What is killing my RAM? (i.e. making it faulty!)

Hi all,

I'm having what I think is quite an unusual problem.

Basically, every three to four weeks one stick of RAM in my pc dies (i.e. goes faulty), and the computer will refuse to post. The only way to get the computer running again is to remove the dead stick of RAM, and then the pc will run fine.

So I put a new stick in, and 4 weeks later, boom, it blows again!

I'm running 1066Mhz RAM at 1066Mhz, which should be fine, and I've tried running it at its recommended voltage of 2.2V and 1.8V, but neither stops the RAM from dying.

I've replaced my motherboard twice, I was using a gigabyte GA-p35-ds3r before (tried version 1.0 and version 2.0 with different bioses but both were the same). Now I'm using an ASUS Maximus Formula (as you can see from my specs below), but the problem keeps happening!

So, my theory is, some component that hasn't changed is somehow damaging the RAM... The only components I can think of which could be causing damage are:

- Graphics Card (8800 GTX)
- Sound Card (X-fI)
- PSU (Corsair 620W)
- RAM (Crucial Ballistix)

It seems to me that it's always the new stick of RAM that dies, so my personal theory is maybe the other stick (that's never been changed) is somehow damaging the other stick? Is this even possible?

I'd really appreciate some opinions and advice about this.


Asus Maximus Formula X38
2 x 1 Gb Crucial Ballistix PC2-8500 (BL12864AA1065)
XFX Geforce 8800 GTX
Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer
Corsair HW 620W Power Supply
2 x Seagate Barracuda ES 500 Gb
Vista Home Premium
41 answers Last reply
More about what killing making faulty
  1. overclocking anything else? how is your cooling situation? you have a surge protector or ups to rule out dirty power coming in? otherwise i'd point straight at the power supply.
  2. ^Agreed.

    Also have you tried DDR2 800 RAM. I personally don't use native DDR2 1066, so can't really comment on that, but users have said that native DDR2 1066 RAM is quite unstable. Try running the Ballastix at DDR2 800. (I have OCed RAM to 1066 and higher though).
  3. Have you tried testing all your RAM using memtest86+? Also, you might try running your RAM at DDR2-800 for a couple of months to see if that helps. Unless you are OCing the FSB above 1600MHz, DDR2-800 speed is plenty.
  4. Hey, thanks for your quick replies.

    I didn't mention overclocking because I've run my computer overclocked for 4 weeks, or not overclocked for 4 weeks, and the RAM still goes bad. When I do overclock I run at 333x9 which is fairly modest for a q6600 I think.

    I have a surge protector on the main power lead, which makes me think it can't be the psu? Anyway, it's happened so many times surely another component apart from the RAM would blow?

    I could try running at 800 Mhz, but I want to find the root of the problem. What do you guys think of my "other RAM stick" theory?

    What if I bought some RAM faster than 1066 to run at 1066?

    Thanks again

    With the old gigabyte board the RAM used to just blow and the pc wouldn't post till you took it out. With the new asus board you just get tonnes of blue screens. If you run memtest with both sticks in you get loads of errors. When you put in one stick in at a time the memtest errors disappear, but if you overclock the RAM, you can see one of the sticks is generates errors at much lower mhz ... i.e. is damaged!
  5. matteo2000 said:
    ... When I do overclock I run at 333x9 which is fairly modest for a q6600 I think.

    So presumably you'd get essentially the same performance running your RAM at DDR-667. Is there some special reason you need to run the RAM at DDR2-1066?

    matteo2000 said:
    ... I have a surge protector on the main power lead,

    That's a good idea, but it has nothing to do with whether your PSU has a problem.

    matteo2000 said:
    ... If you run memtest with both sticks in you get loads of errors.

    This supports the idea that you have a problem with your system (or haven't figured out the right settings for your RAM). This post may help explain RAM settings a bit: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/200599-30-memory-nooob-aarrggghh-timings#t1249881
  6. In the past some MB bios did -not- correctly tell the MB the voltages to apply and that would be what I think is going on.

    If your MB and/or bios is incorrectly adjusting voltages...it could be the bios rev or a regulator part batch that is the problem.

