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Is my memory defective?


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#1
mjs90201

mjs90201

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Until recently, I was running my Dell Dimension 8100, P4, Windows ME system with 128mb of PC600 non-ECC RDRAM. Although my system had frequent crashes which sometimes seemed related to memory limitations, I never had reason to believe that the RDRAM was defective. I suspect most of the crashes have been due to compatibility issues with my ATI Radeon graphics card/drivers and/or the drivers for my mouse and keyboard; my virus protection is up to date and virus scans have shown no infections.

I recently upgraded my memory to 512mb of PC800 ECC RDRAM (2x256mb). My computer recognized the change in system memory, and now lists 512.0mb RAM in "system properties" instead of 128mb. However, my system crashes and memory-related error messages have increased. Sometimes after I start my computer with a minimal number of start-up programs and attempt to open my first program, I get an insufficient memory error message! This never happened before.

Although I no longer use the Norton Anti-Virus program, I still have Norton System Works (2001) installed and I ran their "Norton Diagnostics" program to test the new memory. The first test or pattern which this program runs is described as: "Testing memory using pattern with all bits cleared..." Each time I run this program, after about one second it indicates "Error detected at address xxxxx" and "Test: Failed." Every time I redo the test it indicates an error at the same address. After I reboot, however, the address of the error changes (and remains consistent until I reboot again).

In an attempt to confirm that my new memory was defective, I researched other memory testing programs and discovered Microsoft's "Windows memory diagnostic" program, which runs a "standard" set of 6 memory tests and an "extended" set of 11 memory tests (from a bootable floppy disk). My new memory passed the standard set of 6 tests so I switched to the "extended" test set and let it run overnight. In the morning, I discovered that my new memory passed all the tests with no errors.

Thus, it seems to me that either the "Norton Diagnostic" program is defective or my new RDRAM is defective. Which is more likely? Might the Norton Diagnostic program use a test (i.e., using a pattern with all bits cleared) which can detect errors in ECC RDRAM that the Microsoft diagnostic program cannot detect? Is there another explanation? I would appreciate any helpful suggestions!

Regards,

MJS
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#2
mjs90201

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I have a couple of additional details to add to the puzzle. I now believe that the only time I receive the insufficient memory error message (when I am in fact using only a small percentage of available RAM as verified by a small memory usage guage program) is AFTER I run the Norton Diagnostic memory test (which my RDRAM always fails). The insufficient error message appears after I close the Norton program and attempt to open another program. After I close the frozen program that I attempted to open, a new entry appears in the cntrl-alt-del program list: "route"

What is the significance of the "route" program?

-MJS
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#3
Daniel Taylor

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To be Completely Honest it wouldnt surprise me one bit if Norton is causing the issues, I have had many problems with lots of security suites from Symantec and gave up with them. try ending all the norton related processes and run a memory stress test or you could boot off a cd with "memtest86+" on and test your memory with that. this can be found on most Linux distribution CD's or you could look into Hiren's BootCD or if you ahave the knowlage google memtest86+ and see if you can make your own BootCD

Edited by Daniel Taylor, 18 June 2009 - 06:18 PM.

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