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Asus motherboard and memory upgrade. Issue with using all 4 slots.

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January 4, 2011 8:28:45 AM

Hi there.

I have ASUS motherboard, model is P5PL2-E, socket 775. According to the ASUSTek support site this motherboard is supporting maximum of 2GB unbuffered, non-ECC, DDR2 SDRAM memory. It also supports dual-channel mode and it has 4 DIMM slots (2 yelow and 2 black).

Here is the thing... I read somewhere on the web, on some forum similar to this one that this mobo can actually support up to 4 GBs of RAM. I wouldn't experiment but as I already have 4 sticks, 4x1GB, I want to give it a shoot. Also, it seems to me that this 2GB limitation is only mentioned on the ASUSTek support site as precaution for users that are using Windows XP 32 bit OS as I do, because it only recognizes up to 3.5Gb of memory.

Problem starts when I put all 4 sticks into slots and start the machine. It wont start the BIOS, not to mention the OS boot. When I unplug 2 sticks and only yellow or black ones remain, all works fine.

There is another strange thing... 2 sticks out of 4 are ECC memory (at least CPUZ shows them like ECC) and those 2 sticks are SAMSUNG PC25300 and are completely the same working in dual-channel mode as we speak... Other 2 sticks are out of the PC right now and here are details:

* SAMSUNG PC25300 1GB, M378T2953EZ3-CE6 0806
* KINGSTON PC24200 KVR533D2N4 1GB






Those 2 stick currently in the PC works in the dual-channel but at 266 mhz (PC24200) not 333 mhz (PC25300) even they are PC25300 but that doesn't really matter. Alll I want to put all 4 stick to work together.

My BIOS version is a bit old. It is 0701 version and current stable version is 0904.

It not clear 100% I know :)  but please if someone needs more info Ill provide them asap.
Any suggestions, comments are welcome.

TY, Dean


a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 212 V Motherboard
January 4, 2011 12:21:53 PM

Mixing memory like you are trying can be very dicey to get to work together. First, mixing ECC and non-ECC memory is simply not recommended. They will work fine not mixed (as you have seen), but are very unlikely to work together mixed. You could always try to swap one set into another system and then only use common (ECC or non-ECC) memory in one system.

Also, if you mix speeds, the memory will only work at the slower speed (least common denominator). Setting your BIOS to automatically set memory settings may help resolve the differences in your RAM pairs, but only if all are ECC or non-ECC, not mixed.

Last, you may want to go ahead and flash your BIOS to the current version. That won't fix your original problem, but it may help with stability afterwards.

Good luck!
January 5, 2011 12:57:10 PM

Ty COLGeek for quality suggestions and comments.

Im not sure why this mobo is even working with the ECC memory at first place???
As I said, earlier I had 2 sticks of non-ECC memory, different speeds and even manufacturer and system was stable and XP worked like a charm.

I bought 2 more sticks of ECC memory but while doing so I didnt noticed they are ECC, otherwise I wouldn't buy them...

OK. So mixing is not an option. I'll update my BIOS to newest stable version (0904) and then I'll try to plug all 4 sticks just as an experiment. After that i'll probably continue to use these ECC sticks as they are ECC + same speed and working in dual-channel and keep other 2 non-ECC sticks as spare ones.

@malmental

So you saying that 2 non pared sticks may work in 2 slots, but if I use all 4 sticks and they are not pared it just wont work?

Ty both once again.
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January 5, 2011 1:12:10 PM

You are right, all four different, 2 ECC 2 non-ECC, then i have 1 pc24200 and 3 pc25300, then 1 Kingston, 3 Samsung... quite hard to put that all together...

But also, can this board deal with more than 2 GBs? It was also written that It doesn't support ECC ram but it works like a charm for few days now!

