First time post! Memory issue? Expert Advice Needed...

Hi everyone. This is my first post on Tom's Hardware. This looks like an excellent site, and I'm glad I found some place where I can ask knowledgeable people about PC related troubles.

At any rate, I had a few questions regarding my system and the memory installed. My system has been rather unstable ever since I put it together a few years ago. At any rate, I decided to run a few diagnostic tools on the memory. BTW, I have two properly installed 1 GB sticks of Corsair DDR 400 (3200) installed. I began with the windows memory diagnostic tool. Well, my memory sticks failed every test. I then ran memtest86. Unfortunately, after about 30 seconds of testing, there was an "unexpected problem" and the diagnostic tool stopped analyzing my memory. I tried running memtest86 again, but this time the whole program errored out, and there were a bunch of funny colors/symbols flashing on the screen, and my computer froze up forcing a restart.

So I'm wondering, does this mean I need to get some new memory? I know Corsair has a warranty on their sticks, however, I wonder if the actual memory sticks are bad, or if this is a compatibility issue between the sticks and my motherboard (in which case Corsair wouldn't replace my memory sticks). I have an Asus A8N5X mobo, and when flipping through the manual, it listed all the "qualified vendors" for memory, and although a few specific Corsair sticks were listed, my memory sticks were NOT listed.

Any feedback on this whole issue would be appreciated. Are my sticks bad? Is it a compatibility issue? Are the memory sticks what have been causing my unstable system? I have run diagnostic tools on other hardware components, and all is fine, and I have also updated all drivers. Thanks!!!
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  1. Make a bootable CD with Memtest86 (iso image), or Ultimate Boot disk which has a battery of tests. Boot to CD and then rum memtest. Could be a compataility issue as some of the older systems MBs are finicky about CL rating.

    Also try one stick at a time! It's doughtful you have two bad sticks, but possible.
  2. It is likely that you have a bad stick.

    If you have done any overclocking in the bios, set the parameters to default.

    Try running memtest with only one stick in the first slot.
    If it passes, try running it in the other slot to test if you could have a bad mobo slot.
    if it fails, try the other stick.
    if both fail in slot 1, try them individually in the other slot.

    Go to the Corsair web site and run their configurator for your motherboard. If your memory shows up on the results list it should work as far as Corsair is concerned. The mobo vendors do not keep their lists up to date. The ram vendors do, because they have an incentive to do so.

    Call Corsair for help, they are very good about helping, but want to be certain that the ram is truly faulty before sending out a replacement.
  3. Thanks for the replies. I took out the second stick to begin, ran the windows memory diagnostic tool, and sure enough the stick left in passed all the tests. I then placed the second stick in the first slot, ran the test again, and it failed all the tests. Alas, it appears as though the second stick is faulty. My computer is running great now that the faulty stick is removed, and Corsair agreed to replace both sticks for me.
  4. You should use memtest, the windows memory diagnostic tool isn't that good. I've seen memory that I tested with that and it passed but still had problems with. So I got memtest and ran that and found the defective memory.

    Thats the link to it, just follow the instructions.
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