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Can Memtest86 be wrong with the new Z68 chipset?

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June 2, 2011 4:46:24 PM

Hi all,

Greets! I recently built a new sandybridge PC for a friend and here are the specs:

Intel Core i5 2500K
GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128495&cm_re=z68_gigabyte-_-13-128-495-_-Product
Memory: GSkill Sniper 8gb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231460&Tpk=sniper%208gb
Corsair CX600
EVGA GTX460 1gb SC

After installing windows 7 (which installed fine), I ran memtest86 just to see if there are no errors with the RAM. I used a linux mint live cd which comes with a memory test and to my surprise, the memtest that came with that distro doesn't even run - it crashes right away. So I went and downloaded the latest versions of memtest from memtest86.com (versions 4.0 date released 28-March-2011) and memtest.org (memtest+ version 4.2 25-January-2011) burned the ISOs to disk.

The first thing I noticed is that memtest+ 4.2 doesn't detect the RAM settings correctly - It thinks that I have Triple Channel and CAS of 6-6-6-20 - but its supposed to be DUAL channel and CAS 9-10-9-28. On the other hand, memtest (not with +) detects my i5 as an i7 and has "unknown" caches.

Unfortunately, both memtest and memtest+ gave errors on my Sniper modules. So I ran one stick at a time to see which of the two dimms are causing the problem (memtest86+ detectes as Single Channel but still CAS 6-6-6-20 instead of 9-10-9-28)

Things are so weird with my results and for better understanding I will name my two x 4gb Sniper modules A and B.

Here are the results:

XMP enabled running at 1866mhz
memtest 4.0 = both DIMMS gave errors (after 2 passes)
memtest+ 4.2 = DIMM A had no errors // DIMM B had multiple errors

XMP Disabled running at 1600mhz
memtest 4.0 = DIMM B had no errors // DIMM A had some errors -- (WTH! the exact opposite of the XMP enabled 1866 memtest+ test)
memtest+ 4.2 = both does NOT have any errors (2 passes) --> this is the only time no errors were reported in all my tests.

I tried different DIMM slots just to be sure (all slots gives errors - 2 passes each slot).

As you can tell, all tests have very mixed results and I'm starting to believe that memtest/memtest+ could not just utilize the Z68 chipset yet.

The next thing I did made it a lot weirder. I used my own PC and swap parts with my friends PC. My motherboard is a MSI P55-GD86 and I use G.Skill Ripjaws 4 x 2gb DIMMS 1600Mhz. At first, I tried using the Sniper on my P55 board and memtest+ detected DUAL Channel and CAS properly. With my P55 board, there were no errors at all - XMP enabled/disabled. On the other hand, memtest (not with the +) failed to even run on my P55 board - I wonder why.

I placed my Ripjaws to the Z68 board and ran with XMP enabled and disabled. Both didn't give any errors.

Just to make sure it is not the Power Supply, I swapped MY Corsair TX650W with his CX600 - its not a power supply issue.

I didn't do any voltage changes on the DIMMS or anything as I haven't done anything like that before. I just know that the Sniper is rated and running on 1.5V on the Z68.

BTW, I'm not having crashes on Windows 7 and CPU-Z detectes CAS properly inside windows. Everything is actually fast inside windows.

Could it be the motherboard that is faulty? The Dimms? Memtest/Memtest+ error? Just needs a voltage bump? or nothing is faulty?

Is there any other memtest-like test that I can use just to be sure that the DIMMS are good? Within Windows 7 would be nice.

Please help!

Thanks.

PS: If I need a voltage increase, could someone please teach me how to do it? What voltage increase is safe? I'm currently running at 1.5 right now.
a b } Memory
June 2, 2011 5:53:12 PM

Last question firest (Under Win 7)- Prime95. I find it much better than memtest86+

Just built Z68: MB = Asrock Z68 Extreme4, Ram = 4 x 2 Ripjaw DDR3-1600 CL7 @ 1.60 V

@ build, I tested 1 stick of RAM - Passed. Inserted other 3 sticks passed, Enabled XMP profile 1, retested - Passed (Note Had no problems with memtest (Used UBCD)).
Loaded win 7 and ran Prime 95 - Passed.

Comment: I never load the operating system until I verify NO memory errors.
a b } Memory
June 2, 2011 6:11:08 PM

Manually configure your timings. 6-6-6-20 running at 1.5v is no surprise you get errors.

The ram is not meant to run anywhere near those timings at that voltage. If your ram is really 9-10-9-28 (really odd timings by the way) then you need to set it to that in the bios.
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June 2, 2011 6:41:46 PM

thanks for your replies. I will try prime95 now.

