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Long startup after installing RAM/GPU (Dell Inspiron 531s)

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December 7, 2010 7:25:48 PM

I've posted this on dell's forums and haven't found a solution yet, so I'm asking here.

I've recently upgraded my Dell Inspiron 531s with a Sapphire Radeon 5570 Low-Profile card, and 2 GB of A-Data DDR2-6400 ram. After updating the BIOS to the latest version, and the latest ATI drivers I noticed my computer was a lot faster. Loading times, gaming performance, Vista scores etc. were a lot higher/better.

The only noticeable difference is on starting up. Windows itself loads very fast, however there is about 30 seconds when the computer is in an 'off' state and seems to just hang. I turn the computer on, and I hear nothing but I think is the GPU fan, and my monitor is in its stand-by state (orange light). About 30 seconds later, the computer finally turns on (all fans turn on) and windows boots up normally.

It's been about 4 days so far and everything seems to be fine, just that problem loading up. Also, when I awoke my computer from sleep mode this morning 15 seconds later I got a BSOD. After rebooting everything seems to be fine again.

It never had that problem starting up before I added these 2 components.

Any ideas?

For reference:
Dell Inspiron 531s
Microsoft Vista Home Basic 32-bit SP1
AMD Sempron 3600+
A-DATA 2 GB DDR2 6400 ram
Sapphire Radeon 5570 Low-Profile Graphic card
December 8, 2010 1:44:46 AM

If that's true than your new RAM is defective...
try using your old RAM, if the problem disappear then your new RAM is in trouble.
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December 8, 2010 2:55:49 AM

Well, that was odd.

I tried the old RAM which was 1GB of 5300, and it still had the same problem. When I hit the power button, the lights turned on on the PC/Monitor, but nothing happened for 30-45 seconds. Then BIOS/Windows finally booted up.

I tried the 2 other memory slots next to those, and had the same result. I popped the 2GB of 6400 back in and same thing.

I checked the BIOS and its showing the correct memory settings, and like I previously mentioned once it does load up windows boots up in 20 seconds, and applications/gaming have improved. It's just this boot up.

I also noticed after I unplugged everything to switch ram and re-plugged, when I turned it on I heard a loud fan that was going for the 30-45 seconds of nothing before BIOS/Windows booted, at which point it stopped and returned to its quiet state.
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December 8, 2010 8:05:55 AM

Hmm, I'm suspecting your hard drive now...
Do you mind if I suggest you to re-install windows and all drivers (clean install)?
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December 8, 2010 4:32:52 PM

I just did a re-install a few months ago so I don't think that is it, nor do I want to spend the hours installing windows updates and removing dell's bloatware again.

What am I looking for in msconfig?

I don't understand how now both sticks still cause the same problem, unless I damaged the old ones somehow and that's why both are giving the same results.

Should I just RMA through newegg?
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December 8, 2010 6:04:48 PM

Yes, it is. How do I know for sure if its defective or not?

I just don't understand how the new and old sticks both give the same result. After that hang-up they seem to work just fine and are read by windows fine. So even if everything seems fine past the startup the memory may still be damaged?

I just ran the windows update and updated to Vista SP2, still same result.

I'm also still not able to wake the PC up from sleep mode. Yesterday I got the BSOD, and today it did the hang for 40 seconds again and then rebooted itself.
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December 8, 2010 7:52:31 PM

Well, I'm about to do a format or at least close to it (Dell doesn't come with vista cds so all I can do is a "factory restore").

I'll see how it goes with basic drivers and wont update anything from dells site or windows updates.
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December 8, 2010 10:36:05 PM

Well that didn't seem to be it. After it was factory restored and wiped clean I rebooted and still had the same thing; 30-45 seconds where it appears to be on but nothing happens and then windows/bios boots up. I'm still currently running windows updates but so far it doesn't seem like that was it.

Could it be a BIOS issue? I have the latest, maybe there's a certain version I need or something.
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December 8, 2010 10:50:47 PM

What should the boot order be at? I will check the BIOS as well as the boot options (it says press f12 for boot options) on the next reboot whenever these updates finish.
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December 9, 2010 3:08:12 AM

Yeah, it's already set on Hard Disk first. Just installed some windows updates and still nothing.

Can this in a way be ignored? I mean, it's just the long boot up that is out of the ordinary, but is that something that can get progressively worse?

Also, I tried that fix for sleep mode and it didn't do anything. Anytime I try to awake from sleep mode I get a BSOD no matter what options I change or try. What's the cause of that? Hard drive starting to fail, power supply dying, or is the ram just defective?
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December 9, 2010 4:45:00 PM

Yeah, hard disk is already on the 'never' setting.

I can't read it fast enough because it auto reboots. Does it keep a log somewhere?
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December 9, 2010 11:46:41 PM

How can I run diagnostics on it?

I've noticed though before I did the factory image, everytime I ran a defrag, even immediately after it finishes and I re-do it, a lot of fragmented files keep coming up (using Auslogics btw) everytime I run one.

