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First post, by Espreitador

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Hi!

I have a Compaq Presario 7476, which came with 06ECh (very informative name) motherboard. I know it has a VIA MVP4 chipset and an AMD K6-II 533 Mhz processor. Does anyone know where I can find the manual or complete technical specifications? I'm facing problems to install RAM modules.

Compaq 7476 - AMD K6-2 533 Mhz, 192MB RAM, 3dfx Voodoo 3 3000, Windows 98SE

Reply 2 of 18, by PCBONEZ

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The RAM is nothing special. Plain Standard PC100. - What is the problem?
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Reply 3 of 18, by Espreitador

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PC Hoarder Patrol wrote:

Is this what you're looking for?

http://www.elhvb.com/ctechinfo/msgs/7400.pdf

What's the problem you're having?

PCBONEZ wrote:

The RAM is nothing special. Plain Standard PC100. - What is the problem?

Thank you so much. This is a very good manual.

I've tried PC100 modules with different capacities (128/256 MB), but without success. The system boots just with the original 64 MB RAM module. Apparently, there is no special requeriment. So, maybe it's some kind of incompatibility related to the brand. Do you know which are the most compatible brands of RAM?

Compaq 7476 - AMD K6-2 533 Mhz, 192MB RAM, 3dfx Voodoo 3 3000, Windows 98SE

Reply 4 of 18, by PCBONEZ

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I don't remember VIA MVP4 being that picky about RAM.
As long as it's a major brand and the correct kind it should be compatible.

Are you certain they are plain non-ECC non-registerd modules?
Do the modules have an even number of chips or odd?
Can you post photos of give the numbers off the module and chips?
.

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Reply 5 of 18, by PC Hoarder Patrol

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^
Agreed, the memory requirements look unremarkable - and whilst most of the used DIMMs on the Bay (searched by Compaq P/N) seem to use Hyundai / Infineon chips I don't think that matters. The major brand names long since dropped PC100 but the big OEM supply houses still carry stock with the same Compaq P/Ns in CAS2 /CAS3 & capacities up to 256MB for such old systems.

@Espreitador, will it boot with only the 64MB DIMM in any of the 3 slots, or just the first? As suggested, post pics of the DIMMs including the 64MB one showing as much detail as possible (just quote the numbers if you can't get clear pics)

Reply 6 of 18, by Munx

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The motherboard you are looking for is Mitac 5114vu.

None of the manuals mention RAM compatibility, though.

My builds!
The FireStarter 2.0 - The wooden K5
The Underdog - The budget K6
The Voodoo powerhouse - The power-hungry K7
The troll PC - The Socket 423 Pentium 4

Reply 8 of 18, by dionb

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PC Hoarder Patrol wrote:

^
[...]

@Espreitador, will it boot with only the 64MB DIMM in any of the 3 slots, or just the first? As suggested, post pics of the DIMMs including the 64MB one showing as much detail as possible (just quote the numbers if you can't get clear pics)

^^
This.

Iirc the MVP4 required that the first DIMM slot be populated for its IGP. Did you test the other DIMMs in the same slot as the original 64MB? If not, try that first.

As for compatibility, ignore the DIMM brand, it's almost all about the chips. Look which chips are on the 64MB DIMM that do work. In case of doubt, try to find other DIMMs with the same chips, or failing that with the same brand chips. But issues there would surprise me - the MVP4 swallows almost every kind of chip out there (even the nasty x4 single sided 16 chip ones), worst case if the chip densities are too high it would only be able to use half the capacitiy - but it should boot regardless.

Reply 9 of 18, by Espreitador

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Thank you for replying. I didn't know the motherboard name was Mitac5114vu. I found a PC133 128MB module yesterday. I installed it in the first slot and it worked flawlessly. After that, I installed the original module in the second slot and the system recognized 192MB (yes, mixing PC100 and PC133). Maybe the others modules were damaged. I've bought them recently and they should work, but...

