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Problem with new RAM Sticks

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September 5, 2007 3:32:48 AM

I'm glad I found this board -- seems to be pretty active and I've found lots of interesting discussion about memory problems others have had. As you can probably guess, though, my problem is specific to my system and therefore I needed to start a new topic.

I have been using the following self-built system for a couple of years:

SOYO SY-P4VTP Mobo
Intel P4 3GHz
1GB DDR-400 Dual-Channel RAM (2 512 sticks)
Windows XP SP2

Today I decided to buy more memory for my system, and picked up a Buffalo brand 1GB DDR-400. I brought it home, and tried to add it to the other two sticks. No dice. BSOD, memory errors, etc.

I rebooted my system with the original two 512 sticks, and everything worked fine. I then booted with only the new 1GB stick, and had all kinds of memory problems as before.

I brought the new stick back to the store, and had it exchanged for a new one. I decided to pick up another 1GB stick with the idea that my new and old sticks may conflict, and 2GB was my goal in the first place.

I took out the old sticks, put in the new ones, booted up, and had the same BSOD/bad boot issues I had before. I put in the old sticks, and the problems went away.

Here are some facts:

1) The motherboard supports up to 1GB memory in each of the three slots.
2) I bought the sticks at Microcenter, and they're usually pretty reliable (at the very least not shady).
3) I have now been using the machine with the original 512 sticks for an hour with no sign of trouble.

Is it possible to have purchased two (or three!) bad sticks in one day from the same place?

Does the fact that the old RAM is dual channel and the new RAM isn't cause problems I don't know about?

Is there a way to check to make sure my settings are configured to the new RAM?

How can I test the RAM if I get the BSOD every time I boot with the new RAM?

I eagerly await any and all guidance.

More about : problem ram sticks

a b } Memory
September 5, 2007 5:41:10 AM

bisonman said:
I'm glad I found this board -- seems to be pretty active and I've found lots of interesting discussion about memory problems others have had. As you can probably guess, though, my problem is specific to my system and therefore I needed to start a new topic.

I have been using the following self-built system for a couple of years:

SOYO SY-P4VTP Mobo
Intel P4 3GHz
1GB DDR-400 Dual-Channel RAM (2 512 sticks)
Windows XP SP2

Today I decided to buy more memory for my system, and picked up a Buffalo brand 1GB DDR-400. I brought it home, and tried to add it to the other two sticks. No dice. BSOD, memory errors, etc.

I rebooted my system with the original two 512 sticks, and everything worked fine. I then booted with only the new 1GB stick, and had all kinds of memory problems as before.

I brought the new stick back to the store, and had it exchanged for a new one. I decided to pick up another 1GB stick with the idea that my new and old sticks may conflict, and 2GB was my goal in the first place.

I took out the old sticks, put in the new ones, booted up, and had the same BSOD/bad boot issues I had before. I put in the old sticks, and the problems went away.

Here are some facts:

1) The motherboard supports up to 1GB memory in each of the three slots.
2) I bought the sticks at Microcenter, and they're usually pretty reliable (at the very least not shady).
3) I have now been using the machine with the original 512 sticks for an hour with no sign of trouble.

Is it possible to have purchased two (or three!) bad sticks in one day from the same place?

Does the fact that the old RAM is dual channel and the new RAM isn't cause problems I don't know about?

Is there a way to check to make sure my settings are configured to the new RAM?

How can I test the RAM if I get the BSOD every time I boot with the new RAM?

I eagerly await any and all guidance.


Your MB supports DDR 2.5V DIMMs. If the Buffalo DIMMS you bought requires say 2.8V to run, you would have to set your memory voltage to those specs, 2.8V (if the MB supports it). You might check in BIOS what your memory voltage is set at to run the two 512's that work fine. The required voltage to run the Buffalo RAM should be written on the package, the DIMM or can be found on the product website under product specifications.

http://www.soyousa.com/products/proddesc.php?t=d&id=282...
September 5, 2007 12:53:08 PM

Wow, awesome lead, badge.

