I have a built computer that I didn't build and don't know an incredible amount on. The thing's just suddenly blinking out on me for no reason (the most extensive stress I'm putting on it is going online.)
I've done a lot of reading, trying to find people with a problem similar to mine, and am looking to make this thing stable. I loaded the optimized defaults through BIOS, to no avail; loaded fail-safe defaults to no avail, and tried changing the clock from 9-9-9-24 to 8-8-8-21 to no avail.
I ran Memtest on it with it's original settings, and it came up with like 700 errors in three rounds. I loaded up the fail-safe settings and got one error on the second round. It still blinked out on me. Not even a blue screen -- it's like someone pulled the plug then put it back in.
Additionally, you should never get RAM errors. If you're getting RAM errors at defaults on the motherboard, you'll need to figure out which of the two sticks is causing the issue and start the RMA process for the bad one.
Take the RAM stick out of the slot furthest from the processor (most likely DDR3_2, but could be DDR3_4 depending on the size of your heatsink) and run memtest with the single stick in the DDR3_1 slot. If there are no errors with the stick in DDR3_1, replace it with the stick you removed from DDR3_2 and run memtest again (keeping the other stick out). Chances are you'll only see the error with one of them.
If your RAM is installed in DDR3_3 and DDR3_4 due to your heatsink taking up space, substitute DDR3_3 for DDR3_1 and DDR3_4 for DDR3_2 in the instructions above.
ubercake, you live up to your name. Not only are you no doubt delicious, but you hit the nail on the head. Much appreciated!
The memory sticks were in in slots 3 and 4, and it turns out slot 4 had a bad stick (based on memtest). I haven't had a chance to run my computer for a while and see if it works fine with that one good stick, but so far we're off to a good start. So now what can I do with this bad stick? Just toss it and get a new one? Or maybe there's some way to clean it?
With that, I'm under the impression the memory should match, so I should probably get the exact same one (G.SKILL F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK).
Also, can I have three sticks plugged in, or will that screw up some sort of balance in the system?
One other thing -- if there's only two sticks, is it better for any reason that the memory goes to slot 1 & 2 by default over slots 3 & 4?
Memory in slot 1 and 2 or 3 and 4 will work just fine. That's up to you.
If your RAM is still under warranty, I'd pursue contacting G-Skill and having them live up to their warranty. Tell them about the memtest result and how you've isolated the problem to one module. That should start the RMA process. You can run with one module in single channel mode until they get a new stick out to you.
If it's not under warranty, you'll have to look at replacing it. You could look for a single stick with the same model / brand / timings / voltage requirement; in essence the same part number as the existing stick. You don't necessarily need to buy a kit for dual channel to work correctly as we've seen some articles out there with non-matched pairs running just fine and equally well (though again same model / brand / timings / voltage). There's usually a sticker on the RAM's heat sink that can assist with the part number you'll need to look for. If you're not sure, in the least, whether or not you can find a single stick that matches the functioning stick in your system, you could order a new equivalent 2x2GB kit for around $50.
Regarding the use of three sticks, if you do so, the board will run in single-channel mode. The motherboard manual shows dual-channel mode functioning only when using two or four sticks.
Thanks again, ubercake. There is indeed a sticker on the side so I'll probably just order a new stick with the same number.
But, of course, as I was looking online this morning, the computer again restarted on me. I have no idea what it could be at this point, but one thing that the aforementioned sticker on the RAM stick has is the 8-8-8-21 clock designation, and oddly enough my PC defaults to 9-9-9-24. That is, that's auto for the DDR3 Timing Items.
Could this discrepancy have anything to do with it? And actually, could the error on the bad stick have been caused from the settings on the PC being wrong?