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Clean memtest86 = Good RAM?

Last response: in Memory
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Does a clean memtest86 suggest my RAM is OK?

Total: 9 votes (1 blank vote)

  • Yes
  • 38 %
  • The RAM [i]should[i] be OK
  • 63 %
  • Don't trust memtest
  • 0 %
June 16, 2008 11:20:30 PM

So I'm working out the bugs on a new build. And like anytime there is a problem with a computer, RAM is always suspect.

The RAM in question is a 1GB stick of Kingston PC2 4200 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144151, intalled on a miniITX board http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-D201GLY2-Mini-ITX-Motherboard_2.

I'm finding it impossible to get XP installed. First thing I tested was the RAM with memtest, which came back completely clean. I also considered that it was a HD issue but I've tried a new HD that was known to work.

So unless memtest can lie about RAM health, I'm worried that its the mobo. There are no visible signs of damage on the board but I've been BSODing constantly during XP install (from the point of formatting the HD to the finishing steps of the XP install) and at completely random and different times. Do those symptoms seem like a RAM problem or a mobo problem?
a b } Memory
June 17, 2008 12:08:26 AM

Memtest is supposed to be run several times, i.e. more than one pass. IMO if you did 3 passes without any errors, your RAM is perfect.

Try with a different PSU, just to see if that makes a difference.
June 17, 2008 12:23:31 AM

what ive seen in the past is some motherboards dont like certain ram.
ya exactly the same thing happened to me, brand new ram/hd and new xp disk but i was copnstantly blue screening. i did memtest 6 times and everytime my ram was good. i looked at gigabytes website and it said the type of ram i was using IS NOT compatible with this mobo. so i popped out the crappy generic ram i had and put in 2 sticks of kingston and poof, perfect running xp.

now your problem is odd in that kingston is usually compatible with everything. so i dont know.
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June 17, 2008 12:23:34 AM

Aevm, thanks for the reply. You think that the PSU might be the problem? As in, the PSU might be cutting out? Would that explain all the BSODs and all the numerous errors that it seemed to be generating? From all the codes that I was reading (from the BSODs) it looked like issues with memory and hard drive access errors.

The last two codes I had were...
IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
BAD_POOL_CALLER
etc..
June 17, 2008 12:32:15 AM

memtest is not perfect. i know from first hand experience with my ocz ram, that test could be false. several months ago i kept getting corrupted files from pretty much anything i downloaded. i narrowed down the problem to ram. ran the test on both sticks, showed massive errors in one of the test. now when i did the test individuall, the test came back with no issues. both stick issues. don't know why this happened but it did. ram'd it and now everything is perfect.
June 17, 2008 12:33:35 AM

you can increase the voltage and/or loosen the timings a bit. see if this helps
June 17, 2008 12:44:18 AM

@Blake. I hadn't even considered compatibility being an issue but a quick search and I found a guy who is running the same board and memory as me. But then again, I found another post from someone (apparently) who works for Intel who says that it might be a problem (though the person posting with the problem couldn't get the computer to post - and mine POSTs absolutely fine and runs until the BSOD hits).

I'll also be attempting to install Linux tonight. If that goes through properly... does that mean anything?
June 17, 2008 12:58:51 AM

memtest86+ is just a basic test; the stress tests such as Orthos/PRIME95 are more rigorous. I wouldn't try installing Linux until you're sure you've got your system stable.
a b } Memory
June 17, 2008 1:11:13 AM

Shez said:
@Blake. I hadn't even considered compatibility being an issue but a quick search and I found a guy who is running the same board and memory as me.


Do you know what voltage and timings that guy was using?

About the PSU: don't know, just trying to narrow it down. Yours is a good brand, but you never know...
June 17, 2008 1:14:56 AM

You said your getting a BSOD during install correct>?? are you using a SATA HDD?? if you are, and your since your trying to install XP, xp might not be able to read your hdd since its sata. Download the sata drivers from your mobo's website, and then try again.
June 17, 2008 1:25:08 AM

@Blake - the guy was using the same brand and type, except he was using 512MB instead of my 1GB stick.