    If you end up going to another MB maker take a close look at DFI.

    EDIT: Just reread the post...either the outlet you have everything pluged into has a wireing problem or the PSU is off. Next time get a PC Power & Cooling.
    Also when you replace the ram are you sending ALL the ram in?
  7. for starters are you running memtest86+ for errors when you 1st buy them? my 1st pair of crucial had errors on them. just happens like that some times.

    also ballistics run pretty damn hot. ever felt those heat spreaders? you can go to bestbuy and get a possitional fan (that bolts to the mobo) and put it over the ram to keep that heat down.
  8. Hey guys,

    Thanks for your replies.

    Mondoman, I agree I have no particular need to run at 1066Mhz, and if I swap the RAM again I'll try running at 800Mhz and see if that helps. However, I'm running 1066Mhz RAM at it's stock speed (1066Mhz) with the recommended voltage (2.2V), with all standard timings (5,5,5,15), so it shouldn't be dying on me right? I want to try to find out the reason this is happening.
    I know a surge protector wouldn't stop the PSU having a problem, I was replying to rockbyter's question.

    ZOldDude, I really don't think I'm looking at a MB problem here as I've tried three different motherboards and had exactly the same problem each time! If the PSU is bad, surely it would be causing more damage than killing one (looks like always the new) stick of RAM once a month? And the fact it's an expensive corsair one makes me doubt it could be the problem...
    As for sending ALL the RAM in, no, I only send in the dead stick. Is this a problem? This is why I believe maybe the other stick is causing the damage?

    Doubletake33, the RAM does run hot. I had a theory that it was overheating and changed my case to an Antec 900 with some serious airflow, but the RAM is still dying and just as quickly as before. =S

    What do you guys think? Really appreciating all the ideas here!
  9. You've had a decent amount of replies and quality thoughts, Im no tech by far but I have to agree with just about every comment made here.... you've already ruled out a lot by changing your motherboard, case etc etc:
    Personally I would consider changing the PSU, ensuring the bios is up to date so you know the board is running properly, if your running dual ram and only replacing 1 faulty stick at a time then I'd definately be replacing both the same time not just the one. Is everything else running up to date, ie graphics card and drivers, does your card run of PSU power or motherboard? Im wondering if a card uses motherboard memory at any time and might be causing them to blow somehow?

    One final thought, How long you been running Vista......... bare with me on this: I read a little while back someone had trouble while running Vista, he swears blind Vista blew his system, now while I dont agree with this exactly the reports that came back were interesting as it was stated that Vista being more power hungry and its sharp bursts of power during powerup/powerdown sequences COULD have blown components, others argued faulty motherboard, however he was adamant that XP ran fine and as soon as Vista went on - pop! Take it with a pinch of salt by all means but its just a small input.
  10. Replicant, thanks for your reply. The vista thing is an interesting point. With the gigabyte motherboard, it would always seem that the RAM would blow when the pc was loading windows. But as I don't want to go back to XP, looks like something I'll just have to live with!

    All my drivers and bios are up to date, so I don't think it's any thing like that.

    So the consensus is that there's two possible problems:
    1) Not sending back both sticks of RAM; Or,
    2) The PSU

    I'm inclined to think it's the first one, as you'd expect a dodgy PSU to damage more than one stick of RAM?

    Do you guys have any opinion about the soundcard? I've got a couple of static shocks off my speakers recently, and I'm a bit paranoid about them!

    So, do you recommend I get both new RAM and a new PSU? (Could be pricey!) If I get new RAM, I was thinking maybe 2 x 2Gb OCZ PC2-8000 (platinum or reaperx)?

    Thanks again =)
  11. matteo2000 said:
    ...However, I'm running 1066Mhz RAM at it's stock speed (1066Mhz) with the recommended voltage (2.2V), with all standard timings (5,5,5,15), so it shouldn't be dying on me right? ...

