Hi All, I'm nearing the last straw. Any help is greatly appreciated:
Problem: Random BSOD while windows is running, and sometimes system freezing. After BSOD the system goes into 'reboot' loop and either hangs at "Initializing USB connections" (forget exact wording) or reboots just after the Windows boot screen comes up.
Actions thus far: All my BSOD logs point to a ram error/failure as the reason for the reboot. I've replaced ram several times. This solves the problem for 2-3 months but then the problem returns. I put new ram in and 2-3 months later the problem returns. I've gone through this cycle 3 times now.
I've memtested my ram every time before RMA'ing and each time it has failed. The most recent time my local computer store memtested it prior to doing the RMA and the same ram that failed my memtest the day prior, passed their same memtest a day later.
Bad mobo ram slot(s)? No. The motherboard has been changed, twice. Bad power supply? No. Power supply has been changed three times.
Nothing is over clocked, BIOS has been updated (scary when experiencing ram issues), system temperatures are fine. Video card is new. No other PCI cards installed. All USB peripherals have been removed.
The only static components throughout all of this have been the CPU, DVD Rom, hard drive, and my house.
I'm leaning toward the CPU as of right now as the culprit, but I'm really grasping at straws.
Can anyone provide any insight to cut my trouble shooting time down here a bit?
Parts list as best I can remember at this moment is as follows.
CPU: Intel Core 2 DUO E4600 (not o/c'd)
RAM: 4 GB (4 sticks) Crucial BallistX DDR2 800 MHZ PC2-6400 (Gone through 4 different packages of this stuff throughout trouble shooting)
HD: Seagate 500 GB 7200 RPM 32 MB cache
OS: Vista (various formats/reinstalls - attempted downgrade to XP which resulted in BSOD).
Case: Antec Sonata II
Changed out/swapped components:
PSU: Corsair 450W PSU replaced with OCZ 550W
Mobo: Asus P5K replaced with Asus P5Q
Video: Geforce budget card (7800 I think) replaced with Geforce 9800 GT
Sound: SB Live Platinum and onboard
This all started 3 months after upgrading to the e4600, p5k, corsair PSU, ballistX ram, budget geforce card and seagate drive listed above.
Think I got most of what the form asks for between the two posts. Let me know if I've missed anything.
Have you ever gone into the BIOS and confirmed that the RAM was indeed running at the correct timings and frequency and especially voltage? Crucial RAM needs a lot of volts, one of the reasons we do not recommend it here, ever.
4 sticks of Crucial 800 mhz RAM in a P45 board... that's a recipe for disaster alright. P45 boards don't like to have all 4 slots filled anyway, and then if it's undervolted that's worse. Typically you have to OVERVOLT the RAM to use all 4 slots on a P45 board. Especially if this is a plain P5Q or P5Q Pro. The P5Q-E and higher have better voltage regulation.
Don't get me wrong, all Asus P45 boards are good. They just have their quirks like many others.
When you upgraded, did you start with a fresh installation of Windows? And is this XP or Vista?
Interesting you mention the RAM voltage. Prior to finding this forum I had not checked the voltage settings, however, another post that brought me here talked about a big culprit of ram problems now-a-days being the voltage issue. I checked the BallistX specs, and sure enough, the voltage they list as spec is 2.0V and my default mobo settings are 1.8V.
Just after my first post I changed the V setting to 2.0 in the BIOS and it has been running beautifully ever since. I'll monitor it over the next few days and unless I get another BSOD I think your advice, and that of the poster in the other thread, are bang on.
And yes, it's a clean Vista install (multiple clean Vista installs). I tried to install XP but it blue screened prior to the installation completing.
Cheers for the help... if I could buy ya a beer I would!
OK just post here again if you get into any more troubles
So tweaking the ram voltage does seem to help, but not cure the problem. I tried putting the V to 2.0 with some success, although still received a memory dump/blue screen after a few days. I then changed to 2.2 and it seemed to help a bit more, but the issue still reoccurred. 2.4 V caused the system to lock up almost instantly when Windows loaded. I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but my bios will only let me raise/decrease V in increments of .2.
Although it's manageable at 2.2, it's definitely not ideal. Do you think I just need to change the brand of RAM I'm using and move to 2 x 2 GB sticks instead of 4 x 1 GB sticks?