Ram gone bad?

hey everyone, this is going to be a bit of a novel but please bare with me.

i built a rig a few months ago, c2d e4300, antec 900 case/650 psu, patriot extreme pc800 ram, gigabyte ds3 mobo, geforce 7600gt and scythe infinite cooler. everything was built and oc'ed. its been running stable and fine since march. so here is where things start to go bad.

i had the weekend off and someone let me borrow their steam account to play a little counter-strike this weekend. i downloaded steam and was installing cs. earlier in the day my comp was bugging out, something about watson debugger or something kept getting an error and quitting all the programs i tried to open. so i restarted and everything seem to be fine. when i was installing cs, i noticed that i was downloading it really slow, like 90 bytes/s. so i decided to restart my comp again, when it started up i got the blue screen of death. i freaked out, shut it down and let it rest. i boot it up later and it tells me i'm missing or that the file "isapnp.sys" is corrupt. I drop in my xp pro disc to try and repair the windows file. it kept freezing while booting from the cd or when it was trying access/repair windows i kept getting the blue screen of death. i got errors like "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" and "STOP 0x0000008e" i couldnt even get into windows through safe mode or previous good configuration. it kept saying i was missing files when i tried todo that before i used the xp cd. so finally i read something that these errors are related to my ram so i took out one of my sticks and tried to repair xp. i got a blue screen again so i powered down and swapped out sticks and started it up. i formatted my drive and got xp running. i updated my vid drivers but when i try to do the windows update, it'll download the updates but i get the BSOD when it tries to install the updates. i just installed norton back on the comp so im not sure whats causing the problem still.

a buddy recommended i use this memtest program he suggested from here http://hcidesign.com/memtest/ but when i tried to run it with only one of my sticks of ram, it hit 2000 errors after a few minutes :(
i dont understand whats going on, can my ram sticks just go bad? i know they're patriot extremes and supposed to have a lifetime warranty but i figure i try and figure out if its something wrong on my end before i contact them.

to sum it all up, everything was working fine, then all of a sudden its seems like nothing works. any help would be greatly appreciated.
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More about tomshardware
  1. Usually when I get these errors at work, I unplug all non essential items. I leave in the CD ROM, the boot Hard Disk (if more than one) and start up with one stick of RAM at a time. I test each stick of RAM. If every stick is "bad", I'd suggest removing the HD(s) all together and just use the RAM. if you're still failing and have access to another (WORKING) motherboard, attempt that. If you use another (WORKING) motherboard and can eliminate all other factors and it's still the RAM, then you've bad RAM my friend.

    Test only with what you need at bare minimum and work your way to the problem. It may take a while, but it's better than being wrong.

    The key to fixing computers is 45% knowledge, 50% process of elimination, and 5% "Whoops, I just ESDed the [Insert computer component here] :("
  2. ok little update.

    i thought things were fine with the one stick of ram, but now i still get BSOD and the comp will restart. I installed norton but it crashes in the middle of the full system scan. i was able to install winamp and mozilla just fine. they both work. i experienced once hickup with mozilla when i opened like 8 windows. i dont have any backup anything, just the parts to this pc.

    from you guys experience, does it sound like the rams going bad or could it be something else
  3. ok, things maybe worse that i anticipated.

    the computer wont boot into windows anymore. it'll do the xp splash screen. then as soon it finishes loading, the computer restarts :/
  4. Ok, unfortunately an 'unreliable' computer generally doesn't give any kind of clue what is wrong with it. It's like a car where you turn the key and it doesn't start. Is it the battery? Did you leave your lights on? Did you blow a fuse?

    Before I say much more, I recommend you get memtest86+. As far as I know it's the most up to date and stuff for RAM testing. I used to use memtest, but found that this is much more accurate(and does take longer unfortunately).
    In this situation, a RAM test has caused errors. Although it might not be your RAM. I've seen computers that give RAM errors when there was something wrong with the motherboard. We never figured it out, but we did RMA the RAM cause it seemed bad. Later to find out the new stick had errors to, then we started to wonder what the deal was.

    Before you start writing off your RAM, try putting it in another computer and testing it. Also try lowering the frequency and increase the latency. If things start working better, it might not be your RAM.

    I'd try to swap out a few parts and see what you can do. Go to the bare minimum to cause the machine to POST. Enable the BOIS ram test. It's not very good, but you won't lose anything by adding it to your arsenal of tools for troubleshooting. You can always change it back later. Try just your MB, CPU, 1 stick of RAM, and a video card. Attempt to do a ramtest with memtest86+. If that fails, try swapping RAM sticks. One thing to think about. Try to save the log of the 'bad' memory addresses. If both sticks have the same bad locations, it's almost definitely not your RAM. Other than that, start swapping out parts and see if anything improves.
  5. ok, i've never been more confused. i went to the memtest website and got the memtest86+ boot iso. i burned it to a disc and booted from the disc. i then checked my first stick of ram. after 45 minutes it said it found 95323 erros. now this is the stick of ram that i thought was "good" this is the one that in reinstalled windows with. so i took it out and stuck in the other stick of ram in the same slot. this is the ram that i thought was "bad" this is the stick that kept crashing as soon as it hit the splash screen. i ran the memtest for an hour and it came up with no errors. after being completely confused, i shut the computer down and put back in the first stick of ram. its been running the memtest for 40 minutes and hasnt turned up an error. what the heck is going on?!
  6. ok, another new update. i dropped in both sticks of ram and booted from the memtest disc. i went to sleep and woke up this morning. the test has been running for 8 hours and has zero errors with both ram sticks in it. the ram didnt just fix itself right? should i just reformated the drive again and see if xp installs clean?
  7. When you were testing just the one stick, did you remove all OC to the MB? I know I've had Memtest errors on Ram when I have an OC on the motherboard, but the Ram is fine. If you have an overclock on the motherboard I wouldn't be shocked if you get Ram errors. Reset CMOS and test again each stick. I dont think it's your Ram. I think something got screwy in Windows. Reformat and re-install XP.
  8. Don't discard memory issue but, how old, and what brand is your power supply? I've read that lower than specific voltages can cause memory errors to show up.
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