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Choosing Memory ?


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#1
Southend

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I have posted before with regards memory timings as I occasionally get faulting modules and blue screen crashes, every 2 or three days. I followed some usefull instuctions about some issues with the Crutial Ballistix memory, where I increased the voltage from 2.6v to 2.8v and also set some manual timings. This has helped immensly, but I still feel I have an issue with this memory and realy feel that the default settings 'should' work fine.
However it seems to be a minefeild as to what 'new' memory to choose. My motherboard is an Abit AN8 nForce4 Socket 939 PCI-Express Motherboard, the memory seggested to install, from the handbook, is upto four 184-pin DDR DIMM slots for DDR 400 memory modules, expansion size upto 4GB.
I am not a gamer, but use my computer for number crunching (weather data), music files and general internet browsing and microsoft office. I mention this as when looking through some of the products they mention various timings, which I assume lend themselves to various uses of a PC. I'm also getting confused with 'CL3, 'unbuffered', 'DDR SDRAM' & '400MHz Memory Speed' etc.

I assume I need to look at the products listed under PC3200 (DDR400)?
I was also looking at upgrading to 2 GB in total.
Also I wanted to avoid Crutial, for obvious reasons, although I am not saying there is a problem with their product, although I must add that the PC worked for six months on defaults without any problems, so whether a fault has occurred since, I don't know. Hard drive has also been changed to a SATA, and complete new Install of Windows XP Pro has also been carried out during this long saga.

Here's one I liked the look of:
http://www.overclock...o...46&view=rel
(Is this 184 pin?)
or
http://www.overclock...o...46&view=rel

I'm not looking for neither a cheap or expensive option, just want to be sure I have got all the compatibilities correct.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

I am aware, that there is a risk this may not solve the problem, but I've got to a point where I will never know until I try it.

Many thanks :whistling:

Computer System.
Abit AN8 nForce4 Socket 939 PCI-Express Motherboard
Crutial PC3200 Ballistix (2x512MB) 1GB Dual Channel Kit
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Winchester 90nm (Socket 939)
Zalman CNPS7700-Cu 120mm Cooler
Aerocool Aeropower II+ Acrylic-Titanium Plated 450W Power Supply
Asus Extreme EN6200 Turbo Cache PCI-Express 256MB DDR 64BIT TV-OUT DVI
Western Digital Caviar 7200RPM 80GB FDB 8Mb SATA OEM (WD800JD) *Operating System on the SATA Drive*
Maxtor DiamondMAX Plus 9 120Gb OEM ATA/133 8MB Buffer (6Y120P0)
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#2
andy

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Go for Kingston never had a problem
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#3
MNOB07

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What kind of problems are you having exactly, blue screens? If you haven't run it already, memtest will find out if any memory is not working as it should:

http://www.memtest86.com/

download the iso image. this image will be burned to a CD ROM. Many programs can do this if you already don't have one, install the free version of deepburner:

http://www.deepburner.com/?r=download

when you open it up it will ask you if you want to burn an image. This CD will be bootable.
  • Restart your computer with the CD in the drive, and set your computer to boot off from the CD
  • Automatically this will run several tests on the memory. It's best to run this for a couple hours or, even better run it overnight
  • If there are errors then at least one memory module is defective.
  • You then restart, and take out all your memory except one. Run the test
  • Repeat that once with each memory module
  • Doing this you can find out what memory is defective (if it is the memory's fault).
Most RAM has a lifetime warranty, so if one or more are defective you should be able to return them back to the manufacturer and they will send you new ones.

If no errors turn up for a couple hours with all memory installed, the probalems are most likely not the memory's fault and we can look into other options.
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#4
Southend

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Thanks MNOB7,

I have an image of MEMTEST86, and have run it previously, but only for about 2 hours, and it came up with no errors. I think I'll run it overnight tonight. Not sure how it works, but bare in mind my PC is on 24/7, a 'crash' may only happen twice in a week, would any errors that the test find only be at the same sort of frequency?
As a note, usually the crash is accompanied with a 'click' noise (bit like a relay switching). "Click, blue screen, re-boot" Also would memory problems also cause faulting modules in programmes, I have had this for many applications, Firefox, Thunderbird, Excel, even wordpad, only a reboot clears things up. Again, once or twice a week.

Thanks :whistling:

Keith (Southend)
http://www.southendweather.net
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#5
MNOB07

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Hmm ok there may be something else causing these crashes.

Best to go ahead and test the memory overnight, but before then, do you know what errors the blue screens are reporting exactly? If the computer shuts down too fast, you can disable the automatic shutdown:

Right click "My Computer" > Properties > Advanced > under "Startup and Recovery" click "Settings" > Uncheck "Automatic Restart"

Also on that page there is "Write an event to system log" If it's already writing to the system log, you can view that:

Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer > System

Should then be able to help find out where these crashes are coming from...

Edited by MNOB07, 30 June 2006 - 03:33 PM.

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#6
Southend

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Thanks MNOB07,

Ok I let Memtest86 3.2 run overnight. It just ran, so I guess it ran the default random tests. I made a few notes as I didn't know whether it saved a log anywhere. Any ideas what this is telling me? I was surprised at how many errors have been picked up!

Here is a list of tests/errors.

Test - errors
0 - 0
1 - 2
2 - 65
3 - 339
4 - 1087
5 - 36
6 - 2139
7 - 331
8 - 27
9 - 0

7 tests, 25 passes

An example line:

Test - Pass - Faulting Address - Co** - Bad - Error-bits - Count - Channel
7 - 25 - 00010ecle64 - 270.0MB - d4e19060 - 01 - 00002 - 2 - 1

Maybe I need to refine the tests available? You also mentioned removing one of the dual memory cards and running Memtest86 again, then swapping to the other card and doing the same, to see if one or both are at fault. So I would be running with 512MB only.

