Hardware issues after updating RAM

Gateway 500se desktop
August 12, 2010 at 22:17:49
Specs: Microsoft XP

I just upgraded the RAM on my parent's Gateway 500SE desktop from 256 MB to 1 GB. Computer starts up and runs MUCH quicker now, but after a short while (maybe 7-15 mins) the screen freezes and goes wonky, the mouse stops working (optical USB mouse - light goes out like it's been unplugged), and the keyboard doesn't respond (PS2 - num lock light is still on, but keyboard doesn't work).

At first I thought something was wrong with the video card since the screen was weird, but then I noticed the mouse and keyboard went out too. I have NO idea what could cause all three to stop working at the same time like this.

Any suggestions?

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August 12, 2010 at 23:08:59
Is the memory compatable ??


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August 12, 2010 at 23:44:59
I believe the slots are PC2100 (based on the descriptions crucial.com gave) and the package says the RAM is compatible with that. Do you think maybe the motherboard is too old to handle it? Should I cut the RAM down to 512?

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August 13, 2010 at 05:20:22
According to Crucial, the system has 2 memory slots & can handle up to 512MB per slot. I assume you removed the 256MB & installed 2 x 512MB? Did you check the specs of the RAM? Voltage is very important. DDR-SDRAM is supposed to run at 1.8v but some manufacturer's spec it out at 1.9v, 2.0v, 2.2v, etc.

CORRECTION: DDR-SDRAM is supposed to run at 2.5v. The voltages I quoted above are for DDR2-SDRAM.

If you bought high-voltage RAM, it may not work properly in your system. Also, RAM should always be tested to confirm it's error-free before it's put into service. Defective RAM can cause all sorts of problems. Download memtest86 & create either a bootable floppy or CD, then boot off it & let it run. If any errors are found, replace the RAM.


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Related Solutions

August 13, 2010 at 10:17:57
In addition to the above information the computer components may be overheating. When you were inside the case it is possible you may have disturbed something. Wires could be impeding a fan from turning for instance.

If the graphics card were overheating the symptoms would probably not include freezing of the mouse, etc.

jam covered the RAM issue very well and that is the most likely issue. Could be compatible RAM that is just flaky or substandard.

You mentioned crucial.com. Where did you purchase the RAM and what brand is it?

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August 13, 2010 at 11:16:14
@Jam: Yes, I removed the 256 MB stick and installed two 512 MB sticks. I can't seem to find any specs on voltage for them...

@OtheHill: I opened up the case again, checked that everything was seated well and the wires were not in the way of the fan. (After you said that I remembered I had to move them to get to the slots so that may have contributed) My mom bought the RAM from Best Buy, PNY optima

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August 13, 2010 at 12:20:42
SDRAM is supposed to run at 3.3V. DDR2 RAM is 1.8V.

The paper sticker on the module should say what the voltage is.

Download SIW from the link below and look t what the RAM specs are.


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August 13, 2010 at 13:37:25
"My mom bought the RAM from Best Buy, PNY optima"

And I'm sure she paid WAY too much for it. More than $100? Newegg has 1GB (2 x 512MB) for about $40:


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August 13, 2010 at 15:29:31
The computer takes 168 pin SDRAM. Look at the link below.


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August 13, 2010 at 18:13:45
Hmmm, I didn't check the Gateway site but I did check Crucial & also tried putting "Gateway 500SE memory" in google. Here's just one example:


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August 13, 2010 at 20:47:24
I must have gotten the wrong page. Gateway site is not user friendly. I just Googled that model and got a couple of hits for a newer computer than a K-6. My mistake.

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