Lets say that i gave up trying to put 4 GBs of RAM and that Ill go with 2GBs.
What to use? Those 2 ECC paired and currently running? Or to put those 2 unpaired back into the PC and use them? They also worked like a charm but in single channel mode...
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 212 V Motherboard
January 5, 2011 2:32:59 PM

dolke said:
You are right, all four different, 2 ECC 2 non-ECC, then i have 1 pc24200 and 3 pc25300, then 1 Kingston, 3 Samsung... quite hard to put that all together...

But also, can this board deal with more than 2 GBs? It was also written that It doesn't support ECC ram but it works like a charm for few days now!

Lets say that i gave up trying to put 4 GBs of RAM and that Ill go with 2GBs.
What to use? Those 2 ECC paired and currently running? Or to put those 2 unpaired back into the PC and use them? They also worked like a charm but in single channel mode...

Unmatched RAM can only operate in single channel mode. The actual performance difference between dual and single channel is minimal, but if you have matched RAM, I would suggest you use it first.

On the 2GB vs. 4GB discussion, I have seen similar boards (specced for only 2GB) work with 4 GB when they used 4 matched 1GB DIMMs. But only becuase the RAM was matched and running at default speeds. Your mileage will vary here.

Last, ++++1 to malmental's research and advice. HOO-friggin-AH!!!

He (and those like him) is why Tom's is the place to go for free, informed, quality help for all things computer.
January 5, 2011 2:58:40 PM

Big up for both. You were indeed helpful, ty.

I think we can put label SOLVED on this one. There are quite much informations to other people looking to solve similar problems.

Final summation:

I'll continue to use ECC paired sticks of RAM 2x1GB, 2GBs totally, even though officially, mobo doesn't support it as all works fine. Also, I'll update my BIOS on to newest stable version, and at the end I'll keep other 2 non-ECC sticks as spare parts if something goes wrong with the current configuration.

All the best to u guys and ty once again.
Dolke out :) 
January 5, 2011 10:59:11 PM

People, unfortunately I have some strange issue with the BIOS update.
I didnt want to start another topic but Ill do it if necessary.

I downloaded newest version of BIOS flash utility AFUDOS BIOS FLASH 2.32 and newest BIOS stable release 0904, and made bootable USB stick following this tutorial: http://www.biosflash.com/e/bios-boot-usb-stick.htm

Thing is that Im able to boot from USB, and utillity starts automatically, but when I type command correctly into the console I get error msg saying that it wont read ROM file. Same thing happened with the use of older version of BIOS 0804 and utillity 2.29 so something else is wrong...

Any suggestions?

January 6, 2011 7:20:22 AM

Update on the BIOS flash issue:

I found this post on one similar forum and i quote:
Quote:
As Afudos doesn't allow (being a dos application) file names bigger than 8 letters, try to rename modded bios as BIOS.ROM. Then prepare a valid bootable floppy disk with the following syntax:

AFUDOS /iBIOS.ROM /pbnc /n and press enter and it will surely flash your eeprom.

HP SLIC or any other branded oem info is the same and is not related to success or unsuccess in flashing bios.


My rom file had 20+ characters so this must be the solution. Ill give it another shot later today and Ill get back to you with the results.

a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 212 V Motherboard
January 6, 2011 11:35:58 AM

Also, don't many Asus mobos have a BIOS update utility built right into the BIOS itself? Selection to enter the tool is made once you enter the BIOS itself. Then the tool just needs to know where the ROM file is located. Just a thought.
January 6, 2011 12:52:49 PM

Update: BIOS is flashed on 0904v.
Problem was to long ROM file name...

@COLGeek

They do m8, but I think this model doesnt, or at least on the ASUS support site they listed this mobo to be flashed with AFUDOS BIOS flash utility...

Some ASUS mobos can be flashed through windows OS directly using winFlash utility others use some EZ-Flash utility...

This is also solved.
Ill update this thread once again when I try if all 4 sticks work together now, after BIOS update... this is just an experiment :) 

tnx m8s.
!