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Can a memory leak be hardware related?

Last response: in Systems
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November 4, 2007 9:06:18 AM

hey guys, i've tried almost everything. I have this issue which i think is a memory leak (after using memory intense programs, computer won't open any more windows eg my computer, internet explorer, internet explorer tabs, media player, programs, anything). I've had the issue basically ever since i bought the comp (about 10 months ago). I've changed the psu cuz i originally thought it was power related, changed the memory as well to a completely different brand (corsair to geil) as i thought the actual memory sticks were the issue (heard the memory sticks i had wouldn't work well with asus p5b). I've put the memory sticks to the recommended voltage 2.1 and have even tried using at auto, the problem remains. I even reformatted windows xp and installed windows vista 32 bit. I still have the same problem!

My question is, could the problem stem from my motherboard or harddrive or any other part of my machine? Or do you guys just think its one of the programs i'm running? ATM the only programs that are the same as before the reformat are k-lite, media player, avast!, spywareblaster, microsoft office 2007 and adaware. The rest of the programs are just games or random programs.

I'm running:
e6600
Asus p5b deluxe wifi
bfg 7900gs
seagate 350gb hd 7200.10 sata(or whatever it was the one with perpendicular ****)
geil 2gb ddr2 800mhz 4-4-4-12
thermaltake toughpower 750w
soundblaster x-fi xtreme music
dvico hdtv tuner lite
sata asus dvd burner

Thanks in advance guys.
November 4, 2007 11:53:25 AM

I would say no because memory is handled by the OS. Memory leak are bad programmer which do not release it in code.

Newer platform like JAVA and .Net make it easier to code because you do not have to take care of release memory of unneeded objects. It call a "Garbage Collector" that run periodically or when more memory is needed.

Did you check "Task Manager - Processes" and see which process use a lot of memory for columns starting with "Memory"? Check the option "View - Select Columns" to see more default columns. You can click on title to sort. Enable the check box or button "All Users" at the bottom left.

What is your OS? 32 or 64bits?
November 4, 2007 12:24:15 PM

windows vista 32 bit, yeah sometimes i check the task manager but it all seems pretty normal. I haven't done it with the all users part checked yet, i'll do that tomorrow or something. Also sometimes the 'memory leak' (i dunno if it is a memory leak or not) is so bad that task manager won't open (its a new window so it classes under the same thing). Sometimes when i close the open windows it gets a bit better, as in i can open like 1 or 2 windows. In cases like this i've checked task manager and my physical memory is still 50% free.

Thanks for the help though, i'll look into it and post another reply.
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November 4, 2007 1:02:23 PM

I'll second LoneEagle's opinion. I wouldn't throw any more money at the box as it's almost certainly a software issue.

What are the memory intensive programs that you typically run?
November 4, 2007 1:14:39 PM

Let me ask you something. You say that your computer is useless after you play your game, or whatever other program is memory-intensive. For how long? Do you have to reset your computer to use it again?

I know the problem well, as it happens to me a lot too. I'll play some game, and then once I quit, Vista grinds my hard drive for what seems like an hour (but is only about ten minutes), during which time I can't do anything. It's not technically a memory thing, either, which I found out, because I always have TaskMan open. In my case, it could be a lack of memory, because I'm temporarily stuck with only a gig of RAM. And yet, my hardware monitors report about 20% free RAM after playing, which climbs to about 40-50% during the downtime. I call it 'downtime' because my computer won't do ANYthing for that time. If I'm downloading, it's stopped. If I'm listening to music, even, it lags to hell. Most frustrating.

Personally, I think it's a Vista thing.
November 4, 2007 1:50:40 PM

And personally, I think it's a your computer thing.

I only have 1 gig of ram and the access to my HDD isn't out of the ordinary. Mine doesn't miss a beat while listening to music.
November 4, 2007 6:45:54 PM

You're the only one...
November 4, 2007 10:29:54 PM

Ah, give me a break. You know that's not true.

Based on this forum, it may sound that way, but people generally don't post here unless they have an issue. So reading all the negatives day in and day out, may make it seem like everyone on earth is having issues (except of course me).
November 4, 2007 11:13:31 PM

spongebob said:
I'll second LoneEagle's opinion. I wouldn't throw any more money at the box as it's almost certainly a software issue.

