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Strange Memory Problems...

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April 24, 2008 6:50:26 AM

Hi there

I made the switch from AMD to Intel yesterday and bought a brand new Asus P5E MB, E8200 CPU, and a Kingston Hyper-X 2GB RAM Kit (model KHX8500D2K2/2GN). I put everything together, popped in a new, clean HDD, and proceeded to try and install Vista. I didn't have much luck because it kept giving me a blue screen during the "Extracting (X%)..." phase, stating something like "MEMORY_MANAGEMENT...".

So I did a bit of digging, and from what I can gather the problem is caused by attempting to extract the files into faulty bits on the RAM. So I put Memtest+ on a floppy disk and booted up on it.

This is my first time using the utility, so I'm a little new at it :)  Anyway, with my initial configuration of Dual Channel, it gave me over 100,000 errors before it even passed test 5 of pass 1. I was pretty sure that's unacceptable, so I removed one DIMM and tried again...4 errors in the entire pass 1. I then removed that DIMM and put the other one in the same place...16 errors. Now I'm a little confused as to how I can get a total of 20 errors individually, but over 100K together?

Additional info: my MB came shipped with BIOS 402 and initially didn't recognize my CPU, so I loaded the latest stable relese (602). Also, I'm not really an over-clocker and prefer to run things on stock settings, but one thing troubles me.

I've never played around with memory latency and voltage before, but I did note that my RAM is rated as CAS 5-5-5-15 and 2.2V, but in my BIOS it's set on AUTO (=1.8V) and Memtest reads it as CAS 5-6-6-15. Can this be causing my errors? As far as I can gather its usually only when you set the voltages too high or the latency too low that you have problems.

Or am I mistaken? Should I take my RAM back and have it exchanged? For the same stuff or a different brand? Unfortunately they're all out of Corsair Dominator DDR2 1066MHz 2GB kits, which was my initial choice.

Thanks a lot for any help :) 
Moonfruit
a b } Memory
April 24, 2008 7:37:58 AM

Go into your BIOS and manualy set it to 2.2V, 1066MHz and 5-5-5-15.
Then retest with Memtest.
Running your ram at 1.8V is what most MBs do by deafult and is the root of all your troubles.
April 24, 2008 8:02:13 AM

outl is right. Of course, since you're not OCing and will be running your e8200 at the standard 1333MHz FSB, all you need is DDR2-667 RAM, so return the RAM as defective (after all, it did not work properly at the DDR2 standard 1.8V, which all properly functioning DDR2 RAM should work at!), and save a ton of money by buying some decent DDR2-800 with rebate for a total of $30. For example, this is good stuff: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Check out this post for more info: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/249267-30-1333-1066-m...


Related resources
April 24, 2008 8:09:48 AM

Hi there, and thanks for the quick reply :) 

I did consider upping the voltage, but got a little concerned when I took it off AUTO because 1.8V - 2.0V is green (considered safe), but once I go over 2.0V it turns yellow, and as you approach 2.3V it's orange. So I just figured that since I'm not a OC'er I could leave it on default. I also read on Kingston's site that while the RAM is designed to run on 2.2V, it can also run at 1.8V to save power. However, I'm very new in the field of fine tweaking, as all my previous PC's have been set on stock/default/auto.

Is it safe to push the voltage up that far? What kind of effects will it have on the system, other than running a bit hotter? I don't want to risk losing my MB if it's dangerous :( 

The 1066 is easy to adjust, but the BIOS picks that up on AUTO so can I just leave it there? Or should I manually set it just in case?

And how do I set the latency? When I take it off AUTO it pops up like 10 sub-menus with a lot of numbers, and I'm scared to adjust any of them :p 

My BIOS, when taken off AUTO timing, looks similar to the following 3 screens:

http://img.neoseeker.com/v_image.php?articleid=2051&ima...
http://img.neoseeker.com/v_image.php?articleid=2051&ima...
http://img.neoseeker.com/v_image.php?articleid=2051&ima...

