Faulty RAM?

Discussion in 'Memory' started by P00peyes, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. P00peyes

    P00peyes Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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
     
  2. CQGLHyperion

    CQGLHyperion Member

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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.
     
  3. toopy28

    toopy28 Member

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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/memtest86+-4.20.usb.installer.zip

    either way test from dos
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  4. OP
    OP
    P00peyes

    P00peyes Member

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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 :(
     
  5. OP
    OP
    P00peyes

    P00peyes Member

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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.
     
  6. larrymoencurly

    larrymoencurly Member

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    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: May 3, 2012
  7. OP
    OP
    P00peyes

    P00peyes Member

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    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.
     
  8. m0n4g3

    m0n4g3 Member

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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.
     
  9. larrymoencurly

    larrymoencurly Member

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    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: May 3, 2012
  10. OP
    OP
    P00peyes

    P00peyes Member

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    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
     
  11. OP
    OP
    P00peyes

    P00peyes Member

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    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...
     
  12. Mickatroid

    Mickatroid Member

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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.
     
  13. DarkForceMage

    DarkForceMage Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  14. Mickatroid

    Mickatroid Member

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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.
     
  15. DarkForceMage

    DarkForceMage Member

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    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/processors/sb/CS-031726.htm
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  16. akashra

    akashra Member

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    On a similar note to the OP, I suspect I've discovered dodgy RAM in my desktop at home :(

    I've been trying to track down what I thought was another Sandisk drive problem, with the drive dropping out and the system BSODing, until when I went to flash the firmware I noticed it was only seeing 8GB of RAM (I have 3x4GB Kingston HyperX).
    Odd, I thought, maybe it'd been knocked when installing the HDDs recently, so I reseated all the RAM. This time it only picked up 4GB.

    This morning, got all 12GB.

    My suspicion is that it's overheating and dying while in use, causing the BSODs, and that the SanDisk problem is separate. Gonna be a pain to test it, and and RMA it if it turns out faulty.
     
  17. Mickatroid

    Mickatroid Member

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    That is some seriously ratty memory behaviour akashra. I would start by swapping out the PSU (particularly given that you suspect SSD problems too) and move onto everything else in the box.

    I would also look to see if some kind of critter had lodged itself in amongst your mobo electronics (a mate had a tiny cockroach take out a DIMM socket back in the day.)
     
  18. akashra

    akashra Member

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    A bit of testing at the moment I've just found out the rear fan is not working at all, and I can't feel any air blowing through where the front one is either (Antec Sonata).
    Not feeling a great deal coming through the PSU either.

    I'm not convinced the SSD issue is PSU related, as it's only that single drive that's having any dramas whatosoever. But it does seem to be that when the RAM gets to a certain heat, it just dies.

    I'll have to either find and try my 3x2GB sticks, or just go buy a 16GB kit tomorrow while I wait for a replacement 3x4GB kit. Probably the former, will just live with 6GB for a month or so while slow-as-hell CPL replace it.
    Having a pain in the ass of a time creating a memtest86 USB disk as we speak :(

    Edit: However some threads on the innertubes seem to imply that the SPD timings and voltages it's picking are just completely wrong.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012

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