Sorry for the long post, but I'm trying to be as complete as possible. I'm working on a friend's 8200 which suffered a drop. It was in a padded briefcase on an airline seat and got bumped to the deck by a guy passing by. It was powered off at the time.
At boot, I get the following messages:
Memory write/read failure at 1FFF0028, read FF10FF11 expecting FF10FF10
Memory address line failure at 1FFF0000, read FF10FF10 expecting 00000000
Memory write/read failure at 10000040, read 00EFooEE expecting 00EF00EF
Decreasing available memory
The BIOS shows 256MB RAM, and I'm immediately thinking a bad memory module. The system has two 256MB DIMMs installed, so I removed one DIMM and the system boots with 256MB just fine. Thinking that I had the bad DIMM in my hand, I swapped them to make sure that was the case. The system still booted just fine.
To check more thoroughly, I used the Dell diagnostics CD. Ran the full diagnostics with each of the following permutations:
DIMM A in Slot A
DIMM A in Slot B
DIMM B in Slot A
DIMM B in Slot B
DIMM A in Slot A and DIMM B in Slot B
DIMM A in Slot B and DIMM B in Slot A
I actually couldn't test both DIMMs with the diagnostics because the BIOS decreases the available memory before the diags even run. Beyond that, the system passes all the diagnostics with only one DIMM installed, but fails with two installed. It doesn't matter which DIMM is in Slot A and which is in slot B; I get the same addresses in the error message either way. Also, I put the DIMMs in another laptop and they seem to work fine.
Just for experimentation, I then powered-off the machine, pulled the hard drive out, and rebooted. Curiously enough, I get
Memory write/read failure at 1FFF00F8, read FF10FF11 expecting FF10FF10
Memory address line failure at 1FFF0000, read FF10FF11 expecting 00000000
without the "decreasing memory" message. So, I reinserted the drive, and ran the diags again. Sure enough, the BIOS now shows 512MB installed and I can run the diagnostics on both DIMMs.
Now, when I test the system memory, all goes well in the memory address line test until it tests addresses 10000000h through 100FFFFFh, the same address line from the error message. I get an "Abnormal program termination: Memory protection fault" error message for a few seconds, then the diags terminate, and I get a command prompt.
So now I'm thinking motherboard instead of RAM.As a last-ditch effort, I reseated the graphics card. (I was thinking the graphics card probably shared the system memory.) While I was in there, I also reseated the CPU. I didn't actually remove it; I just unlocked and relocked the little retention screw. Still the same error.
Here are my thoughts of other things I can do:
- Put the 2 DIMMs from a known-good laptop in and see what happens. (I'd have done this already, but the owner of the known-good machine is on vacation and I didn't think of it before. :) )
- Try to workaround the issue by getting a 512MB DIMM and pray the issue has something to do with both slots being used.
- I could try flashing the BIOS (with one DIMM installed). I know it's risky and unlikely to fix anything, but the mobo's probably dead anyway, so I figure there's not much to lose.
Any thoughts or ideas are greatly appreciated!!