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Possible Memory Module Issues

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August 25, 2008 1:27:03 PM

Ok, so I bought a new PC about two months ago, and I've been having issues ever since. Most noticeable are the blue screen errors I get at least once a day. They usually read Memory_Management with the error code 0x0000001a. They can happen while gaming, while surfing the web. Happens often if I'm trying to install something that takes a while (like WoW, or applying one of it's large patches).
On top of that, I have issues where my games will randomly ctd with no warning, and for no apparent reason (often with no error given). I've had problems with stuff being installed off cd/dvd coming out corrupt (again, especially if it takes a while to install).
I ran memtest twice, once for two hours and another for about 7 overnight. Each time came up with an error. Can I assume this is traceable to a bad memory module(s)?

More about : memory module issues

August 25, 2008 1:39:07 PM

not only bad but ,,maybe incompatible with your mobo,,as you have been having problems since day one.. did you check your mobo's QVL??...:<>
August 25, 2008 1:44:02 PM

Yeah I would say bad or incompatible. Did you set the RAM voltage to spec. assuming it's higher than 1.8V?

I assume you are running Memtest86+. Run Memtest86+ on each stick one at a time and see if it is just one stick that is bad.
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August 25, 2008 1:48:28 PM

It's Dell RAM on a Dell PC. I think I've read that they don't let you fiddle around with stuff like voltage or RAM speeds.

EDIT: I should have entered in my specs to help clarify, eheh.

DELL XPS 630i
Intel Core2 processorQ9450 (2.660GHz,1333FSB)
4GB DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz (4 1gig sticks)
nVidia GeForce 9800GX2 1024MB
750GB SATA 2 Hard Drive 7200RPM
Windows Vista 32bit
48X Combo and 16X DVD+/-RW

All stock stuff, came right with the PC. No upgrades or changes from when it arrived. I might just say to hell with dealing with Dell tech support and buy some compatible sticks of Crucial RAM.
a c 81 } Memory
August 25, 2008 2:02:23 PM

If it's a Dell PC under warranty, why not give Dell a chance to fix it?
August 25, 2008 2:36:12 PM

Test each stick as I said above and if any fail make them replace the RAM only instead of boxing the whole thing up and sending it back.

Alternatively, just leave out the bad stick, Vista 32bit won't use more than 3G with 1024MB of RAM on the 9800GX2 anyway.

You will loose the dual channel in the second bank but that's not really a big deal.
August 25, 2008 5:31:00 PM

So, went through the rigamorole with Dell tech, had me use their diagnostics (which show no errors). Then had me reinstall windows from the factory default image (they figured it was a bad OS install). Upon restarting, halfway through setting up windows again... BLUE SCREEN! Bahahaha. Fortunately, after the automatic restart I was actually able to get into windows and started re-updating everything.
Called the tech back and his response was something along the lines of... uhhh... call back tomorrow. >:( 
August 25, 2008 6:30:34 PM

Uh, if you had errors with Memtest86+ then you have a bad stick of RAM. The way you find out if it is traceable to a stick is to test them separately.

Why would you listen to Dell tech support anyway?

When the machine takes a dump again, then test the sticks separately and remove the bad one(s). If you find that you get no errors separately or with 2 sticks but you do with 4 then I would suspect the mobo 4 stick combo being your problem.

You might want to run this by Dell tech support though. :lol: 
August 25, 2008 9:36:25 PM

Okay. Tested each stick individually, revealing not one but two sticks receiving errors in memtest, with the other two seeming okay. I put the two good ones in side by side, boot the PC up and restore the OS from the factory settings. Get a blue screen as Windows goes about setting itself up. I open the computer up again and move the sticks, keeping one slot open between them. I reboot, do another OS restore from scratch. No problems so far, but I'm only at the point of reinstalling Windows updates etc. Wish me luck.
August 25, 2008 9:48:14 PM

Good luck.

Usually the RAM sticks should be one slot away from each other to enable dual channel operation, but who knows with their custom mobo.

If you are throwing errors in Memtest86+, then you have a hardware problem of some type. It's usually RAM, but the mobo and even the PSU or CPU can't be ruled out.