    Given that 2.2V is 22% above the 1.8V DDR2 standard that the chips were designed for, it doesn't seem unusual that the RAM is dying early (although it does sound like there is something else also going on in your case). The DDR2-1066 rating doesn't mean that the RAM won't die, it just means that the manufacturer bets that the high price they charge for such overclocked RAM (faster than DDR2-800) will more than make up for the cost of sending out replacements for those modules that die and are sent in for replacement.
  12. Hey Mondoman,

    Yeah, I'm beginning to realise this. I think I was a bit naive running them at 1066 all that time when I didn't get much of a speed increase for it.

    So, one more quick question. =) I think I'm going to get the 2x2Gb Ocz Reaperx Pc2-8000. My cpu will be running at 333x9 again. So, do you recommend I run the reapers at 667mhz or 800mhz? Am I right in thinking I can run them at a 1T command rate at 667mhz (1:1 ratio)? Would tightening the timings at 667 give me more real world performance increase than running them at 800 with standard timings?

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they're specced to run at 2.1V. Shall I actively set them to 2.1V in the bios, or shall I set the voltage to auto and see how low they'll run?

    Thanks again =)
  13. matteo2000 said:
    Hey Mondoman,

    Yeah, I'm beginning to realise this. I think I was a bit naive running them at 1066 all that time when I didn't get much of a speed increase for it.

    So, one more quick question. =) I think I'm going to get the 2x2Gb Ocz Reaperx Pc2-8000. My cpu will be running at 333x9 again. So, do you recommend I run the reapers at 667mhz or 800mhz? Am I right in thinking I can run them at a 1T command rate at 667mhz (1:1 ratio)? Would tightening the timings at 667 give me more real world performance increase than running them at 800 with standard timings?

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they're specced to run at 2.1V. Shall I actively set them to 2.1V in the bios, or shall I set the voltage to auto and see how low they'll run?

    Thanks again =)

    What is the point of running your ram on 800mhz if ur not going to use all the bandwidth? Having a 1:1 ratio with a lower latency and a CR-1 will give you a lot better performance..... 667mhz @1.8volt..... U practically know the answer to ur question, you just wanted to be told!!!
  14. Haha, yes, I did want confirmation. Strangely I've been more cautious since my 8th stick of RAM died! ;)

    Guess we'll find out if it works in about 4 weeks!
  15. Man, I had an issue where I had some ram with a heatspreader, got too hot and the stick just fried itself. I changed it to one without the heatspreader, and have not had a problem since.
  16. for what it's worth you should always check the power settings on all asus mobo's just to make absolutely certain that they are what they should be
    those preformance figures don't just fall out of the sky,i have had a couple of asus mobo's when they were set at default ,,,they were not..:)
  17. Yeah, I think you're definitely right about those asus settings! I think my asus board overvolts my RAM by about 0.1V, so I've been setting it to 2.1V in the bios!

    New RAM and PSU on the way... Can't wait to see if it works this time.
  18. Ok guys,

    I received my new RAM (2 x 2Gb OCZ PC2-8000 ReaperX) and installed both sticks - seeing if maybe one of the old Crucial sticks was the cause of damaging the other stick.

    I've been running my new RAM at 667Mhz and 1.8V. For two days my computer ran beautifully (I did memtest check when I got the RAM), but now windows is showing errors again, and when running memtest I get an error:

    Test 7, Pass 0, Failing Address 0009a7d3180 - 2471.1MB, Err-Bits 00000080, Count 1.

    I tried increasing the voltage to the recommended 2.1V, but the error still appears.

    So basically it looks like one of my new ocz sticks has died in new record time, even though now I'm running at 667!!

    What the hell is going on?!

    I guess that means it must be a psu problem? I got a new Corsair HX 620W today, so I'm going to swap it over.

    Am I missing something obvious? Is there any chance my motherboard (3rd different one), my graphics card, my soundcard, my harddrive, my cd drive or anything else could be killing the RAM?

    Thanks massively again in advance.

