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Memory module, SAME brand?

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July 27, 2012 2:12:29 PM

So here's the thing:

Win 7 64bit starts crashing... I end up discovering that the problem is probably memory module #2. I make sure doing these tests:

Module #1 in slot #1 + Module #2 in slot #2 (4 GB total): frequent crashes
Module #1 in slot #1 (2 GB total): OK
Module #1 in slot #2 (2 GB total): OK
Module #2 in slot #1 (2 GB total): frequent crashes

So I buy a new memory module and put it in replacing former module #2. Thing is, I couldn't find it the same brand as old one (V-Data) so I buy a different brand (Transcend) but same

module size: 2 GB (2 ranks, 8 banks)
module type: unbuffered DIMM
memory type: DDR2 SDRAM
memory speed: DDR2-800 (400 MHz)
module width: 64bit
module voltage: SSTL 1.8

and same refresh rate, same memory timings, same features.

I put it in in slot #2, but crashes come back. So what should I do? Should I purchase yet another memory module to put an exact couple of modules in? Do I really need to put in an IDENTICAL (i.e. same brand) couple in?

More about : memory module brand

July 27, 2012 2:29:58 PM

Could you tell us more about your computer? Motherboard, processor, power supply in particular. Also let us know if you have done any overclocking.

My initial impression is that you got two different sets of bad memory.

At what point does your computer crash? Boot screen? After your are in windows? When you are playing a specific game or using a program?

You dont NEED to put identical brand memory in, but when companies sell memory kits (2 x 2GB sticks) they test those sticks together before packaging them, so those memory sticks have a higher likelihood of working together in other systems as well. I dont want to say its a guarantee because its not, but there is a better chance of success.

If you have not been, run Memtest86+ to test your memory modules. http://www.memtest.org/
July 27, 2012 2:44:40 PM

CPU: QuadCore Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200, 2333 MHz (7 x 333)
Motherboard: MSI G31M3-F (MS-7528)
Motherboard Chipset: Intel Bearlake G31
Power supply: Techsolo TP-420W

Crashes started 15 days ago. They occurred both at boot and during windows normal usage, randomly and very frequently. Removing memory module #2, crashes disappear completely.

I'm using the computer right now, using only memory module #1 in slot #1, without any problem whatsoever.

IF I put the NEW memory module I bought yesterday, crashes reappear, but only when computer is put in stressful situations (e.g. watching a lot of youtube videos).

Memtest86+ doesn't report any errors both on memory module #1 and on memory module #2, and of course on the new memory module. But I must admit I've stopped the test after just 3 passes.

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July 27, 2012 2:59:23 PM

Test each one of your memory modules in slot one, individually. I know it takes a while, but the more passes you let it go through, the better assurance you have that the memory is fine.

When you put the new memory module in the second slot, how much RAM does windows report?
July 27, 2012 3:14:18 PM

I already tested each one of my memory modules, individually, both in slot one and in slot two, letting them through 3 passes. No error was found.

When I put the new memory module in second slot windows correctly reported 4 GB total.
July 27, 2012 3:28:56 PM

You didnt say if you overclocked or not, but check the RAM voltages and make sure they match up with the memory's voltage ratings.
July 27, 2012 3:34:41 PM

Also have you tested the new memory module in slot 1 and the good memory from the original set in slot 2? Is there still instability with that setup?

If there is, the new memory module is bad as well...just not as bad as the one before.
July 27, 2012 3:54:03 PM

Absolutely NO overclock, never done that in my life. :)  I bought the computer in december 2008 and since then the two memory modules have been docked in their slots and caused no problem till 15 days ago. RAM voltages match up with their ratings (1.8V).

I did not test the new memory module in slot 1 and the good one from the original set in slot 2 because they already don't work the other way round (good one in slot 1 and new one in slot 2) so what's the point in swapping places? :) 

The point is, I'm seriously considering buying another new module to create a perfectly matching couple of new modules of same brand and stock. In this scenario, I would remove the good memory module from the original set and put in the two new modules (same brand, same stock)... do you reckon this may work?
July 27, 2012 5:37:00 PM

deadpoet said:
I did not test the new memory module in slot 1 and the good one from the original set in slot 2 because they already don't work the other way round (good one in slot 1 and new one in slot 2) so what's the point in swapping places? :) 

The point is, I'm seriously considering buying another new module to create a perfectly matching couple of new modules of same brand and stock. In this scenario, I would remove the good memory module from the original set and put in the two new modules (same brand, same stock)... do you reckon this may work?


That is the best thing to do, buy a dual channel set.

