Memtest86 1 stick RAM or paired?


This is my first time asking a computer question on any forum and I hope I have come to the right place.

Simple question: Can I test 4 RAM sticks w/memtest86 1 stick at a time even if my computer requires memory sticks be installed in pairs?

I am trying to isolate a possible RAM stick failure as a solution to BSOD problems.

My system Gateway FX400x
Intel Pentium D 3.0ghz
Chipset 945G
400W PSU
250G SATA 7200 RPM
Nvidia Geforce 8600GTS
2 x 512MB (original sticks)
2 x 1G (added sticks)
Windows XP

Yes, it is 5 years old, but it is the best I have, still quite beautiful (for my needs, I don't play Crysis) when it runs in between BSOD, and I can't afford a new PC.

When my research led me to wonder if it could be a RAM problem I started working with memtest86. I got 3 errors with all 4 sticks in and want to try to isolate the error - is it one stick of ram? is it the RAM slot? Which leads me to my question above.

Edited to give less information on BSOD errors in case that was deterring people. Or is my question just way too stupid? I don't mean to be stupid, I am trying to learn I swear!

3 answers Last reply
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  1. The motherboard doesn't actually require memory to be installed in pairs, it is just needed for best performance. So yes, you can test your sticks individually. I suggest that you test with one of the two sets, and if they work fine then test the other set one at a time, but if they have errors, then test them one at a time.
  2. Thanks for the info, I actually decided to be a rule breaker anyway yesterday evening and started running all 4 sticks independently in the first slot. 1 stick went 8 passes no errors, stick 2 7 passes no errors, stick 3 6 passes no errors, stick 4 is now on 3 passes w/no errors (will let it run for 6-8 passes though). This is passing w/no errors is NOT helping!

    So maybe the RAM is fine, maybe one of the memory slots is bad. I did get memtest errors w/multiple sticks, and from what i've read, memtest doesn't give false errors.

    I was going to just buy 2 new 2G sticks but according to crucial memory tool, my mobo only supports 1G per slot, so i would have to buy 4 1g sticks.
  3. Yes, definitely test all the slots.
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