Memory or Motherboard Causing This Computer Not To Start Up?

I take care of a businesses small network of ten desktops. Yesterday everything was working well. When I came to the place this morning I noticed one of the PC's would not start up properly. The computer in question is as follows:

Serial # 0027803740
MFG date of 07/30/02
Memory Type: RDRAM PC800-40 (I know, the dreaded RDRAM!) with 4 slots
Running Windows XP Professional

Two weeks ago I added more memory with two 512mb memory sticks. I added the aforementioned to the stock memory of two 256mb memory sticks, which resulted in a total of 1.5gb of RDRAM. Everything was working as great as can be expected. The performance was very surprising for basically a ten year old pc. For the next two weeks everything worked fine.

I came in this morning and went to turn it on and did so. The computer turned on and gave three 2 second long beeps then just continued to do nothing. No BIOS, POST, or windows graphics. There is no graphical output at all while the systems sits there and looks to be operational. I then proceeded to open the tower up. I made sure all the connections are sound and that the power supply unit is operating correctly; all components are receiving the proper power to run correctly. The green LED's on the mother board are lit up also.

In the past when I had a computer make the warning beeps like this the problem has been a connection problem or bad memory sticks. On a hunch, I then proceeded to uninstall the, recently updated and brand spanking new, two RDRAM 512mb memory modules. I then powered the pc up and viola! The pc no longer gave the three 2 second warning beeps that it was previously doing. I thought, "bummer, I just spent a good chunk of change on these technilogically outdated RDRAM modules (That are, by the way, of good quality made by Samsung.)". After that I then hooked up my periphials and went to turn the computer on. The computer came on, with no warning beeps, but would not start up. The computer just powers up but does not send a signal via the monitor output. I then proceeded to recheck all of the power and connections and everything is fine.

For a diagnostic test I took the Two remaining 256mb RDRAM modules and switched them to the slots that housed the SAPOSED bad memory modules. When I re-powered the machine I received the original three 2 second warning beeps. This told me that the new memory is not bad after all and that it is the two memory socket that have gone bad. After I moved the two pieces of memory back to the original sockets/slots the warning beeps went away. However, the computer will still not start up correctly.

I am at a loss to what to do from here. My gut tells me that the outdated motherboard has finally given up and died because of the two bad memory sockets/slots and the fact that I'm not getting the BIOS/POST screen options upon start up. My two questions are as follows:

What do you think is the problem? Are there any more test I can do?
Do you think the motherboard has bit the dust? If so, anyway to confirm?

Sorry about the lengthy post, but I am a firm advocate of giving the entire story and all the information available to me. If there is any help you can provide me with I would be very appreciative!

Thank you so much guys! :bounce:
7 answers Last reply
More about memory motherboard causing computer start
  1. Start testing with just ONE module of RAM in slot #1 - repeat for all modules, one at a time. Make sure the RAM modules are well seated in the slot.

    After that, add modules one at a time. This will tell you whether it is a RAM problem, and if so, which module is bad.
  2. Thank you for that sound piece of advise. How do I know which memory slot is #1? They do not seem to be marked?

    Thank you for your help!
  3. Usually slot # 1 is the slot closest to the CPU. The manual should confirm this.
  4. Ubrales,

    Thanks for the help. Upon closer examination the mother board does tell me which is which. It just isnt it the regular place. Thank you for your tip. However.....

    I found the problem and have fixed the issue. If you have been reading this thread then you know the computer in question is running the outdated technology call RDRAM. Originally I thought I had bad memory because I could switch the memory modules around and it would still give me an error. Well it turns out that if you have 4 slots and you only are running two memory modules then the remaining memory module slots have to be filled up using RDRAM termintor modules. I was not. So of course when I updated/added to the original two memory modules I took the original two terminator modules out and filled them with RDRAM. Well when the brand spanking new RDRAM I just put in two weeks ago failed there was nothing there to terminate the excisting memory circuit, so the computer would not start up. Since, I am not used to using the RDRAM I took it on faith that like DDR,DDR2, and DDR3 that you didn't nessecarily have to have all the memory module slots filled in. I was lucky that I read this little bit of info on gateways support website or I would have been running around clueless until someone filled me in.

    Anyways, I want to thank all of yall who helped me in this venture of trying to fix this outdated piece of technology and now I'm off to the vendor that sold me the RDRAM so I can get a replacement.

    Thank you and have a good un!
  5. Glad it all worked out well!

    I do have an old Gateway with the Pentium 486 CPU, and 5 1/4" floppy drive as well as 3 1/2" floppy drive. 1995 vintage! I will take it out of the closet one of these days.
  6. I have a similar vintage PC that I use to play old DOS games and what not. Yea...Yea...I know I could just run them on a VM but where is the fun in that? One can say it's just like taking a sip of wine....sure both will get you drunk but only the 1996 Cali Vineyard Vintage will get you swinging!

    Get that bad boy out and power up the retro! (By the way, can you believe mid 90's tech is vintage/retro now? Hell, it feels like yesterday when RedHat was making me a fortune!)

    Thanks again!
  7. Yes I remember the DOS days and all the 'fun' with "Edlin"!

    I am down to my last case of the banner year 1999 Napa Cab!
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