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4 sticks of memory killing my motherboard? (Now with BSoD!)

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March 31, 2009 9:19:16 PM

My mainboard: MSI MS-7191 1.0

There's something strange about this mainboard. I originally had 4x 512MB DDR sticks (there are 4 slots on the mainboard) but the system would consistently freeze up when it was expected to use any significant amount of ram. I removed one of the sticks and the system ran fine, so I assumed the ram was bad. After finally being fed up with having only 1.5GB of ram, I bought a used 512 DDR and installed it in the empty slot. Now I'm encountering the same problem again. The mainboard just doesn't seem to be able to handle all 4 slots filled or some other nonsense.

Does anyone have any idea why this is happening? My system won't run with all 4 slots filled but it's becoming too slow to run on only 1.5GB. Unfortunately I can't afford to do any significant upgrades. Please help!
a b V Motherboard
March 31, 2009 9:41:22 PM

Sometimes you have to increase RAM voltage and/or relax timing in the BIOS to use 4 modules.
March 31, 2009 10:27:30 PM

I don't see any options for the voltage and timing in the BIOS.
Related resources
March 31, 2009 10:44:24 PM

Alright, so I found two properties that I assume should be related to voltage and timing:

"Adjust DDR Memory Frequency"
Options are:
100MHz
133MHz
166MHz
200MHz

"Ratio Change"
Description says: "If AUTO, FID/VID will be left at the rated frequency/voltage. If MANUAL, FID/VID will be set based on user selection in setup."
Options are:
5x to 25x in 5x increments.

This is mostly Greek to me, can anyone point me in the right direction?

My RAM is DDR 400, if that's important to note.
March 31, 2009 11:18:31 PM

While you may need to relax the timings or increase voltage, as Zenthar suggested, you might also have a ram slot that's shorting out. You might try shifting the ram so that you take a stick out of one of the slots and put it in the suspect slot. If the computer works fine, then the slot is probably good. If it freezes, then the motherboard has a problem. Another possible problem is that the power supply doesn't have enough power to run all four slots. Not likely, but can happen if its old, is from one of the cheap companies (Aspire, etc) or just too low a wattage in the first place.

Last thing is you might consider taking out the four sticks of ram and putting in two 1gb sticks. That would allow a 1T timing instead of the 2T that you have with either three or four sticks. I see that you don't have much money to spend, but going for the two sticks of 1gb ram might be your best option for the money, especially if the motherboard has a problem.
a b V Motherboard
March 31, 2009 11:19:19 PM

Can you confirm it is this board: link. I checked the manual and found nothing about adjusting RAM voltage, maybe you should check with tech support :( .
March 31, 2009 11:27:16 PM

You want to choose 200 for DDR400 also as mentioned make sure its running at 2T in the timing with 4 sticks. Might check with manufacture for proper voltage I have a ASUS A8N-E with corsair memory it runs at 2.5 volts running 4 sticks at that voltage fine. You didn't mention voltage you may have to choose manual timing to be able to change voltage option, just pick 200MHZ for DDR400.
March 31, 2009 11:29:28 PM

Try 3 sticks then run memory test.What happens?
then do 4 sticks,run same test.
May be bad ram stick or m/b socket.confirm Thier good before messn with voltages etc.
Also try and find what your ram voltages are from manufacturer,if they are lets say 2.4volts(example only)Try bummping up to 2.45volts,or more.have to set frequency/voltage manualy.
Read up on this some more on web,lots of info out there.
a b V Motherboard
March 31, 2009 11:51:08 PM

LOL @ MSI motherboard - there poor as it is

ram golden rules - least amount of sticks, matched sticks, and +0.1v for 4 sticks etc
a b V Motherboard
April 1, 2009 12:12:43 AM

1. Get rid of the 4x512 and get 2x1..
2. SOME mobo's do not play well with 4x1 of ram. I think it is a timing/voltage issue ??
3. If you have 2x1 of ram the system will run a much more responsively..:) 
April 1, 2009 12:59:22 AM

Thanks for all your help folks, especially Zenthar. I set the frequency for the memory to a manual setting of 200MHz and now it seems to be working fine. I definitely won't be buying MSI again if I can help it. Seems that the BIOS was automatically setting the frequency too low.
April 1, 2009 2:30:30 AM

Well, it looks like my problems aren't over. It's not freezing up anymore, but now I'm getting the blue screen of death. If I need to change the timing, how would I go about doing that and what should I be changing it to? Again, any help would be really appreciated.
!