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3GB Memory Incompatibility

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February 3, 2006 10:43:08 PM

I'm having a pretty tough time getting 3GB of memory to work properly with Windows XP.

Almost 2 years ago (I know I'm a slacker), I bought a MSI KT6 Delta-LSR motherboard, which supports up to 3GB of DDR333 (or slower, using three 1GB sticks) or 2GB of DDR400 (2 sticks). I purchased three 1GB DDR333 sticks from Kingston.

Since I purchased it, I cannot get all three sticks to work simultaneously. I can use any two sticks in any two slots, but once I introduce the third stick, my machine blue screens. I have attempted to load the OS with 3GB initially, and it locks up halfway through loading setup.

I have updated my BIOS periodically when a new version was released. I have done searches on the web for possible causes, and have come up with nothing. I even called up MSI, and their only answer was to update the BIOS.

Has anyone experienced this before, or have a fix for it? Any ideas on what to look at? I am experienced with hardware and Microsoft OS's, but I really haven't found anything that can fix this problem.

My computer works wonderfully on 2GB, but I really hate not having an answer to this. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
February 3, 2006 11:35:49 PM

the sticks are probably trying to work in dual channel but since there's three it's mixin up that's why you could just go into bios and disable dual channel see if it works like that
February 4, 2006 12:26:55 AM

The 'KT6' in the part name would indicate it is likely using a Via KT600 series chipset on the mainboard, which does not support Dual-Channel operation at all. Chances are it only has 3 x DIMM slots if it is the chipset I suspect it to be.

Dual-Channel operation is not really an issue, especially on AMD Athlon XP processors, as the FSB was only 400 MHz (DDR) x 64 bits wide (3.2 GB/sec), and in most cases only 333 or 266 (DDR) for even less. One stick of memory can provide this to/from the processor. Dual-Channel in nForce2 was used for higher integrated video performance, and to decrease latency a shade.... On the Pentium 4 with 533 and 800 FSB (each also 64 bits wide, for the FSB at least) Dual-Channel helps.

As in: 800 MHz (QDR) x 64 bits wide = 400 MHz (DDR) x 128 bit (dual-ch), but we are talking about an AMD system here by the looks of it, so enough history.

Chipset URL:
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/chipsets/k7-series/kt...

Firstly, you are not overclocking anything are you ?

Have you tried forcing a 266 MHz (133 base) clock speed for memory, while leaving FSB speed as is with all 3 x DIMMs ? (if this is even an option).

For 3 x DIMMs to operate you may need to bump VDIMM up +0.1 or +0.2 volts. (to 2.6 V or 2.7 V or so) to get it stable.

Try manually setting the memory timings to the slowest (usually highest setting) in the BIOS using both 266 and 333 for MemClk, as the machine will POST* with 3 GB installed right ?, just that it BSODs once in Windows.

You may need to use Ctrl+F1 at the BIOS main menu to access some 'advanced chipset' options to configure memory timings.

I am assmuning that your mainboard doesn't support Registered DDR-SDRAM based on the chipset and that it only has 3 x DIMM slots.

Just a heads up if you do get it working:

Once in Windows XP (SP2) you may see anything from 2.75 GB - 3.50 GB (well no more than 3 GB in your case), as part of the 32 bit memory address range is used for PCI devices, etc, etc (Look in Device Manager Resources by type, PCI bus) and thus may not be available to be used to actually address physical memory. (x64 OS's don't have this issue util TeraBytes of physical memory - 2^40 - 2^48 ++).

PS: You are not missing out on much having only 2 GB instead of 3 GB on a Socket A platform anyway..... except the extra 1 GB of OS Disk Cache which is always nice ;) 

* POST - Power On Self Test
Related resources
February 4, 2006 1:07:11 AM

sorry did'nt know it was via they suck ass!
February 4, 2006 4:05:18 AM

Quote:
sorry did'nt know it was via they suck ass!


