RAM upgrade from hell

Helping a friend install 2 gb of 2X1 gb ram in his dell inspiron 530s which has 4 RAM slots. The desktop originally just has one 512 mb ram stick. I have put in RAM many times, and used to just having the computer automatically be able to see and use it.

Looked up the specs in the manual, says the system can handle 667 and 800 mhz ram. So, bought 2 1gb sticks of pc-6400 ram (800 mhz) and installed it. Booted to BIOS and it says 'memory installed: 2512, memory available: 504' or something similar. So it was seeing the ram, but wouldn't let me use it. The original RAM was 667 mhz, so I got exactly the same kind of RAM to be 100% positive it wasn't compatible RAM that was causing the problem.

However, the exact same thing happened. Tried all possible combinations with the RAM sticks, but the computer will only boot if I have the original 512 mb stick in the first slot. Otherwise the computer will power on and the fan will just sit there and run on high.

I have looked EVERYWHERE for some kind of answer. I KNOW I have the exact RAM I need and the BIOS sees it, but it won't let me use it. The BIOS won't let me look at the RAM timings either. I am now looking at the program memset to help me out, but need some help there.

Also, running windows XP pro.

Thanks for anyone that can point me in the right direction after all this
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  1. LOL @ "ram upgrade from hell", I've felt that way a few times!

    Will the system boot with only the 2 new sticks?

    What are the timings of the old ones and the new ones?

    Are you using this http://www.smmdirect.com/1GB_Memory_Upgrade_for_Dell_In_P269703C59798.cfm ?

    According to this website:
    It says "Your Dell Memory Inspiron 530 only supports modules made with a specific type of chip build. If you come across a website and find what seems to be the exact same memory for a lower price, it is likely that the cheaper memory will not work in your system. By ordering under your model from Upgrade Computer Memory, your selected memory modules are Guaranteed To Work or your money back! "

    That sounds like something Dell would do too
  2. Sounds like a Dell thing to do.

    Well, using pcuz and memset, the timings for the 2 new 1gb sticks and the original 512 mb stick (which are all pc-5300 or 667 mhz) are all the same: 5-5-5-15.

    So I guess I don't see that as a problem, although I am kind of a rookie when it comes to loosening or tightening timings.

    What I think I am going to do, is buy from Crucial, and send all the others back. At least Crucial has great support and guarantees their RAM to work.

    In response to your question, the system only boots with the original 512 RAM stick in there. Any combination of the other new ones being first in the slots results in no booting and the fan just whirring loudly.

    If anyone else has an idea, go ahead and shoot it to me. If not, looks like I will return and try crucial guaranteed sticks.
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