random memory error message at POST

This is my 1st DIY PC build project.

I’m using a brand new Asus A7N8X Deluxe mobo (vsn 2, bios 4.1.50, rev 1003), with one 512 mb DIMM of Corsair XMS PC3500 DDR memory, an Athlon XP 2000+ cpu, and an ATI 9500 Pro video card. The CPU fan and heatsink are AMD.

This mobo has a voice POST status capability. The real problem: the system will on occasion (i.e., at random) say the "system failed memory test" alert--but the operating system (Windows XP Pro, with SP1) will still boot up and run fine.

Changing the BIOS memory frequency settings to either "SPD" or "auto" gives no improvement to the problem. The SPD setting yields the following delays: 8, 3, 3, with 2.5T latency, and a 200 MHz resulting frequency. The "auto" setting yields the following delays: 6, 2, 2, with 2T latency, and a resulting MHz merely showing "auto".

The BIOS system performance is set to "optimal"--not “aggressive”.

This mobo also has a "probe" software utility that shows the appropriate fan speeds, voltages and temps for different system components.

A quick check of the voltages in this utility shows the power supply (Antec, 380-watt) outputs to be the following (+/-): 12V: 12.032; 5V: 4.972; and 3.3V: 3.29—and the readings are always pretty steady. Even after this error message is given, and the system boots up, this same probe utility will show the system memory (all 512+ mb) to be just fine.

Also: there has been no hint thus far that the CPU is overheating. The mobo has an auto shutoff feature to prevent this from happening, anyway.

Thus, my questions: what do you think is most likely causing this random, intermittent "system failed memory test" voice alert? And what do you recommend I do to correct this?

One possible clue: I did not notice this problem until I installed the drivers for the ATI graphics card. Downloading & installing the latest drivers for this card from ATI’s website did not have any effect—good or bad—on solving this problem.

Thanks for any feedback or suggestions on what action(s) I should take to remedy this random nuisance. If you need still more info on system settings, etc—please just let me know.

5 answers Last reply
More about random memory error message post
  1. Try pulling the RAM module and reseating it, making sure its fully seated and locked in.

    <b><font color=purple>Details, Details, Its all in the Details, If you need help, Don't leave out the Details.</font color=purple></b>
  2. What other details do you need that I left out of my previous explanation?...

  3. the installation of the drivers at the time you noticed the problem starting may just be coincedence. 4ryan6's suggestion about reseating the ram is probably right on. if that doesnt solve your problem, you may want to try your ram in another motherboard and see if you get a similar error. if you get the same error on another motherboard, shows your ram is bad.

    and the details part of the previous post doesnt relate to your post, is just his signature. if you click on edit profile on the left navigation menu, then choose the basic profile, you will see a field where you can type in a signature. just text that will be appended to your posts, a message to personalize them.
  4. Thanks!

    I like your reply, but if your answer is accurate, can you also suggest why the mobo "probe" utility software (and also the operating system) shows the memory to be ok after boot-up (see control panel--system properties--"general" tab)?
  5. the only one i know of is memtest86, you can download it <A HREF="http://www.memtest86.com/" target="_new">here</A>. scroll down for the precompiled version for windows and dos, or you can even download an .iso file which makes a bootable cd (if you have a cd burner) so you can run it without starting the operating system. the tests take a while, so you might want to run them overnight. memtest86 has been mentioned in a few other posts, search the memory forum for memtest86 and see what other posters have to say about it.
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