Mailbag 11th October 2010

Accessing RAM & CPU Information in the BIOS

Dirk asks:

How do I check my BIOS to see that it recognizes my RAM? How do I check the speed of the RAM? If needs be, how do I change it? Also how do I check if my BIOS is reading the 2 cores on my processor?

There are a few different types of BIOS with varying ways of accessing certain parts of information, unfortunately if your machine is an OEM machine such as Dell, HP, Acer or any other branded machine, chances are you aren’t going to be able to access the most part of this information.

Firstly to enter the BIOS within a few seconds of you have turning on your machine you should see information depending on the BIOS manufacturer of how to access it, such as Enter BIOS/System Information followed by pressing either an F2, F10 key or the delete key.

NOTE:
DO NOT GET THIS MIXED UP WITH SOME MACHINES SUCH DELL’S OR HP’S WHERE SOME MODELS HAVE AN F4 KEY FOR EMERGENCY BOOT WHICH WILL COMPLETELY WIPE YOUR MACHINE AS IF YOU JUST TOOK IT OUT OF THE BOX.

Once in the BIOS you are looking for something that says Standard CMOS features or advanced settings, in here you should find system information, you should be able to see Physical Memory and/or Usage Memory, and these don’t always necessarily match, you should also be able to find that your processor information is displayed around here, although it would be unusual to see the processor displayed with how many cores it has but again this depends on the BIOS itself.

Task Manager

The best way to actually check whether your machine is seeing both cores of your processor is to open up Task Manager and click on performance, under CPU History there should be multiple graphs to as many cores on your CPU, the likely hood is that if your machine wasn’t seeing all the cores on your processor it probably wouldn’t be working.

In order to check/change memory speeds, you need to be looking in the BIOS for frequency’s and voltages. Here you will be able to change the CPU, FSB (Front Side Bus Controller) and DRAM Frequency. Mostly you will need to change the system clock mode to manual/linked and then you will be able to go on and change the Memory clock speed and/or timings, you will need to refer to the RAM manufacturer and motherboard manual for exact settings.

WARNING:
UNDERTAKING ANY OF THE ADVICE ABOVE COULD SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HARDWARE SUCH AS MOTHERBOARD, RAM AND CPU IF THE SETTINGS ARE NOT CORRECT. ONLY UNDERTAKE ABOVE ADVICE WITH MANUFACTURE’S CORRECT SETTINGS AT HAND, I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY FAILURES FROM FOLLOWING OF THIS ADVICE.

Written by

Matthew Glover
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Acer Aspire One 150 ab PART 1

Ok so I have given in to temptation and finally bought a Netbook I have gone for the Acer One 150 AB, bought from play.com

It is actually advertised as a 120 GB HDD but after removing from the box I found it to be a 160 GB HDD a welcomed surprise.

I have also bought 1 GB RAM to upgrade to its maximum amount of ram I bought this from crucial.com/uk, and once received I had to fit it. This you would have thought would be very easy like most normal laptops, but after removing the only cover on the bottom (which looked like the only likely option) turned out to be just an empty space.

I then googled my problem, to my delight I found a guide, to my disappointment it looked horrible, the only thing I wouldn’t have to remove was the screen.

Here is where the guide is, and below is the full guide I had to modify it so as I had the HDD version and the guide is shown using the SSD version.

How to add RAM to the Acer Aspire One netbook

The Acer Aspire One netbook. It’s inexpensive, it’s tiny, and the base-level version only comes with 512MB of RAM. I cracked open the case, voided the warranty, and added an extra gigabyte. Watch the above video to see how. More details after the jump.

Tools Needed

  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • Two small flathead screwdrivers (or something similar) to get at the keyboard
  • 512MB or 1GB stick of RAM. For best results, use PC2-5300 RAM.
  • Time, patience, and a blatant disregard for your warranty

Step One

Remove the battery and the following eight screws. Two of them are hidden under the rubber feet.

acer1

Step Two

Use a flat object (like a flathead screwdriver) to push each of the three tabs toward the screen while using another flat object to gently pry the keyboard upwards.

acer2  

Step Three

Disconnect the keyboard and trackpad ribbons, followed by the following six screws.

acer3

Step Four

Unscrew the two screws near the Wi-Fi module, unplug the audio cable, and disconnect the SSD ribbon. The RAM slot is on the underside of the motherboard in the lower left-hand corner. Carefully lift the board up and insert the RAM.

acer4 acer5

Step Five

Reassemble the computer and tap F2 while it’s booting to enter the BIOS. Under the “Main” tab, make sure your total memory is 1,536 megabytes. That’s it!

acer6

Tip of the hat to AspireOneUser.com and its forums. I got a lot of the info for this project from over there. It’s a great resource for Aspire One owners.

Windows 7 

Ok so my next challenge was to remove the Linux OS and replace it with the nice new Windows 7 Beta. To do this I copied all the installation files from the Windows 7 ISO to my removable Hard Drive and the marked the drive as active. Having done this it would allow me to then boot from the drive once I had selected in the bios to boot from the removable hard drive.

Ok so now I have booted from the Removable Hard Drive I can now install windows 7 as normal, although halfway through the install once it has copied the files to the Acer’s hard drive and done the normal reboot during installation you will need to remove the removable hard drive as the Acer will want to keep booting from as it is now an active drive.

Once the installation has completed you should now be left with Windows 7 installed and all drivers was completely installed already for me, so no having to look round to make things work.

First Impressions

My first impressions are good it seem like it is fast which is a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting it to be very fast with what I was considering a heavy OS I will let you know more in a couple of weeks.

 

Speed up your PC

01 Launch New Folders In Different Areas

If you regularly work with large number of folder windows at the same time, you can quickly and easily improve the stability of your PC. By default, each folder you open occupies the same area of RAM. This means that Microsoft Windows XP has to do a great deal of shuffling as you flick between windows, potentially leading to crashes. In the control panel, double click Folder Options and move to the view tab. Scroll down the list in the lower portion of the dialogue box and tick “launch folder windows in a separate process” click OK.

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