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Bad Memory?

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November 11, 2009 2:25:12 PM

hey folks,
i've had minor stability issues since i built my e6600 setup a couple years ago, these issues seem to be quickly exaggerated when attempting even modest oc'ing. i'm wondering if it looks like bad memory to you? thanks in advance for any help ;)  ...

setup:
e6600 2.4 @ 2.6MHz (289x9) 1.2V, MSI P965 Platinum (up to date BIOS), corsair xms2 ddr2-800 (week 23 of 06), XP sp2. i've knocked the DRAM down to 667 for a FSB/DRAM of 4:5 (vs 2:3 on auto), and it seems very slightly more stable. i believe the multiplier is fixed at 9 with this board/cpu combination. stock air cooled, temps at load are well below 50C at all of these settings, i've tried adding up to 0.0500V to the CPU with no improvements in stability so i've returned it to stock VID. the primary use of this machine is hd video editing.

behavior:
from stock to 2.6/7MHz: mostly stable, after using dvd drive multiple times system often fails to launch new applications (does nothing, only previously open apps are functional), wont restart through os, have to force. occasionally it becomes sluggish over time and needs to be restarted. very rarely system will restart at random.
at 2.8MHz: prime95 blend will eventually error, restarts are more regular at full load
at 3.0MHz: windows will not boot

memtest86:
says 5 errors, also says fails test #7 with 56 errors, 122 err confidence, lowest address 0MB, highest address 4095MB

i'm definitely no expert but i think this machine should be able to run stable at 3 to 3.2 with stock cooling, as i've had no temperature issues.

thanks again for any help, let me know if there's additional info i can provide or if there's something i should test.
cheers

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a b } Memory
a c 197 K Overclocking
November 14, 2009 8:58:59 AM

Here's what I would do ...

Put everything back to stock settings. You need to resolve the stability problems at stock speed first. That means that you need to fix the problems that memtest is finding. The Corsair memory may simply require a little more voltage to run reliably.

Once you solve those problems, adjust your BIOS settings to run an FSB/RAM ratio of 1:1. That means that your memclock should be twice the FSB. That is the most stable setting.

The following is a cut 'n paste from one of my OC replies.

This should be your first stop.
HOWTO: Overclock C2Q (Quads) and C2D (Duals) - Guide v1.6.1
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] uals-guide

This should be your second stop. You need to know something about thermal management or you can fry your CPU. It's actually kind of difficult to fry a modern CPU, but it is possible.
Core 2 Quad and Duo Temperature Guide
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] ture-guide

Third stop will be a guide for your particular motherboard. Google is your friend.

For anything higher than about 3.0 GHz, you will need better cooling. Here are two under $50 heatsinks that are pretty popular:
Sunbeam
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835207004
Xigmatec Dark Knight
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835233029

They both require a somewhat different approach to applying thermal compound.
Suggestions for applying thermal compound:
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index. [...] mitstart=5

And they are pretty large, so they might not fit inside your case.

Keep in mind that these are guides, not cookbooks. YMMV. Your Mileage May Vary. Because of all the variables, you may not do as well as someone else with a similar system. Or you might do better.
----------
Overclocking since 1978 - Z80 (TRS-80) from 1.77 MHz to 2.01 MHz
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a b } Memory
a b K Overclocking
November 14, 2009 2:01:17 PM

Memtest errors almost guarantee BAD RAM.

You likely have a lifetime Warranty on your RAM.

If you have more than one stick, try running one at a time and test each with Memtest.

RMA your RAM.

If you RMA, consider getting a little more RAM just to have some before you do so. I assume you have a 32-bit system which can handle about 3GB of RAM. In this case, if you have 2GB (2x1GB) get another 1GB (2x512MB). I'm also assuming you have 4 slots. If you only have two slots it makes it harder as you'd have to either go without RAM while you RMA or buy some and sell your returned RAM.
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December 1, 2009 6:13:36 PM

wow, yea, memory voltage was definitely the issue. i never considered that the memory was having issues running at stock speed/voltage. slight increase in voltage and it's very stable/error free.
thanks for the idea ;) 
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a b } Memory
a b K Overclocking
December 3, 2009 12:13:35 AM

Good things are okay.

If you have BAD RAM you can get corrupted software. I wouldn't do anything unless you have problems, but in case you get regular problems you can't fix you may have to reinstall your Operating System. That can be complicated and beyond the scope of this response.

I do recommend you make a backup of your Operating System. I use Acronis True Image. There are other programs. Here's what i do:

1) Install Acronis True Image
2) Make a BACKUP to my second hard drive (don't backup to the same hard drive)
3) settings: DVD size split (4.7GB), second from highest compression, VERIFY Backup..
4) Create another folder to MANUALLY BACKUP other things

*You can also set up Acronis to do Incremental backups every week or so so that Windows and all your programs, settings, etc are all backed up. You can JUMP to any one of these Incremental backups (usually you just choose the latest).

It's a real big pain to have to reinstall an Operating System. Many people don't have any disks. Even if you have the disks or a Factory installed Image on your main hard drive you have to start from scratch and likely will lose much of your data as most people don't backup things regularly.

I can not stress how important using a program like Acronis True Image is. Acronis TI and a secondary Western Digital 1TB Green drive is the best bet for backup/storage. I've seen sales at places like NCIX for $80 or so.

Computer settings I recommend:
1) CPU can enter low power mode (may need to Google that; Vista/Win7 it's 100% and 5%)
2) Turn OFF hard drive (I use 20 minutes)
3) Turn OFF monitor
4) Hibernate when shutting down
5) STANDBY after 30 minutes (experiment) if you use your PC regularly throughout the day
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