Yeah, they suck so much the KT600 supports 8 GB of RAM (using PAE 36 bit addressing) on a x86 platform..... man that just you know.... wait, no it clearly does not suck at all, 8 GB on a low cost chipset designed for low cost AMD server boards aswell as consumers (with only 3x DIMM slots) is not a bad thing at all, considering the age of the above system and all. :p 

Anything in particular they are so bad at ?, bearing in mind "you didn't know it was Via" earlier and never had a problem with it earlier until you knew..... pretty sus if you ask any observer. (Trying to get to 500 posts within 48 hours of joining is pathetic btw, especially with comments as helpful as your last one).

They, aswell as SiS and ULI, have a bad repution on a few things, true, but it isn't a justified one.

eg: If someone opts to pays 50% as much, but still gets 85% the features and 95%+ the performance of a competitor, I would say the consumer wins.

Most the issues (with any chipset) are fixed by installing the chipsets correct drivers anyway. In the case of Via, the Via 4in1 drivers most people forget to install, thus the 'common issues with Via' the inexperienced have. The others 'issues' are basic good old common hardware knowledge / sense.

eg: Their choice to implment SATA vs SATA with NCQ or vs SATA-II, resolved in later chipsets anyway, there is little difference.

AGP / PCIe x16 implementations across chipsets, same deal (so long as chipset drivers are installed) stability and performance is very similar. Sure they had issues years ago with AGP 2x having to be used in some cases with SideBanding disabled.... but dropping from AGP 4x to 2x made little impact in games anyway. (And this was before nForce2 was even an option to consumers for AMD).

Not being a great overclocking chipset, well, that is just the greatest crime on earth isn't it now ?

(Note, I am using a nVidia nForce Pro 2000 series chipset on my below spec, but I could've just as easily selected something else).
February 4, 2006 4:30:15 AM

via chipsets have so many compatability issues with all proc's there not even worth lookin at
February 4, 2006 4:41:19 AM

Quote:
via chipsets have so many compatability issues with all proc's there not even worth lookin at


Which processors in particular ?
Do you ever back up your posts with proof ?

I've seen many (over 100 easily) systems using Via chipsets, and the failure rate is no higher or lower than other platforms. They support both Intel and AMD processors on their chipsets aswell.

PS: People are starting to doubt some of your comments (250+ from 1 day of joining, how can any of your posts be well researched ?), your grammer indicates you could not possibly be well read up on a wide variety of chipset technical documentation or whitepapers. (If you even know what the terms mean).
February 4, 2006 11:36:53 PM

Quote:
Firstly, you are not overclocking anything are you ?

Have you tried forcing a 266 MHz (133 base) clock speed for memory, while leaving FSB speed as is with all 3 x DIMMs ? (if this is even an option).

For 3 x DIMMs to operate you may need to bump VDIMM up +0.1 or +0.2 volts. (to 2.6 V or 2.7 V or so) to get it stable.

Try manually setting the memory timings to the slowest (usually highest setting) in the BIOS using both 266 and 333 for MemClk, as the machine will POST* with 3 GB installed right ?, just that it BSODs once in Windows.

PS: You are not missing out on much having only 2 GB instead of 3 GB on a Socket A platform anyway..... except the extra 1 GB of OS Disk Cache which is always nice ;) 


No overclocking. I do music mixing, editing, etc, which can require some pretty hard processing at times. The last thing I want to do while performing a set is crash my machine 8O

After your post, I tried setting the SDRAM Freq (yes it is diff from FSB) to 333, then 266, with the same results as Auto. I attempted to set the voltage to 2.6 and 2.7; again, same results. I also tried putting all the latency times to their highest values, with same result.

I should probably clarify the situation. It doesn't BSOD. It doesn't even get that far. When you would normally see the obnoxious little Windows XP logo with the ticker bar, instead of seeing that, it shows a solid white ASCII rectangle on the first line of the screen in the upper left corner and one or two lines down towards the right side, there is a red ç ascii block (the ç is black, the background is red). When I reboot, it shows the typical Windows did not start properly page.

The RAM itself, the sticker says

KVR333X64C25/1G
2.5V

I'm assuming that is a CAS of 2.5?