According to Buffalo, the voltage is listed as 2.6V + .2V. How does that .2V factor in?

Will my old RAM work if I change the Mobo setting to 2.6V now? Or should I swap the new ones in first?
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September 5, 2007 1:07:24 PM

Update on the above -- I went into the BIOS and according to my PC Health the DRAM is running at a voltage of 2.62V, which seems to line up with the new sticks, right?

a b } Memory
September 5, 2007 1:35:09 PM

Try and set your MB RAM voltage up a 'notch' (.1V) higher for the Buffalo RAM. yeah, 2.6v should supply the correct voltage to the new RAM. mfg. specs say 2.6v. +.2. I'd try to increase the vltage slightly and maybe try just one DIMM of the new RAM in slot one. of course you would have to make the increase with the old RAM, shut down then try to boot up with one DIMM in slot one.
September 5, 2007 1:45:28 PM

If the timings on the new sticks are looser, say 3-3-3-10, and you're old sticks are 2.5-3-3-8, those "old" timings would cause crashes. I've seen quite a few boards misread the SPD settings on sticks lately as well, so check those timings.
September 5, 2007 4:49:30 PM

Badge -- the mobo was already running at 2.6V before I did anything. Would that suggest the voltage isn't the problem?

utatka95 -- can you be a little more specific on how to check the timings?
a b } Memory
September 5, 2007 6:48:50 PM

2.6v should be good to run the RAM. I don't know, really the RAM should work. PC3200 is common, maybe you could test in another machine. Maybe return it again and get a different brand. Kingston and crucial have RAM configurators and guarantee their RAM will work with your board. Put in your MB here and see what you come up with:

http://crucial.com/

http://kingston.com/

September 5, 2007 10:22:40 PM

I put the new sticks in another system here, and had successful and stable boot-ups with each stick individually, and together. Just for fun, I then booted with the existing RAM from that box and the new sticks, and now the system is running stable at 3GB.

So, I'm fairly convinced the sticks aren't the problem.

One thing I did detect when going through my BIOS is that the DRAM CAS Latency is currently set to 2.5 (with the old RAM installed), which was set due to the Auto By Speed setting being checked.

According to the specs at Buffalo, the RAM I have calls for a CAS Latency of 3, which seems to fall in line with what utaka95 suggested. I can manually change the CAS latency, but wouldn't the BIOS have automatically set itself to the proper latency in the Auto setting?

I'll play around with it and see what happens.
a b } Memory
September 5, 2007 10:26:33 PM

If the Buffalo are rated at CAS 3, it is possible that RAM will not boot with that 2.5 CAS LAT setting. definately set the CAS LAT to 3 and try.
September 5, 2007 11:13:28 PM

As a rule 'Auto" for CAS timing will either default to the highest CAS supported by all of your memory sticks, or to 3(as 3 should always work). The 2.6 +.2v means the RAM is designed to work at 2.6v - 2.8v. I try to keep stock voltage unless I have a reason. Adding more voltage does make more heat, but is also more overclockable. Because you don't care about overclocking at the moment and want stability just to start, upping to 2.7 or 2.8 could be a way to go.

I don't have any SOYO motherboards, and I didn't read the manual or anything, but I have seen a few motherboards that don't like it when you use RAM that isn't 'top of the line' in the first slot. As long as your first slot doesn't have any 'junk' ram it'll work fine.

I would do a memory test with memtest86+ or something of the sort before you call it 'stable'. It could be that you just haven't attempted to use any memory locations that are 'bad'. I don't think it's likely at all that you bought 3 bad sticks of RAM on the same day. I have personally only seen 3 bad memory sticks in 15 years. It's very rare, and if you did get 3 bad sticks buy a lottery ticket RIGHT NOW!

If you desire to use the 2 new sticks only, try manually setting voltage as high as 2.8v, and CAS to 3(or maybe even higher just to see if it works). If you can't get the ram to work at 2.8v@CAS 3 then clearly something else compatibility-wise is wrong. I bet if you set it to 2.8v@CAS 3 it'll work for sure with 2 sticks, but you never know. If it doesn't take it back and buy a different brand.

