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troubleshooting RAM upgrade problem

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  • RAM
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January 3, 2008 2:38:05 AM

I've got a Gigabyte Technology "GA-8IG1000 Pro-G" ATX Intel 865G 800MHz Dual DDR (ATX Intel 865G chipset, socket 478) mobo, with P/S 350W NSpire NSP-350P4DL

Recently upgraded from 2x512MB Kingston budget ram running in dual channel to a 2 GB "KHX3200AK2/2G" kit - 2 x 1GB Kingston Hyper CL2 PC3200. Slots 1 and 3, runs fine in dual mode, shows 2GB in BIOS.

Since i'm trying to run as much of an orchestra as i can in sampler software, i really need the extra ram, so i tried to take it to 3GB by putting my original Kingston budget 512 sticks in slots 2 and 4, but it won't POST. When i power up it checks a drive or two, shows the drive indicator light for several seconds, then nothing. If i hit the reset button, i get a beep code that sounds like an electronic telephone ringing many short beeps, followed by a break, then more of the same. Depending on whether this is "continuous short beeps" or "continuous long beeps" the mobo is reporting a power error or a DRAM error, respectively. It sure sounds like lots of short beeps (Power error), but i suppose if the short beeps could be considered to make one long beep with a pause afterward, then maybe, it could be the DRAM error.

I've got 2 IDE drives, 2 SATA drives, and 2 optical drives. Could it be that running 4 sticks of RAM takes more power than i've got, or that a change in the default BIOS settings is needed?

Finally, i initially thought it wasn't working with 4 sticks because of some sort of incompatibility between the older 512 Kingstons and the new 2GB kit Kingstons, so i ordered another identical 2GB Kingston kit - same part number, same price, same vendor (MWave), since i wanted to take it to 4GB ultimately anyway, figuring that would for sure resolve the incompatibility. But now that i have them, it's exactly the same. Either pair in slots 1 and 3 will run as a total of 2GB in dual channel, but as soon as i fill out slots 2 and 4 i get the same non-POST situation as above.

CPU-Z shows they are running at 3-3-3-8 at 2.5V when the BIOS uses SPD to set the params and verifies that the sticks are indeed what i was buying. I notice the sticks say 2.6V on the label, so i set the DIMM voltage in the BIOS away from auto to +0.1V thinking that taking it to 2.6V from the 2.5V reported in CPU-Z might be the thing to do, but it had no effect, and i've set that back to Auto.

I just upgraded the Award Modular Bios v6.00PG Intel 865G AGPSet BIOS for 8IG1000P-G from F5 to F6, but that didn't change anything.

I've run out of ideas, please help.

More about : troubleshooting ram upgrade problem

a b } Memory
January 3, 2008 5:19:33 AM

In Bios, can you set the memory frequency (speed) to 333mhz. If the RAM is specified to run at PC3200 (400mhz.) at 2.6v, set it at 2.6v or even try 2.7v. If the silght overvolt to 2.7v and decreasing the memory speeed (from 400mhz. to 333mhz) won't do, it looks like the board will not run 4 DIMMS. Is the MB a micro board? Maybe the voltage regulators are weak. You could try all four at 3-3-3-15 timings too. If CAS 4 is available, loosen the timing to there. Loosen the speed and timings and increase the voltage.
January 3, 2008 12:31:47 PM

Thanks, Badge. The mobo is: http://www.shentech.com/ga8ig1000prog.html, not a micro board, claims it can support 4 dimms up to 4 GB, with like pairs in slots 1/3 and 2/4 for running in dual mode with DDR.

I'm somewhat of a novice in the area of tweaking timings and frequency - should i first try taking the voltage to 2.7 from 2.5 without decreasing the frequency in case that alone would do the trick? (i already tried 2.6 with no luck). Or should the voltage increase always be paired with the decrease in frequency in order to avoid damage?

Also can i change the timings to 3-3-3-15 without the frequency decrease and without the voltage increase? I guess what i'm asking i how independent the settings are.
Related resources
January 3, 2008 2:30:33 PM

Breakthrough - i took the frequency down to 333 without changing anything else (voltage still at 2.5V) and now all 4 sticks are registering and system appears to be stable (havent' done anything rigorous yet).

So, how much of a performance hit am i realistically taking by dropping to 333? CAS timing in CPU-Z shows 2.5-3-3-7 at this speed. I never did try increasing voltage to 2.7V and keeping frequency at 400 - not sure if that's a safe idea or not.