What are the memory intensive programs that you typically run?


The memory intensive programs I run are usually media related. Videos, songs. But it also happens if I haven't run these programs, it just takes longer. Eg if i'm just using word or whatever it takes a couple of hours b4 the problem sparks up, but if i'm watching a divx movie then problems usually pop up about halway through the movie or whatever.
November 4, 2007 11:15:26 PM

bcboy said:
Let me ask you something. You say that your computer is useless after you play your game, or whatever other program is memory-intensive. For how long? Do you have to reset your computer to use it again?

I know the problem well, as it happens to me a lot too. I'll play some game, and then once I quit, Vista grinds my hard drive for what seems like an hour (but is only about ten minutes), during which time I can't do anything. It's not technically a memory thing, either, which I found out, because I always have TaskMan open. In my case, it could be a lack of memory, because I'm temporarily stuck with only a gig of RAM. And yet, my hardware monitors report about 20% free RAM after playing, which climbs to about 40-50% during the downtime. I call it 'downtime' because my computer won't do ANYthing for that time. If I'm downloading, it's stopped. If I'm listening to music, even, it lags to hell. Most frustrating.

Personally, I think it's a Vista thing.


Um i dunno how long the problem lasts for, i tend to get annoyed and just restart the computer to fix it.
Sadly it used to happen to me with windows xp installed as well, so i don't think its just a Vista thing.
November 5, 2007 1:40:28 AM

Ok, i'm experiencing the problem now, i opened task manager just before but now i can't open it while i'm typing this. From memory the highest users of memory were svchost.exe, ieexplore.exe, explorer.exe, dwm.exe and dllmodule or something like that. each were using around 26,000k to 40,000k.
November 5, 2007 1:54:30 AM

There is one more thing you could check as I faced the same issue initially even I thought it was memory, but it turned out to be the hard disk setting in Windows issue. Go to http://www.hdtune.com/ and download their utility and run it on your disk(s) and see what performance you are getting. If it is in the range of 2-3 Mbps then your problem is with your hard disk controller setting in windows XP. It is using PIO mode instead of UDMA mode.
November 6, 2007 1:17:52 AM

atreyu said:
There is one more thing you could check as I faced the same issue initially even I thought it was memory, but it turned out to be the hard disk setting in Windows issue. Go to http://www.hdtune.com/ and download their utility and run it on your disk(s) and see what performance you are getting. If it is in the range of 2-3 Mbps then your problem is with your hard disk controller setting in windows XP. It is using PIO mode instead of UDMA mode.


I gave this a shot, my minimum transfer rate is 2.2mb/s and max is 75.2mb/s
November 6, 2007 1:38:47 AM

compare it with the values mentioned in their website and see if matches for your hard disk. Also ensure that the CPU utilization as shown by HD Tune is not more that 5% at the most.

Also check the DMA setting for the disk. You can do this by going to My Computer --> hardware --> Device Manager --> IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller. Here choose your IDE channel (usually its the primary IDE channel) . Right click and see properties and on this go to the Advanced Settings tab. Here transfer mode Should be set to "DMA if available" and Current Tranfer mode should be "Ultra DMA Mode ?" The question mark idicates the highest mode your disk can support. In most cases it Ultra DMA mode 5.
November 6, 2007 11:26:03 AM

bcboy said:
Let me ask you something. You say that your computer is useless after you play your game, or whatever other program is memory-intensive. For how long? Do you have to reset your computer to use it again?

I know the problem well, as it happens to me a lot too. I'll play some game, and then once I quit, Vista grinds my hard drive for what seems like an hour (but is only about ten minutes), during which time I can't do anything. It's not technically a memory thing, either, which I found out, because I always have TaskMan open. In my case, it could be a lack of memory, because I'm temporarily stuck with only a gig of RAM. And yet, my hardware monitors report about 20% free RAM after playing, which climbs to about 40-50% during the downtime. I call it 'downtime' because my computer won't do ANYthing for that time. If I'm downloading, it's stopped. If I'm listening to music, even, it lags to hell. Most frustrating.

Personally, I think it's a Vista thing.

How much memory do you have?

