Does my BIOS have imposed limit of max. 2GB RAM? Pointers appreciated

Discussion in 'BIOS Mods' started by nixnet, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. nixnet

    nixnet MDL Novice

    Dec 15, 2012
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    Hi guys!

    I've been messing around for a long time to find out what is up with my old laptop, and to me everything so far points to the BIOS.

    I have recently bought 2 x 2GB RAM sticks ("corsair value select") for my old laptop to replace existing 2 x 1GB ones (some nonames) and i've seen strange results:


    • any single 2GB stick works fine in any of 2 RAM sockets
    • when insering both 2GB sticks (tried different combinations), computer hangs before displaying any POST message on the screen
    • 1GB + 2GB modules don't work either (any combination of sockets / modules)

    These are laptop's specs:

    Manufacturer: some noname, CPU-Z shows "MTC". I bet it's just a rebranding of something like a compal's barebones
    Chipset: i945PM (rev. 03)
    BIOS: INSYDE, version R1.07 (01/12/2007)
    CPU: T7400 Core 2 Duo (one long-lasting engineering sample!)

    I know for a fact that this chipset works fine with 4 GB of RAM - why would that stupid company go out of their way to block any upgrades > 2 GB ? Is it possible at all? Can it be remedied? Where to start? What to look for? I don't believe there is an option for it in the famous hidden menus (tho I read something about option called memory-remapping)?

    So far i've been using ezh2o and PhoenixTool to find out what I can about the BIOS files, and all I have now are a lot of files in a DUMP folder, and two files named "BIOS0.BIOS" (1MB) and "BIOS4.BIOS" (2MB). So i gather that the many small files are fragments of those two files, some of the small files' headers start with a string "MZ" which suggest that they are some modules or executable files...

    Years ago i only changed a couple of BIOSes BMP/PCX logos for fun, but this is totally different... This is very interesing world for me indeed, one that i don't yet understand, but i'm keen on learning, please point me to the right direction if You will.

    Thank you :)
     
  2. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

    Aug 15, 2010
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    This is a very interesting problem, and it should be fun to try to fix.

    Can you provide a link to the BIOS? Also, how do you know the chipset works fine with 4GB of RAM? Do you know of any other computers with the same motherboard that have a BIOS available for download?
     
  3. Tito

    Tito Super Mod / Adviser
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  4. Tito

    Tito Super Mod / Adviser
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    For cross-checking :D

     
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  5. nixnet

    nixnet MDL Novice

    Dec 15, 2012
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    I just did - It says max memory is 2 x 2GB, link:

    (i can't post links: crucial site + /systemscanner/viewscanbyid.aspx?id=BDB90BA831D926C3 )

    Before buying new memory modules i did some research, and i found numerous posts on the internet width keywords "4 GB RAM" and "i945PM" - a lot of them state that it can be done. So it's more like a "internet fact" ;)

    Datasheet by intel ( source: intel dot com /Assets/PDF/datasheet/309219.pdf ):

    This is my current BIOS:

    https
    ://
    www box dot com
    /s/qdotmlga5rbxo0tesve6


    I'm sorry i can't post clickable links yet (i have to write 18 posts more...).

    You guys are quick :)

    I Thank You All :)
     
  6. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

    Aug 15, 2010
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    I believe the MTC might stand for MiTAC, and that it is a MiTAC 8258D.

    Also, it may share the BIOS with a Packard Bell MV35. I'll check that out more later :)
     
  7. RJARRRPCGP

    RJARRRPCGP MDL Member

    Feb 24, 2010
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    #8 RJARRRPCGP, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
    May be a bad board. In August, 2011, I was working on a Dell Inspiron 530S desktop that reportedly starting doing this all of a sudden. Apparently, just weeks earlier, it was booting with both channels.

    When I got it, it always failed to boot with both RAM modules in when using the usual dual channel config.

    The BIOS will go "bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep----bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep" or it does nothing but light the case LEDs and spin the CPU fan on high!

    It booted when I used just one of the light-colored slots and put the other RAM stick in a black one. :/
     
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  8. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

    Aug 15, 2010
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    If it's a bad board, it's probably not going to be likely that you'll fix the problem.

    Could you tell me where you found this BIOS? Is there no identifying information on this computer?
     
