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<sigh> Bad RAM BIOS Flash

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August 7, 2008 6:42:19 AM

Hey guys, sorry in advance for the long post...it's been a long couple of weeks...

Last Thursday (exactly one day after being awoken by an earthquake) I awoke to see my computer showing me the dreaded "BIOS Checksum Error" message. I tried re-flashing the chip to no avail, eventually ponying up the dough for a new mobo.

I installed the new motherboard (ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe) and it POSTed with no problems, but it stopped painfully short of loading vista, freezing at the microsoft logo. After exhausting all options trying to repair my installation, I ended up reinstalling windows and starting over with a clean slate.

Everything worked fine for nearly a week until I started noticing that certain textures were missing in my games. Soon afterwards, I started getting random errors like "Superfetch has stopped responding." Then I started experiencing random game crashes. Finally, I decided to run a comprehensive error check on the hard drive on which my games are installed. It had reached about 89 percent when I got a BSOD having to do with a nonpaged area.

My first instinct was that the hard drive had failed, but I decided to look up the error and found out that it usually has to do with bad RAM. I ran memtest and got tons of errors, so I checked the RAM configuration and realized that this particular motherboard wants paired RAM to go in alternating slots (i.e. slots 1 and 3 go together) and I had mistakenly put my matching pairs in adjacent slots (i.e. slots 1 and 2). I fixed this issue and still got errors in memtest (BSOD actually).

I then tried checking each stick of RAM separately and, lo and behold, one of them was bad. After removing the culprit, I haven't seen any more error messages or BSODs. I'm in the RMA process for the RAM, but I've still got a couple questions...

1) Is it possible that a recent BIOS flash with bad RAM ruined my previous motherboard?

2)Considering I reinstalled windows and other software while using this bad RAM, can I trust that the data on my hard drives is valid or is there a chance my files are also corrupt?

3)Any ideas as to what my have caused the stick to go bad? I'm running at a modest 5% overclock in a case with a ridiculous amount of cooling, so heat is not an issue.

System Specs:

AMD Athlon64 x2 5200+
ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe
2 x eVGA GeForce 8800GS in SLI
Sound Blaster Audigy2 Value
PC Power & Cooling 650W Power Supply
3 x SATA HDD, 1 x PATA HDD, 1 x PATA Pioneer 112D DVD-RW
Antec 900 Case
Windows Vista Home Premium x64
August 7, 2008 7:03:33 AM

1. Yes

2. I'd do a fresh install again

3. It happens. Parts can fail. Could even have been bad when you got it. Plus violent shaking (ie earthquake) and computers probably don't mix well.
August 7, 2008 8:24:13 AM

Why did you flash the opiginal motherboard? Bad Checksum just means that the CMOS configuration has corrupted, NOT the ROM BIOS code) data. This is usually low battery or a software crash can corrupt the CMOS content. You couldhave tried restoring default settings and saving, then make any desired changes and save again.

Mike.
August 7, 2008 9:01:36 AM

I flashed the motherboard around 4 or 5 days before I got the checksum error. Afterwards, I tried re-flashing with the original disc only to have it give me the exact same message again after rebooting. I also tried removing the battery and resetting the cmos, it didn't help. I didn't have any spare batteries lying around, but considering the motherboard was only a few months old, I was fairly certain it wasn't dead.

Anyways, thanks for confirming my suspicions, guys. I'm gonna hold off on installing anything on this computer for the next few days and just relax until I get the new set of RAM. Then I'll go ahead and reinstall windows just to be on the safe side.
!