September 5, 2007 11:18:32 PM

I had trouble like this several times. What works alot of the time is resetting the cmos either via jumpers or taking the battery out for 3 mins or more. Now the system has to rerecognize the ram. Works 99.9% so far for me.
a b } Memory
September 5, 2007 11:20:33 PM

OP can't even get to post with the new RAM. OP has not booted the computer to BIOS at all with the new RAM. Run memtest?
September 5, 2007 11:33:32 PM

To be clear, badge, I was able to get into the BIOS, but everything broke down from there -- including odd stuff like the USB keyboard not being recognized.

I'm going to manually change the CAS setting to 3 and see what happens.

And, for the record, I did jumper the CMOS, and the RAM wasn't being recognized.

I'm hoping the CAS setting does the trick, or else I have a feeling I'm going to have to switch to a different brand of RAM.

Any opinions on Corsair, if it comes to that? It's comparably priced.
a b } Memory
September 5, 2007 11:37:32 PM

I agree it looks like that RAM is just not working on your board. Give the 3 CAS LAT a try and return it for something you are sure will work. Your MB is a bit old, but maybe you can find some RAM tested and guaranteed tio work with it. Corsair has a configurator:

http://www.corsairmemory.com/configurator/default.aspx
September 5, 2007 11:38:14 PM

Look in your manual and see what Ram is compatible, and buy some from the list.
a b } Memory
September 5, 2007 11:48:35 PM

Since they do not even have the manual on there website.
I am going to suggest you look under Advanced in the bios for an option for SPD(serial presence detect) and turn it off and make sure you have your Cas Latency set to 3 the other stuff should be ok. if its still not stable look for a memory voltage option and set it to 2.7 or +0.1(not sure what they call it). The extra 0.1 volt will not hurt anything and may just make it stable. If not try each 1 gig stick by it self. maybe you have one bad stick.

also

Soyo Recommended Kingston Memory as per there website
September 6, 2007 3:47:38 AM

Well, with the CAS Latency set to 3, I have been able to properly boot XP and have been using it for a couple of hours now. I think we have a success story here!

Thanks everyone for your help, support and wisdom.

Now, if I could only figure out what's making Firefox crash so much...
a b } Memory
September 6, 2007 3:55:44 AM

Now you should run memtest86. If you are getting errors, your RAM is a likely culprit of the crashes. Great to hear your running the new RAM. Remember you have 2.6 - 2.8V to work with with the Buffalo RAM. If you are getting crashes it's OK to bump the voltage to those specs.
a b } Memory
September 6, 2007 4:31:22 AM

Quote:
Now, if I could only figure out what's making Firefox crash so much...

I believe my friend had a prob with fire fox crashing and it was spy sweeper(if you by any chance use that, if not its likely ram needing a little more voltage). Even tho it worked with his board before....

And as said give memtest86 a good overnight go....
September 6, 2007 3:38:07 PM

UPDATE:

I went back to crash-ville (XP crashed in the midst of web browsing), and went right to memtest overnight. I woke up this morning and found that a bunch of errors were found in the process. It was still running when I had to leave this morning (8:00+ on the clock), and I'll see what the results are when I get home tonight.

Does the final output differentiate between sticks that are tested? Or does it simply consider the 2GB of memory as one big pool?

Is it guaranteed that the sticks are bad if there are errors found?

Am I right in thinking it checks the system cache as well, and if so, how will I know where the errors were found?

Thanks again in advance...
a b } Memory
September 6, 2007 4:16:49 PM

The memtest errors confirm your system's RAM is not functioning correctly. If you are experiencing system crashes, lockups, etc. the RAM is the likely cause. You would do good to return the RAM and get something compatible with your MB that runs with no errors.
September 6, 2007 5:08:10 PM

Do you think this is a case of bad RAM, or incompatibility?

The reason I ask is because I've been meaning to upgrade my processor & mobo for a while now, and the RAM was going to be a temporary measure.

