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Motherboard will not post with more than one RAM stick installed

Last response: in Memory
December 28, 2012 4:03:43 AM

Hello, build noob here doing my second build, and having the same problem I had with the first.

I have a handful of 2GB RAM sticks sitting around (I need to wait for paycheck to come through before I can pick up some Corsair Vengeance) and I'm trying to get things set up.

If I put one stick in DIMM2, the board posts perfectly, lets me go into setup, recognizes all SATA attachments.

If I have one stick in DIMM2 and one stick in ANY other slot, the computer powers on for about five seconds, then dies, then restarts over and over again. No post, nothing.

I've tried this with every stick of RAM I have, to the same result. Any single stick in DIMM2, and I'm fine. Any combination of two or more sticks, and nothing.

The weird thing is, the first build I did about a year ago did THE EXACT SAME THING. I ended up settling for running that one on a single 4GB stick.

Sooo I'm guessing I'm doing something wrong. If it turns out that, for some reason, ALL my RAM is bad (is it possible for RAM to not support dual channel?) I'll find out tomorrow when I buy some better RAM. Are there any other things I might need to do? Do I need to, I dunno, manually enable dual channel somewhere?

RAM: Tried both Hitachi and Antec DDR3-1333, 5 different 2GB sticks
CPU: i7-3770K
Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G45
a b } Memory
December 28, 2012 5:27:22 AM

probabily a faulty motherboard
try with one stick only and check ever slot
if it does not boot on other slots then its motherboard's fault, replace it

if it boots with single stick and in all slots then it still can be board that it is not handling more than 1 stick correctly

check those ram in other (properly working build) to see if they are the culprit or not
December 28, 2012 2:00:25 PM

See, I thought that with the first build I did, so I went and swapped out the motherboard, and the same thing happened again. And it's happening again on this build. Is it really possible that I've gotten three bad motherboards in a row?
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a c 97 } Memory
December 28, 2012 2:14:33 PM

The gold standard for testing ram is memtest86+
Download and run the test for a couple of full passes to verify that each stick os OK.
If there is a ram problem, it will usually show up in the first pass.

Are all your ram sticks the same, and compatible with your motherboard? In particular, check the voltage requirements.

Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards can be very sensitive to this.
That is why ram vendors will not support ram that is not bought in one kit.
Although, I think the problem has lessened with the newer Intel chipsets. Still,
it is safer to get what you need in one kit.

You want documented ram compatibility. If you should ever have a problem, you want supported ram.
Otherwise, you risk a finger pointing battle between the ram and motherboard support sites, claiming "not my problem".
One place to check is your motherboards web site.
Look for the ram QVL list. It lists all of the ram kits that have been tested with that particular motherboard.
Sometimes the QVL list is not updated after the motherboard is released.
For more current info, go to a ram vendor's web site and access their ram selection configurator.
Enter your motherboard, and you will get a list of compatible ram kits.
While today's motherboards are more tolerant of different ram, it makes sense to buy ram that is known to work and is supported.
a b } Memory
December 28, 2012 2:17:25 PM

^^ +1 the sell them in kits because those sticks were specifically tested at the factory to work together, even sticks of the exact same model, brand, and specs can be incompatible (although hopefully unlikely). RAM does not like to be mixed-and-matched usually.
December 28, 2012 2:26:09 PM

Why are you starting in DIMM 2 and not DIMM 0?
a c 97 } Memory
December 28, 2012 2:31:50 PM

WithoutWeakness said:
Why are you starting in DIMM 2 and not DIMM 0?

Good question.

Read your motherboard manual.
It will be very specific which slots must be populated first.
December 28, 2012 3:00:42 PM

Well, I found MSI's test report for the Z77A-G45 (, unfortunately, I'm not familiar with many of the models of 8GB DDR3-1600 sticks they tested. There doesn't appear to be any high performance RAM listed in that category. Still, the only common thread all three motherboards have is the RAM, so I'm going to assume that I just need to stop buying cheap, off-brand RAM. I'll pick up a kit of Corsair Vengeance like I was planning and let you all know how it works.

Oh, and I started in DIMM2 because that *is* what the manual said to do. They're listed as DIMM 1-4, and it said to populate 2 and 4 first.
December 28, 2012 9:20:59 PM

UPDATE - System is running perfectly on 2 8GB sticks of Corsair Vengeance. All 16GB recognized.

Sooo... cheap ram it was then.