Also, here is the Adv Chipset page in the BIOS, the options in bold is what I normally have it set to:

System Performance Fast, Turbo, Ultra
SDRAM Freq Auto 200, 266, 333, 400
CAS# Latency Auto, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3
Row Precharge Auto, 2, 3, 4, 5
RAS Pulse Width Auto, 6, 7, 8, 9
RAS to CAS delay Auto, 2, 3, 4, 5
Write Recovery Cycle Auto, 1T, 2T
Bank Interleave Disabled, 2-Way, 4-Way, Auto
SDRAM Burst 4QW, 8QW
SDRAM 1T Command Disabled/Enabled
Fast Command Normal, Fast, Ultra
Fast R-2-R Turnaround Disabled/Enabled


And I agree with you on your other statements. There is nothing wrong I have found with VIA, other than this problem with the RAM, and I'm willing to bet it's something I'm doing wrong. Might not be, but there is a chance. I have never had that bad experience with VIA, except on boards like FIC, or some of the other cheapy boards that you just figure out not to buy with experience. Furthermore, I really doubt that THG would ever recommend a board if they felt that they were not up to par. I always read the mobo articles when I am building my next workstation or server, and I usually pick a board based on my needs and THG's reviews.

One thing I like about the threads is that little ignore button so you don't have to read all the comments from the inexperienced geek wannabe's whose opinions are based on what they've heard instead of what they've learned by experience.

If I had more time, I would read all about memory specifications and their significances. As it is, I work overtime, and I full time hobby (DJ'ing), so I barely have time to sleep as it is :( 

Thanks for your help so far. I have gained something already from reading your posts, even if I haven't had the problem solved. It's just like one of those itches that won't go away. I know I don't need the 3GB performance, but hey, I paid for it!! :D 
February 4, 2006 11:50:57 PM

I have 3Gb memory but the way I put it is 512's in the 1st and 3rd slot and 1Gb sticks in the 2nd and 4th. I don't think 3 sticks would work. has to be 1, 2, or 4 sticks. So just use 2 Gb, it should be enough.
February 5, 2006 9:51:19 AM

Quick check of:
http://www.ec.kingston.com/ecom/configurator/PartsInfo....
Indicates yep, it is DDR333 / PC2700, CAS2.5.

Also for a free speed boost in memory performance turn on Bank Interleaving (set to Auto), the Via KT600 chipset can do it without issues and you'll gain a little performance in memory intensive software. - And some mixing software can be quite memory activity intensive at times.

Also try SDRAM Burst 8QW when running with all the sticks, once Bank Interleaving is set to Auto.

It might even get the 3 GB working when turned on :p , although I doubt it.
As other posts may suggest, try ordering the sticks differently.

It would appear most ppl here lack experience with Via chipsets, or even chipsets which are not dual-channel, because they've shunned them in the past.

You could always e-mail the manufacturer of the board, with the details of each of your sticks, and BIOS settings (above), perhaps they have a BIOS update waiting, or a Beta BIOS burried away. Getting a bit desperate now, maybe it just won't work. :( 

Also thx for letting me know about the ingore post thing, I've only joined recently and just scroll heaps.

My money is that it is a driver issue because of what happens when booting, either chipset or video driver.

Via 4in1/Hyperion Chipset Drivers update:
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=2&Type=1
Then select OS, etc

Or just grab the latest Via Hyperion Pro drivers from:
http://www.viaarena.com/Driver/via_hyperionpro_v504a.zi...

Video: (Easy to find from site, may require .NET or XP SP2 to work).
www.ati.com
www.nvidia.com

Windows can be a bit nancy with drivers at times, you may have luck reinstalling Windows after the memory upgrade, or installing a 2nd copy in another folder (eg: C:WINXP.SP2), or better yet another partition.

Ohhh.... and also try (from BIOS) AGP Aperture set to 32, 64, 128, 256 MB, as the driver may go a little spaz when memory count rises and AGP Aperture is set within certain ranges. Settings under 32 will disable some low level hardware AGP features, which may also help.

Start, Run, DXDIAG, and disable the AGP Texture acceleration, and Direct 3D acceleration, then install the stick, reboot, and try turning them back on. Then raise AGP Aperture to 32 - 128 MB again. (I've had luck with the above procedure in the past btw.)