    Asus Maximus Formula X38
    2 x 1 Gb Crucial Ballistix PC2-8500 (BL12864AA1065)
    XFX Geforce 8800 GTX
    Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer
    Corsair HW 620W Power Supply
    2 x Seagate Barracuda ES 500 Gb
    Vista Home Premium
  19. you have checked the memory slots for foreign matter??
    AND ,,,,you might try going back to basics,breadboard the mobo,ie test it out side of the case,with,,only the video,the floppy and memtest gradually adding the rest of your hardware/cards,,it is possible that there is a short when it is in the case,check your mounting points make sure that they are firmly tightened,,do not over tighten when installing the mobo..i mean given the parts/hardware that you list there should be no problems with that rig at all..:)
    p.s., never heard of ocz ram failing like that they test each and every stick before they sell it,hells bells i've got 2x512 running on an asus mobo that's not even supposd to support it..g'luck..
  20. Hey.

    I haven't specifically checked the slots for foreign matter, but I've had my case open so many times I think I'd have noticed it.

    Good idea with the breadboard idea, but I don't know if it would help, as with the Asus board, the RAMs die slowly. I.e. It would be hard to work out if I was getting a short, as memtest would already show errors due to the sticks already being faulty...
  21. And how about your house? Any other electrical problems in the house at all? You mentioned static discharges from your speakers you could also be having discharges inside your case if the level of static electricity is too high. Power surges in any lights? I know you said you had a surge protector but on some of the cheap ones once its been tripped due to a surge they are useless.
  22. That's a really good idea about the house electricity and I didn't know that about surge protectors. I just checked my surge protectors and both say "surge protection is active when green light is on". And guess what? The green lights aren't on! So I'll try buying a new one and see if it helps...

    Also, another point to throw into the mix, is that the RAM doesn't seem to die when I'm running just 1 stick, only when I've got 2 in there...

  23. Bad power supply??? I don't know if that would be it, but it's worth a shot if you keep loosing RAM.
  24. Hey gwolfdman,

    I swapped my power supply yesterday (just got the same type again - corsair HW 620W), so maybe that'll help, who knows!

    I've been looking at surge protectors online. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Trying to decide if the "Belkin PureAV Isolator 8-Surge" would be better for my computer (and speakers, etc.) than the "Belkin SurgeMaster"




  25. Your HW failure is alarming....You got a lot of great inputs here and continue to experience HW failure.

    Things that can damage electonic components in your PC...(e.g. memory, north-bridge..cpu...gpu):

    1) Bad Electrical Line: Is your line shared with any motorize load or high current load? High current equipment such as washing machine, microwave oven, electric drill.
    2) Is your ground connected... Do you have good connection for your ground. Since you are in UK your power should be 220~240V + grnd. Make sure your Power-cord is good including the ground line.

    3) ESD (Electro-Static Discharge)Do you use A GROUND-STRAP WHEN YOU WORK ON YOUR PC. Walking in a carpet floor will charge your body 10K to 15K volts and you won't even notice it. This energy will be desipated on electronic modules you touch. Semiconductors are mostly rated to 2KV for Humand Body Model (HBM) of ESD (Electro-Static Discharge). This a REAL HW KILLER IN ELECTRONICS. In some cases the defect is goes to a process of what is called"KILLING ME SOFTLY". It dies slowly.

    If your problem is ESD related chances are its not only your memory is bad...You may have damage your motherboard as well (Memory controller bus). It will fail memory checker as well.

    If your HW is still under warranty have it replace get yourself a ground-strap.

    4) Memory Soft Errors: These are non permanent error and is commonly cause by external factors such as electrical noise and EMI from your soroundings. CHECK YOUR POWER GROUND MAKE SURE YOUR PS GROUND IS ELECTRICALLY CONNECTED TO YOUR OUTLET-GRND. If not your replace your power cord. Move your PC to different location and different outlet.
  26. hi there..
    i know this is a really old thread.. but i was wondering if anyone ever solved this problem ??
    cause the exact same thing has been happening to me.. and im unsure of what to do next >.<
    any help would be greatly appreciated :)
  27. I'll also join in.

    My friend had the same problem with his system.

    2GB Crucial Ballistix
    OCZ ModXtreme Pro 600W

    The first time his 2 Ballistix sticks died he was running a crappy generic 350W psu. So he RMA'd his ram and got 2 new sticks and at the same time replaced his PSU with the one mentioned.