@SuicideSilence - Yeah, I'm getting BSODs during install (but at every stage of the install - from the setup to before XP install all the way through to the final saving stage right before the install would be over). I first tried with the SATA drive but I more recently tried with a working ATA.

Could a faulty mobo be the root cause of all this?
June 17, 2008 11:27:06 AM

Well, nuts...

Would unsupported RAM be causing the sort of problems that I've been experiencing? In general, I'm really curious why everything can be working just fine and then totally crap out randomly.
June 17, 2008 11:31:39 AM

I did a little searching around and I found a few more instances of people using the 1GB Kingston stick with no problem. At least according to a few forum posts.
June 17, 2008 12:40:25 PM

So from another thread that I'm on, someone suggested that the HS might not be fully seated. Last night I placed a house fan infront of the mobo to blast it with cool air.. but if the HS isn't fully connected, the CPU could be overheating right? Think it's worth reseating the HS and trying again?

Are BSODs related to overheating? And if it were an overheating issue, would it come up as a BSOD or would the CPU just shut the system off/restart? I've also been checking BIOS temps after BSODs, and they're consistently in the mid-high 30Cs.
June 17, 2008 12:43:31 PM

Try running diagnostics on your hard disk also.
June 17, 2008 12:53:32 PM

Yeah, I've been wanting to do that. I've tried using a working HD, with no luck, so I'm assuming that its not a hard drive issue. However, is there a bootable HD test that I could run? Something similar to memtest but for a hard drive?
June 17, 2008 2:25:42 PM

Get Seatools for DOS.
June 17, 2008 2:49:20 PM

Will Seatools work for a Western Digital drive? According to their website it's only intended for Seagate and Maxtor drives. I would think the firmware differences might not allow Seatools to work on my drive.

From WD's site, I found Lifeguard Diagnostic. I would assume that it's comparable to Seatools.

But I have to believe that this is a motherboard issue. Too bad returning things can be such a pain in the arse :) 
June 17, 2008 11:43:26 PM

Yes at this point it seems like a motherboard issue.
Try using some other type of ram. If that doesnt work then yes it is probably a Motherboard issue.
June 18, 2008 1:17:45 AM

Thank you everyone for all your help. Sadly...

I ran memtest a few more times and everything came back clean, again. I also too evongugg's advice and ran the Western Digital diagnostic test on both the hard drives I was testing with. Once again.. BSODs.

The final test and last bastion of hope was that the HS wasn't seated well and the CPU was overheating. So after confirming that I wasn't voiding a refund, I pulled off the HS, applied some Artic Silver goodness and... BSOD.

One phone call later, a package being sent away tomorrow and I should hopefully have a new mobo by next week. Too bad anyone that sells anything tech related is located in California. :) 
June 19, 2008 12:43:53 AM

hopefully that solves the problem.
a b } Memory
June 19, 2008 2:52:59 AM

Good luck, and please let us know if that solves it.
June 19, 2008 6:42:00 AM

Aww yes. I remember my first RMA. I was so pissed off when it happened lol. I had spent literally about 6 HOURS putting together my O so precious computer. Making sure every single cable was cable tied just right, tucked away ever so perfectly. Only to find out it wouldn't POST. :( 
After about 4 more hours of trouble shooting (and a few headaches) I sooo sadly sent back my GA-P35-DS3L to Gigabyte. About 5 days later, I got back a new Motherboard, put the together my system again, this time taking about 1 hour because I was so anxious to put it together. It posted, and I was finally relieved.

Long story short, put together the system, make sure it works, then spend time carefully wire tying the hell out of your machine.

Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way......

I still get a nasty feeling in my when I think about cutting all those wire ties I so carefully put together.... *tear*

Please tell us if your new MOBO works!
June 19, 2008 12:25:46 PM

Hey guys.

I'll be sure to post any news (hopefully good) once the new mobo gets in. *Crosses fingers*

Suicide - luckily for me, with the miniITX... I had exactly 1 cable tie to cut :) 
!