Also, CPU-Z shows SPD says 2.5V, yet package is labeled as 2.6V. Which one should i believe and how much does it matter?

thanks


January 4, 2008 12:40:59 PM

I guess my main question now is how safe is it to try upping the voltage on the DIMMS from the auto SPD read of 2.5V to manual +0.2V = 2.7V to try to get all 4 to run at 400MHz (originally tried +0.1V = 2.6V with no luck)?

The datasheet on the Kingston HyperX KHX3200AK2 chips says they're rated at 2.6V for 3-3-3-8 at 400MHz and yet my BIOS and CPU-Z reads SPD at 2.5V - not sure i understand that. The power supply info for the chips in the datasheet says 2.6V+/-0.2V ... Does this mean i'm safe running them at 2.7V and 2.8V at 400MHz?
January 4, 2008 3:22:17 PM

you have to manually set the voltage in the bios.....set it for 2.7 if you can and you should..it will work much better....
January 4, 2008 5:56:13 PM

jackieboy said:
you have to manually set the voltage in the bios.....set it for 2.7 if you can and you should..it will work much better....


Thanks ... just to be clear, i'm talking about raising the voltage at 400 MHz, not the 333 i've backed it down to. Just dont' want to fry my chips, but then this is new territory for me - i have no feel for how much you can push them and be safe, and i'm only assuming it's harder on them to run at higher voltage at a higher frequency, i don't really know that.

a b } Memory
January 4, 2008 6:11:40 PM

Overvolting the RAM to 2.7v 'could' cause damage. I've fried my RAM overvolting it before. It's your call. I burned a DIMM overvolting it from 2.0 -2.1v specifications to around 2.3v I believe. Ran fine for a while. Over time the DIMM fried out. So, yes...you do risk losing the RAM.
January 4, 2008 9:11:47 PM

badge said:
Overvolting the RAM to 2.7v 'could' cause damage. I've fried my RAM overvolting it before. It's your call. I burned a DIMM overvolting it from 2.0 -2.1v specifications to around 2.3v I believe. Ran fine for a while. Over time the DIMM fried out. So, yes...you do risk losing the RAM.


okay, dumb question here ... how do i verify what voltage i'm actually at? SPD is programmed at 2.5V according to CPU-Z (version 1.42 NOV 2007) vs ram datasheet and tech support saying it's programmed at 2.6V. My mobo's only voltage control is to bump up or down by increments of 0.1V, but without an actual voltage readout like it has for CPU core voltage. CPU-Z doesn't show this anywhere either. My manual and Google don't indicate any mention of the default DIMM voltage level. I got these to run at 400MHz by setting to 2.5-3-3-8 at +0.1V, but now i realize i really have no idea whatsoever what actualy voltage they're running at.
a b } Memory
January 4, 2008 9:19:30 PM

I'm not sure with your MB, but you might try installing PC Wizard and see if the memory voltage is listed anywhere in that application. Some motherboards show the voltage 'value' in red if the voltage has been set to 'danger' level. I ould think adding a +.1 or .2v would be safe.

http://www.cpuid.com/pcwizard.php
January 4, 2008 9:26:27 PM

badge said:
Overvolting the RAM to 2.7v 'could' cause damage. I've fried my RAM overvolting it before. It's your call. I burned a DIMM overvolting it from 2.0 -2.1v specifications to around 2.3v I believe. Ran fine for a while. Over time the DIMM fried out. So, yes...you do risk losing the RAM.



Gigabyte boards are not acurate that is why you overvolt in the bios........if he overvolts to 2.7 it will be real close to his 2.6 that he is trying to get
a b } Memory
January 4, 2008 9:27:30 PM

I just installed PC Wizard on this computer at work and I do not see the memory voltage listed. Your BIOS should show that value if any program should.
January 4, 2008 9:40:20 PM

badge said:
I just installed PC Wizard on this computer at work and I do not see the memory voltage listed. Your BIOS should show that value if any program should.


thanks for the response ... nope, just doublechecked, nowhere. However, i notice that if i multiply the CPU core voltage by 2, it's within a few hundredths of a volt of 2.6V .... And i run a base clock of 200 MHz with a mutliplier of 2 in the BIOS to get the Memory Frequency to 400MHz. Is it possible your DIMM voltage is by definition double your CPU core voltage, or perhaps is your core voltage times whatever DIMM frequency multiplier is in effect?