If it's a HDD problem I don't think there's anything I can do since it is a Dell. It only started doing it the day I installed the GPU/Ram. I checked the wires and everything again, it all seems to be in good place so I have no idea.
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December 9, 2010 11:50:00 PM

I'm pretty sure. The old ram and the new ram came up with the same results, unless somehow I messed them both up when I was replacing.

Should I just go ahead and RMA with newegg to know for sure if its the ram or not?
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December 10, 2010 7:35:11 PM

Ok, it isn't the RAM. I removed the 5570, and the problems went away. No delay before POST, just an immediate boot up. So, it's the card.

What can be causing it? Problems with bios/drivers or something?
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December 10, 2010 8:51:12 PM

Yeah, I got the card about a week or so ago, the site is outletpc and they have up to 30 days I think.

The only reason I'm not suspecting that the card is bad is because when I play games the performance is there, and I'd assume that a bad card would just be overall bad.

Or is that not the case; can a bad card appear to be fine but in reality not be?
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December 10, 2010 9:03:40 PM

So is it the power supply then? It's the stock 250w rated dell psu. I've heard of people using 5570/4650 on them, both with no major problems which is the only reason I purchased this card.
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December 10, 2010 9:12:36 PM

I'm not interesting in buying a new PSU, in that case I'll just save and buy a new better complete computer.

So Is it a PSU problem then and not a GPU? I don't want to pay the shipping for a RMA on a card that is probably fine when it's just the psu.
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December 13, 2010 11:32:19 PM

Well, in case someone should find this thread on google or something it appears the Radeon 5xxx series have compatibility issues with Dells with BIOS 1.0 versions. So, if youre one of the few users still using a dell computer and have a BIOS version of 1.0.xx and have this happening, this is why.

Must be something to do with the 5570 being PCI Express 2.1, and not PCI Express 2.0 and something on the Dell BIOS just doesn't like that.

The card seemed to perform well, it was just those 40 second start up times and being unable to resume from sleep mode. I sent it back and am going to look at another low-profile series or just go with the radeon 4650 and be on the safe side.
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February 5, 2011 5:39:10 PM

FYI - I have this same issue with my 531s and a 5570.
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February 9, 2011 9:09:44 AM

Ditto. I have an inspiron 531s and same lag time on boot and wake from sleep with Radeon 5450 1Gb. Otherwise the card works fine.
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February 12, 2011 8:43:11 PM

I too have the same problem, 531s, 5770.

I'm thinking that swiftysuspect had it right. Probably some kind of compatibility problem with the card & BIOS. I can rule out RAM, as I still have the same RAM as when I got the system. Can rule out the HDD, as (at least before it crashed) I had the same one in after upgrading the Video Card. After replacing the bad HDD, problem still existed.

Now, The only other thing that was talked about that I can't rule out: PSU. When I upgraded the GPU, I had to upgrade the PSU as well. I got the OCZ 600w StealthXstream. I ended up RMA'ing it due to it going bad one night. They gave me an OCZ 700w StealthXstream as exchange. Last month, I had to replace that PSU.

So, was it the PSU? or the GPU incompatibility with the BIOS? Don't know. Anyone know how to fully test? I'm having a new system arrive on Tuesday (new mobo,ram,cpu...but using old GPU and will be using the OCZ 700w StealthxStream II which is what OCZ is sending on this current replacement).

EDIT:
Also when I did the upgrade of the GPU/PSU, I also changed cases since the 531s wouldn't fit my new GPU. Maybe that's another reason why I had the problems??
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May 11, 2011 8:10:04 AM

Yeah, still not absolutely sure. I've seen some reviews on newegg for the exact 5570 I ordered of users on Inspiron 530s saying it worked perfectly. No idea why Dell's inspiron 530s works fine but 531s doesn't.

I did end up going with the radeon 4650 and it has been working fine, it just gets really hot sometimes (upwards of 70-80 c) but so far so good.

Have either of you tried any of the new low profiles like the 6450/6570 or the gt 430 low profiles to see if they work for better performance, or has the 5570 been working okay minus the nuisance of not being able to sleep mode and the long boot up?
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May 11, 2011 10:18:51 AM

Can you check if there is an option in your dell's bios to disable to onboard video adapter ?
It could be that the onboard video bios is having a fight with the new installed video card's bios.
This can also explain the delay into POST.
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May 11, 2011 10:43:37 AM

Did some research and it seems to be a bios issue.
More complaints are there with this model vs radeon 5xxx video cards.
Quote from other board:

I tried connecting the video card to my TV via DVI and still had the same slow POST. I didn't have the opportunity to try it with VGA, but I'm guessing I'll see the same behavior.

I replaced the 5770 with an ATI 4850 video card and it POSTs immediately, and put the 5770 in another machine and that posts fine too. Must have been some conflict with the 5770 and the Dell Motherboard...

It's mainly a bios issue, hardware by itselfe is not affected.
Reports have also been there for certain card readers, apart from slow POST the system works fine.
So basicly you need to live with this delay or try a radeon 4xxx adapter to see if this bug does not occur.

Hope this helps :) 
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