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PC2-3200 to PC2-6400


I'm upgrading some workstations at my work. I ordered some Patriot DDR2 PC2-6400 2gb dimms to replace some old DDR2 pc2-3200 512mb dimms.

The workstation is a Dell Precision 470, dual xeon, specs listed below-

The workstation won't boot and is giving me the error light code that refers to incompatible memory- but I'm not sure why. This ram should work, but just run at a lower speed right?

I have the most current BIOS update that dell shows, A07- which says it supports pc2-5300, so why wouldn't pc2-6400 work but at the lower speed?

Arghhh, I would hate to have to send back all 24 gigs I bought.

dell 470 workstation
motherboard model: 0XC838
dual xeon Irwindale, Socket 604
current memory is 6x512 dimms of DDR2 PC2-3200

Any help would be great- thanks!
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 3200 6400
  1. Because your system actually runs the ram at PC2-3200. The reason PC2-5300 will work is because it can fall back to PC2-3200. The problem you have is that PC2-6400 will only fall back to PC2-4200 speed, hence, the error lights.
  2. Thank you for your reply!

    The motherboard supposedly supports pc2-4200 memory so if the 6400 would fall back to 4200, what could be an issue?

    I briefly looked for related settings in the BIOS, but the only memory info I saw wasn't changeable.

    Really dreading telling the boss that I need to return and rebuy 400 bucks worth of ram, lol.
  3. 6400 will fall back to 4200, you are correct. However, your system actually RUNS the ram at 3200, so the 6400 would need to fall all the way back to 3200, which isn't going to happen. Hence, the reason they specified PC2-5300 as the fastest it will allow (because it can fall back to 3200)
  4. Well, shoot. I always assumed that as long as it was ddr2 is would just run at the lowest speed- definitely wish I would have learned that sooner. Thanks for your help, I appreciate it!

    ---so um anyone wanna trade 12 dimms of 6400 for some 3200/4600/5300? ha
  5. Best answer
    One thing i didn't mention is that with that particular Precision workstation, you need to use ECC Registered memory. I don't know what you ordered exactly, but when you get the correct speed, make sure the new stuff is PC2-5300 ECC Registered.

    would work.... since they're dual ranked just make sure to install them in DIMM_1 through DIMM_4, because DIMM_5 and DIMM_6 do not support dual rank modules on the Precision 470.

    Personally, i'd go with Crucial RAM, i don't care for Kingston's cheap-o line.

    it's single ranked, so they can pair up in any bank.

    Just make sure you're running the latest BIOS from tell, because there's a bulletin that states PC2-5300 is only supported with the latest BIOS.
  7. I do have the most recent BIOS update(ao7) which, like you said - enable the use of pc2-5300.

    One more question- to ease the cost of the higher-prices ecc registered memory, could I couple it with some of the existing dimms, and therefore buy less. Would there be any issues with say- buying 4gb of the ecc registered stuff, and using it with 4 of the 512 dimms that are currently installed, filling all 6 slots with 2gb in two slots each, and 512 dimms in the other 4 each?
  8. If you used the ram, and it's not defective, I seriously doubt they are going to take it back. You should do more research before upgrading parts on a precision Zeon workstations.

    Good luck.
  9. To do that, you would need to MAKE SURE that the RAM you order is SINGLE RANKED, ECC REGISTERD. Just make sure to match the speed of the existing RAM to prevent any compatability issues. While technically you should be able to order any compatible speed and it should fall back to match the rest of the RAM, I would just match them all right from the start.
  10. Thanks again guys. As for the set I used, luckily it was only 1 package, which can be utilized for other computers if it can't be returned- so at least not a complete waste.
  11. Best answer selected by nomadnomad7.
  12. This topic has been closed by Maziar
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