pc slows down after ram upgrade

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Hello,

I have an HP Vectra VL 6/300 Series 7MT. It is a 300Mhz Pentium II with
a total of 3 memory slots. I have two 256 mb modules installed. When I
install a 3rd 256 mb module the machine boots up but it is *extremely*
slow. Booting up and shutting down the machine take forever. I believe
that it took 15-20 minutes (possibly longer, but at least that long, I
didn't time it exactly) to do a shutdown under Linux on the machine. The
only explanation that I can think of is that the motherboard is not able
to cache memory above a certain limit. Although I can't imagine this
causing such a massive slowdown. All the memory modules are identical.
And if I switch the modules to different slots the problem only occurs
when all three modules are installed.

Any one have any suggestions as to what the problem might be and what,
if any, fixes for the problem are available? Would a bios upgrade help?
 
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In article <xNCdnUWzsfgNQgPd4p2dnA@adelphia.com>,
wg <stop@spamming.me> wrote:
| I have an HP Vectra VL 6/300 Series 7MT. It is a 300Mhz Pentium II with
| a total of 3 memory slots. I have two 256 mb modules installed. When I
| install a 3rd 256 mb module the machine boots up but it is *extremely*
| slow. Booting up and shutting down the machine take forever. I believe
| that it took 15-20 minutes (possibly longer, but at least that long, I
| didn't time it exactly) to do a shutdown under Linux on the machine. The
| only explanation that I can think of is that the motherboard is not able
| to cache memory above a certain limit. Although I can't imagine this
| causing such a massive slowdown. All the memory modules are identical.
| And if I switch the modules to different slots the problem only occurs
| when all three modules are installed.

Intel made a rather bizarre design decision in the early versions
of the Pentium II CPU: the L2 cache can only map to the first
512 MB of main memory. If you must have more than 512 MB of
memory, your only option is to replace the CPU with a later
version that can cache unlimited main memory. The 350-450 MHz
versions should work fine, and the "Katmai" Pentium III (450-
600 MHz) will probably work fine too, but the "Coppermine"
Pentium III probably will not work.

Unless you can find a really cheap 350-400 MHz Pentium II
somewhere (Ebay?) or absolutely must have 768 MB, you're
probably better off just staying at 512 MB.
 
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On Tue, 11 May 2004 01:33:05 GMT, ihoc@_._ (ihoc-a-attbi-d-com) wrote:
>In article <xNCdnUWzsfgNQgPd4p2dnA@adelphia.com>,
> wg <stop@spamming.me> wrote:
>| I have an HP Vectra VL 6/300 Series 7MT. It is a 300Mhz Pentium II with
>| a total of 3 memory slots. I have two 256 mb modules installed. When I
>| install a 3rd 256 mb module the machine boots up but it is *extremely*
>| slow. Booting up and shutting down the machine take forever. I believe
>| that it took 15-20 minutes (possibly longer, but at least that long, I
>| didn't time it exactly) to do a shutdown under Linux on the machine. The
>| only explanation that I can think of is that the motherboard is not able
>| to cache memory above a certain limit. Although I can't imagine this
>| causing such a massive slowdown. All the memory modules are identical.
>| And if I switch the modules to different slots the problem only occurs
>| when all three modules are installed.
>
>Intel made a rather bizarre design decision in the early versions
>of the Pentium II CPU: the L2 cache can only map to the first
>512 MB of main memory.

My understanding is that going over 512MB of memory on these systems
actually causes the processor to disable its L1 cache as well as its
L2 cache! That would explain the HUGE slowdown that the original
poster was seeing, a modern processor with neither L1 or L2 cache is
barely faster than an old 386!

Why Intel castrated these early PIIs is completely beyond me, it was
plain stupidity, as was pointed out by several people at the time.
Fortunately they fixed the problem with the next spin of the chip, so
even a late-model 300MHz PII will work fine, while all faster chips
never had the problem. However for those few who got the first batch
of PII (233 through to 300MHz) processors, 512MB is the max.

>Unless you can find a really cheap 350-400 MHz Pentium II
>somewhere (Ebay?) or absolutely must have 768 MB, you're
>probably better off just staying at 512 MB.

Finding an old PII or PIII on Ebay shouldn't be too though. The
problem is that the motherboard used for this processor almost
certainly does not support 100MHz bus speeds. Most likely the
original poster will need either a 333MHz PII or a Celeron processor.
the latter is probably the best bet, Celerons of up to ~466MHz should
work fine on the board (though it may need a BIOS update). Slot 1
Celerons are a bit rare, bit they do exist. A quick search on Ebay
found a 400MHz slot 1 Celeron selling for $5 with only 3 hours to go
before the end of the auction. Even came with a heatsink (which are
different between the PII and Celeron chips).

