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Crucial Ballistix Ram defective ?

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May 18, 2008 4:34:51 AM

Hi, this morning my computer started to give me some random BSOD. At first, I thought it was related to a defective HD I was testing so I removed that drive thinking it would stop the BSOD. It actually worked for a few hours, but then the BSOD came back. To give you an idea, I had a BSOD at 13h, 13h30, 20h43, 23h...

Each time I had a BSOD, it said it was writting something in a minidump file, which I found quite useful after downloading the Debugging tool for windows. It said my problem was probably related to my memory. So I ran Memtest on all my 4x2gig of Crucial Ballistix ram and found 1 stick giving out a lot of errors and removed it. Now everything looks fine for the moment, but why would my system fail so randomly, is it really only my ram ? If a stick is defective, it should give out an error right away no ?
May 18, 2008 5:31:01 AM

You had a bad stick of RAM. I built three separate almost identical systems with the Crucial Ballistix 2GB DDR2 800. I had one stick fail in two of the three systems. I took out one of the sticks that had errors and ultimately mixed it up with a good stick. So I swapped both sticks in that machine with the ones in my machine (long story). I ran those sticks for a few weeks with no errors and finally the bad stick failed again. Figure that one out.

At any rate 2 bad sticks out of 6 is a 33.33% failure rate, not so good. I have heard other complaints about that RAM as well.

Your symptoms are classic bad RAM.
May 19, 2008 1:34:23 AM

I just got another stick fail today. I thought my problems were gone yesterday after I tested all my 4 sticks, but it looks like I have 2 bad stick out of 4 after all. I have to say that when I first tested my sticks yesterday, I didnt bother completing all the tests in Memtest, considering the first bad stick started reporting errors almost immediately I didnt see the point in completing the tests, thats probably why I didnt find the truth about the other stick until now. Still, it gave me 1 error over a full set of test and then nothing for an other pass...

Is 1 error all it takes to say that a stick is defective and need to be replaced ?
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May 19, 2008 1:30:55 PM

I'm still getting BSOD with my remaining stick damnit.. looks like I have another defective stick of ram. I'm still testing the last one :( 
May 20, 2008 12:20:30 AM

I have two sets of Ballistix Tracers PC8500 since Oct 07, have to replace a stick 3 times now. Last night, another one just died on me; so now its 4 times. I contacted crucial support today and they told me that the stick I had, which were single sided modules 1GB modules have compatibility issues with P35 & X38 chipsets. Only the double sided ones were ok. Bad news, they informed me that they have stopped production of double-sided PC8500 modules. They can either replace them with the same single sided ones or a regular PC8500 at CL7. I'm pissed. Top of the line rams my ass.
May 28, 2008 7:43:04 PM

Had the exact same problem. 2gb ddr2 ballistix mixed with similar OCZ 2GB ddr2 special ops on win XP64 bit. Lots of BSODS. Thought it may be a driver problem with 64 bit with some hardware (my first build - still learning how to troubleshoot effectively). Anyways - also bought two more sticks of ballistix 2gb ddr2 so that i would not have to mix and match the sticks. Now all 4 are ballistix and i am trying to install a fresh copy of XP32 bit. Spent the entire night struggling with stop screens taking out things one by one. Finally it installed with 2 old PQI sticks at 1.8V.
I still dont suspect the ballistix to be bad. still thinking it could be some motherboard setting or something. So decided to put in all 4 ballistix sticks and voila --- BSODs.
Ran memtest86 on all 4 sticks on all 4 slots separately. One stick is defective and am RMAing it.

My q -- my IX38 Abit still runs the 2 ballistix sticks at 1.85 volts and when I try to increase the voltage to 2.1-2.2 as suggested by crucial - it becomes unstable and i have to reset the CMOS settings. What am I missing. What are the correct settings. Are there any other steps that i need to take while bumping up the voltage - such as changing the timings or MCH voltage. Any help is highly appreciated.