Compaq 7476 - AMD K6-2 533 Mhz, 192MB RAM, 3dfx Voodoo 3 3000, Windows 98SE

Reply 10 of 18, by PCBONEZ

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dionb wrote:

As for compatibility, ignore the DIMM brand

Espreitador wrote:

(yes, mixing PC100 and PC133).

I have never seen a name brand PC133 module that would not automatically down-clock to PC100.

You can't count on off-brand (no-name brand) modules doing that even if they are using name brand chips.

Many do, some don't. It depends on how much effort they put into programming the SPD.
Some off-brands them don't even have an SPD. (All RAM settings must be done manually in BIOS.)
That's where all those warnings that PC133 might not run in your PC100 machine come from.

System specific RAM sometimes has custom settings in the SPD and should be considered no-name brand (might work, might not) in other systems.
.

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Reply 11 of 18, by leonardo

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Espreitador wrote:

Thank you for replying. I didn't know the motherboard name was Mitac5114vu. I found a PC133 128MB module yesterday. I installed it in the first slot and it worked flawlessly. After that, I installed the original module in the second slot and the system recognized 192MB (yes, mixing PC100 and PC133). Maybe the others modules were damaged. I've bought them recently and they should work, but...

Likely you have a board that supports memory modules with only lower density chips. I remember this from when people started shifting from early Pentium II/III to later III/early P4. You could buy the same amount of RAM on a module that had chips on both sides or one side only. The one-sided modules had higher density RAM chips, which some older spec boards didn't support and thus you'd end up with half the RAM or some other weird issues. The higher density chips were naturally needed for boards that supported more memory in the limited memory slots they had.

Just another story in the annals of "should be compatible but isn't" PC-history...

[Install Win95 like you were born in 1985!] on systems like this or this.

Reply 12 of 18, by dionb

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PCBONEZ wrote:
I have never seen a name brand PC133 module that would not automatically down-clock to PC100. […]
Show full quote
dionb wrote:

As for compatibility, ignore the DIMM brand

Espreitador wrote:

(yes, mixing PC100 and PC133).

I have never seen a name brand PC133 module that would not automatically down-clock to PC100.

You can't count on off-brand (no-name brand) modules doing that even if they are using name brand chips.

Modules don't clock anything, they just run at whatever speed the memory controller tries to address them - or fail trying.

Many do, some don't. It depends on how much effort they put into programming the SPD. Some off-brands them don't even have an SP […]
Show full quote

Many do, some don't. It depends on how much effort they put into programming the SPD.
Some off-brands them don't even have an SPD. (All RAM settings must be done manually in BIOS.)
That's where all those warnings that PC133 might not run in your PC100 machine come from.

System specific RAM sometimes has custom settings in the SPD and should be considered no-name brand (might work, might not) in other systems.
.

When it comes to RAM settings, if you want it done right, do it yourself. And certainly in case of any doubt/issues, double-check every 'auto' setting. I don't trust any SPD as far as I can throw it. This mistrust mainly comes from later (DDRx) modules that were factory-overclocked and required overvolting to reach the advertised speeds. But SPD doesn't contain voltage information... so even if the SPD was completely OK and the board interpreted it correctly, you'd still get an unstable system if you just stuck them in. That cures you very quickly of trusting it to 'just work'.

Reply 13 of 18, by PCBONEZ

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dionb wrote:
PCBONEZ wrote:
I have never seen a name brand PC133 module that would not automatically down-clock to PC100. […]
Show full quote
dionb wrote:

As for compatibility, ignore the DIMM brand

Espreitador wrote:

(yes, mixing PC100 and PC133).

I have never seen a name brand PC133 module that would not automatically down-clock to PC100.

You can't count on off-brand (no-name brand) modules doing that even if they are using name brand chips.

Modules don't clock anything, they just run at whatever speed the memory controller tries to address them - or fail trying.

I didn't say they clocked anything. I said they down-clock which means to run at a lower speed.
That should be self evident as I was talking about PC133 running at PC100 speed.

