Dead RAM - RAM module or mobo problem?

To make a long story short*, one of my RAM modules has apparently "died." The LEDs on the top of the RAM are dark (when plugged into the motherboard) and Windows is reporting 1GB installed (I have 2).

Right now I'm trying to figure out if it's the module slot on the motherboard that's the problem, or if it's the module itself. Anyone have thoughts on how to go about determining this?

I should mention that my motherboard requires a module in slot one, so I can't just plug the working module into the second slot (the one where the "dead" memory was).

*I found this problem when my system started becoming oddly unstable -- occasionally bluescreening with IRQ_NOT_OR_LESS_EQUAL on startup and the rare freeze in the BIOS. After a reset or two the system was stable (until turned off again).

I backed up my data and winced -- it's an old system and I figured this was it -- but the hardware death never came (or so it seemed). I didn't notice any problems when the system finally booted "stable," so I just kind of lived with it. Plus I've got a laptop.

Two nights ago it crashed from a "stable" boot with a PFD_LIST_CORRUPT. I decided to check the Windows System tab when it rebooted -- lo and behold, 1GB installed. Popping open the case confirmed the module was off completely. The system was stable when this "dead" module stayed dead.

I've seen modules go corrupt before, but never totally "die" in a voltage sense. Perhaps I've just been lucky -- or perhaps this is a sign of something worse?
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  1. deepruntramp said:

    I should mention that my motherboard requires a module in slot one, so I can't just plug the working module into the second slot (the one where the "dead" memory was).

    Try the "dead" chip in slot1
  2. If the memory in slot one is good, why can't you take it out and plug the other module into slot one. If that works, it should show 1 GB. If it fails to boot, or gives error messages, then you have a faulty stick of RAM.

    Based on what you posted, it does sound like a faulty stick of RAM. If you plug the stick into slot one and it works, you can download MemTest86 and run a test on both sticks.
  3. I'm an idiot -- I totally forgot to mention that I've already shipped off the "bad" stick to Corsair for replacement... it wasn't until I thought about it today that I realized it could also be the mobo.

    Thanks for the responses!
  4. I have experienced exactly the same thing today! I have a gigabyte ma78g-ds3hp and got some new 1066 Ram. After trying for a few hours to get it to work I eventually tried to turn down the MHz to get it to run. When I tried the second stick...I got a memory beep error. Now when I put my old memory back in again, the lights won't light up on top for the second slot, only the first slot. I swapped sticks from one side to the other and it didn't help. I think the mobo went bad. Can anyone confirm this?
  5. Did you reset your BIOS settings after taking the new stuff out?

    It's kind of crazy that going back to the old stuff doesn't work. Only thing I can think of is that you might have damaged the slot itself during your hours of working on it. Are you sure it's completely seated? Maybe the slot clips are a little shaky after all the poking and prodding?

    Software wise -- are you getting consistently stable boots with a second stick in but "off?" What's your OS reporting in terms of RAM?
  6. An update - the system has remained totally stable with only one stick installed at slot 1. No bluescreens whatsoever.

    If anyone has an opinion as to whether it's the stick or the motherboard itself, I'd love to hear it. The stability after a couple bluescreen boots plus the total lack of data corruption during this ordeal has really thrown me for a loop analysis-wise.

    I wish I'd kept the "bad" stick. When I saw the dead LEDs I jumped to the conclusion that it was the RAM and RMA'd it without hesitation. Now I'm not so sure I was right.
  7. I guess I didn't make self clear earlier when I said I experienced the exact same problem and it was the motherboard. But it's your motherboard that's bad. Time to replace it or get one big stick of ram and just suffer through for now.
  8. You're right. My friend lent me a pair and it thrashed and spit in the blue slots (A1-B1) but has been fine thusfar in the black slots (A2-B2).

    Memtest86+ is reporting that the pair is running in DDR1, however. Shouldn't it be telling me dual-channel?
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