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- POST hardware minimums
September 23, 2007, 6:30 pm
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parts missing are RAM and Hard Disks. I do not have any 184-pin RAM
modules to test the basic functionality of any of these PCs. I wanted
to check the POST for more info on the CPU installed. 2 MBs (D845DRGs)
have a range of 200 to 266 RAM req's and a third (an 845GERG2) can
also use 333s. The CPUs are at least 1.4 GHz, and could be as fast as
2.5GHz based on the range the MBs can use. The MBs each have 2 slots
for RAM, and I would like to affirm that at least one of them is worth
my time and money (albeit modest as the prices are). If these are all
bad, then my money spent on RAM will be wasted, and that leaves me
with the decision to spend the money on a 512MB module to occupy one
of the 2 slots (so I can ultimately run a Gig) or if I should buy a
$15 module that I would not use long-term since they only have 2
slots. I suppose I could buy the 128 mb to test them all and then by
1GB RAM modules, in spite of the higher cost of having it all on one
module and even then, would it really matter if I had the 128 module
installed when it also has a Gig module?
I have been injured and out of work for nearly 5 years and literally
every dollar matters. I am trying to replace 2 PCs I had purchased
before my injury, to do a few home based income projects (PC based
guitar lessons, running videos and multi-track recording). I have a
broken 1.4 GHz notebook and a 1.2 GHz Athlon based mini-tower with
1GHz RAM but with a bad MB. So, even if the latest PCs have the lowest
power CPU, I would have a replacement for these important PCs with the
only expense being the RAM as opposed to buying a new MB for at least
double or more the cost and it would also be more or less obsolete if
anything else went bad with the MB.
Do bottom line is that this article is being posted to find out what
whether I can find any info while the POST is running until it find no
RAM. I do not recall ever trying to partially boot a PC without RAM
and I had expected at least a few lines of data about the CPU and BIOS
before it stopped. If I find out that RAM missing will not allow the
POST at all, then I am safe. If there is something else wrong, then I
have to then decide how much it is worth trying to salvage at least
one PC out of these 3.
Can anyone advise me (via the group or email) what to expect when
trying to boot an Intel MB (as indicated) without RAM?
Thanks very much in advance.
Re: POST hardware minimums
The machine/s will try to do a POST, won`t find any RAM,
And you`ll just get `can`t find RAM` beeps from the speaker.
( if it`s connected, of course.)
If you want to find out what RAM the board/s can take go to...
www.crucial.com, and type in the motherboard details.
That`ll get you started on suitable RAM.
Re: POST hardware minimums
Buy the memory from someplace with a good return policy then
you can return it, or resell it elsewhere. I would buy at
least a 512MB module of PC3200 (400 as per your DDR term
used) which is backwards compatible with the boards
regardless that they may run it at the lower 200-333 DDR
If you want 1GB per system, buy 1, 1GB module. Having the
128MB also installed will obviously have only a minimal
benefit in increased capacity.
What about the memory in this Athlon box, is it PC133? Just
wondering as by the 1.2GHz era DDR was common.
No, the motherboard EEPROM which stores the bios, is
decompressed by the processor into main system memory (which
is missing) and thus, the system cannot POST at all without
memory, so it will instead fall back to beeping, signifying
no memory present.
You will definitely get nothing on the monitor without any
memory in the system even if the boards are good.
Another alternative is that you might put these boards,
along with the minimum of processor, heatsink/fan, video
card (if not onboard video), PSU... have the system ready to
run except for having no memory, then take it to a mom-n-pop
PC shop at which you had already arranged for them to put a
memory module in to test it. If you worded your request
right, they might do it in front of you while you wait, for
free, though they might expect you to buy the memory from
them which can cost a lot more than best prices online.
The lazy answer is to just buy a 1GB PC3200 module from
Newegg then if it doesn't work, return it accepting a 15%
For example (assuming a US seller) with this:
The loss of shipping cost, 15%, and return shipping (about
$2 USPS) would only be $13.50 IF none of the boards work
(but you should also try a new battery and clear CMOS while
AC power is disconnected before giving up on them).
Re: POST hardware minimums
That sounds familiar, I may have been through this scenario once many
years ago. At least the MBs are still possibly good. You know what I
just realized is that these MBs are configured w/ video chipsets
integrated and while I had thought it was possible that the POST would
get a few lines displayed as it hands data to the video (Inever knew
RAM was required so early), but with the integrated video that uses
system RAM, there is obviously no video RAM either! Without loading a
video board with its own memory, I don't know why I thought it would
work at all, I was not thinking it through, or at least not factoring
in the video config.