Next...

Event log is switched on, not obvious what system log. Here a couple:

1. eventlog....
<snip>
Event Type: Information
Event Source: EventLog
Event Category: None
Event ID: 6009
Date: 30/06/2006
Time: 22:29:45
User: N/A
Computer: HOME-XP
Description:
Microsoft ® Windows ® 5.01. 2600 Service Pack 2 Uniprocessor Free.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft....link/events.asp.
<snip>

2. Savedump
<snip>
Event Type: Information
Event Source: Save Dump
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1001
Date: 30/06/2006
Time: 22:29:47
User: N/A
Computer: HOME-XP
Description:
The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck. The bugcheck was: 0x1000007e (0xc0000005, 0xaf03af43, 0xeb1b6c00, 0xeb1b68fc). A dump was saved in: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini063006-01.dmp.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft....link/events.asp.

<snip>

Don't know how to read the minidump, a load of goggledegoop :-)

Finally, I have previously had the crash screen stop at the blue screen and the general message is as follows:

just the main parts of the error message:

<snip>
***STOP: 0X0000008E (0xC0000005, 0XBK802ADE, 0XB8E5715c, 0x00000000)
***win32k.sys - address BF802ADE base at BF800000, DateStamp 43446a58

Beginning dump of physical memory
Physical memory dump complete
Contact your system administrator.. etc...

<snip>

Sorry the post is so long, but thought any information may be useful. This problem has been going on now for about a year.

Many thanks

Keith (Southend)
http://www.southendweather.net
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#7
Rockster2U

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My 2¢ .......

Sure to raise some debate, but I'd recommend that you purchase either Corsair XMS or OCZ Cas2 PC3200 memory in matched pairs because of your chipset. Go to New Egg and buy it there so you can return it hassle free if you have any problems. Memory is relatively inexpensive right now and I'd go for the Ultra Low latency stuff if I were in your shoes. I'm not a big fan of Crucial either and while its not bad memory, it has caused me problems on a couple of boards.

:whistling:
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#8
Southend

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Thanks Rockstar2U,

Just looking at the Memtest86 tests and I notice the two main ones that fail are:

4 & 6...

<snip>
Test 4 [Moving inversions, random pattern]

Test 4 uses the same algorithm as test 1 but the data pattern is a random number and it's complement. This test is particularly effective in finding difficult to detect data sensitive errors. A total of 60 patterns are used. The random number sequence is different with each pass so multiple passes increase effectiveness.

Test 6 [Moving inversions, 32 bit pat]

This is a variation of the moving inversions algorithm that shifts the data pattern left one bit for each successive address. The starting bit position is shifted left for each pass. To use all possible data patterns 32 passes are required. This test is quite effective at detecting data sensitive errors but the execution time is long.
<snip>

Seems to follow a theme that the problem lies in a specific area of the memory.

I've noted your recomendations :whistling:

Regards

Keith (Southend)
http://www.southendweather.net
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#9
Southend

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I have another PC 'Compac' with 510MB RAM (2x256) and as I am not familiar with these test results I thought I'd run Memtest86 on it for a while. Immediately I can see the difference. So far NO red lines identifying error messages, I got them as soon as I started on 'this' PC.
I can only deduce I have some serious memory problems then!

Keith (Southend)
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#10
MNOB07

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That's right you shouldn't be getting any errors in memtest86. Otherwise you're sure to get blue screened whenever your computer tries to execute the wrong action in the wrong area of the RAM. It's either bad RAM or bad settings/memory slots/motherboard incompatibility; more than likely it is the former. If your Compaq uses the same type of RAM as this one you can try switching memory between computers and see if you still get the same results with all the RAM... but otherwise I would say that Rockster2U had a good suggestion.
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#11
Southend

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Thanks MNOB07 and Rockster2U, very much appreciate your support on this one. The cards on my Compaq are different so I can't try that, although I think I'd rather leave that one be as it's working ok :-) I must add I always use antistatic wrist straps (both wrists) when working inside the box, as I imagine static could damage such components.
I'll send off for some new memory next week and after I install it, I will run Memtest86 once again and report back results, could be a couple of weeks.

Again many thanks. :whistling:
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#12
WinCrazy

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Another 2c: Don't waste your money on overly expensive, high end, low latency memory like Twinx. For the kind of apps that you run any decent run-of-the-mill memory will be fine. Also, you probably don't need 4GB woth of memory unless you run some really killer spreadsheets ! High-end memory is for the overclockers and gamers who don't mind spending their Summer incomes on computer gear.

You will not be able to tell the difference between having CL-2.0 and CL-3.0 RAM. Do buy your RAM in identical pairs as all Athlon64 processors support dual channel memory. 2 X 512MB sticks should be plenty unless your weather data programs suggest otherwise.
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#13
MNOB07

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It isn't so much about the latencies and such but what about compatibility? I've seen some RAM just not work with some motherboard (the chipset?) for some reason or another
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#14
Rockster2U

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Like I said before - sure to raise some debate. I would strongly disagree with WinCrazy re: any decent run of the mill memory, especially when memory is so cheap these days. But, each to his/her own. As to 4 gigs - XP won't recognize it. Would suggest 2x512 or 2x1024 so you can run T1 timings. Four sticks of anything are going to run T2.

:whistling:
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#15
warriorscot

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Better latencies the better, especially with athlons you notice faster timings.
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