Clearly you have no idea how SPDs actually work.
During POST the BIOS reads the info in the SPD - which is the settings the RAM will run at.
If one of the settings recorded in the SPD matches the one of the settings for the system recorded in the BIOS then the BIOS sets everything up to run with that combination of settings.
If the BIOS can't find a match then the BIOS won't let it boot. The MCH doesn't have anything to do with that part.
And contrary to what you just said the memory controller doesn't 'decide' anything about system speeds.
It's -TOLD- what to run at by the BIOS - the same as the RAM is.

Many do, some don't. It depends on how much effort they put into programming the SPD. Some off-brands them don't even have an SP […]
Show full quote

Many do, some don't. It depends on how much effort they put into programming the SPD.
Some off-brands them don't even have an SPD. (All RAM settings must be done manually in BIOS.)
That's where all those warnings that PC133 might not run in your PC100 machine come from.

System specific RAM sometimes has custom settings in the SPD and should be considered no-name brand (might work, might not) in other systems.
.

dionb wrote:

When it comes to RAM settings, if you want it done right, do it yourself. And certainly in case of any doubt/issues, double-check every 'auto' setting. I don't trust any SPD as far as I can throw it. This mistrust mainly comes from later (DDRx) modules that were factory-overclocked and required overvolting to reach the advertised speeds. But SPD doesn't contain voltage information... so even if the SPD was completely OK and the board interpreted it correctly, you'd still get an unstable system if you just stuck them in. That cures you very quickly of trusting it to 'just work'.

I buy name brand industry standard JEDEC compliant RAM.
In the 20 or so years since I started doing that I have never any of those problems in my own systems. - Not once.
I have never had to reprogram an SPD to make RAM work in any system. - Not once.
What I buy just works.
I do deliberately stay away from (even in name brands) the childish flashy crap with pretty color heat-sinks and/or "cool" names exactly because I hear about so many problems with it. With that 'factory overclock' (which I have never seen) that you have apparently had repeated issues with, I imagine that's what you're buying.

Visually my RAM is boring as hell, but it's problem free and it works correctly right out of the package.

Then you come in saying that you don't do that followed by a whole paragraph of problems you've had with what you do instead.

If you can't figure out the real problem by reading your own posts then I can't help you.

=======
[patient] Doctor! Doctor! It hurts when I do this!
[doctor] Well, don't do that.
.

GRUMPY OLD FART - On Hiatus, sort'a
Mann-Made Global Warming. - We should be more concerned about the Intellectual Climate.
You can teach a man to fish and feed him for life, but if he can't handle sushi you must also teach him to cook.

Reply 14 of 18, by dionb

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PCBONEZ wrote:

[...]

I buy name brand industry standard JEDEC compliant RAM.

As do I when buying new. But you don't get to pick and choose what you find in the dumpster or what happens to be in an old system. Of course you can just throw out everything that's not up to requirement, but that would seriously diminish the available amount of RAM for retro-purposes.

In the 20 or so years since I started doing that I have never any of those problems in my own systems. - Not once.
I have never had to reprogram an SPD to make RAM work in any system. - Not once.

Who's talking about reprogramming SPDs? I'm just referring to doing the settings in BIOS manually.

I do deliberately stay away from (even in name brands) the childish flashy crap with pretty color heat-sinks and/or "cool" names exactly because I hear about so many problems with it. With that 'factory overclock' (which I have never seen) that you have apparently had repeated issues with, I imagine that's what you're buying.

Hey, who says *I'm* the one buying that stuff? Years back I was the poor bugger supporting people who did that. And you don't need to look to the flashy crap to get it either. But that's just one example that was exceptional only in that it actually did not work out of the box. Generally SPD settings are excessively conservative, leaving lots of room for optimization. Either way, I don't want to just trust what a machine automatically tells me should be optimal - even if it turns out to be spot on. Then again, maybe I'm just a relic from the days before SPD and other such things. Don't get me started on early (ISA) PnP implementations... give me good old jumpers any day.

Visually my RAM is boring as hell, but it's problem free and it works correctly right out of the package.

