Question P4m800 RAM question….

aewhistory

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Okay, so I am currently going thru my old PC parts to build two beginner PCs for my son and daughter. I pulled out an unused P4m800, but the manual says it can only handle 2GB. While it only has two RAM slots (if memory serves) I was wondering if there was any reason why I couldn’t run this with 4gb? I havent Done the build yet, so I don’t want to take all this time and effort if I am stuck at 2GB. A 4gb build would be better methinks and save me money (i already have all the parts I need if this will work) And I am hoping that the printed info is merely out of date.*

*-looking online yields the same info, but why would the Ram slots be limited to 1gb DRAMs? I guess I don’t understand.

If I can’t run 4gb with this MB, how much of a difference will there really be? This computer is for a soon to be 10 year old who plays mostly modest games like horse stable simulators from 20 years ago. As long as it can run these games, MS office or something comparable, the internet, and maybe a bit more I will be happy.

thanks for any help!
 

JWNoctis

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A reason I've heard is that the largest single RAM module available at the time might only be 1GB in size, and thus the BIOS was only programmed to expect up to 2GB. 2GB modules may or may not work, or may (apparently) work as 1GB modules, subject to BIOS support and RAM module specifics. Search for "VIA P4M800 4GB" in your favourite search engine.

Parts of that vintage would have been made around the time of the Great Capacitor Plague, and even good electrolytic capacitors might have gone bad after 15+ years in storage even if NOS - Inspect carefully, and power up with caution.

I certainly wouldn't connect them to the internet, if you intend to use Windows - The latest version of that OS the system might support would be long out of support and security patches, and there will be driver troubles either way. As much I love vintage builds, two brand new ones with either a previous-gen APU or a Core i3 with integrated graphics might serve your kids' needs much better.
 

aewhistory

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A reason I've heard is that the largest single RAM module available at the time might only be 1GB in size, and thus the BIOS was only programmed to expect up to 2GB. 2GB modules may or may not work, or may (apparently) work as 1GB modules, subject to BIOS support and RAM module specifics. Search for "VIA P4M800 4GB" in your favourite search engine.

Parts of that vintage would have been made around the time of the Great Capacitor Plague, and even good electrolytic capacitors might have gone bad after 15+ years in storage even if NOS - Inspect carefully, and power up with caution.

I certainly wouldn't connect them to the internet, if you intend to use Windows - The latest version of that OS the system might support would be long out of support and security patches, and there will be driver troubles either way. As much I love vintage builds, two brand new ones with either a previous-gen APU or a Core i3 with integrated graphics might serve your kids' needs much better.
thank you very much. I had the same thought about the RAM: that might have been the max available at the time the manual was written. I didn’t think of wording the search quite as you did, adding the “4gb“ part may well yield something good. I will follow up in case others ever have the same query and post it back here.

You bring up some other things I had failed to consider. i hadn’t realized that this board was made during the era of the ”capacitor plague” and that alone makes this idea more questionable. I’ve had good luck with capacitors with my electronics lasting more than 15 years, but that’s only if they were good to begin with!* Thank you for pointing this out and I will most certainly factor this in.

I also hadn’t considered that I might not be able to get a modern OS running on this board. I had assumed I could get Windows 7 running at the least. Perhaps I made a poor assumption?

Like you I think, I enjoy playing with older builds. However, you’re right that maybe this isn’t the board for my daughter. I’m basically looking for something she could use for a couple years until I invest some “real” money in building a much better system for her. But if this won’t serve even my basic purposes then it will be a no go.

As an aside, would you recommend avoiding the old socket 775 boards entirely? I ask because I already have a small stockpile of DDR2 RAM and 775 CPUs from years past. So even if this board is not the answer it would be so cheap to just buy a better 775 board to get her by for a few years. Maybe I am just out of touch with newer hardware but I feel like the old 775 boards and CPUs would be fine unless you’re trying to do something graphics heavy like new games, video editing, etc.

thanks so much for the feedback and anyone else who posts as well.
best, Aaron

*-I have some Citation 5.1 and 7.1 amplifiers that are about 25 years old as well as some other amps that have held up very nicely. Then again I am now reaching the point where they should be serviced before the capacitors take the whole shebang down with them. It is a tough call seeing as it is expensive to recap the amps, replace monos, etc.
 

aewhistory

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JW,

I cannot thank you enough. I seriously did t think to try adding “4gb” to my search—I feel silly now—but adding it provided me with the exact answer I was looking for.

for anyone else who may ever look for this:
Can the p4m800 use 4gb of Ram?

To summarize, someone tried this and it only recognized the two 2GB RAM modules as 1gb each. Another poster suggested that this might be due to the number of chips on the RAM and that, subject to BIOS changes, it MIGHT be able to run the total 4gb. There was also mention that this might not be the case as this seemed to be an inherent limitation of the BIOS. The workaround was a hacked BIOS. This is more than I am willing to do to be frank. I would rather move on to something else.

Now that I know this board is limited to 2GB, I think I will move on. I think I will use this board later for when I build a dedicated Atari ST emulation computer. 2GB is more than enough as is the CPU I can plug into this board.

So my next query is, basically, is buying a cheap 775 MB a reasonable option here? There are a bunch I can take one of my dual or quad core CPUs and drop them in with 4gb, so will it really make any difference? I realize this is probably a matter of opinion, but I’m eager to see what other people think. I’ve been out of the loop in computer building for so long it would be nice to get some feedback.
 

JWNoctis

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Even Windows 7 is long out of support at this point...Though not for as long as Windows XP, at least.

FWIW even the last of LGA775 boards are getting to be more than 10 years old by this point. Anything that still worked would probably not be in any better condition than what you already have.

A Ryzen 3 3200G or a Core i3-10100 would fly circles around a Core 2 QX9650, probably the most powerful LGA775 chip, in terms of processor performance. Both also had iGPU of comparable (or better) performance to some of the best discrete GPU - 8800 GTX, etc. - contemporary to that.

But conversely, if those old parts are fit for purpose and safe to use, why not build something out of them - Support for very old games is spotty at best for modern OS, driver, and hardware. Just don't connect them to the 'net outside experimental reasons.
 

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