Clearly it's not the OS because Memtest86+ doesn't run from within the OS.
August 25, 2008 9:55:36 PM

Well, so much for luck. Just threw another Blue Screen at me. (just as it came into windows after updating video drivers). Guess I'm at the tender mercies of the Dell Tech's.
August 25, 2008 10:24:59 PM

One thing that hasn't been addressed is the mains power. How is the power in your house, apt. etc?

You could move the PC to another room as far away from that one as possible, or use a good extension cord to use a different plug as far away as possible.

A really good test is to use a good battery backup (UPS).
August 25, 2008 10:47:55 PM

I just realized that this thing is 2 months old and you have been having problems since the beginning. Assuming your problem isn't mains power related, I would try to get a replacement.

Again ruling out bad mains power. You are throwing memory errors in memtest, which rules out the HD/OS. That leaves a bad PSU, mobo, CPU or RAM. The chance of having 4 bad sticks of RAM is pretty small. Do you have a volt meter and knowlege to test the PSU? Do you have another computer to test the RAM and confirm it's good? If both those are good then it's either the Mobo or the CPU, most likely the mobo.

Do you have any peripherals plugged in other than the keyboard and mouse, if so unplug them. I have seen where a bad mouse or keyboard was the cause of the instability, but I believe it very unlikely.
August 25, 2008 11:41:44 PM

Seems that last bsod I got may have been related to the video drivers installing twice over each other (two copies existing at once). Nuked em both and installed the latest Dell approved driver. This is as exciting as driving nails through my head.
August 25, 2008 11:52:25 PM

I didn't notice that it was updating video drivers. Unfortunately that is not too uncommon. That's actually a good thing, maybe it is just some bad RAM.
August 26, 2008 1:59:32 AM

Well, a few hours in and so far so good. Tried out a few games, no blue screens or random ctd's. I think I'll check out getting a couple sticks of 2gig Crucial ram to replace the 2 1gig sticks (I like that little compatability selector they have on their site). I know I'm capped at 3 gig because of my video card, but it does feel slower running at just the 2gig.
As for returning it, I'm doing the Dell song and dance right now. Do this and that, wait 24 hours to see how the system holds up etc. I'm torn between wanting to have it fixed, and having it keep bsod'ing so I can send the damn thing in and let them monkey with it.
August 26, 2008 3:13:31 AM

Trust me you don't want them monkeying with it unless you have to, especially if it was just the RAM. Have them send you replacement sticks and let it go. If you still have problems, the other possibilities I mentioned should be checked. If you have another problem in a few weeks or months be sure to run Memtest86+ first. There seems to be more faulty RAM out there than there should be, and that includes Crucial.
August 26, 2008 3:17:28 AM

Spoke too soon, once again. Another blue screen (while browsing and downloading a game update).
August 26, 2008 11:40:03 AM

How's your power? Try another outlet. Test a PSU molex lead with a meter. Send the 2 month old lemon back for replacement.
August 27, 2008 10:15:52 AM

So, for the hell of it, I again memtested the two sticks of RAM I had thought to be good. Let the test run about 10 hours or so. In passes 11-13 they received a Test 7 error on each pass, then no errors for the rest of the passes (out of 20 or so total passes). I'm finding it hard to believe I got 4 bad sticks of RAM.
August 27, 2008 1:01:35 PM

I agree, especially since I'm sure Dell would only install 100% tested compatible RAM. Something is definitely wrong and it's not the OS.

Send it back.
August 27, 2008 5:33:03 PM

Unfortunately, it's past the date I could return it for a refund. It's a 21-day policy I believe. I'm gonna have to dance through hoops with the Dell techs over the phone until they decide to have me send it in.
August 29, 2008 9:12:30 PM

::Hangs Head::

Soooo.... I may have... you know.. updated the bios, leading to things becoming stable. Yeah. If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna hang around the street corner with a "I am stupid" sign around my neck.
September 3, 2008 8:14:13 PM

I would box it up and ship it back for repair. Tell them to be sure it's stable before shipping it back. Additional trouble shooting will require swapping parts, which you aren't up for and shouldn't have to do, because you bought a Dell.
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