    Now a couple weeks later his RAM died again, bunch of memtest errors. But for this problem i have an idea as to why this is happening. I remember reading somewhere that some Crucial Ballistix were incompatible with the DS3L, and they would just die if you put them in.

    So now we'll go with a set of Corsair Twinx 2GB's and see how that goes. I'll also personally make sure he's running all his mobo settings correctly as he's not really a tech guy himself. I'll get back to this thread and do an update on how it went.
  28. Hehe I have the DFI LT P35 with ballistix tracer ram and a year ago the ram was doa and had to be sent right back. Now I am getting on partial bootup--Bios Rom Checksum error and thought my mobo was bad but I took out the ram and tried single stick in 1 and 3 slots (green) and one produced same message and the other provided screen with processor, cpu and memory test indicating OK (but ps/2 board would not operate even though with both sticks in and when trying to flash the bios it worked fine BUT not with this screen with only one stick)..... At any rate, one stick is definitely bad again.... The OP was seemingly only replacing one stick at a time--they should be bought in pairs and under warranty both will be replaced.....I am not real happy with Crucial....
  29. Yeah I definately won't be buying any Crucial anymore.

    I have heard a lot of bad things about it and also have had bad experiences with it.
  30. Hey all, Just wondering if anyone has found a solution to their problem yet as I am having the same issues?

    Hope someone can help as I am currently on my 6th stick.
  31. Hi All, I am wondering about the very same thing as paultcg.

    I have used some very nice and high quality memory from Corsair, namely the DDR2 8500 2x1gb pair. I assembled my pc in mid 2007 with an abit IP35 PRO mobo, 500watt Mist psu (reputable brand from Norway), 8800gts and soundcard plus hardisk and other stuff.

    The pc worked flawlessly until 2009, i got bluescreen and hangups. I checked memory with memtest and i it gave errors. I sent back memory to Corsair (they have an EXCELLENT return service) and got a new pair back quickly.
    While waiting on the RMA i got a second pair of 2x1gb memory, same type.
    A while after i got the same problems and blue screen, much to my amazement the memory which i tested upon arrival to me flawless was a couple of months later giving me error in memtest.
    What was going on here?

    Okies RMAed again, same thing happens, and now its almost mid 2010 and i do not know the culprit.
    I would imagine its either the PSU or the mobo, with the former having the higher probability in my opinion.

    Does anyone have some input here?

    My case is well ventilated and i have safe voltages. I read all the posts before, and while giving good advice, i feel my situation is not cleared up.

    Many thanks in advance for any tips :)
  32. Mist? Never heard of it. Borrow a good PSU and try again.
  33. Many thanks for quick reply, actually its supposed to be a very good psu. But i think i will buy a new psu from a reputable brand like corsair or something with 600watt and high efficiency... any advices?

    I used an nice enermax psu before it went unstable and i got the mist one, it was not cheap at 900 nok which is $140.

    Here is the review of the mist on just FYI (im not advertising, lol, since i think its destroying my ram)


    Google translate of last page of review:


    MIST his new 500-watt impress much: it is stable, very quiet and well equipped. Appearance-wise, it is easy, but can still give the device a certain quality of feeling.

    The power supply is also the most quiet we've tested to date, and may actually provide some passive solutions good competition. In our eyes, this power supply is a clear choice in front of Passive power supplies and their disadvantages.

    Cabling on the device, there is little to fault with. With convertible cables and support for most new and old standards, this power supply follow you through both one and two upgrades. If we were to complain about something it must be that there is no cable stockings goes out to the outermost point of contact.

    A little less with any quality power supplies have always been price, but surprise Microplex. The price tag of around 900 NOKgives it no place among the cheapest, but it's almost too cheap to perform in relation to comparable competitors. In our opinion it is worth every penny!


    Microplex seems to have a clear winner this time. With its impressive low noise, good performance and stable voltages, one should look far for a better alternative for a noise fanatic or overclockers who know to appreciate "the sound of silence". Recommended!
  34. I will buy a new psu, and when i get the replacement ram from Corsair ill use the new psu.
    The only bad thing is i wont know until a couple of months or not if the ram is destroyed or not, so its not like switching out components and quickly finding out which is the bad apple.

