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Monday, August 25, 2003

Finding second-hand RAM not easy
Jasjot Singh Narula

Illustrations by Sandeep JoshiBEEP at boot up! Beware. Your PC could be in distress. One of the many reasons could be RAM (Random Access Memory) failure. RAM, whose biggest enemies are dust and moisture, can actually pique a PC user if it crashes. Non-availability of RAM is not the reason. Non-availability of compatible RAM, however, is.

The rapid change in technology also means that what is latest today may get obsolete tomorrow. The only option left with those who have older machines is to go in for second-hand components. For example, if someone with machine configuration of Pentium III 800 MHz, Intel chipset, 810e motherboard, 64 MB SDRAM, 10 GB HDD, crashes his RAM, he probably will have no option left but purchase a second-hand RAM minus warranty. The reason ó he might not be able to find a RAM, which his system configures even if he is willing to spend the greenbacks.


There are two types of RAM viz. SIMM (Single in-line Memory Module) and DIMM (Dual in- line Memory Module).

SIMMís were used in 486-series motherboards like DX2 66 MHz, DX2 100 MHz and some Intel Pentium series motherboards like P-I 100 MHz, 133, 166 and 200 MHz. These were in the form of 4 MB, 8 MB, 16 MB, and 32 MB. SIMMís are obsolete now but are available in the hand-me-down market minus warranty.

DIMMís are available in three different forms, SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic), RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic) and DDR-RAM (Double Data Rate). Intel Pentium II and Pentium III series motherboard use SDRAMís.

The current Intel Pentium 4 motherboards use DDR RAM that is much faster than its previous version.

Second-hand RAM

SIMMís are obsolete now and no company is manufacturing them. So if a PCís SIMM goes off, then get ready to slog in the market for a second-hand RAM that come without warranty. The sources of these products are generally unknown so better check the credibility of the seller.

Second-hand SD RAMís are available with different BUS speeds like 66 MHz, 100 MHz and 133 MHz. Before buying SD RAM, the user must have an idea about the BUS speed of his PC. These days second-hand SD RAM are available till 64 MB. A higher price tag is attached to 128 MB that is not so obsolete and it may come with warranty.


  • While purchasing a second-hand RAM, one must check that the system boots up properly

  • Check and recheck on both operating systems (Windows, DOS).

  • If the message "Windows Protection Error" is displayed on the screen it means RAM has some problem.