Kind of scary that even the lowly Celeron never had this deficiency
that the first PII chips had!

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
 
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Tony Hill wrote:

>>Intel made a rather bizarre design decision in the early versions
>>of the Pentium II CPU: the L2 cache can only map to the first
>>512 MB of main memory.

So it is only a CPU issue and not affected by the motherboard design?

> My understanding is that going over 512MB of memory on these systems
> actually causes the processor to disable its L1 cache as well as its
> L2 cache! That would explain the HUGE slowdown that the original
> poster was seeing, a modern processor with neither L1 or L2 cache is
> barely faster than an old 386!

I hate it when companies intentionally cripple their products. PIIs are
actually still very useful as non-gui linux servers. Using a slower
machine is often ok as long as you have enough memory.

> Why Intel castrated these early PIIs is completely beyond me, it was
> plain stupidity, as was pointed out by several people at the time.

It wouldn't surprise me if they crippled them to create an incentive to
purchase the more expensive Xeons for server machines. Or maybe they are
just stupid. :)

> Fortunately they fixed the problem with the next spin of the chip, so
> even a late-model 300MHz PII will work fine, while all faster chips
> never had the problem. However for those few who got the first batch
> of PII (233 through to 300MHz) processors, 512MB is the max.
>
>
>>Unless you can find a really cheap 350-400 MHz Pentium II
>>somewhere (Ebay?) or absolutely must have 768 MB, you're
>>probably better off just staying at 512 MB.
>
>
> Finding an old PII or PIII on Ebay shouldn't be too though. The
> problem is that the motherboard used for this processor almost
> certainly does not support 100MHz bus speeds. Most likely the
> original poster will need either a 333MHz PII or a Celeron processor.
> the latter is probably the best bet, Celerons of up to ~466MHz should
> work fine on the board (though it may need a BIOS update).

Yes I ran into this problem when I tried to upgrade a different 300 Mhz
PII machine to a 400Mhz PII. The bus was too slow for the upgrade. I did
not know that you could use a celeron with the PII motherboards. Thanks
for the info.

> Kind of scary that even the lowly Celeron never had this deficiency
> that the first PII chips had!

IIRC the Celerons were also better because their L2 caches were built in
to the chip. So they had better performance even though their L2 cache
was 1/4 the size of the PII.

Thank you both (ihoc and Tony) for your help. Unless I happen to come
across a really cheap CPU, I will probably just live with 512MB. :-( The
machine is really too old to be worth blowing a lot of $$$ to upgrade
and I really don't have to have 768MB since this is for use at home. It
just would have been nice.
 
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wg <stop@spamming.me> wrote:
> Tony Hill wrote:
> > Why Intel castrated these early PIIs is completely beyond me, it was
> > plain stupidity, as was pointed out by several people at the time.
>
> It wouldn't surprise me if they crippled them to create an incentive to
> purchase the more expensive Xeons for server machines. Or maybe they are
> just stupid. :)

Did they have Xeons yet? I don't remember Xeon or Slot 2 before oh, 400mhz
or so.

> IIRC the Celerons were also better because their L2 caches were built in
> to the chip. So they had better performance even though their L2 cache
> was 1/4 the size of the PII.

Not to mention many of them were OCable like crazy.

--
Nate Edel http://www.nkedel.com/

"Elder Party 2004: Cthulhu for President -- this time WE'RE the lesser
evil."
 
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Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
> >The Celeron 300A and 333A pretty well matched the PII 300 and 333mhz.
> >Upgrading the FSB to the 350 made a much bigger difference than either the
> >cache speed or cache size.
>
> Agreed. Dollar for dollar though, the Celerons continued to offer
> some pretty respectable performance in those days, unlike the Celerons
> of today.

The late Tualatin Celerons offered pretty respectable performance well into
the P4 era... especially sad was comparing a Tualatin C/1.4 to a Northwood
C/2.0 and realizing that we'd taken a step backwards.

Actually, that's not always true; some of the cheaper Northwood Celerons are
quite a deal for very specific workloads -- if you have tight, P4-optimized
code that lives entirely on a working set in cache, they can work pretty
nicely.

Outside of a few friends' number-crunching for class projects, I can't think
of anything like that in real life.

--
Nate Edel http://www.nkedel.com/

"Elder Party 2004: Cthulhu for President -- this time WE'RE the lesser
evil."
 
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KR Williams <krw@att.biz> wrote:
> hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca says...
> > >The Celeron 300A and 333A pretty well matched the PII 300 and 333mhz.
> > >Upgrading the FSB to the 350 made a much bigger difference than either the
> > >cache speed or cache size.
> >
> > Agreed. Dollar for dollar though, the Celerons continued to offer
> > some pretty respectable performance in those days, unlike the Celerons
> > of today.
>
> You mean "respectable performance" like the 300? ;-) (BTW, I
> didn't think there was a 333A.)