TIA
May 29, 2008 8:00:00 PM

Ok, here's my situation (sorry for my poor English):
I have 2x1 GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer 1066MHz (PC2-8500) running on Gigabyte X38 DQ6 (BIOS F8). I had to RMA the first pair of mem sticks that were working in dual channel, due to large amounts of errors reporting by memTest86+ v. 2.01. The system XP SP2 was unstable and the applications installed themselves with difficulties. I received another two sticks and had the same situation. Disaster! I do not suspect the sticks to be bad. So, I forced Crucial to work as DDR2 800MHz (using 2,40B in BIOS). I left another settings on 4-4-4-12, 2.2V and FSB - 333MHz x 9 = 3.0GHz. And guess what - there're no errors reporting by memTest86+. The entire test proceeded correctly, but poor a comfort it is. In my opinion - the Crucial mems should show their entire potential working with 1066MHz :( 
My conclusion is the Crucial Ballistix 1066MHz have to work as PC2-6400 (DDR2 800MHz) with the mobo I have. I consider the problem concerns the simultaneous compatibility of the motherboard and the Crucial's memory. I hope the next BIOS should solve the problem, but the situation should be proposed both to producers of motherboards and the Crucial.

Settings RAM: 400MHz (DDR2 800MHz) ... the test is ending: none errors


Settings RAM: 400MHz (DDR2 800MHz)... test finished with success!


Settings RAM: 533MHz (DDR 1066MHz) .... errors started to appear :( 
May 31, 2008 10:25:03 AM

Ok, I admit to make a mistake;) I ought to losen the timings in BIOS and set them to 5-5-5-15. I can even lower voltage from 2.2V to 2.1V (I suppose to get stable action at 2.0V). The 4-4-4-12 timings are being recommended for Crucial Ballistix PC-6400 (800MHz) and not for PC-8500 (1066MHz). The memtest86+ went without errors. Now, I want to check the mems stability at 5-4-4-15.
June 3, 2008 7:07:56 PM

