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Thread: NVRAM vs. SDRAM

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2001


    I just bought a 256 MB memory module, 168 pin SDRAM PC133. I've installed into my computer and it seems to work just fine. But a friend brought to my attention that a "Checking NVRAM" message appears as it cycles through the memory test. From what I've researched this seems to be normal and no cause for alarm but his panic has spread to me. So I was wondering, do I have NVRAM in place of SDRAM or do they coexist? And if coexist how much NVRAM do I have in contrast to my SDRAM?

    You could say I'm a novice with computers, at least as far as the posts on this site are concerned. So please explain this as simply as possible. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Hey there,
    NVRAM refers to non volatile RAM or memory that doesn't lose the data stored in it. It needs a power source (battery) to do this.
    My guess is the message you get refers to the POST checking the CMOS memory which is NVRAM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    San Jose, California, USA
    I have seen this also, but took no notice of it. I think BrianAG1 is correct though.


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    ABIT KN8 SLi motherboard
    ATI X1900XT O/C to XTX speeds

    Retired Rig:
    AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Barton @ 2387 MHz. (217*11)
    512MB DDR RAM @ 436 MHz. (PC 3700)
    Abit AN7 motherboard
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    So what you are saying is essentially this is completely normal and my SDRAM coexists with my NVRAM. And that neither one really affects the other. And you are also saying that the cycling of memory upon boot-up is the SDRAM and not the NVRAM? Or do I have 256 MB of both?

    Thanks for the responses so far, your input does help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Okay, I'm going to try to answer my own question. I did some more research into the subject and I found that NVRAM is a seperate chip from the memory module and can range from a few hundred KB to 16MB, no more. Which means SDRAM is completely seperate and the memory cycling on boot up is the SDRAM. But then why does it say "Checking NVRAM"? Because one of the things the NVRAM stores is how much SDRAM you have. So It runs through the SDRAM and matches the number to that stored in the NVRAM, and if they match, the test is successful.

    This is what I've found, but if someone could verify this I would be greatful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Morelia, Mexico
    Correct, and the NVRAM also contains other BIOS setup data.

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