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Old 23rd April 2012, 8:16 PM   #1
P00peyes Thread Starter
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Default Faulty RAM?

So I've been suffering with some system instability over the last few months. The system seems to randomly freeze and becomes non responsive. It will usually come good after 10 - 60 seconds. Sometimes longer or not at all. Pressing alt-ctrl-del sees the screen go to the login screen and shows a message "Preparing Security Options" where it will remain until the PC becomes responsive again and then allows me to open task manager etc...

It has become more frequent and now I'm getting the occaisional BSOD. I generally run the PC overclocked but to eliminate this being the problem I've run it at stock speeds for a couple of weeks and the problem persists.

It doesn't seem to be an issue with any particular software as there seems to be no consistency when the error occurs. I'm considering a format/reinstall just to be certain.

Checking the event manager hasn't helped me identify the problem. My system is relatively clean and I do regular registry scans.

My system specs are below

MB: ASUS P8P67-PRO
CPU: i5 2500K
RAM: 2 x 4GB G.Skill RIPJAWS 1600mhz
GPU: 2 x Gigabyte GTX570 @ stock
PSU: 1000Watt OCZ ZX Series
SDD: OCZ Agility 3 120Gb
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64

It was only over the last few days that had a hunch that the problem might be the RAM. So, I download memtest and run multiple instances to max out the RAM. After about 30 seconds I start getting error reports/messages.




So....

Time to buy new RAM modules? Are there any other tests I should be running to double check or confirm?

Also, I've never ran my memory above 1600mhz and have never changed the voltage. These settings have always remained either on auto or an X.M.P. profile in the bios.

Cheers
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Old 24th April 2012, 7:53 AM   #2
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Try memtest with a single stick in the system at a time. You may find it is only one stick that may be faulty.

Also try other RAM slots in case one is dodge.

Failing that try some RAM from a friend in your system and yours in theirs. This is to rule out your motherboard.
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Old 24th April 2012, 9:59 AM   #3
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use memtest from dos as well this will give you a more accurate test.

just d/l the UBCD and off you go, can be made into a USB Sitck as well just follow the instructions.



http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Making UBCD memory stick

To create a bootable UBCD memory stick, at the command prompt, type:


cd \ubcd-extracted\ubcd\tools\win32\ubcd2usb
ubcd2usb c:\ubcd-extracted x:


where X: is that drive letter of USB memory stick, which is assumed to be already formatted. If it is not already formatted, or you wish to force it to be formatted, you can add the /f switch at the end:


ubcd2usb c:\ubcd-extracted x: /f


Either of the above will create a bootable UBCD memory stick in X:.

Note that booting a USB memory stick requires BIOS support and is only available on newer machines. You can also expect to encounter more compatibility issues compared to booting from a CD, and some tools may not work properly when run from a USB memory disk.

or get the memtest usb stick creator
http://www.memtest.org/download/4.20....installer.zip

either way test from dos
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Last edited by toopy28; 24th April 2012 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 25th April 2012, 9:21 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions - I might have a crack at other tests this week.

Gonna buy a new RAM kit and hope it fixes the issue. If not, looks like I'll be up for a new motherboard as well
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:39 AM   #5
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Bought new RAM (exactly the same as my current). Ran the memtest again and didn't get any errors.

I am still getting random freezing and instability though. Gonna format to completely eliminate software and or OS issues.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P00peyes View Post
Bought new RAM (exactly the same as my current). Ran the memtest again and didn't get any errors.

I am still getting random freezing and instability though. Gonna format to completely eliminate software and or OS issues.
Why did you buy the same questionable brand, instead of something with brand-identifiable chips on it, that is, chips that didn't leave the factory untested or that had failed testing?

Last edited by larrymoencurly; 3rd May 2012 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrymoencurly View Post
Why did you buy the same questionable brand, instead of something with brand-identifiable chips on it, that is, chips that didn't leave the factory untested or that had failed testing?
I wouldn't call G.Skill a questionable brand. Apart from this instance I've never had an issue with them. They're supposed to offer a lifetime warranty also. So, worst case scenario is that RMA the faulty ram (if indeed it is faulty and not due to some other failure of some sort). I'll either be refunded for the faulty ram or have it replaced meaning I'll have 16gb of the same ram running in my system as opposed to the 8gb I currently have.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 1:10 PM   #8
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Any other settings? Are you overclocking? are you using offset mode for voltage?