If the RAM is bad, I could try another brand and hope it works, but the only brand SOYO recommends is Kingston, which will cost twice what I paid for the Buffalo.

If it's a compatibility issue, could another brand just cause the same hassles? Might I be able to keep the RAM and upgrade the processor and mobo, which would ultimately make my machine that much faster?

I await your guidance.
a b } Memory
September 6, 2007 6:34:43 PM

Well, I have had many computer problems, crashes, etc., etc. If I am having problems and run memtest and get errors, I have in every instance RMA'D the RAM. Recently, OCZ sent me two replacement DIMMs, a kit. One DIMM was fine, the other would not boot. This is brand new in the sealed package from OCZ warranty service. I returned it and got a kit that works perfect. Your original RAM runs with no errors I believe. If it were me, I would return the RAM. Surely there is RAM that will run more smoothly and cause less headache than the Buffalo. Your computer is locking up when you run applications. You can bet the RAM is the cause of it.
September 6, 2007 6:40:45 PM

Sounds like good advice. Thanks, badge.
September 7, 2007 3:32:59 AM

bisonman said:
Do you think this is a case of bad RAM, or incompatibility?


I have seen a case where the RAM wasn't bad, it was actually a bad motherboard. I can't remember the details exactly, but it was a motherboard that had a 333 or 400 Mhz FSB. His CPU supported 400Mhz, but his ram was only DDR-333. He bought DDR-400 and put it in and was getting all sorts of crashes. My first thought was the RAM because that was the hardware change. Then when I found out he never ran his computer at the full FSB I suspected all of the components. Of course, the RAM errors were coming up like crazy. We'd get 10,000+ within about 15 seconds of starting the test. Swapping RAM sticks, CAS, and voltage didn't matter. The only thing that mattered was the FSB. When we went to 400 the computer wouldn't function. He took the RAM back because the test said it was bad, getting 2 new sticks that did the same thing. I then tested the RAM in my computer and it worked perfectly. Upon further testing his MB was actually bad. Unfortunately quite a few tests that you run to verify your computer is working correctly deceive you because of the complexity of computers. When you test any 1 component you are more than likely testing many more. You want to test RAM, you have to deal with the power supply, the mother board, the RAM, the CPU. You want to test the hard drive, you have to deal with the power supply, MB, CPU, RAM, plus the IDE controller, the IDE cable, and the hard drive. If your hard drive cable is iffy it might make you swear your hard drive is going bad, but it's really the cable.

A computer is like a very very crowded city. Try delivering a pizza on the other side of town in the worst traffic and when the pizza guy doesn't show how do you know where he got lost? All you know is the customer is wanting their pizza because it's late, and you can only say that the delivery guy left.

I'm still kind of skeptical that it's the RAM. Unfortunately the only way to surely identify the bad component is to start swapping components and see what's going on. It would be great if you could test the RAM in another computer. I still find it completely unbelievable that you could happen to get 4 bad sticks of RAM in the same day when I've only seen a handful in 15 years.
a b } Memory
September 7, 2007 3:58:26 AM

One thing is for sure. The RAM he replaced works perfectly in the MB. The RAM he bought does not. Bad RAM or not, he can't use it with what he has to this point.
September 7, 2007 6:14:48 AM

Very true. I realized after I read your post that I didn't clarify when I said "I'm still kind of skeptical that it's the RAM." What I meant was I didn't think the RAM was bad, just incompatible.
a b } Memory
September 7, 2007 6:21:28 AM

Yeah, OP has an incompatibility problem. He should return the Buffalo that dosn't run correctly in his MB. As OP stated, Kingston and other RAM are more expensive. I posted the various companys wh have their RAM configurators online. I make use of them often. Companys like Crucial and Kingston guarantee their RAM will work if you use their configurator. I have had good luck buying RAM like that. Especially with Crucial. Many times I have sent an Email to support (at Crucial, kingston, G. Skill, Corsiar) and asked which RAM will work best in my MB. I have had great success in doing so.
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