Thursday, May 10, 2007

DIMM witz

I discovered HP put two 256Mb memory sticks in this Compaq Presario V6101US, so today I upgraded to two 512Mb jobbies. 512 plus 512 is 1024, right? No matter what, the two memory banks just would not add up to a gigabyte. Then I noticed something...

If I put the memory in, and left the battery off, and left the memory bay door off, 1024Mb ... the requisite gig! Cool, thought I. So I put it all back together (battery in, bay door screwed down snug) and rebooted: 512Mb.

Took the memory bay door off. 1024Mb.

Put the memory bay door on. 512Mb.

Wot the...?! Examined the bottom side of the memory bay panel. It's got a metal lining, presumably some kind of spring-loaded anti-static device. I'd bent a corner of that springy, shiny undercover, and it was shorting something out when I put the panel door back on.

Peeled a plastic "Replace with genuine HP part numbbah blah blah blah" label off the old HP dimm and stuck it on the new one, as insulation. 1024Mb. Works fine. But it's no wonder Geek Squad can afford to charge sixty bucks an hour.

This whole process, including head-scratching and pilot errors by moi, took maybe two hours. Time required by someone with eight fewer thumbs, maybe five minutes, tops. I had an Apple dealer (and authorized Apple service center!) break into a sweat and refuse to open my dual-USB white chiclet iBook to do this exact same job, a few years ago. (On an iBook, the memory dimms aren't accessible unless you lift out the keyboard, which is an incredibly snug fit, is why.)



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