  9. urie

    urie Moderator
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  10. Tito

    Tito Super Mod / Adviser
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    Thanks urie for the info... though it is always consistent for me :g:
     
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  11. urie

    urie Moderator
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    yes off topic but dell udated bios while back
    A lot of controversy when I was searching for info on google about dell inspiron 530 desktop as to whether it will take 8GB or ram.
     
  12. Tito

    Tito Super Mod / Adviser
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    Hmm... may be its Dell's fault; who knows??

    :tea:
     
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  13. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

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    #14 drewbug, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
    Instead of using any third-party tools, this is what I use:
    Code:
    wmic MEMPHYSICAL get MaxCapacity
    This snippet can be useful for obtaining the maximum supported memory in a system. There are reports on the Internet that it doesn't always work as expected, though it has usually worked fine for me.

    DMIDecode may be an even better option, but it's a third-party tool.
     
  14. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
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    inspiron 530 has 2 mobo models. not all can use quadcore.
    check dell part numbers.
     
  15. urie

    urie Moderator
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    #16 urie, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
    Yes well actually there are Inspiron 530/530a/530b/530c/530d motherboards ;)

    Inspiron 530/530a/530c support Intel®Core™2 Quad processor
    Maximum memory 4 GB (Inspiron 530 only ) 8 GB(Inspiron 530a/530c)

    Inspiron 530b/530d Intel®Core™2 Duo processor
    Maximum memory 4 GB

    P.S. this information is just taken from Dell™ Inspiron™ 530 Series Owner’s Manual
     
  16. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

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    Nobody is even talking about quadcore. :rolleyes:
     
  17. urie

    urie Moderator
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    I mentioned it when posting specs.
     
  18. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

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    Oh, yes, you mentioned it, but the conversation was about RAM, not CPU.
     
  19. nixnet

    nixnet MDL Novice

    Dec 15, 2012
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    #20 nixnet, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
    (OP)
    @drew95

    You are amazing! How did You found out the model? Did You extract the files and searched for "mitac" string? I just did a moment ago and this came up:

    MiTAC 8258D M56P ATOMBIOS 426E/378M

    I found out earlier that "atombios" is some thing that links BIOS to the AMD graphic card, i would never suspect that it contains model no. of this barebone...

    I've also checked and there is a line on a sticker on the laptop's underside that reads "M: 8258D". Didn't knew that M stands for Mitac - shame on me for on not connecting those two words together...

    I didn't mention the name of the company selling the rebranded barebone, becouse it's a pretty small local company and trying to search for anything using that name wouldn't turn up anything - company name is "Aristo", and search for "mitac 8258D" shows that other companies rebranded it as well.

    It seems that the site that I've obtained the files from is currently down, it wouldn't be much help anyway, since it's in polish and it doesn't contain any info at all...

    www dot aristo dot pl

    On their support site in FAQ section there is a post that goes like this "Q: Can i upgrade my memory to 4GB? A: We don't know what would happen, we guarantee it works up to 2GB." o_O

    Also i've found a site that says:

    source: www dot memorystock dot com/ram/MiTAC8258DNotebookDDR2533MHzRAM.html

    It's frustrating to see they mention this limitation, despite that:
    1. intel says the i945PM chipset supports 4GB memory
    2. i tested that any one 2GB module stick works fine in any memory bank
    3. currently both memory banks work fine with dual channel enabled with 2 x 1GB sticks

    I'm searching now for the anything about Packard Bell MV35 on the internet, so far i've not had much luck finding any BIOS file or info about max supported memory.

    Can You please anwer me this?

    1. If I'd like to mess with BIOS files, but first I would like to verify that recovery works :) As I understand i should place file named "BIOS.fd" on USB stick, and power on the laptop with keys WIN + B pressed down. Is the filename correct? How would i know the proper filename? PhoenixTool extracted two large files named "BIOS0.BIN" and "BIOS4.bin", so i assume that the first 4 letters + fd extension would work? We are talking about the compressed file, originally named "R107.rom"?

    2. If i find find a laptop model with working 2 x 2GB sticks, could i extract from it's BIOS file a module responsible for memory (or something like that) and replace it with my BIOS? Any manufacturer would work? I'll search for a Mitac manufactured laptop model... Can You tell me what tool would extract proper file names from a compressed BIOS file? PhoenixTool is great, but it doesn't show any file names, just dumps extracted file regions, i think...

    EDIT:

    Here's what wmic command prints (on Win 8):

    Finally a promising number.. but where does it extract info from?