Am I correct in assuming that I must set the following?:
DRAM Frequency: DDR2-1066MHZ

DRAM Timing Control: Manual
CAS# Latency: 5
RAS# To CAS# Delay: 5
RAS# Prechanrge: 5
RAS# Active Time: 15
(Rest on AUTO)

DRAM Voltage: 2.2v (Despite it being yellow).

Thanks again for any help. As I said, I'm very new at tweaking :p 

P.S. My dad's just taken the RAM back, since there is a 7 day direct swap out warranty and the dealer is only a short drive from my house, so will apply the settings to the new RAM as soon as he gets back :) 
April 24, 2008 8:15:34 AM

Mondo, are you serious? :o 

You mean I won't get any performance difference between 667, 800 and 1066 MHz RAM on 1333 FSB? I never knew that!

667 is probably not the best though, since if I could possibly upgrade my CPU to one with 1600FSB in the coming months, so 800MHz would be the best bet.

And for the price I paid for my 1066's, I should be able to get some pretty high quality 800's :) 

You reckon Corsair > Kingston? Oh, and I live in South Africa so we're quite limited in our selection of stock, and NewEgg/Amazon/etc doesn't work here :p 

Thanks again for the quick reply :) 
a b } Memory
April 24, 2008 8:20:03 AM

Moonfruit said:

Am I correct in assuming that I must set the following?:
DRAM Frequency: DDR2-1066MHZ

DRAM Timing Control: Manual
CAS# Latency: 5
RAS# To CAS# Delay: 5
RAS# Prechanrge: 5
RAS# Active Time: 15
(Rest on AUTO)

DRAM Voltage: 2.2v (Despite it being yellow).


Yes, 100% correct!
1.8V is what 800MHz DDDR2, 5-5-5-15, is specified at.
As anything faster is, tecnicaly, just overclocked it will require more voltage.

Also, Mondoman's link is full of good info for you. Well worth reading.
a b } Memory
April 24, 2008 8:23:41 AM

Moonfruit said:

You mean I won't get any performance difference between 667, 800 and 1066 MHz RAM on 1333 FSB? I never knew that!


A few % performance increase at most.
The 1066 is mainly used by enthusiusts and overclockers.
In most cases, the cheapest DDR2 800 will be more than enough to satisify you.
April 24, 2008 8:26:23 AM

So according to Mondo's link, Corsair should be the better RAM cause they're rated at 2.0V, while Kingston is at 2.2V?

Would it then be better for me to exchange my RAM for Corsair 800MHz with CAS 4-4-4-12? (If the dealer allows it, which I doubt cause they normally just replace with the same stuff you bought...I should have done my homework first and read up about this stuff, but I just figured 1066 > 800 so it must be faster...)

Would I still need to up the voltage then because it has lower latency, or is 1.8V fine?
April 24, 2008 8:31:48 AM

outlw6669 said:
A few % performance increase at most.
The 1066 is mainly used by enthusiusts and overclockers.
In most cases, the cheapest DDR2 800 will be more than enough to satisify you.


Well I primarily use the PC for Uni work (Office, and a variety of C and C++ compilers), music, DVD's, and playing World of Warcraft :p  So I suppose the difference between 800 and 1066 RAM won't be noticeable there. However, I do occasionally like to play a "heavier" game - Crysis, Oblivion, UT3, ProStreet, etc, and I like to crank the graphics up as high as possible.

Would the difference be more visible then?
April 24, 2008 8:39:44 AM

No. Since the data to/from RAM has to go through the FSB anyway, it will be slowed down to the FSB speed (actually, to 1/2 the FSB speed, since the RAM is running in dual-channel mode).

I would just try to find some DDR2-800 RAM rated at 1.8V or at most 1.9V.
April 24, 2008 9:13:12 AM

This is all very confusing :p 

Mondo, you almost make it sound as though Dual Channel memory is slower than single channel.

Ok, so we've determined that I won't see any difference between DDR800 and DDR1066 at all, until I eventually go to a FSB of above 1600MHz. That being said, I'll probably be given another set of Kingston 1066 as a replacement.

