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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

DC5100 SFF Desktop
Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit)

I am bringing three DC5100s back into service (SSD makes such a big difference they're quite usable now!) Yes, they are old machines, but they're quiet, easy to service, and well made.

 

Each has 4GB RAM and an added NVidia NVS290 PCIEx1 graphics card. The NVidia cards were installed to enable 1920x1080 screen resolution (a resolution not possible under Windows 7 by using the existing XP driver, hence the added video card.) The card fits well mechanically (occupying space made for it by the way HP shaped one of the motherboard heatsinks.)

 

Problem: On power-up, the machine will show BIOS message saying memory size has changed, hit F1. On power-up, this shows 3200MB; when I accept that change, it immediately reboots, re-enters BIOS, and now says memory size has changed, showing 2816MB; when I accept that change (hit F1), it boots into OS. When I reboot or power-down and restart, the same thing happens - it says memory size has changed - twice - first 3200MB, then 2816MB. This is the main problem - that it appears to see one memory size when power-up and another memory size when rebooting (maybe the video card is retaining some state information rather than being properly reset?) This is entirely happening at BIOS level, before OS gets involved.

 

This behavior is same whether using Windows 7 32bit or Ubuntu 18.04 64bit (the machine is set up to dual boot), so I suspect the BIOS.

 

The only workaround I've found is to install only 2GB or 2.5GB RAM, however, I'd really like to find a way to use more RAM. I understand the video card will displace some RAM (the spec sheet says 256MB shared memory), however,

 

I realize I can't use all 4GB RAM, however, the "toggling" behavior is nearly a show-stopper because of the amount of user intervention required to get the machine running each time it is started.

 

Any suggestions as to how I can further troubleshoot?

 

Thanks!

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

this is not a video memory issue but a system ram issue. you may have a failing Dimm module (system RAM)

 

the module has not fully failed yet but part of it has this is why the memory size keeps changing, as the failing module is used it heats up and fails more, causing the computers bios to report less available ram during it's initial system memeory check

 

the other thing that can cause this is the modules themselves if they are mismatched (diffrent size modules) or smallest modules in primary slots instead of largest

 

note that when i say diffrent sized modules, i mean how the memory chips are setup on the dimm

mixing a 256x8 1gb module with a 521x4 1gb module will cause problems

 

can you list the numbers off the memory modules for me?

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

> Any suggestions as to how I can further troubleshoot?

 

Change the battery on the motherboard.

If it is not "holding" the change in the usable amount of RAM, you get the same behaviour every time.

 

Experiment: remove the add-in graphics adapter, to "revert" to the integrated video.

Reboot, press F1, "save-and-exit" from BIOS setup, and reboot.

Does it display the exact-same messages, a second time?

 

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

Two replies - thank you both!

 

1. (regarding possible RAM problems) - three machines, all behave identically; they have differing makes of RAM but all are PC2-4200 1GB DIMM type and none has exhibited any RAM-related issues over the years; it seems unlikely cause.

 

2. (regarding CMOS battery) - one machine did indeed have failed CMOS RAM (wasn't retaining time/date across power fail); having just replaced the battery, I conducted the experiment (set/save BIOS defaults without video card in place); this did not address the issue.

 

So far, the only workaround I've found is to run <= 2.5GB RAM; >2.5GB (3 or 4GB tried) cause the same behavior on all three machines tried.

 

Appreciate the replies, however, the issue remains unsolved.

 

 

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

have you access to another model video card to test?

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

Unfortunately, no alternative card available (and as I'm seeking to get 1920x1080 resolution, I need some kind of add-in card, or a modified version of the XP Intel video driver, but I've not been able to find a modified driver.)

 

I went with the NVS290 because it was a PCIEx1 card and I didn't see any other immediate options for PCIEx1 (I didn't want to go with PCI slot video card.)

 

It appears HP had configurations of the DC5100 with an NVIDIA PCIEx1 card, but I don't know the model they used, or whether there were any operational limitations noted.

 

Dave

 

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

what is the part/model number on the dimm module?

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

I am surprised that removing the PCI-e video-card did not result in a "normal" start-up.

 

Enter BIOS SETUP, and look for any "video" options, e.g., frame-buffer size, or amount of RAM to dedicate to the onboard graphics adapter.  Can you make any changes? What is the result?

 

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

HP used a HP labled GeForce GT 710 in the DC5100

 

you can buy one from ebay, either a hp labled one (fst link) or a much cheaper 3rd party one (sec link)

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-COMPAQ-dc5100-dc5700-Small-Form-Factor-SFF-Low-Profile-HD-Video-Graphics...

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/EVGA-GeForce-GT-710-1GB-Dual-Slot-Passive-1-Year-Warranty/263869469862?epid...

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DC5100 with Nvidia NVS290 and 4G RAM - BIOS toggles memory between 2816MB and 3200MB

I tried looking at the HP Part Surfer web-site.

I found a LOOOOONG list of model-numbers for the 'DC5100'.

Choose your applicable one, and you'll get a list of the parts, including video-cards, most of which show as 'N/A' from HP, after these many years.

Then, you'll see what HP originally used.

I think that it is doubtful that any of them would support your "FullHD" resolution.

 

 

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