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Hello, my name is Eric . How may I help you?
Eric Shaw: Hi Eric.
Eric : Hi Eric.
Eric : echo
Eric Shaw: About a year ago I purchased a 2 x 1 gb set of crucial
ballistix ram. I have been extremely happy with this set and recently
purchased another that is different from the original and has
subsequently died after a week running at the same timings / voltage
the other set has been running at for over a year.
Eric Shaw: I was really quite disaspointed in this new set as it did
not seem to be the high quality performance ram that I had recieved
before.
Eric Shaw: This is crucial ballistix tracer by the way.
Eric Shaw: Both sets.
Eric : The new tracers use a high density chipset that not all
motherboards are compatible with. Have you tried a BIOS update?
Eric Shaw: I am on a abit ip35 - pro bios 16 final
Eric Shaw: just got released about 2 weeks ago
Eric : My Asus M3A has received 14 BIOS updates in 2 months.
Eric Shaw: This is the latest bios update for this board
Eric : If the new 8chip modules are not compatible with your board,
you should send them back for a refund.
Eric Shaw: I am not satisfied at all with that. Considering if there
was a major change to these chips it should have been noted somewhere.
I bought these chips due to their performance in this board and am now
being told that the same chips are now different and not compatible?
Eric Shaw: Who would I get the refund from?
Eric : Where did you buy it?
Eric Shaw: newegg.com
Eric Shaw: would have to pay shipping back + restocking fee
Eric : Crucial doesn't charge a restocking fee or freight for a
non-compatible part.
Eric : If that is NewEgg's policy, I'm afraid I can't do anything to
change that.
Eric Shaw: well can I rma these sticks to you and get a different set
that is compatible?
Eric Shaw: that would be the only solution that i see working for me.
Eric : We only make the 8-chip modules anymore.
Eric Shaw: I see.
Eric Shaw: Was this noted anywhere on your website?
Eric Shaw: Or released to vendors?
Eric Shaw: On your website I see you may get a 16 pin or 8 pin
Eric Shaw: Not just 8 pin
Eric Shaw: I feel this is false advertising
Eric : We have been making 16 chip AND 8 chip modules for almost 3
years on the Ballistix.
Eric Shaw: The heatsink is also different.
Eric : And it's not a choice, it's what the market is denouncing at the time.
Eric Shaw: I see. Well I am extremely disaspointed that a different
product would get marketed as the same product.
Eric Shaw: It seems that these chips are very different.
Eric : It's not a different products.
Eric : We have been making 16 chip AND 8 chip modules for almost 3
years on the Ballistix
Eric : We've simply stopped making the 16-chip modules. It is no
longer cost effective.
Eric Shaw: All pictures I have seen on Ballistix on review for the
past year+ have been the 16 pin models with 2 rows of leds
Eric Shaw: I have never seen the 8 pin before
Eric Shaw: Also with the cost effectiveness this allows companys to
market these the same as they always have the 16pin for a lower
quality product
Eric Shaw: I mean come on...
Eric Shaw: Also the new red ballistix
Eric Shaw: seem to have the 16 pin design
Eric Shaw: so it dosen't seem like you stopped making them
Eric : I know the 2GB modules are 16 chip designs.
Eric Shaw: Eric : We only make the 8-chip modules anymore.
Eric : Eric Shaw: About a year ago I purchased a 2 x 1 gb set
Eric : you never mentioned 2GB modules.
Eric Shaw: Yes. But The way I am seeing this is you lowered the
quality of these ram without letting anyone know so that you could
save money while these products were still being marketed as high
quality performance ram under the same product number as the original
16 chip sets
Eric Shaw: With pictures of the 16 chip set
Eric Shaw: As a customer I feel screwed.
Eric : Eric, I'm sorry, but I have other customers to address as well.
I understand your concern and I don't necessarily disagree with you,
but unfortunately, they have moved to an 8chip single sided design for
the new 1GB Ballistix modules that has had some compatibility issues
with certain motherboards. If there's nothing else I can help you
with, I really must get to my other customers.
June 4, 2008 1:01:27 AM

If you checked the reviews on Newgg, there are lots of complaints about batch #97432. I took an chance and ordered some while they had the rebate, hoping for a different batch, even though I don't have my abit board yet. Well, guess what batch I got? Being returned(on there way as I type this)and I'm going to eat the restocking fee and get either Muskin or Supertalent. I've used and recomended so much Crucial ram and never had the first problem. Now that they started making their ram cheaper and not changed any part numbers or anything I'm definately done with them. As I said I'm not even going to give them a chance. GOODBYE CRUCIAL
June 12, 2008 5:45:53 PM

Well, like I said before, the cheaper crucial PC8500 with 8chip modules are crap. The only PC8500 modules that has 16chip modules are the 2GB modules which has a CL: 7. Today, after two weeks of using the ballistix non-tracers PC8500, I got memory errors again and my PC freaking crashes all the freaking time. I don't know if I should just set them to PC6400 w/ 4-4-4-12 or just return them for the 2x2GB PC8500 CL: 7 non-ballistix modules. Any advice? I don't want to spend anymore money. I could get the newer 2gb PC6400 4-4-4-12 Tracers (Red) if I RMA both sets.
June 12, 2008 8:59:41 PM

Don't know what to tell ya', other than I'm done with Crucial. Probably going to become a Muskin fan.
June 13, 2008 5:58:48 PM

Well, I called and they are replacing me with Ballistix PC8500 16chip modules now. Guess they have them in stock again, too many complaints and problems from the 8chips. Finally they got their act straight. The PC I built for my friend using Ballistix PC8500 16chip modules are still up and running perfectly for 10 months. Hopefully these will last me for awhile. For those still having 8chip modules, call them up and have them replace, they will if they have them in stock.
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