When I get them I'll set up the voltage to 2.2, speed to 1066 and timing to 5-5-5-15 and run memtest again. If it passes without error then I guess I'll prod on, install Vista and be done with it :p 

If there are problems again I'll insist that they swap them out for something else, preferably Corsair 800MHz. Which leaves the choice...which one?

On my price list I can get 2GB 800MHz CL5 (1.9v) or 2GB 800MHz CL4 (2.1v) for the same price. One would think that the CL4 is faster, but after all I've just learned I'm not too sure anymore. Also, is there much difference between the XMS2 and the XMS2 DHX, other than the different heatsink? Which would you recommend?

I still don't get why all the "faster" and more expensive memory is rated at higher voltages than the cheaper memory, because from the looks of things lower voltages are better.

I'm still somewhat confused, but less so now thanks to the two of you :) 
a b } Memory
April 24, 2008 9:27:32 AM

Moonfruit said:
On my price list I can get 2GB 800MHz CL5 (1.9v) or 2GB 800MHz CL4 (2.1v) for the same price. One would think that the CL4 is faster, but after all I've just learned I'm not too sure anymore. Also, is there much difference between the XMS2 and the XMS2 DHX, other than the different heatsink? Which would you recommend?

I still don't get why all the "faster" and more expensive memory is rated at higher voltages than the cheaper memory, because from the looks of things lower voltages are better.


The CL4 would give you the best performance and would be what I recomend.
To the best of my knowlage, the XMS2 DHX is the same as the standard XMS2 with the exception of the heatsink.

Think about it this way. The voltage is the engine of a car. Under normal city driving (DDR2 800 5-5-5-15) you need a smaller "engine" to maintain speed (1.8v). If you decide to drive on the autobahn, or run faster speeds and tighter timings, you will need a larger engine to power the "car".

Hope that makes sence, best I can come up with at work :D 
April 24, 2008 9:51:16 AM

Thank you very much for the reply Out...makes more sense now :) 

Only one choice left now (sorry for sounding like such a noob and asking so many questions :p ): between Kingston and Corsair :) 

Both are about the same price, 2 x 1GB, CL 4-4-4-12. The only difference is Corsair is on 2.1v and Kingson on 2.0v. I assume for a non OC'er, the latter is better? :) 
a b } Memory
April 24, 2008 10:07:43 AM

Glad I could help.

All being the same, the Kingston @ 2.0V should run cooler and draw less power.
As long as the warinty is the same the Kingston should treat you just fine.
April 24, 2008 11:12:12 AM

Moonfruit said:
This is all very confusing :p 

Mondo, you almost make it sound as though Dual Channel memory is slower than single channel.

Sorry about that! My point was just that in dual channel mode, 2 DIMMs are being accessed at once, so *each* DIMM only gets to use half the capacity of the FSB. Thus, each DIMM can be run relatively slowly, but both together still fill up a relatively fast FSB.

Moonfruit said:
....which one?

On my price list I can get 2GB 800MHz CL5 (1.9v) or 2GB 800MHz CL4 (2.1v) for the same price. One would think that the CL4 is faster, but after all I've just learned I'm not too sure anymore.

The answer is: you can't tell just from that info. To compare speed, you need to compare apples with apples. Each voltage is a "different fruit", so unless you know how fast the first one will run at 2.1V, or how fast the second will run at 1.9V, there's no way to tell which is better. This is the dirty secret of the RAM industry. The manufacturers try to confuse things as much as possible so that nobody can easily tell which RAM is better.

Moonfruit said:
...
I still don't get why all the "faster" and more expensive memory is rated at higher voltages than the cheaper memory, because from the looks of things lower voltages are better.

About all you can conclude is that if the manufacturers had DIMMs that would run at the faster speeds at the standard 1.8V, they would proudly market that. However, they don't, so they can't. What they do is take "normal" 1.8V DDR2 RAM and jack up the voltage and see how much faster they can get it to run, then if it works, they sell it according to that speed (and put in the fine print "but you need to run it at 2.x V"). Sure, it'll burn out faster, but if they charge enough for it, they'll still make more money, even counting warranty replacements for the burned-out DIMMs.
!