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Boot Hanging and Memory Issues

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January 22, 2011 11:02:10 PM

I have a recently home built I7-950 on an Asus Sabertooth X58, dual GTX 460 OC (SLI), Corsair 850HX. Latest bios (this week), Win 7-64.

There are two issues which may or may not be related (???). Does anyone have any ideas?

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Issue 1

The system was built with 12GB RAM (g.skill pc3-10666 3 x 4GB triple channel). I have had an ongoing problem with Windows not seeing all the RAM. The system would boot with 12 GB and Win 7 could see 8 GB or 12 GB. I have found out this is an issue with X58 based mobo's.

The mobo has 6 RAM slots. With 4 gb x 3 sticks they go in slots 1, 3 and 5. However, regardless of what's installed where, CPU-Z was either showing me RAM in slots 1, 3 and 5 or in slots 1, 2 and 3. If showing 1, 3 and 5 then Windows showed 12 GB, but if in 1, 2 and 3, the bios may or may not boot with 12 gb, maybe 8, and Windows would show only 8GB. In both cases the CPU-Z SPD data for the slot 1 stick was wrong or nonsense or both and it would change with each boot or over the course of a few minutes. Seems like it remapped garbage with each boot.

To force stability I installed another 3 x 2gb into slots 2, 4 and 6 and tweaked some settings. The system now boots and maps 18gb and Windows now shows 18 GB consistently. However, CPU-Z still shows bad or spurious data for slot 1 (ie 1 GB, 2 GB, PC3-500, PC3-14000, etc.), wrong id fields, strange freqs etc. Once in a while it does hit the right data.

The RAM has all been tested and the system will still run Prime95 without failure in a 12 hour or longer test. Latencies set correctly.
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Issue 2

On booting or rebooting its hit or miss if it will freeze after detecting and installing USB mass storage devices just when it should do the nvram check. Cycling the power button may or may not get past the hang up. A 30 second power off may or may not have it boot. Seems to have no relationship to BIOS settings like IOH or ICH or anything else. Also can happen on a cold or warm system.

I have disconnected or replaced all my USB peripherals and changed my power bar.

This issue started after about 6 weeks of use and it was rock solid before that.
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I had the system into the shop suspecting a mobo issue (looking for warranty replacement for possible bad ram slot?) but the technicians claim they see no issues. It would seem both issues are voltage related somehow so are they common. Does this suggest I have a short somewhere? Any settings to tweak that could impact on both memory and NVRAM testing and stability? Read that g.skill is not compatible with this mobo but it works when it works.
a b V Motherboard
January 22, 2011 11:24:44 PM

Not into tweaking voltages but have you tried to flash a new BIOS in and see if it fixes the problem?
January 23, 2011 12:46:49 AM

Flashed it with the new Asus bios that came out this week but has not made any difference.

If I use BIOS default settings the boot hang up still ocurs but less frequently but then I have my persistent RAM issues .... if I up the voltages so both the BIOS and Win 7 see all the installed RAM, then hang up becomes more likely. I'm thinking the higher voltages leaking somwhere trigger the hang at the NYRAM check before the NVRAM message displays and also screw up RAM slot 1 resulting in CPU-Z's bad readings.

I'm leaning to a bad mobo with a bad ram slot but before going through the hassle of warranty or not and personal cost if not, hoping there is another answer. I'm now wondering if bad or bent CPU contacts on the mobo could be a cause this. Same difference, would need a new board.
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a b V Motherboard
January 23, 2011 10:30:20 AM

Bent CPU contacts shouldn't be a problem unless a person pushes down really hard on a heatsink to attach it to the mobo (the CPU would be damaged as well). Try booting the PC with RAM only in banks 2, 4, and 6 and if that doesn't work in 1/3 or 1/5.
January 26, 2011 1:55:01 PM

I took my cooler off the CPU and found a great amount of excess thermal paste all over the ZIF socket and under the clamp on the top side of the CPU on the outer edges where the socket clamps down. Paste may have flowed into the CPU.

Is thermal paste electrically conductive or an insulator so could impact on voltages? Wonder if this is the root of all my issues...

If it is, how do I clean the CPU and the mobo without causing damage?

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a b V Motherboard
January 26, 2011 7:07:35 PM
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I recommend Isophoric Alcohol you could buy at CVS, it just has to have more than 90% alcohol and you should be fine. Thermal paste is conductive if it uses metal (aluminum, silver, not daimonds or ceramics), and when cleaning I would recommend you can wipe the CPU and heatsink just be careful with the motherboard since some parts are plastic.
February 7, 2011 1:39:11 PM

Best answer selected by oblio.
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