At any rate, i set my voltage back down to "Normal" from +0.1V, kept the frequency at 400Mhz, and it still posted with all 4 sticks. Don't know how stable it will be, but the only difference from my very first attempt is 2.5-3-3-8 now versus the 3-3-3-8 that i first tried, and yet 3-3-3-8 is what is on the Kingston page, and what CPU-Z shows as SPD info, etc. I don't understand that.
January 4, 2008 9:44:00 PM

jackieboy said:
Gigabyte boards are not acurate that is why you overvolt in the bios........if he overvolts to 2.7 it will be real close to his 2.6 that he is trying to get


Interesting .... any idea though how i can verify what DIMM voltage i'm actually running at? So far they're now running at "Normal" with the revised timing of 2.5-3-3-8 ...
a b } Memory
January 4, 2008 9:51:17 PM

Quote:
thanks for the response ... nope, just doublechecked, nowhere. However, i notice that if i multiply the CPU core voltage by 2, it's within a few hundredths of a volt of 2.6V .... And i run a base clock of 200 MHz with a mutliplier of 2 in the BIOS to get the Memory Frequency to 400MHz. Is it possible your DIMM voltage is by definition double your CPU core voltage, or perhaps is your core voltage times whatever DIMM frequency multiplier is in effect?


Well, RAM is DDR (double data rate) so when you set your RAM speed in BIOS to 200mhz that figure is doubled (to PC3200 400mhz.).

Quote:
At any rate, i set my voltage back down to "Normal" from +0.1V, kept the frequency at 400Mhz, and it still posted with all 4 sticks.


So 4 DIMMS run 400mhz (PC3200) at BIOS default voltage, it's the timings that were preventing your from running at 400mhz. as compared to 333mhz. (PC2700).

Quote:
Don't know how stable it will be, but the only difference from my very first attempt is 2.5-3-3-8 now versus the 3-3-3-8 that i first tried, and yet 3-3-3-8 is what is on the Kingston page, and what CPU-Z shows as SPD info, etc. I don't understand that.


If you are at PC3200 400mhz. at a 2.5 CAS LAT with all 4 DIMMS, that's better than the RAM is rated (3 CAS LAT).
January 4, 2008 10:21:07 PM

badge said:
Well, RAM is DDR (double data rate) so when you set your RAM speed in BIOS to 200mhz that figure is doubled (to PC3200 400mhz.).


Nod, i do get that much, but was trying to verify a rule for voltage, so i could find a way to "know" what voltage i'm actually running at. If i double my CPU core voltage, i get exactly 2.592V. Seems like double the core voltage = DIMM voltage in my case, but i have no idea if that's universal or not. ... ?

Quote:
So 4 DIMMS run 400mhz (PC3200) at BIOS default voltage, it's the timings that were preventing your from running at 400mhz. as compared to 333mhz. (PC2700).


Yep, exactly. And what's frustrating is - everything from Kingston datasheet and product page on this memory to my BIOS and CPU-Z reading SPD from the modules indicates the 3-3-3-8 timing that did not work for me. A response from Kingston tech support with the 2.5-3-3-8 was what made the difference.

Quote:
If you are at PC3200 400mhz. at a 2.5 CAS LAT with all 4 DIMMS, that's better than the RAM is rated (3 CAS LAT).


Yep, although the ram is actually CL2, and here just for general info sake is what the datasheet says on it:

Kingston's KHX3200AK2/2G is a kit of two 128M x 64-bit 1GB (1024MB) DDR400 SDRAM
(Synchronous DRAM) CL2 memory modules, based on sixteen 64M x 8-bit (16M x 8-bit x 4 Bank)
DDR400 SDRAM in TSOP packages. Total kit capacity is 2GB (2048MB). Each module pair has been
tested to run at low latency timing of 2-3-2-6 at 2.65V. The SPD is programmed to JEDEC standard
latency timing of 3-3-3-8 at 2.6V. Each 184-pin DIMM uses gold contact fingers and requires +2.6V.


Would i really see any noticeable speed increase (or experience a drop in stability) by trying to push things now to the max settings? I can see how i'd change the CAS timings, but not how to get a voltage of 2.65V, given that i have no idea idea what voltage i'm at now with "Normal", though if i had to guess i'd guess 2.6V.

a b } Memory
January 4, 2008 11:00:14 PM

So Kingston is saying the RAM is guaranteed to run at 2-3-2-6 at 2.65v. But the RAM has an SPD (so it will boot easily) 3-3-3-8 at 2.6v.

