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Why won't my Dell Inspiron 8100 accept 1GB of RAM

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joelatkinson
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Please forgive me if I'm posting this in the wrong location I am new to the site and new to working on computers.
I have a Dell Inspiron 8100 with a 1GHZ Pentium 3 processor and I'm running Windows XP Professional with a 20GB hard drive. It has an ethernt 10/100 card, a firewire port (IEEE1394), two USB 1.0 ports, a CD R/RW drive, and two ports for wireless cards. The computer works great but it runs slow I beleive because of running Windows XP. I've been looking into maxing out the RAM on my laptop and have come to the conclusion that the max RAM allowable is 512MB of 144-Pin SO-DIMM PC133, installed as two sticks of 256MB. My question is why can't I install 1GB of RAM installed as two sticks of 512MB? What is the issue or issues that prevent this from being possible? I ask these questions because I beleive, correct me if I'm wrong, that the 512MB stick of RAM is the same physical size as the 256MB stick of RAM and that the only difference is the amount of RAM available on each stick. Where does the problem exsist, in the BIOS, the chip set, the processor, or a combination of these. I'm sure it would be helpful to know the motherboard brand name and the chip set modle number but I'm not sure how to find these out without disassembling my laptop. I can tell you that I bought it in 2001 if that helps at all. I have not actually tried to install 1GB of RAM I've just been told that it won't work and I don't want to spend the money on RAM that won't work. I ask these questions because my curiosity has been peaked and I really want to understand the reason that it won't work, and I would also like to try to change things to allow 1GB of RAM to work. Thanks for any help you can give me.

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Serunson
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First off Welcome, and yes you have posted it in the right place.
Well, there are many reasons why a computer can't support a certain amount of RAM. What type (PC...) and what amount of RAM do you have at the moment? XP isn't your problem with speed, you proble lies jointly with the 1Ghz processer and the RAM, both of which contribute to the speed of you machine. Seeing as your lpatop seems fairly old, because of a small processer by todays standards and having probably 256Mb or less of RAM i am guessing, that is why your laptop is quite slow. If you try this website: http://crucial.com/systemscanner/loader.aspx?Agree=Yes you can use crucial technologies system scanner to check to see what RAM you can support and how much of it. If you wanted to install more than what the system scanner and your conclusions say, to my knowledge you have to upgrade BIOS. I don't know how it is done, but check with the crucial tech's scanner to see what your system can cope with at the moment.

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jbennet
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First off Welcome, and yes you have posted it in the right place.
Well, there are many reasons why a computer can't support a certain amount of RAM. What type (PC...) and what amount of RAM do you have at the moment? XP isn't your problem with speed, you proble lies jointly with the 1Ghz processer and the RAM, both of which contribute to the speed of you machine. Seeing as your lpatop seems fairly old, because of a small processer by todays standards and having probably 256Mb or less of RAM i am guessing, that is why your laptop is quite slow. If you try this website: http://crucial.com/systemscanner/loader.aspx?Agree=Yes you can use crucial technologies system scanner to check to see what RAM you can support and how much of it. If you wanted to install more than what the system scanner and your conclusions say, to my knowledge you have to upgrade BIOS. I don't know how it is done, but check with the crucial tech's scanner to see what your system can cope with at the moment.

Thats not what he asked for. The reason you cant install more RAM is because the BIOS/Motherboard cant support that many memory adresses. I have a similarly specced desktop 933mhz, 640mb ram. 640 is the max ram.

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Darkomen020
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Well, being an owner of the same system, I have done a tid bit 'o research on this system, and according to dell, http://www.dell.com/ the max it will accept is 1/2 gb (512mb.) There are bios upgrades available directly from dell, which may help, though I haven't tried them yet, my system is down due to a hardrive failure and ac adapter meltdown (literally) so more info is available from dell.com about your system. hope this helps!

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