@GeekApproved: When I check the BIOS, it was saying it has 9-10-9-28. For some reason, memtest reads it as 6-6-6-20. When I boot to Windows, CPU-Z reports it as 9-10-9-28. I don't know why memtest says its 6-6-6-20 - very weird.

Also memtest reports that it is running at 1810 (something like that) instead of 1866.

I might RMA the mem first and if the problem persist, I'll try a different 2x4gb mems (other brand) and might RMA the board if that doesn't fix the issue.
a b } Memory
June 2, 2011 11:16:13 PM

Ok but is the memory getting the correct voltage (1.5v)?
June 3, 2011 1:04:20 AM

Yup, I've checked and its on 1.5V. Do you think increasing it would be a good idea? I actually never changed memory voltages before and I need advice on how do it. How many voltages up is safe?

BTW, Its kinda weird that the memory errors are random. Sometimes in one test, it spits like 100+ errors before 1 pass ends. When I do a retest, sometimes its 5, etc.

Thanks
June 4, 2011 1:55:52 PM

geekapproved said:
Manually configure your timings. 6-6-6-20 running at 1.5v is no surprise you get errors.

The ram is not meant to run anywhere near those timings at that voltage. If your ram is really 9-10-9-28 (really odd timings by the way) then you need to set it to that in the bios.


Hi again,

I just found something interesting. When I plug a single memory module (only one DIMM) to the motherboard, memtest detects it as 6-6-6-20 no matter what. If I add another memory module (dual channel), that is when timings are reported properly (9-10-9-28) -- using the G.Skill Sniper 8gb 1866 RAM.

I even tried this with my own G.Skill Ripjaws 1600Mhz ram and displays the same issue. Plugging one only detects it as 6-6-6-20 instead of 9-9-9-24 (again, this is for ripjaws). Adding another module fixes the timing display inside memtest+.

On the other hand, even though memtest+ thinks that running a single DIMM has a timing of 6-6-6-20, when I go to the BIOS and Windows (CPU-Z), the timings are reported correctly.

I'm now not sure if those timings are just cosmetic errors of memtest+. If its not, it might be the reason why the Sniper 8GB throws out some errors. As a matter of fact, errors given by memtest/memtest+ are very random. Sometimes, it throws over a 100 errors before a single pass. Sometimes, it throws 4-5 errors. Another update is now is that both the Sniper 2 x 4GB (run one at a time) give errors. Before, one Sniper 4gb was clean. For some reason, it throws errors now.

Again, the G.Skill Sniper when tested in my own MSI P55 motherboard, didn't throw any error at all (ran it for more than 8 hours) with memtest. On the other hand, my Ripjaws 1600Mhz was tested on the Z68 board and it didn't give any error also (ran for 8 hours with 14 passes).

On a side note, despite memtest+/memtest throws out hundreds of errors with the Sniper 8Gb memory. I've reinstalled windows, installed a bunch of applications, I even copied a single 8GB iso file back and forth to my external hdd (ran md5 checksum afterwards) and there were no errors. No BSODs, No hiccups. The system is running perfectly fine.

Since im still on the 30-day window return period, I'm not sure if I should RMA the memory or the motherboard.

What do you think guys?

EDIT: UPDATE: I just confirmed that the memtest+ 4.2 reporting 6-6-6-20 ALSO occurs with the 2 memory modules installed BUT it is running on SINGLE Channel mode. In dual channel mode, the correct timings are reported. I've tried both with Sniper and Ripjaw.
a b } Memory
June 4, 2011 5:47:02 PM

Have you tried updating the bios?

I would not mess with the voltage, leave it at what it's supposed to be.

The timings must be a cpu-z issue.
June 4, 2011 7:42:46 PM

geekapproved said:
Have you tried updating the bios?

I would not mess with the voltage, leave it at what it's supposed to be.

The timings must be a cpu-z issue.


Yup, bios was already updated to the latest (F3). I think I'm just going to RMA the RAM first and I'll see from there. I'll try to stay away from 1866 for now. I might go for 1600 just to be safe. The reason why I bought the 1866 in the first place is it was on sale in newegg. Originally my eyes were set on the 1600.

Thanks for the advice :) 
a b } Memory
June 4, 2011 9:48:17 PM

Yeah stick with 1600 or 1333. I bought 1600's and run them at 1333 with lower latency timings.

I prefer the Corsair XMS3 1.5v.
June 4, 2011 10:50:02 PM

geekapproved said:
Yeah stick with 1600 or 1333. I bought 1600's and run them at 1333 with lower latency timings.

I prefer the Corsair XMS3 1.5v.


Thanks man, I might actually do that. I'll advice my friend to give newegg a call for an RMA.

Arrrgggg .. that memory module you just suggested just got on sale yesterday! Oh well, train of badluck I guess.

Thanks again.
!