Really, 2.5-3-3-8 at 400mhz. with 4 DIMMS is good. I know you have no way of knowing what the actual voltage is (In BIOS or anywhere else). I have some Kingson PC3200 Hyper X like this, guarantted to run at 2-3-2-5. I have stability problems at those timings even when I increase the voltage to 2.8v on my ASUS A8N32-SLI. So I set it at 2.5-3-3-6 and 2.7v (had it at 2.8v and 2 CAS LAT) and have no crashes. Really, it depends on the individual system (MB). I'm happy at 2.5 CAS and perfect system stability. My son uses the system. With 4 DIMMS (I have 2 x 1 GB) you may not be able to run at CAS 2 even if you bumped the voltage up. You are looking good at 2.5-3-3-8 CAS LAT and 400 mhz. You might try 2.5-3-3-6.
January 4, 2008 11:52:18 PM

badge said:
So Kingston is saying the RAM is guaranteed to run at 2-3-2-6 at 2.65v. But the RAM has an SPD (so it will boot easily) 3-3-3-8 at 2.6v.

Really, 2.5-3-3-8 at 400mhz. with 4 DIMMS is good. I know you have no way of knowing what the actual voltage is (In BIOS or anywhere else). I have some Kingson PC3200 Hyper X like this, guarantted to run at 2-3-2-5. I have stability problems at those timings even when I increase the voltage to 2.8v on my ASUS A8N32-SLI. So I set it at 2.5-3-3-6 and 2.7v (had it at 2.8v and 2 CAS LAT) and have no crashes. Really, it depends on the individual system (MB). I'm happy at 2.5 CAS and perfect system stability. My son uses the system. With 4 DIMMS (I have 2 x 1 GB) you may not be able to run at CAS 2 even if you bumped the voltage up. You are looking good at 2.5-3-3-8 CAS LAT and 400 mhz. You might try 2.5-3-3-6.


Gotcha, thanks for the info. One irony though - it didn't boot at all at 3-3-3-8, which is what they publish. I was quite impressed with the final tech response once i pointed out the discrepancies, relayed the specifics of my situation for their records, and asked about the voltage issue - check this out:

Quote:
Hello Steve,

1. Sorry for the confusion. I'm going to address the discrepancy that is on our PDF file with product engineering.

2. I will make a note of your findings.

3. Again sorry for the confusion. I will address this issue.

I don't think your voltage set to normal will spike it all the way up to 2.9 or so. That would be a huge jump and potential for problems. Normal in the industry normally means 2.5 to 2.6 (+0-1) so if it's +1 and the memory is 2.5 it will go up to 2.6 and if the memory is 2.6 it will go up to 2.7 but our modules should still handle it with no problem. We say 2.6 to be on the safe side. It's also depends on how good your power supply is. It's when you go beyond 2.7, 2.8 that you may start getting in heat issues. Again this will vary from computer to computer. Certainly you will have problems on lessor quality boards but not on decent ones and Gigabyte is a decent one. Still if concerned what normal means you should contact Gigabyte for peace of mind.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to reply to this e-mail with full email history. Thank you for using Kingston on-line technical support.

Regards,
January 5, 2008 10:59:09 AM

stevie_d said:
Interesting .... any idea though how i can verify what DIMM voltage i'm actually running at? So far they're now running at "Normal" with the revised timing of 2.5-3-3-8 ...


I just know that.....its hard to get a real good reading.......if you have any trouble just put the voltage to 2.7 like I said and it will actually be about 2.63 to 2.67 ok...........just trust me on this one......its normal for gigabyte boards to do that.....ok
January 5, 2008 11:49:41 AM

jackieboy said:
I just know that.....its hard to get a real good reading.......if you have any trouble just put the voltage to 2.7 like I said and it will actually be about 2.63 to 2.67 ok...........just trust me on this one......its normal for gigabyte boards to do that.....ok


It's not that i don't believe you - in fact what you say squares with what Kingston t/s was saying, but i have no way of knowing what voltage i'm at.

I guess i'm not making myself clear .... I don't understand how to "put" the voltage at any absolute level - the only options in the BIOS are for "Normal", "+0.1V", "+0.2V", etc. There is no setting for anything like "2.6V" or "2.7V". Nor is there any readout anywhere of the current DIMM voltage, not in the BIOS, not in CPU-Z, not in PC Wizard, not in the mobo manual, and not in any Google search i found. That's why i was musing about the possible relationship between the CPU core voltage and the DIMM voltage, since i notice that double my CPU core voltage equals something extremely close to 2.6V.
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