I've upgraded the bios to A07 and tried installing 2x2gb Samsung DDR2 ECC REG PC2-5300 dual rank dimms. However, the computer only beeps and does not boot up. I have read PC2-5300 ram is compatible with the latest bios so I am not sure what I'm doing wrong.
I suspect the original memory is slightly different, therefore you're mixing different types of memory. Not so much the speed, but I suspect the problem is Registered vs Unbuffered.
3 ways to investigate:
1. Look at the existing memory for references to Registered/Unbuffered or other differences between the old and new. (not always the easiest, as the labeling can be cryptic some times)
2. Use CPU-Z to identify the existing modules (this is much more reliable than reading a cryptic label but not 100% foolproof)
3. Remove the existing memory and only install these new modules in slots 1 & 2.
---If the system doesn't boot with this last option, then one of the modules you have in hand are likely bad. I doubt they are incompatible, as I agree they should work.
Going forward, presuming the modules work alone, and BOTH kits are Registered, you might want to try the new kit in slots 1 & 2, and the old kit in 3 & 4 (Dual vs Single Rank).
Not ideal, but you should be able to install the new modules 1 at a time (in DIMM_1). This could snuff out the bad module out of the pair. Some systems with this architecture won't let you boot with just one though, so try one good 3200 module first. If it POSTs, then you can carry out the test on the new modules
(I strongly suggest unplugging your HDD (power and data, at the drive, not at the board) for this cycle of testing; it shortens your boot/test cycle and protects your OS.)
Googling more details about your system, there could be a problem with this PC5300/5400 memory, especially if Samsung didn't program the SPD to enable down-stepping to 3200. This could be evident if you can POST with 1 PC3200 module yet none of the PC5300 modules, 1 at a time. It is nearly impossible to have 2 bad modules out of 2 go bad. Unless you physically break them in half. So if both fail to POST, one at a time, then there's likely a compatibility issue and a need to swap for a different type of part.
Are the beeps long and repetitive (vs 1 short with 1 long, or 2 short beeps, etc)?
If only one fails, then setup an RMA for the kit.
If both fail to POST, one at a time, can you reply with all the markings on the modules? (I use to work for a DRAM company and should be able to decipher if the modules are programmed to step-down to 3200).
EDIT: Oh, if you can 't get a single PC3200 module to POST, might as well do an RMA. Unless these modules are known to work in another machine....
I can't find explicit documentation either way for these modules, but I suspect they are going to be incompatible from what I can find plus your test results.
My recommendation is going to be to return the modules for 3200's. However, I suspect you bought these because they were cheaper than 3200's. If so, hopefully you're able to return for refund (I suspect you bought from Dell), and buy Kingston or Corsair ValueRAM-type memory. Should be dramatically cheaper than Dell, and you know the specs of RAM you need (3200, REG, ECC, etc).
They will have system specific memory, but it's going to be more expensive, and the Value stuff isn't cheap quality, it's just a bad marketing name. If you need help identifying what you need, give a shout.
Sorry that we couldn't get these to work...
Hi I am having the same problem. Only one stick will work, add another and beeps to indicate memory problem. All reg,ecc.
I've been researching this a bit lately trying to upgrade my machine. It seems to boil down to the high density (x4 in the 2Rx4) not being supported in the Dell Precision machines. Low density (x8 in the 2Rx8 for dual rank or 1Rx8 for single rank) is compatible with this machine. Some newer machines have the ability to do Advanced ECC mode which basically using two ram slots using x4 configuration ram to fool the machine into thinking it sees one slot of x8 ram.
I have all three types of configurations mentioned above (1Rx8, 2Rx8, and 2Rx4) and the only ones I have problems with are the 2Rx4 configuration.