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Troubleshooting a system - Board or Power Supply?

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May 15, 2012 9:18:01 PM

Last fall I built a variation of the June 2011 Budget system, though I upgraded the motherboard and video card slightly. For the board I switched to a ASRock H61M/U3S3 to get SATA 3, and all worked well for the first several months. Around that time I started getting occasional reboots and blue screens. The stop codes were pointing to different things, but I never gave it much thought since the problem was rare. I should add that the reboots and blue screens only happened when the system was idle, and never once under load. A couple of weeks ago the frequency of incidents increased dramatically, with a dead machine after another 48hrs.

At first the stop codes had me thinking that I might have a bad hard drive. I tried a clean windows install on a new drive, but I would get blue screens and an assortment of memory related codes during the install. Accordingly I started testing the RAM, and I found that the issue appears to be tied to this part of the system. The machine will run fine on either 4GB memory chip and it does not matter which of the two slots I have the memory in, but if I try to run the machine on both 4GB memory chips, blue screens return.

My assumption is that I either have a bad board or bad power supply. Is that reasonable thinking? If so, could anyone offer any thoughts on which to try to replace first? If my assumption sounds wrong, could anyone point me in the right direction? Is there any chance that if one of the memory chips is bad that it would cause a conflict only when a second chip is present?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 15, 2012 9:26:46 PM

based on your description i would recommend trying a different motherboard.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 12:36:52 AM

Double check the MB settings for your memory. Verify the voltage is set manually correctly, not picked up automatically. Set the timings manually, do not let the MB pick them up from the dimms. If it doesn't stabilize set looser timings and see if the system stabilizes.

You are more likely to have a bad dimm then to have a bad MB.

"...will run fine on either 4GB memory chip and it does not matter which of the two slots I have the memory in, but if I try to run the machine on both 4GB memory chips, blue screens return.... " Did you try to isolate to a bad dimm, or just a bad dimm slot ?

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May 20, 2012 1:22:28 AM

Best answer selected by sealcove.
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May 20, 2012 1:24:17 AM

Thanks. As far as I could tell, either slot worked fine with either chip, but I could not run both. A friend offered similar advice, so I ordered replacement memory. It has not been long enough for a complete test, but so far the system is running perfectly with the new chips, so I am starting to be confident that was the issue!

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