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Can unsupported ram toast a mobo?

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August 22, 2012 11:27:22 PM

Hello,
Have just atempted to install G Skill 4G RipJaws on an Asus P7-p55 LX mobo. System would not boot - the MemOK light came on, and the system never hit the disk. I let the MemOk cycle proceed till it went steady. Fans and power - no boot; screens blank.

The system has been running for about 3 yrs on 8G of plain Kingston ram. Reinstalled - same deal - MemOK cycle, fan lites, etc, no boot.

Pulled power cord and powered off supply in all mem changes. Pulled CMOS battery AND set RTC jumper to reset positon, for 45 mins. Restored batt and RTC, reinstalled power - and with the Kingston back in - same deal! No boot, MemOK light is on...

SO - did I toast the mobo by having the incorrect G.Skill mem in? It is VERY close to Asus specs:
DDR3-1333 PC3 10666 --- GS F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL.

Regards

=Alan R.
August 22, 2012 11:37:23 PM

No, It will not toast your MOBO, The most it can do is not start or you'll get a beep code. Anyways those ram are compatible with your MOBO, It's DDR3. And the slowest mhz, So it's defiantly compatible. Did you stick it inside all the way? (Don't you dare comment with "Thats what she said"
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August 23, 2012 12:10:46 AM

Thanks pr3 - I really didn't think so, but this is SOO bizarre! Even though the mem isn't EXACLTY on the Asus list, I figured it was damn close - just a new rev. I was very careful about seating the ram (have done a fair number of ram-chgs), had the machine on a table-top flat so I could get to the sockets easily.

Thing is - it didn't go to CMOS displays when I first powered up the new mem - screens were dark, and disk light stopped. And now it seems to be stuck in that conditon. As I wrote, the Kingston ram is back in, and it still won't go to CMOS or start. I see the HD light come on a few secs, the it goes OUT. And the MemOK light is on steady.

Even though I was pretty sure the G Skill was ok - I RMA'd it and ordered some Crucial that is said to be an exact match for the mobo - once you get on this slippery slope there is no stopping! :)  But since I can't even revert to the ram that did work (for mabye 3 yrs) I'm getting worried that something more serious has happend.

Any further Ideas?

Signed: "Desperate in Lindenwold" -- :o 

=Alan R.
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August 23, 2012 2:14:53 PM

[Solved - Mostly]
After resetting the CMOS (several times) I plugged in a USB thumb drive with a copy of the latest BIOS, think it would 'auto-update'. Well the system did (finally!) go into the BIOS and I could reset the boot drives, etc. But the old V10 BIOS is still there.

Guess the presence of the flash drive allowed the sys to go to CMOS/BIOS - not sure, but I'm alive
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 169 V Motherboard
August 23, 2012 2:48:31 PM

No it will not damage it. Asus is notorious for having poor SDRAM support and G.Skill is amongst the victims. They usually add much better SDRAM support via firmware updates after release.
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August 23, 2012 3:11:29 PM

Pinhedd -

Thanks for the extra info - could you clarify just a bit? Is it ASUS that is a bit finicky about ram in general, and has probs withG Skill products? I have RMA'd the GS ram, and order some Crucial which is 'alleged' to be an exact fit for this mobo - and possibly faster than the GSkill.

I'm going to update the bios before installing the Crucial - I'm on V10 now and have a V12 .rom file on hand.

Do you have any ideas why I couldn't get past the MemOK setup (black screens) but did boot to cmos setup with the thumb drive installed?

=Alan R.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 169 V Motherboard
August 23, 2012 3:23:53 PM

Harrzack said:
Pinhedd -

Thanks for the extra info - could you clarify just a bit? Is it ASUS that is a bit finicky about ram in general, and has probs withG Skill products? I have RMA'd the GS ram, and order some Crucial which is 'alleged' to be an exact fit for this mobo - and possibly faster than the GSkill.

I'm going to update the bios before installing the Crucial - I'm on V10 now and have a V12 .rom file on hand.

Do you have any ideas why I couldn't get past the MemOK setup (black screens) but did boot to cmos setup with the thumb drive installed?

=Alan R.


Each memory module has a chip on it which identifies the memory module and contains all the information about its performance. The firmware is responsible for reading the contents of the chip and determining how to best initialize the SDRAM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_presence_detect

As you can see, the data is standard but quite complicated. It uses this information to compute the memory timings. If the data conforms to the JEDEC standards this usually isn't an issue but memory vendors often like to tweak their memory a little bit to squeeze some extra performance out of it. The tweaks may cause support problems.

Asus usually doesn't bother to ensure that their firmware is compatible with every SDRAM manufacturer's nuances because that would delay the board's release so they just test against a standard set and update later. If you look at the firmware release history here (under Other -> Bios)

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1156/P7P5...

You'll see that 3 of the first 6 firmware revisions contained improvements for memory compatibility. Since Asus stops reporting detailed firmware changes after a few months, "Improve system stability" can be code for better memory support as well.

As of the latest Qualified Vendor List your memory isn't officially support although other G.Skill sets are. This is by no means an exclusive list though so it may work if you update the firmware.
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August 23, 2012 6:30:36 PM

Yo! THANKS for the great reply - does help understand the mess. I'm going with the Crucial "Ballistix" which should be faster and fits this mobo. at least I'm back alive again... :-)
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