    Quick question, i want to rule out the graphics card and the mobo as the culprit, but I dont have replacement components. And honestly i doubt the graphics card (8800gts) could hurt the ram.
    Has anyone experienced or heard about the mobo or the graphics card destroying ram slowly? I find it unlikely based on my logic (lol) and i think its the psu solely responsible.

    Many thanks for help :)
  35. Maybe the voltage of the RAM is set wrong in your BIOS, check the manufacturer's site for the recommended voltage. That can give you BSOD and memtest errors.
  36. Thanks for your reply mosox.

    Ive had my memory on various voltages from the stock of 1.8 up to the recommended voltage by corsair which is 2.1. I tried tight and lax timings, still errors.

    I have ordered a corsair 650HX psu now which i will receive on tuesday. I think ill receive my replacement pair of ram from corsair in about 2 weeks time.
    After using new psu and ram on the abit ip35 pro mobo I will see if the ram is still ok in 1-3 months time.
    I will post my results here since i think some other people might be interested in seeing if the psu can destroy the ram slowly, or maybe it is the mobo? hehe

    Anyhows i got my money on the psu, hence buying a new one. But if my ram is bad after using it for some time, i would think it is the mobo with 95% probability.
    If thats the case ill buy a new mobo and try with the same hardware...phew...

    I wish it was an issue where one could just swap out parts until one eliminated the problem. But since it takes months to destroy the memory slowly its a rather laborious process.
  37. Its Mamma here again, previous posts under Anonymous are mine.

    I bought a new PSU from Corsair, the 650hx which has gotten pretty good reviews.
    I just talked to an IT guy at my company and he said that most likely its the motherboard and not the psu that is the culprit.

    Anyhows I will find out how it works when i get the replacement ram and see how it works out after some time, but after talking to the IT I see that I might have spent some unnecessary money buying the PSU.

    I did however notice that my hardisks are more responsive changing the PSU. Previsouly they needed 2 secs to start up when accessing a different HD that the OS one on my pc. I attributed this to Windows 7 64 bit having HDs not in use in sleeper mode or something like that to conserve power. However since that is a thing of the past now with the new PSU it leads me to believe the old Mist 500watt psu I had was singing on its last verse.

    Maybe someone else has experienced something similar?
  38. Abit not so good. And that Corsair is great it will last you a loooooooooong time. Get some standard voltage RAM if you can. For DDR2 standard is 1.8V.
  39. No one talked about using a UPS which gives surge protection, allows you to shut down your machine safely in case of black-out and to top it off monitors your line for electrical noise indicating present voltage and faults if and when they do occur.
  40. Hi.
    Did any one find a solution to this?
    I am also facing an issue where my Ram is conking out one by one.
    The only similarity is see is I also have and nvidia graphics card (GTX 460) and an /x-/fi elite .pro
    Also Corsair Dominators.

    Any idea any help is appreciated
  41. I'm having the same problem, I was using DDR2 Crucial Ballistix 1066 1GBx2 on my Asus Maximus Formula a while ago and it worked just fine for about a year, then I started getting CRC Errors when installing applications, Windows or copying files. I checked my Hard Drives and DVD Rom and they were fine, so I tested my Rams and one of them was faulty, sent both moduls back and got myself 2x DDR2 Crucial Ballistix 800 2GB. they worked for about 6 months an after that I started to get the same CRC Errors and this time "Blue screens". So I checked the rams and one of them was faulty.

    I almost changed everything on my gig since the first time I got errors, My PSU (Green 780W) My HDDs, my DVD Rom. I thought maybe the motherboard's causing this problem, bad voltage settings for rams etc, even though I set everything on defult, but after reading this thread I think the most likely reason is my bad electrical Lines. My PC shares a line with an Air conditioner. also I live in a neighborhood which often has power failure. and interestingly that never crossed my mind that it might be because of the electrical lines.

    So I'm gonna change the Ram modules again and this time using a surge protector. see if the problem's fixed.
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