If you have 1GB or less, it normal because it call 'Virtual Memory'. The HD is used to store what not needed in RAM to HD to make some space to other who need it. I had that problem with 2GB when I was quitting my BF2142 game, the HD was working so hard to reload in memory from HD that was freezing my computer for a minute or two (painfull).

Just a note from memory usage: Vista will use all available real memory to preload stuff for better performance and will release it when needed.

I have now Vista64 and 4GB and it working super great. I also reduced my Virtual Memory to 512MB.
November 6, 2007 12:05:40 PM

Hi,
Your problem seems like Vista prefetcher is turned on and it's trying to learn how you use your computer.
I don't know, 2 gigs of ram seems a little "little" for this feature.
Turn it off and I think you'll start working in a more convenient way.
November 16, 2007 9:31:31 AM

LoneEagle said:
How much memory do you have?

If you have 1GB or less, it normal because it call 'Virtual Memory'. The HD is used to store what not needed in RAM to HD to make some space to other who need it. I had that problem with 2GB when I was quitting my BF2142 game, the HD was working so hard to reload in memory from HD that was freezing my computer for a minute or two (painfull).

Just a note from memory usage: Vista will use all available real memory to preload stuff for better performance and will release it when needed.

I have now Vista64 and 4GB and it working super great. I also reduced my Virtual Memory to 512MB.


I have 2gb of memory, the problem also occured in Windows XP so I'm not sure if turning off prefetch will help.
December 14, 2007 1:08:49 AM

Hey I hope you guys are still looking at this because I’m having the same problem. I can be surfing the net and after a while I won’t be able to open any more windows. I can close out a few windows and I will be fine for a little bit and then it will start again. I’ll get to the point to where I can’t open more than one window. The only thing that will fix this issue is to reboot. I don’t play games on my computer so I shouldn’t be stressing my memory. I have 1g of ram and my OS is XP. I’ve tried the HDTune program and my Min Transfer Rate was 1.8 and my Max was 14.1. My CPU Usage was 4%. I’m set to use UDMA mode and it’s set to 5. Does anyone help?
December 14, 2007 1:53:51 AM

Here we are ECC memory can help.

Memory leaks is common to Win98, WinME but in 2000, XP and higher it is minimal. Yup better memory can lessen leaks like what your mobo company suggests of using. Coz they already new that but they tend not to tell.

Other application can help lessen leaks like cacheman www.outertech.com have a try might help then tell me if it does.

Based on my experience motherboard quality also affect stability. As a computer tech as my job I highly nominate MSI boards for stability and memory leaks is a thing of the past or maybe negligible. I tested many motherboards on mylife and encountered alot of hangups the first time I used MSI and undergo the same situation where I should have a blue screen on XP... whew! I was amazed with MSI board it only closes the application that causes it but my system is intact.

Just my opinion based on my experience. Nothing personal...
December 14, 2007 2:04:37 AM

It certainly sounds like a memory leak, though it would be worthwhile to check your cpu temperature under load to see if it's getting too hot and throttling. Search google for a program called cpu burnin, run that for a couple hours while watching your cpu and motherboard temps.

26,000k to 40,000k, those aren't unusually high amounts of memory to be using. What you really want to check, is how much, if any of your page file you are using when your machine slows down. This will tell you if it's a memory problem or something else. You can check this under the task manager. Under the performance tab check the Page File line.

To give you a baseline, my machine (2.4 GHZ Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Vista Business) runs with ~750MB physical memory used, ~850MB paged. That's with two instances of firefox open, messenger, antivirus and a few other daemons running.

To test your machine, power it on and immediately run the task manager and write down the numbers I mentioned above. Then play a game for a couple hours, or do whatever it takes to reproduce the problem. Open the task manager again and record the same numbers. Wait 10 minutes, and record the numbers again.

If you can post all 3 sets of numbers that'll likely tell us if you're facing a memory issue or something else.


Quote:
Yup better memory can lessen leaks like what your mobo company suggests of using. Coz they already new that but they tend not to tell.


Not to be rude, but this isn't true. Better memory can reduce memory errors and improve the stability of your system (which you alluded to), but memory leakage is strictly a software issue.
December 14, 2007 2:30:13 AM

Look in administrative tools and the look in reliability and performance monitor for very detailed information.
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