Then you come in saying that you don't do that followed by a whole paragraph of problems you've had with what you do instead.

If you can't figure out the real problem by reading your own posts then I can't help you.

Sure making a boatload of incorrect assumptions there... you have a lot of experience and some strong opinions - fine, I respect that, as indeed others do - but that doesn't make other opinions less valid and it certainly doesn't excuse putting a load of words into other people's mouths and then flaming them for it. How about making that respect a bit more mutual?

Reply 15 of 18, by PCBONEZ

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@ dionb

The subject was how to ensure compatibility with the specific chipset.

To which you said "As for compatibility, ignore the DIMM brand"

That is not a good way to ensure compatibility and you proved it yourself with your following comments.

RAM that you must force to work by screwing around with BIOS settings manually doesn't come under the heading of compatible.
Just doesn't.

=========

Certainly dumpster diving is a way to find things cheap but it's NOT a reliable way to achieve compatibility...
... particularly if you want the system built in a reasonable amount of time.
.

Last edited by PCBONEZ on 2018-05-02, 09:14. Edited 1 time in total.

GRUMPY OLD FART - On Hiatus, sort'a
Mann-Made Global Warming. - We should be more concerned about the Intellectual Climate.
You can teach a man to fish and feed him for life, but if he can't handle sushi you must also teach him to cook.

Reply 16 of 18, by dionb

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In my book, compability is simply whether things can be made to work together reliably. Yes, it's easier if it all 'just works', but components can still be compatible if you need to configure something first. A DIMM with x4 chips on a chipset that only supports x8 and x16 is incompatible - no matter what you do, it will not work. A DIMM with perfectly good and compatible chips but an SPD that for whatever reason is not correctly interpreted by the motherboard might not work reliably first time, but after setting the correct speed and timings in BIOS it will work as reliably as another DIMM whose SPD is read correctly by the same motherboard.

It's not rocket science either. In the case of TS' motherboard we're talking SDR-SDRAM. It needs to be able to run at 100MHz, so requires 10ns or faster chips. At 10ns the CAS, RAS & precharce need to be 3-3-3. If it's 8.5ns or better you can do 2-2-2.

Once again, I fully agree that nice brand-on-brand Micron, Nanya, Hynix or similar would be ideal, but if that's not available it's throwing the baby out with the bathwater to say anything else is bad by default. If the chips are good and the DIMM as a whole is not defective, a dodgy SPD is no reason to fail to get it to work. Once again I'd draw the parallel to PnP. that's also a great idea in theory, but if you had to throw out every component that failed to implement it properly or work together with any other given component, you'd not have much hardware from the mid 1990s left...

Reply 17 of 18, by PCBONEZ

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dionb wrote:

It's not rocket science either. In the case of TS' motherboard we're talking SDR-SDRAM. It needs to be able to run at 100MHz, so requires 10ns or faster chips. At 10ns the CAS, RAS & precharce need to be 3-3-3. If it's 8.5ns or better you can do 2-2-2.

I've known that for 20 years, but thanks anyway.

It's very rare but PC150 and PC166 were also produced and released to market.
JEDEC switching to DDR and dropping PCxxx completely took some manufacturers by surprise.
No official Standard for PC150 or PC166 exists simply because JEDEC didn't create one.

dionb wrote:

blah blah ........ to say anything else is bad by default.

I never said any such thing.
- You invented that in your own mind and expanded upon it.

What I did say is you CAN'T COUNT ON on no-name PC133 down-clocking to PC100 as name-brand consistently does.
It was true when I said it. It was true 20 years ago. And it's still true.

That I would throw it out is also something you invented in your own mind.
I would not put it in one of my systems. I would test it and if good, sell it.
In the course of things I end up with undesirable (to me) RAM all the time and that's what I do.
(You don't usually get to pick the RAM when it comes in complete systems or as part of a mobo package deal.)

What I WAS saying is don't go out and pay money for no-name RAM because there is no way to know if it's crap.
.

Last edited by PCBONEZ on 2018-05-03, 14:36. Edited 9 times in total.

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