I have never used a system w integrated video. With faster FSBs and
RAM, I know this is not as much of a performance problem as it once
was, but I have 2 AGP video cards, one is a Matrox Millenium G450 and
the other is an Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4400 based card w 128MB memory. It
was a mid-priced card when I got it in late 2002. I have not even
priced or even looked at video boards. I need to make sure I have
expansion for an IEEE1394 Firewire board and possibly another NIC and
a PCI soundcard. I am going to be using this PC for multi-track
recording. The MB has the Intel AC97 chipset for sound, which again as
best I can remember, uses CPU rather than a dedicated audio processor.
I am going to double check to see if this is still the case, becasue
installing one of the boards I have is no problem, just a planning
issue. If this gets out of hand, I want to score a dual-core based
system, or at least a dual CPU system since I have matching CPUs. What
is the current situation with running 2 monitors? Do the video
chipsets each have to have the correct diver with this support? I seem
to remember hearing the Windows XP made multi-monitor support much
more accessable, whatever that means. I did build a dual CPU system
running Windows NT 4 once back in 1998 I think it was, back when
Pentium 3s were the fastest available.WIth the cost of the MB it is
probably cheaper to buy one of the MB/CPU combo deals with a dual-core
CPU. I can't believe how cheap everything is. That is what I get for
being out of the loop for these 5 years.
Yeah, that was stupid of me.
That is a very good idea, and of course I would buy it if it worked.
Are the latest chipsets running the RAM bus and the FSB at different
speeds? The last time I built a system, only some MBs and CPUs would
operate without matching RAM amd FSB, though it seems like the trend
was away from that for a number of reasons. I think that is a partial
reason for both crazy cheap prices on RAM and and the wider types of
RAM and speed. If I know that a specific RAM specification will work
with *any* CPU that the MB can handle, I will feel a lot more at ease
buying it before I know that eveyrthing else is ok. I have 3 systems
and side from RAM and disks, there has to be at least one complete PC
from that pile of hardware (he says as he prays).
Thanks for all of the great ideas.
Re: POST hardware minimums
On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 00:25:37 -0700, Chris M
... well, with integrated video you have a second problem,
that this video uses the main system memory as a framebuffer
so even if there were some way to execute the firmware to
run a post, there would be no buffer for outputting the
result to a monitor.
LOL, I should read ahead in posts more often!
Modern integrated video is faster than the G450 is, but the
G420 is, as most of Matrox's cards, renowned for great
analog output. The TI4400 is faster than this integrated
video but the difference won't matter in 2D uses beyond
usurping a bit of memory bandwidth, a few percent
performance reduction when particular uses require utmost
memory throughput. Modern integrated video is quite usable
until one tries to play 3D games with it, or until there are
missing features like DVI to drive higher resolution
accurately on an LCD display.
I would not be concerned about CPU utilization for this use,
rather than onboard audio is typically horrible because if
the noise present in the power supply to it's codec. Any
reasonably good sound card is a large upgrade for your
purposes, even if it doesn't have an audio "processor".
Go ahead and install the sound card, integrated AC97 audio
is terrible for any serious use. The most one can hope is
that their I/O analong devices are so low-fi that they can't
hear the difference... but it's there.
Multimonitors were quite possible even with Win98, the key
here is having dual monitor support from one video card
and/or integrated video (which AFAIK, the intel 845 didn't
commonly support as implemented on a motherboard) or having
drivers the OS found acceptible. One key issue is that if
you install a video card that isn't PCI type, on an AGP or
PCI Express based board with integrated video, installing
the video card disables the integrated video so it is no
longer available for the other monitor output. However,
many cards like the TI4400 may have dual monitor support by
Recording multiple tracks doesn't require much of a CPU
these days, unless you were trying to record into a
compressed format (which I would avoid, unless this were
just some normally-discarded audio like a surveillance
recording. Otherwise, it is more important to have a
semi-modern hard drive so it has reasonably good write
It depends on the shop though, some charge a pretty
substantial overhead for parts like these. It wouldn't be
surprising if they asked $100 for a 1GB PC3200 DIMM, which
is more than it would cost you to buy it online instead,
either having to return it or buying a very small one and
just abandoning it. Some shops are great and some are quite
greedy, and I can understand "greedy" as a concept to
survive because Dell et al have made it quite hard for many
shops to survive selling hardware instead of services.
They can, but not necessarily.
Today there is far more versatility in running different FSB
and memory bus speeds, but having higher memory bus speed is
better, so long as the memory or chipset or board doesn't
require a large change in memory timings to remain stable at
the higher speed.
Get PC3200, it will work (Not just fine, but even better by
having more of a stability margin) with the lesser speeds.
Next consideration is CAS rating, but if you are buying 1GB
modules instead of 512MB or lower, there is a price increase
to go with CAS2.5 instead of CAS3 for the 1GB modules. Also
beware of memory spec'd as needing over 2.6V for it's
published specs, until considering very high end memory with
very aggressive specs... PC3200 at CAS2.5 should not need
more than 2.6V unless it's junk.