Because (any brand of computer) chipsets are so versitle (in their available configurations), sometimes the configurations they offer (by default) need a few minor tweaks to get working... especially if hardware is changing. One must bear in mind the default settings being suggested where 'created' several years ago for older hardware, and the drivers where created by humans and sometimes can't handle certain situations without help of the reconfig, get working, then reconfig back kind.
February 5, 2006 10:05:17 AM

What a fitting 100th post.
I am now a 'member' of the TomsHardware Guide Forums

Now I get all the benefits, like an avatar, etc - :) 
February 5, 2006 10:32:37 AM

Use :)  the 2 sticks or purchase another 1 gb stick for the total of four!
February 6, 2006 7:37:33 AM

Quote:
Use :)  the 2 sticks or purchase another 1 gb stick for the total of four!


His board only has 3 x DIMM slots, it is based on the Via KT600 chipset, single-channel, (see link and documentation above). :p 
February 6, 2006 8:42:16 AM

ok Chuckie, I know you mean well, but I think you're completely ignoring the fact that the board only has THREE memory banks. A fact which I'm beginning to determine is about as usefull as politicians and the media.

Please try to read the details of a post before saying stuff like, "Oh yes, I would like cream with my coffee, thank you" after someone has asked if you are a morning person.

And Tabris, thanks again. I'll give the Bank Interleaving thing a shot. Even if it doesn't give me 3GB capability, it sounds like it will at least improve something.

And I disagree somewhat on your comment of people's lack of experience with Via chipsets. I think it has to do with a lack of reading comprehension. :twisted: Although you are probably right in your statement too.

And congrats on your 100 posts.
February 6, 2006 11:00:25 AM

Quote:
via chipsets have so many compatability issues with all proc's there not even worth lookin at


Which processors in particular ?
Do you ever back up your posts with proof ?

I've seen many (over 100 easily) systems using Via chipsets, and the failure rate is no higher or lower than other platforms. They support both Intel and AMD processors on their chipsets aswell.

PS: People are starting to doubt some of your comments (250+ from 1 day of joining, how can any of your posts be well researched ?), your grammer indicates you could not possibly be well read up on a wide variety of chipset technical documentation or whitepapers. (If you even know what the terms mean).

the KT133 didnt support FSB133 processors, the KT333 didnt support 333fsb (correct?), the KT400 didnt support FSB400 but DDR400 (which a month or 2 later cause it was so crap was abandond or unsuported) and the KT600 STILL didnt have any dual channel ram compared to older nvidia nforce boards.

In the days of 3Dfx and nvidia and ATi, nvidia cards wouldnt work on some via boards but 3Dfx worked great.

VIA vs Intel chipsets - via had crap performance, they took like 3 goes to kill the BX.

Finally i have seen too many dead VIA boards to even want to touch them, they are not worth the bother to get workin.

As for MSI and VIA - iv never seen so many sihty' dead boards - MSI and VIA are bad, together there absolutly stupid.
February 6, 2006 11:07:55 AM

Sorry, I think skipped that part. I completely thought that you have them 4 dimm slot. wow. I haven't seen one of those before.

:( 
February 8, 2006 12:12:26 PM

So you get cheaper processors that use the FSB suited to the board, instead of underclocking processors that use a higher FSB. :p 

Compare the performance of:
nForce 2 Ultra / 400 - Dual Channel
Via KT600 - Single Channel

The AMD Athlon / Athlon XP / Duron processors only had a 266/333/400 MHz (DDR) FSB to memory (shared with other I/O, such as AGP too), which was 64 bits wide, for 3.2 GB/sec max, and most Athlon XPs where only 2.7 GB/sec anyway. They had no other way to communicate with the system, it was all via the FSB. (Check the chipset diagrams).

Synthetic tests (and gaming aswell, but Synthetic tests make the nForce2 memory performance look even better) will show the 'maximum' difference 'in performance to fairly close.

Now bear in mind the game performance is so damn close, and the costs where quite far apart... why get the nForce2 if money is more of a concern, and you are likely to replace the board before it fails anyway ?