I remembered there being a cacheless 333, but I've double-checked the spec
finder and if there was, Intel isn't admitting it, so you're correct there.

That said, I'm pretty sure that a fair number of the retailers I dealt with
at the time _called_ it a 333A, probably just to make clear "yes, this one
has cache."

--
Nate Edel http://www.nkedel.com/

"Elder Party 2004: Cthulhu for President -- this time WE'RE the lesser
evil."
 
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In article <8kkkn1xpth.ln2@mail.sfchat.org>, archmage@sfchat.org
says...
> KR Williams <krw@att.biz> wrote:
> > hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca says...
> > > >The Celeron 300A and 333A pretty well matched the PII 300 and 333mhz.
> > > >Upgrading the FSB to the 350 made a much bigger difference than either the
> > > >cache speed or cache size.
> > >
> > > Agreed. Dollar for dollar though, the Celerons continued to offer
> > > some pretty respectable performance in those days, unlike the Celerons
> > > of today.
> >
> > You mean "respectable performance" like the 300? ;-) (BTW, I
> > didn't think there was a 333A.)
>
> I remembered there being a cacheless 333, but I've double-checked the spec
> finder and if there was, Intel isn't admitting it, so you're correct there.
>
> That said, I'm pretty sure that a fair number of the retailers I dealt with
> at the time _called_ it a 333A, probably just to make clear "yes, this one
> has cache."

Kinda like "Tiger Direct"? Yeah, I remember the same. Nothing
has changed. Pond-scum will be forever pond-scum.

On the absolute *opposite* end, I've found newegg to be great
(and my entrance hall is full of boxes from them ;).

--
Keith
 
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KR Williams wrote:

>
> Kinda like "Tiger Direct"? Yeah, I remember the same. Nothing
> has changed. Pond-scum will be forever pond-scum.
>
> On the absolute *opposite* end, I've found newegg to be great
> (and my entrance hall is full of boxes from them ;).
>

And did the parts all play together nicely when you put
together your new Opty dualie ?
 
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In article <10ag8dranhbh2fb@corp.supernews.com>,
rob.stow@sasktel.net says...
> KR Williams wrote:
>
> >
> > Kinda like "Tiger Direct"? Yeah, I remember the same. Nothing
> > has changed. Pond-scum will be forever pond-scum.
> >
> > On the absolute *opposite* end, I've found newegg to be great
> > (and my entrance hall is full of boxes from them ;).
> >
>
> And did the parts all play together nicely when you put
> together your new Opty dualie ?

No dualie here (S2875S). I'm a simple working man and cannot
afford such luxuries. ...and no that's why all the boxes are
still in the entrance hall. I bought when I did so I'd have toyz
to play with on my week off (next week, but shipping was
amazingly fast).

I also have painting to do before I can play. The CFO speaketh!
;-)

--
Keith
 
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KR Williams wrote:

> In article <10ag8dranhbh2fb@corp.supernews.com>,
> rob.stow@sasktel.net says...
>
>>KR Williams wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Kinda like "Tiger Direct"? Yeah, I remember the same. Nothing
>>>has changed. Pond-scum will be forever pond-scum.
>>>
>>>On the absolute *opposite* end, I've found newegg to be great
>>>(and my entrance hall is full of boxes from them ;).
>>>
>>
>>And did the parts all play together nicely when you put
>>together your new Opty dualie ?
>
>
> No dualie here (S2875S).

Ah, I thought you were getting the S2875.
 
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In article <10ahh19hib0n104@corp.supernews.com>,
rob.stow@sasktel.net says...
> KR Williams wrote:
>
> > In article <10ag8dranhbh2fb@corp.supernews.com>,
> > rob.stow@sasktel.net says...
> >
> >>KR Williams wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>>Kinda like "Tiger Direct"? Yeah, I remember the same. Nothing
> >>>has changed. Pond-scum will be forever pond-scum.
> >>>
> >>>On the absolute *opposite* end, I've found newegg to be great
> >>>(and my entrance hall is full of boxes from them ;).
> >>>
> >>
> >>And did the parts all play together nicely when you put
> >>together your new Opty dualie ?
> >
> >
> > No dualie here (S2875S).
>
> Ah, I thought you were getting the S2875.

Well, I ran out of money. I didn't even buy a new disk drive
(perhaps next month). The CFO upped the budget twice already and
I didn't want to *PAY* more. As it was I had to buy flowers that
Sunday (and she's not even *my* mother! ;-).

In any case a single Opteron (144 is what I settled on) was all I
could swing if I wanted the second monitor (I did). The
processor and memory went up about $100 during the month I was
procrastinating. I had no time to play anyway (mandatory OT, and
all that).

--
Keith