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RAM failed - need advice

  • Memory
  • RAM
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Last response: in Memory
April 12, 2011 11:40:10 PM

Hi all,

I'm new to the site as a member although have browsed previously. I'm not particularly experienced, am learning however and I could do with some guidance please.

My self-build (about 3 years old now) has recently been having problems starting - would fire up but not boot/post. After a few days of testing/rebuilding I think I've narrowed down the guilty component to one of the two sticks of RAM (had 2 x 1GB Crucial Ballistix 800MHz installed). Now, I'm not really in the market for a full-on upgrade at this time (maybe in about 12 months) and have never tried OC - never had the time and don't want to fry something through inexperience!

Here's what I have:

E6750 (2.66 @ stock)
Standard Intel cooler
Gigabyte P35C-DS3R (Rev 1.1)
Sapphire x1950 XT
1 x 1GB Crucial Ballistix 800MHz (think the other stick has failed as outlined above)
Corsair HX520W PSU
XP Pro (expecting to upgrade to Windows 7 soon)

Here's where you guys come in:

1. I want to replace the faulty RAM and was about to take this up to 4GB of DDR2 Crucial Ballistix before the problems started. But I just noticed Crucial seem to have been taking a bit of a battering recently for reliability issues. As I've always used Crucial previously I am looking for advice on alternatives (unless you think Crucial is still okay)? And how much difference would an 'average' user see between standard RAM modules and the performance stuff? In case you can recommend anything from the 'compatibility list' for the mobo here's a link:

2. I'd prefer to have the same brand/type/speed throughout so is it better to sell the remaining stick on ebay and replace the whole lot with something new? If so, is it worth going to DDR3 now for future-proofing? The mobo supports both DDR2 and DDR3.

3. I don't want to do a full upgrade right now but would like to improve the speed of the system so do you have any suggestions as to steps to take now in order to make a future upgrade (maybe 12 months) easier? I have to admit I don't have time to game a huge amount nowadays but like to be able to enjoy it when I do so steps to improve gaming capability also welcome.

In case this helps, my thoughts initially were to upgrade the RAM now, GPU next (and PSU if required), followed by processor/mobo later (maybe 12 months). I don't want to have to change the mobo now but have been considering upgrading to a faster 775 CPU - if it's worth it. But you guys are the experts so please fire away! Oh, and although I've never OC'd before, if that's the best way to tackle the current processor speed issue (rather than buy another 775 CPU) then I may just be tempted to try a little mild tinkering once I know the system's stable again.

One final note...clearly I'm not bothered about having the latest and greatest (as you can see from current specs!). I'm looking for good peformance, building on what I have now, and reliability.

Sorry about length of post but thought you'd probably want as much info as poss up front. So, with my thanks in advance, the floor is yours...


More about : ram failed advice

a c 251 } Memory
April 13, 2011 6:18:59 AM

If you are buying new ram you might as well buy DDR3 (it is cheaper) that can be carried on into a new system at upgrade time. Most popular ram brands at the moment are gskill and corsair. 775 CPU's worth upgrading to are expensive and should only be considered viable if you get a good deal.
a b } Memory
April 13, 2011 3:51:38 PM

On Ram. Not saying NOT to get DDR3, But If you opt for DDR3 you would not want to carry over to new system. For your current system you would not notice the Diff between DDR3 and DDR2 modules (Your DDR3 slots still operate in daul channel mode).
So your choice!! DDR2 may be more compatable with your MB.

Your system supports DDR3 1066/800, for a New system the min recommended is 1333 and may opt for the 1600 modules.
I would recommend staying with crucial if going DDR3

Not sure on How you isolated your memory problem, did you run Prime 95? try using just one module at a time?
One suggestion is to remove/insert memory sticks about 3 -> 4 times and then retest. Reason: an oxide coating can build up on older systems (memory contact pins and or socket pins) which can adversely effect them. The removal/inserting will remove this coating. Lightly going over the memory stick pins with a SOFT pencil ereaser can be used to remove oxide coating (Not a recommend method, but does work).

On Win 7 upgrade, which is a great upgrade, Might want to hold off on as Windows 8 is do out the end of this year, or early next year.
Related resources
April 13, 2011 11:18:44 PM

Thanks both for the advice.

RetiredChief - I'll try the 'cleaning' of the suspect stick's contacts as you suggest - can't hurt considering it's about to go in the bin otherwise! Quick question on that...I used methylated spirit on the CPU previously (after googling and reading this is ok). Is the same tactic okay for RAM? In answer to your question, I tried each stick separately in numerous slots and that one seemed to keep causing the problems (I'd disassembled and reassembled the whole setup 2/3 times before that before deciding to take it step by step).

Also, if Crucial is still a safe enough bet then am I better off sticking to the Ballistix or just going for 'standard' sticks? As mentioned before, I haven't OC'd anything before and certainly don't intend to push anything too far if I do try it. I'll have a look to see what Kingston and Corsair are offering as well.

The info on what's considered a suitable frequency for DDR3 nowadays is very useful - certainly seems to suggest 1066 DDR3 would be a waste of time unless I can find a particularly good deal.

That deal on newegg seems very good but I'm in the UK so will have to see what deals I can find here (probably looking at a minimum of twice the price!). May post back to get further guidance when I find some kits if that's okay.


a b } Memory
April 14, 2011 2:33:26 AM

Whith the swapping in/out for testing should have cleaned any oxidation off, so dought thats it but no harm trying I'd probably you alcohol as the solvent (preferably 91 %).

Know what you mean, You pay pretty close to in pounds what we pay in $s which currently is about a 1.6 markup.
April 14, 2011 6:39:35 PM

Okay folks, any guidance on best choice between the following?

I know I've looked at a couple of sites so far but there doesn't seem to be a significant difference between the price of 'standard' ram and the 'perfomance' stuff so these all look decent value to my untrained eye - comments welcome.

Thanks in advance
a b } Memory
April 15, 2011 2:56:26 AM

Your first choice looks good, cl 5 rating @1.8 v.
I like the cL4 rating of your last choice, but didn't care for the 2.0 (or 2.2) volts.

The ddr 3 1333 with CL9 is probably not going to be any faster than DDR2-800 CL 5 (even thought its DDR3, it is running as if it was DDR2). Lower voltage 1.5 volts is good.
Probably the best choice, if possible see if it is on the "recommended" list for your mB.
April 16, 2011 3:01:02 AM

Well, it's not on the supported list using the list downloaded from Gigabyte's site. However the Crucial scanner suggests it is 'guaranteed' compatible - should I trust their scanner/recommendation?

a b } Memory
April 16, 2011 4:02:37 AM

Manuf suggested list is based solely on Memory they have tested and is not all inclusive. I have used ram that was not on a manuf recommended list and it worked fine. On the other hand I emailed a Memmory company on compatability, based on that bought said memory - It was not compatable. It was for a notebook - for some reason i've found notebooks (at least older ones) can be very fussy when it comes to memory.
April 16, 2011 1:05:56 PM

Okay, I think I may as well go for it then.

If there's not really going to be much performance between the DDR3 at CAS9 and the DDR2 at CAS5 then I may as well take the DDR3 now based on price. No point spending throwing money away if I'm planning to upgrade the CPU/mobo within/in a year I suppose.

I'd just like to say thanks very much for all the advice and the numerous prompt responses! Much appreciated.