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Problem with memory or display?

Last response: in Components
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May 19, 2010 2:14:27 AM

Not sure what's going on here, but I'm suddenly having problems with my display after trying to add memory.

I have a 20" 1680x1050 native display. I had an nVIDIA Quadro FX540 graphics card (DVI not working, running off the analog connection), which I replaced yesterday with an FX550 card (2 DVI connections). As of today it was working fine when connected to the #1 DVI port.

So today I tried adding 2 GB RAM to my system that already had 2 GB. I originally had 2x 1GB sticks of Crucial PC2-5300 DDR2-667 memory. I tried to add 2 more 1GB sticks of PC2-5300 DDR-667 memory that originally came out of an HP ProLiant server. The sticker on all 4 sticks of RAM looks nearly identical, saying 1GB 2RX8 PC2-5300E-555-12-G0, 1GB, DDR2, 667, CL5, ECC. My original 2 sticks are Crucial brand, and it says Country of Origin USA. The other 2 sticks I tried putting in from the server have an HP sticker on them, and say Country of Origin Puerto Rico.

As of noon today the 2 sticks of HP memory were working just fine in the HP server.

Tonight I put those 2 sticks of HP memory into the 2 open black slots on my mobo. My original memory sticks are in the blue slots.

When I turned on the machine, I had 3 beeps in slow succession. Nothing came on the display. It stayed in powersave mode. I turned off the machine, took the HP memory back out, and turned it on again. Still nothing on the display.

I disconnected the display cable and plugged it back in. Finally got something on the screen, but it was my 1680x1050 desktop stretched out. For some reason the display thinks it's getting a 1024x768 signal for a 1680x1050 desktop. When I move the mouse around, the desktop pans around to the edges. The display keeps popping up a message about needing to set the resolution to 1680x1050. Display properties show 1680x1050, yet the display thinks it's getting 1024x768.

I tried removing and reseating the FX550 card, and re-installing the latest nVIDIA driver. No change.

What could be the problem? How could these display issues be caused by the memory installation? Why am i still having these problems even after removing the HP memory? Why won't the HP memory work when it seems to be exactly the same type as the Crucial memory?

More about : problem memory display

May 19, 2010 5:27:53 AM

You did an excellent job describing your problem, but you forgot the information we need the most to help you: Your system specs, especially, what motherboard? Was this an OEM machine? You mentioned "server", is it an actual "server" motherboard or are you just using a regular desktop system as a server?

The motherboard is relevant for us to help you. If it is a server motherboard, you will need ECC memory. Of course, if you are talking about the pentium 4 in your signature, this is not the case.
If your motherboard is a very old desktop board, it may be limited to 2GB of system memory. I think 2006 is the last of those, but I am unsure.
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a b } Memory
May 19, 2010 5:28:39 AM

It seems like a video driver conflict far more than a RAM problem. Did you make sure to completely remove all drivers before installing new ones?
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May 19, 2010 12:39:11 PM

My machine is one I built in 2006 using an Intel D945GNT board. It has 4 memory slots. Pentium-D 3.2 GHz processor and 2x 1GB sticks of DDR2-667 ECC memory.

The server I mentioned is an HP ProLiant server at my office, also running Pentium-D @ 3.4 GHz, and it also had 2x 1GB sticks of DDR2-667 ECC memory.

Both memory setups in both machines worked fine as of yesterday noon. The new 2x 2GB sticks of DDR2-667 ECC memory I just installed in the server yesterday also works fine.

Reason for trying to use this "hand-me-down" memory is that I need more power on my home machine for doing office work (architecture) but I can't afford to upgrade at this time. I figured it would work fine because both my system and the office server are about the same vintage (mid-2006), use similar processors, and similar memory with spec labels that look nearly identical.

I forgot to mention that when I removed the FX540 graphics card and installed the FX550 card on Monday, I d/l and installed the very latest nVIDIA driver at that time and it was working fine. The graphics issues just started after messing with the memory, and I tried re-installing that same driver but no dice. The graphics card is still sending out the correct 1680x1050 resolution, but for some reason the monitor thinks it's getting a 1024x768 signal, and it's stretching that 1024x768 area to the full 1680x1050 display area such that I have to "pan-n-scan" around my desktop to see everything.
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May 20, 2010 11:23:17 AM

Can anyone help? I really need my computer but I can't really use it in its current condition. I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do.
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May 20, 2010 2:26:42 PM

I'm not sure I understand. Did you try to put ECC memory in your desktop?
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May 20, 2010 3:51:23 PM

Yes. The memory I had in there before was ECC, and it was working fine. I tried adding 2 more ECC sticks (identical specs, different manufacturers), and now having these problems. Even after removing the additional sticks and leaving my original 2 sticks of ECC memory in there, I'm still having the problems with the display.

For some reason when I power on the machine, the display stays in Powersave mode, as if it's not getting any input, until it gets to the XP login screen. I don't see any Intel splash screen, nothing about hitting F2 or F12, no XP startup screen, nothing, until it gets to the XP user login.
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May 21, 2010 3:04:15 PM

Well I tried various setups last night.

- Removed FX550 card, connected display to motherboard VGA connection, everything seemed back to normal

- Tried putting the HP memory in again along with my Crucial memory, nothing would come up on display at all

- Tried running with the HP memory alone, got the 3 slow beeps during POST and nothing on display

- Put the Crucial memory back in by itself, and my old FX540 graphics card. and all seems to be back to normal before I started any of this mess.

So, it seems that the FX550 card may be fried? And it's fried because of that HP memory I tried to use? That just seems toooo weird.
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a b } Memory
May 21, 2010 5:38:49 PM

It sounds like the HP RAM isn't compatible with your motherboard. Do you have the model # for your Crucial RAM? I highly doubt the Crucial RAM is ECC RAM. ECC RAM is not used in desktop systems.
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May 21, 2010 6:19:37 PM

It clearly says ECC on the label on each stick of Crucial RAM.

I just checked my Newegg.com order history from 2006, and this is the exact memory I have... was $125 a stick back then!!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Server Memory Model CT12872AA667 - this has been in my machine for 4 years with no issues.

*edit* now this is odd... Intel says my board takes non-ECC memory, and yet the Crucial memory I'm using very clearly is ECC and I've had no problems with it.

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/d945g...
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a b } Memory
May 21, 2010 6:38:38 PM

Sounds like you got lucky that your Corsair RAM ran at all in the system. You're right, your motherboard isn't even supposed to support ECC RAM.
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May 21, 2010 8:50:03 PM

hmm that is odd. Guess I'd be better off just spending $100 for 4 GB of non-ECC DDR2-667 memory.... or wait until I can upgrade everything, 64-bit, 8 GB RAM, etc.
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