I was getting random crashes when using offset voltage, just needed to bump it up a lil more and the random crashed stopped.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 3:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrymoencurly
Why did you buy the same questionable brand, instead of something with brand-identifiable chips on it, that is, chips that didn't leave the factory untested or that had failed testing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by P00peyes View Post
I wouldn't call G.Skill a questionable brand. Apart from this instance I've never had an issue with them. They're supposed to offer a lifetime warranty also.
Almost all the major brands offer lifetime warranties, including the brand that gave me a 65% failure rate for a certain series of modules. The thing the failed parts all had in common was that I couldn't identify the origins of their chips. OTOH I've had only one bad module made with name brand chips, and it was bad because solder was blobbed over some of its gold contacts (I didn't even try using it, but CompUSA's miracle 15-30 second test said it was fine).

I call any brand questionable if it's made from unbranded chips and tested only in PCs, as G.Skill's is.

Last edited by larrymoencurly; 3rd May 2012 at 5:02 PM.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 5:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrymoencurly View Post
Almost all the major brands offer lifetime warranties, including the brand that gave me a 65% failure rate for a certain series of modules. The thing the failed parts all had in common was that I couldn't identify the origins of their chips. OTOH I've had only one bad module made with name brand chips, and it was bad because solder was blobbed over some of its gold contacts (I didn't even try using it, but CompUSA's miracle 15-30 second test said it was fine).

I call any brand questionable if it's made from unbranded chips and tested only in PCs, as G.Skill's is.
Fair point...

The next time I buy RAM, I'll do a little more research on the chips used and just pay a bit more attention to different products.

Thanks
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Old 3rd May 2012, 5:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m0n4g3 View Post
Any other settings? Are you overclocking? are you using offset mode for voltage?

I was getting random crashes when using offset voltage, just needed to bump it up a lil more and the random crashed stopped.
I've never overclocked the RAM beyond it's specified frequency or voltage.

I've had the CPU overclocked on and off since I've had it. The issue was still occurring with EVERYTHING on stock clocks and voltage etc...

I've been running off a clean install of windows for the last day or so now (with the new ram installed) and so far so good. Not one lock-up or hint of instability (also have the CPU running at 4.5Ghz)

I might add the old ram to the mix and see if any problems arise...
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Old 5th May 2012, 7:14 PM   #12
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While your milage may vary, I have never had a RAM problem Memtest (from a boot CD) could not find. Sometimes it took a full day though.
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Old 5th May 2012, 8:39 PM   #13
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You also have to remember that using ram on a motherboard not qualified for compatibility(or just leaving it set on 'auto') can cause stability issues, plenty of times I'v had memtest throw up errors only to adjust the timings and try again with no problems. Its not always just a case of bad mobo/ram>RMA for a failed memtest.

I've had 2 sticks continuously fail at different settings and voltages only to find out the manual included with my mobo was incorrect and I had the ram in the wrong slots for a single pair of sticks, although I believe it was also to do with non-compatibility since the board was only just released at the time and bios was immature, changing slots fixed everything.
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Old 6th May 2012, 1:46 PM   #14
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One other thought, how hard do you OC the cpu when you do it. I am rusty on where things are at with Intel these days but I am pretty sure that the memory controller is on the CPU (rather than the NB) these days. It is possible that the memory controller is damaged.

DarkForceMage comments make sense too. Also, running all slots full often stresses 'things' I am running 1333 RAM at 1066 (4x2G) on my AMD system that I am using right now.
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Old 6th May 2012, 1:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickatroid View Post
One other thought, how hard do you OC the cpu when you do it. I am rusty on where things are at with Intel these days but I am pretty sure that the memory controller is on the CPU (rather than the NB) these days. It is possible that the memory controller is damaged.

DarkForceMage comments make sense too. Also, running all slots full often stresses 'things' I am running 1333 RAM at 1066 (4x2G) on my AMD system that I am using right now.
In saying that, here's a test you can run. although I would try and ensure your bios settings are as stable as possible first, ram voltages, VTT 1.1v etc.

http://www.intel.com/support/process.../CS-031726.htm
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