I was wanting you to test the good memory in the second slot and new memory in the first slot to see if it was just those two modules having issues with each other, or if it might have been something wrong the second RAM slot.
July 27, 2012 6:02:48 PM

I tested the good memory module from the original set in slot #2 and it worked fine (with slot #1 empty)... anyway I should've bought from the start a set, now I'm stuck with two working modules that can't work together, and what, do I need to buy 2 more? What a fool I am... :( 
July 27, 2012 6:05:27 PM

Yeah unfortunately you do. You could possibly return the memory you bought a few days ago and use the money from the return towards a new set.
July 27, 2012 6:10:32 PM

Ok. Thanks for all the advice, at least I know what I should do now... I hope that with a matching set of modules the problems will disappear. Thanks for the help and greetings from Italy :) 
July 27, 2012 6:15:23 PM

No problem, and ciao fom the US :) 
July 27, 2012 6:43:17 PM

Ciao ;) 
July 28, 2012 6:15:16 PM

Ok just bought a matching set of modules and docked them in, hope this will fix the problem... I will test them over this weekend...

Just a curiosity: the system information program I use to get all the information about my system (AIDA64) reports that the modules are placed in DIMM1 and DIMM3, but there is no DIMM3 in my mobo, as it has only two slots... how come AIDA64 doesn't report DIMM1 and DIMM2 but DIMM1 and DIMM3?
July 28, 2012 6:24:19 PM

To be honest with you, I am not sure why they do it like that, but it is the same on boards with four DIMMs where you have two dual channels. DIMMs 1 and 3 are paired and DIMMs 2 and 4 are paired.
July 28, 2012 7:02:20 PM

So I do not have to worry, everything is as it is supposed to be, right?
July 28, 2012 7:29:09 PM

Yeah, everything is fine. :) 
July 28, 2012 7:34:19 PM

Ok thanks :) 
August 5, 2012 6:26:09 PM

Hello Guys...

sadly I did not solve my problems. The crashes have gradually reappeared, both with my original "good" memory stick, and with my brand new matching couple of Corsair modules... The crashes are SENSIBLY less then before: now they take place just once in a while, and I've noted that most times (not always) they take place while playing streaming content.

I've checked my GPU temperature and it seems alright (around 50°C - 122°F) and tested the V-RAM (no error with more than 7 passes).

What shoud I do, apart from getting a sledgehammer and showing my computer who's boss? :p 

I've checked all...

-no malware
-no weird programs installed
-all system drivers are last version and WHQL

August 6, 2012 1:46:40 PM

Ok, well it sounds like the memory is not the problem then...have you ever stress tested your memory with a program like Prime95? If you have not, download it and before you test you will notice that there are a few different tests that can be run, dont bother with testing the processor, just chose the test that stresses the memory.

I am almost wondering if your motherboard might not be providing the full voltage it is reporting to the memory.

Anyway, Prime95 will take less time than Memtest did, (especially if its the voltages as I expect) if it runs just fine for over an hour then there is nothing to worry about. Try running both sticks of memory in first and if you blue screen, take one out and just like you did with Memtest, test one in DIMM1, then test one in DIMM3.

My prediction, bluescreen on test with both sticks, runs fine with one stick in DIMM1, bluescreens with one stick in DIMM3. We will see :/ 
August 6, 2012 3:24:12 PM

I will do the tests... what if it is the voltages?

August 6, 2012 3:36:30 PM

Well there are two possibilities.

Best case is if Prime95 bluescreens all tests, your motherboard is not providing your memory with enough power, so we would have to increase the voltages in the BIOS.

Worst case is if Prime 95 bluescreens the first test, passes the tests in DIMM1 and bluescreens the tests in DIMM3. That means your DIMM3 slot is failing/has failed and there is nothing we can do but get you a new motherboard or run with one stick of memory (not recommended)
August 6, 2012 3:44:10 PM

OK. Will do the tests and let you know ;) 
August 6, 2012 4:54:24 PM

In Prime95, should I select the "Blend" test?
August 6, 2012 5:20:37 PM

Blend test will work just fine, it stresses both the CPU and the memory. I know there is a test that tests mostly memory but I cant remember what it is called and I am not at home at the moment, but use that test instead. That way it takes the CPU out of the equation (mostly) and focuses on your memory.
August 6, 2012 5:26:31 PM

It gives me 3 tests avaliable and it says Blend is the one testing "some of everything, lots of RAM tested"... so I guess this is the one you're referring to... ;) 
August 7, 2012 12:04:31 PM

Coup de théâtre!

Ran Prime95's "Blend" Torture test, testing "some of everything, lots of RAM tested" for over an hour with both mem sticks plugged in. No blue screen, no errors, no warnings, computer worked like charm.