Where did people get maximum price / performance ratio ?
It wasn't the nForce 2 Ultra / 400 boards, feel free to dig into Toms archives and check.

As for system failures, you likely see more old cheaper, chipsets die, because well.... they where cheaper and thus (obviously) are more common statistically speaking, and because they are getting quite old now too. Add to that so few people are familar with Via on forums because if you are not part of the herd you 'get bashed' for being anti-(whatever is the coolest most expensive part of the day). Also overclocking on a Via platform needs a little more grace, so people tend to break their boards in a last ditch effort to get free performace from it before upgrading. (This guy has had his working MSI + Via KT600 board for how long now ?)

More cost effective than nForce2 platforms of the day, and gave very close performance. Without over the top feature sets that not all users require.

================================================

Is everyone in the world a gamer, or do they all require 'elite' chipset platform of the day ?
A) Yes
B) No

Cheat Sheet: The answer is no. Fanboyism doesn't help make cost effective choices in business.

================================================

You're not one of those 'paid nVidia (Chipset, Video, LAN, Sound, everything)' forum workers are you ? (Kidding of course).

================================================

The world is driven by cost effectiveness, not resource burning.

eg: Who has the largest share in the video market ?
A) AMD
B) Intel
C) Cyrix / Via / National Semiconductor
D) Matrox
E) nVidia (3dfx)
F) ATI
G) S3 / Diamond

The answer is, shockingly (?),.... B) Intel, because people want cost effective machines that do the job, and don't want to pay 'extra' for features or performance they'll never utilise, most PCs are still used in business and we don't want our staff wasting time, (getting paid), while playing 3D games on their work machines.

So money is saved on the platform, and also on the staff by them not burning cash doing 'unproductive' things.

Welcome to the real-world.

================================================

PS: Most ppl who care to become familar with Via chipsets only used the 'A' varients anyway, eg: KT133A, etc, which didn't have the issues. The first gen Via stuff was around well before (totally different time frame) to the nForce2 platforms you are comparing it too. The KT600 was like the KT400'A' anyway. They also know throwing more memory bandwidth at a FSB than the CPU can use is wasteful. (Just like nForce2 Socket A Dual-Channel, and Intel i900 series Dual-Channel DDR2-667 on a 800 MHz FSB today, it is just marketing and helps a little with prefetching).

Check the dates the AMD processors with higher FSB requirements where introduced, and compare it to the Via KT133 - KT600 chipset release dates.
February 8, 2006 5:37:03 PM

Quote:
(This guy has had his working MSI + Via KT600 board for how long now ?)


Not only have I had my system working for 2 years, but I have only once had my PC lock up. And the only reason that happened was because I was purposely putting it through the ringer. I have never had my PC lock up on me during a performance. I have never had my music skip, loop (unintentionally), etc; complaints that many have when doing music production on a "weak" machine.

I have all of my USB ports full, plus a hub with more devices. I have four sound cards (Sound Blaster E-MU 1820, 2 Numark cards, and a Hercules card; on-board sound chip is disabled). I have two DVD-burners. I have a LANBoy case (with a 500W PS), but only because it is a light aluminum frame with room for 8 hard drives (if you can't figure out why I would want so many, you're probably one of the critics that has a baseless opinion).

The only time I ever reboot my computer is before I record or perform. I have recorded in WAV format in excess of 5 hours, with no decrease in performance (think roughly 10MB per minute).

I just want to repeat the fact that this board was reviewed well by THG.

So for all you guys that think VIA is so horrible, you're wrong. Any chipset can be put on a good quality board or a cheap economic board. If you feel you want to argue with reviews provided by THG, why bother reading the reviews, and why bother coming here at all?
June 27, 2006 10:02:51 AM

Guys,

I had the same problem with 3 identical 512MB RAM modules. Earlier I could only use 2 of them (installing 3 sticks resulted in a blue screen error during Windows 2000 startup). Now with the installation of the VIA_HyperionPro_V508A driver 1.5GB RAM is working perfeclty in my MSI KT6 Delta-based system.

The CAS latency was left at 2.5 in the BIOS setup.

Hope this helps.

Mikla
!