating a dead horse and upgrade.

I don't want to sound rude, but I hate how whenever I ask a question about my Windows 98 computer people tell me to upgrade.

I already have a Windows 7 computer, which I built, with 16gb of ram, a great cpu, a very good video card, etc...

However, there are lots of games and software that don't work well on Windows 7 and work great on Windows 98, so I have an old computer too.
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a b } Memory
April 8, 2013 7:03:46 AM

panmanthe2nd said:
ARICH5 said:
ya force flashes were very picky back then...you could wind up with a bad board...stop beating a dead horse and upgrade.

I don't want to sound rude, but I hate how whenever I ask a question about my Windows 98 computer people tell me to upgrade.

I already have a Windows 7 computer, which I built, with 16gb of ram, a great cpu, a very good video card, etc...

However, there are lots of games and software that don't work well on Windows 7 and work great on Windows 98, so I have an old computer too.


I hear ya, vintage gaming is getting harder and harder. What I did was to setup a XP virtual machine with VMware on my modern machine. It runs all the older games I like, and can network very well with other computers at home as well to play LAN games. XP has fairly good support backwards for a lot of games including DOS ones, it worked for me anyway.
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April 8, 2013 8:18:19 AM

you do know Microsoft has stopped support for xp?
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a b } Memory
April 8, 2013 9:57:06 AM

ARICH5 said:
you do know Microsoft has stopped support for xp?


And all the vintage games have no support now for years and years. When I did use XP for my main machine, I never used MS support (updates anyway). Slip-streamed update packages into the installer, Nlite the iso, install and image. Anything went wrong, re-image in 5 minutes. All useful applications are either in the image, or on another partition/drive.
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April 8, 2013 11:28:50 AM

Maxx_Power said:
ARICH5 said:
you do know Microsoft has stopped support for xp?


And all the vintage games have no support now for years and years. When I did use XP for my main machine, I never used MS support (updates anyway). Slip-streamed update packages into the installer, Nlite the iso, install and image. Anything went wrong, re-image in 5 minutes. All useful applications are either in the image, or on another partition/drive.


yup...I still use dosbox to play shadow warrior.

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