So what does this mean? And what now?
August 7, 2012 1:24:02 PM

Well it means that your RAM voltages are not the problem behind your blue screens, and your hardware is fine...

Man im stumped...it runs Memtest fine and it runs prime95 fine, meaning the problem is not with the memory, motherboard, or cpu. Its possible that it could be with your storage device, but I seriously doubt it. Im assuming that you have a HDD rather than an SSD, so download HD Tune ( http://www.hdtune.com ) and run the Benchmark, check the system health, and run the error scan. The error scan may take a while.

You also said you checked for malware and viruses, but most programs dont go deep enough to find bootloaders and rootkits. Download McAfee Stinger ( http://download.cnet.com/McAfee-Labs-Stinger/3000-2239_... ) and run that, its quick and will find and kill those nasty things.

The only other thing I could think of (because you said it happens more often when streaming content) is conflicting drivers of some sort. What kind of graphics card do you have in your computer?

Try those two out and if they dont work, the only other idea I have is checking driver software.
August 7, 2012 1:43:42 PM

Thanks for your help man, I'm flabbergasted just as much as you are... The HDD is ok, I checked it with dozen of programs and even did a surface scan test... but every test was ok. Among the other things I've checked the temperatures, the fans, I tried previous sets of video card drivers (sets I'm sure they are working fine)... I also deleted the pagefile and tried with a new one, checked every hw driver, made sure no weird program is running...

Right now I'm trying to determine which kind of video causes the bluescreens... it's not just streaming content, even local videos. Note that occasionally the crashes occurs also at boot time.

I will also try McAfee Stinger.

My video card is a NVIDIA 9800GT 512MB

It's an effin charade :D 

But we gotta nail it ;) 

So I will:

1) Try to determine which kind of video causes bluescreen
2) Run McAfee stinger

And will post results.
August 7, 2012 1:49:56 PM

PS: I'm starting to think that it is something involving Flash Player, because it's just flv video seeming to crash. But they bluscreen also if played in VLC.

And how to explain the occasional boot crashes?
August 7, 2012 2:10:31 PM

McAfee Stringer found nothing wrong.

And now videos are working ok...

It's a maze!

But I will keep trying on videos
August 7, 2012 3:06:35 PM

Try deleting/removing Flash Player and reinstalling with the latest version.

Have you ever had a Radeon graphics card in your computer or has it always been the GeForce?

Lets do a complete graphics driver wipe and reinstall. Follow this guide EXACTLY all the way through: http://www.overclock.net/t/1150443/how-to-remove-your-n...
August 7, 2012 4:40:18 PM

dalmvern said:
Try deleting/removing Flash Player and reinstalling with the latest version.

Have you ever had a Radeon graphics card in your computer or has it always been the GeForce?

Lets do a complete graphics driver wipe and reinstall. Follow this guide EXACTLY all the way through: http://www.overclock.net/t/1150443/how-to-remove-your-n...



My Flash Player is already last version, but I will remove and add it again.

Never had a different video card apart this one. Never had messy video driver installs or such.

I will do the gfx driver wipe, but I want to find a reproducibile case of bluescreen, first. So we can work our way out of it.

Will test and post results in the next days.
August 7, 2012 5:24:45 PM

Alright, sounds good.

The reason for the graphics driver walkthrough is because sometimes the drivers dont get removed completely from previous versions and that can cause some issues, and this specific walkthough covers everything, even stuff that cleaning programs do not cover.

Ill wait for your results. Hopefully you wont have any and we will have fixed the problem already!
August 7, 2012 5:35:41 PM

Let you know what will happen ;) 
August 14, 2012 1:24:13 PM

dalmvern said:

Ill wait for your results. Hopefully you wont have any and we will have fixed the problem already!


Just posting this message to let you know how it did end. You probably thought I stopped posting because the problems ended, but the truth was I had no computer to post with! The bluescreens intensified and I had to try everything. I did the graphics driver wipe as you suggested, to no avail. I did a clean install of the whole OS, but still same problems. I even tried a new power supply and disconnected my UPS. Nothing.

Eventually, I got so sick and tired of it that I had to buy a new computer, the one I'm writing from. I'm pretty sure the old one had a hardware problem, something related with the mobo memory handling (not the banks themselves). So in the end, there was little we could do to it but buying a new system.

Thanks for your steady help, I really appreciated it ;) 

Beatnik (my old PC) is dead, long live Gretel (my new one)! ;) 

Cheers,
Davide
August 14, 2012 8:54:06 PM

Well, that sucks that your old computer died on you, but yeah like you said, there really was nothing we could do about it. Enjoy the new one!
!