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Issue causing crashing. Likely diagnosed but looking for help!

Last response: in Memory
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December 16, 2010 9:07:12 PM

Hey Community,
I have been having issues with crashing in a new system that I built a little over a month ago... I'll try and detail every bit of it to get a second opinion of anyone who may be a little more experienced than I am, and then I'll post my specs at the bottom of the thread.

I built my first computer with little or no help... which was quite a daunting task considering every little detail! It's mostly a multimedia computer, and I purchased it specifically for the sake of upgrading and to be able to play COD Black Ops around the release date. Installation went pretty smoothly and the computer was up and running nicely until I got my first crash in the single player mode of Black Ops a few weeks after building. Since I had seen many other crash issues on the Black Ops forums, I assumed it was just the game. It was a blue screen, but the computer restarted before I got a chance to write down the error code. Shortly after that, my game started crashing in Multiplayer... First hard freezes, then a blue screen every so often complete with the speaker screech of death. I read some support forums and changed the config file in the game file which completely fixed the crash issue. Right around then I started getting random restarts of the system while in windows, unconnected to Black Ops. I tried to diagnose it as a driver issue, but that didn't seem viable. Then I started to get complete computer lock ups at any point in use. Couldn't ctrl alt delete out of those crashes. Then finally I got a BSOD with the error code reading

*** Stop: 0x00000001E (0000 [repeating]

Looked up the error code and once again found many different things to try, none of which helped. I completely reformatted Windows 7 (64bit) and started over new again. Shortly after that, I started getting the hard freezes again. I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic a few times with no errors found, then I got a message stating 'hardware failure detected.' From what I know about the memory test is that it's somewhat iffy... and can be misleading. What I did to solve this issue was take out my first stick of ram (1 of 2, both 2gb) and ran the Memory Test again. This time, it came back clean. Now I am writing this post on the same computer with no freezes, no crashes thus far. I'm thinking the issue was one faulty stick of ram, which can be easily RMA'd back to GSkill for a new stick.

So, I believe I've diagnosed the issue, but I'm looking for a second opinion if any of you are more experienced than I am with building systems/memory issues. I would consider myself intermediate... I don't overclock or really push the limits on my machine at all, so I'm fairly certain the problem is not an overheating issue. All fans spin constantly, even during the hard freezes. Could this issue be attributed to one faulty ram stick? Any help would be greatly appreciated... thanks!

*System Specs*
Windows 7 OEM system builder's 64 bit
GSkill 2gb SDRAM DDR3 240pin
Corsair 650Watt TX Power Supply
ASUS M4A87TD EVO Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz processor
Western Digital 500Gb 7200 RPM hard drive
Gigabyte Geforce GTX 460 video card
December 16, 2010 10:51:37 PM

Just an update... I was letting the computer idle to make sure I had isolated the issue, came back and saw that the computer was on, but no video... almost as if the computer was sleeping and wouldn't wake up. I'm certain it isn't a monitor issue but I haven't ruled out a power supply or video card problem. It has done this same thing before much like the random restarts, without the computer actually restarting
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a b } Memory
December 16, 2010 11:30:33 PM

Blue screens are normally caused by either faulty memory or buggy drivers particularly video drivers. In your case you have identified the problem as being a faulty memory. If one memory stick on its own is identified as being faulty then you have solved the problem but if the memory is faulty when you put both sticks in then you have a problem which can be rectified by increasing the memory voltage or loosening the memory timings.
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December 16, 2010 11:54:18 PM

thanks for the reply pj : )

It feels like the system runs better with just one of the memory sticks in... to the point where i believe the issue is a ram problem. As for increasing voltage for the ram in addition to the memory timing, is that a BIOS function? Any way you can direct me to a place where I can figure out how to change those variables? I haven't spent much time in a BIOS environment, and due it being a critical atmosphere, I want to make sure I'm not creating more problems. Thanks!
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December 17, 2010 12:26:00 AM

too add to that last post, I just discovered a tool that was included in the driver installation disc for my mobo. I believe the tool is used to make overclocking easily accessible in the OS, and there is a few voltage values that i seem to be able to change.

the categories are and their default values:
CPU Frequency - 200MHz
CPU Voltage - 1.325 (V)
CPU/NB Voltage - 1.1 (V)
DRAM Voltage - 1.55 (V)

Is this something I can change to get positive results?

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a b } Memory
December 17, 2010 7:08:49 AM

You can try and increase the DRAM voltage to 1.6v with this utility to see if this helps with your memory problems. Don’t forget that these settings only apply after you have booted the computer so if changing the memory voltage helps then you should apply the change in the BIOS.
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December 17, 2010 3:55:26 PM

Hmmmm, there have been a few postings lately here about Gskill ram and Asus mobo's, I had some Gskill a while back on my Gigabyte mobo it died , I RMA'd it and it died a few months later, so as I did not want to invest more $$ into some $40.00 ram I replaced it with some Crucial Ballistic, that was a few months ago, it is my feeling that there is a very good reason why Gskill ram is cheap, half the cost of my Crucial....:) 
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December 17, 2010 7:11:09 PM

pj and dokk,

Thanks so much for your replies : ) I RMA'd the GSkill stick back to them to get a replacement which I will receive in a week or so. It seems that one stick was the root of the crash problems. When I do get the new stick, I'll install and hope for the best. If not I plan on increasing the voltage to 1.6 like pjmelect suggested. Yes, GSkill is cheap RAM, but their customer service is really good, plus the RAM itself has a lifetime warranty. If another stick goes bad within the next few months, I will definitely upgrade to a more quality compatible RAM. Thanks again guys! I'll update as soon as possible
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December 19, 2010 2:28:06 AM

*Quick update*

I got another blue screen crash and a few lockups with just one of the sticks in. However, I opened up the mobo manual and noticed that the timing for the specific model of RAM I was using is suggested as 8-8-8-24. My BIOS read 9-9-9-24. I changed the necessary values and so far no crash or lockups. Hoping that timing helped... but sometimes it could go days without crashing. Also, I used the OS utility to increase DRAM voltage to 1.6 temporarily to see if I have positive results. Computer temperatures are on the cooler side of average, even while playing games. I'll update as soon as possible. It is my understanding that even if certain settings in the BIOS are set to AUTO, it may not create the most stable computing environment.
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