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Memory only works one stick at a time


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#1
UV_Power

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Hey everyone,

I have an Abit NF7-S v2.0 motherboard with 2x512MB PC3200 Kingston Value Ram. Recently, I booted up my computer and no video was showing. I tried a number of things, but eventually resorted to a minimal bench build. Even after that, still nothing. So, I tried with only one stick of memory and it booted up with no problems. My first impression was that my other memory stick went bad, but I also tried that one by itself and it worked too. :)

So, both memory sticks work fine individually, but not together. I know they are compatible because I have been using both for a long time with no problems. I have already Googled my problem and, based off of other people's suggestions, these are the things I have tried.

1) Placing both sticks together in every combination of my 3 RAM slots. (i.e. I have tried slots 1&3, 2&3, 1&2, swapping the sticks each time)
2) Memtest86 on each stick, no errors
3) Resetting BIOS settings automatically (i.e. in the BIOS menu)
4) Resetting the BIOS settings manually (i.e. by clearing the CMOS via mobo jumpers)
5) Lowering the voltage to my memory
6) Raising the CL
7) Yelling at it :)
8) Taking a nap .... :)

All of these things still result in the same problem and I have run out of ideas. Does anyone know why my memory would, all of a sudden, only work one stick at a time, and not together?

Thanks in advance! :)

Edited by UV_Power, 18 September 2008 - 04:22 PM.

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#2
Shuh

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I wish I knew whhat you could do. But I dont... But I replied to your post just to let you see, you are not unseen. Someone will come and give you help.

On a side note, what ram and mobo do you use?
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#3
UV_Power

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As mentioned before, I use an Abit NF7-S and Kingston PC3200 Value RAM.
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#4
Troy

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I also read it, but was unsure... :)

Such are the mysterious ways of computers! I don't know why it was working and then it wasn't...

After reading through what you've tried, I have two suggestions:

  • Reset BIOS to default values and try again with the whole swapping test (one last time, just for kicks)
  • Yell a bit louder at it :)

Cheers

Troy
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#5
UV_Power

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Tried that, troy. Still results the same. Works with one, but not both. :) You know, the only thing I haven't tried is using new memory. I doubt that is the problem since it sounds more like a configuration issue. I mean, both sticks are working by themselves.

Is this really that rare of an issue? I probably don't have to tell you running Vista with 512MB is nothing short of frustrating :) .

Nevertheless, I know these things sometimes takes time. I will be patient and wait for a reply. :)
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#6
Troy

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Is this really that rare of an issue? I probably don't have to tell you running Vista with 512MB is nothing short of frustrating :) .

Really? I never knew that, because I've never tried Vista on 512MB of RAM. :)

If you are able, I would suggest doing a bit of swapping around... Try your RAM in somebody else's computer, and try their RAM in yours. It's just so baffling when it works fine, and all of a sudden it decides not to.

Can you think of anything that happened that may be contributing to this? Even something simple such as a power blackout or surge...?

Cheers

Troy
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#7
Granz00

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You say that there is no video. Does that mean that the computer is running, just without video? You don't happen to hear any beeps when it fails to start do you? Also, does a single thing of RAM work in EVERY slot or have you only tried the single RAM in one slot. Lastly, does anyone think it could possibly be a PSU problem?

Also, didn't you run across the german way of fixing things? Its called hitting it a few times with a hammer. Good luck with that method...
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#8
M420

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there's a way to test for this in Vista itself. From the Start menu, type mem in the Search box to bring up the Memory Diagnostics Tool. When run, it will reboot your computer and run a series of aggressive tests on your system memory, then report the results back to you. If there's a problem with a particular memory module, it will tell you. Try this on both memory sticks, one at a time. I'm pretty sure you will need admin rights to do this.

How long have you had this Memory? Was this machine running XP at one time? A lot of memory issues are popping up on Vista that weren't a problem in XP. Mostly in how Vista boots up.

Edited by M420, 24 September 2008 - 08:51 AM.

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#9
Troy

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there's a way to test for this in Vista itself. From the Start menu, type mem in the Search box to bring up the Memory Diagnostics Tool. When run, it will reboot your computer and run a series of aggressive tests on your system memory, then report the results back to you. If there's a problem with a particular memory module, it will tell you. Try this on both memory sticks, one at a time. I'm pretty sure you will need admin rights to do this.

How long have you had this Memory? Was this machine running XP at one time? A lot of memory issues are popping up on Vista that weren't a problem in XP. Mostly in how Vista boots up.

Hi M420, welcome to the forums :)

An extra helping hand is always appreciated around here. :)

I'm just wondering where you get that information from? I haven't heard of or seen any issues myself with Vista-specific memory issues such as the symptoms the OP is describing here.

The OP also has run memtest86, which is a similar memory tester, so I don't see how the Microsoft Memory Diagnostic Tool is going to help any further.

I'm not meaning to argue, just interested in any further information, if I can learn something. :)

Cheers

Troy
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#10
UV_Power

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Does that mean that the computer is running, just without video?

Well, kinda. There's no POST (for all i know), and my hard drive light doesn't flash at all indicating it's not loading anything. I also tried a new monitor. Same thing.

You don't happen to hear any beeps when it fails to start do you?

No beeps at all. Normally, I would hear just one beep (indicating a good start)

Lastly, does anyone think it could possibly be a PSU problem?

I have considered this. My only skepticism is that would mean a voltage regulation problem and I tried lowering the voltage quite a bit with no luck. So, I ruled it out, but perhaps it still could be a PSU problem.

How long have you had this Memory?

I can't remember. 2 to 3 years, I think.

Was this machine running XP at one time?

Yes. Up until about 2 years ago I had it running XP and changed it to Vista. (Non-sequitur: I use the word "changed" since I feel that XP to Vista was neither an upgrade or a downgrade. It's just different. Better in some ways, worse in others. I may be a minority on this. Anyways, getting back on track....... :) ) I don't see how the OS would affect anything since any OS (even a missing one) would still let the computer POST, right? :)

there's a way to test for this in Vista itself

Didn't know that. Actually, I put this memory into another computer and it worked just fine with BOTH sticks at the same time. But, I will run this test, anyways. Can't hurt. I will actually be impressed if Vista finds something that Memtest86 didn't.

I have not tried a new PSU yet. That will be my next step after Vista-testing the memory. Thanks for all the replies. I really do appreciate it. :)
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#11
M420

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Windows Vista writes random boot files to memory at start up. It is a security feature not found in previous OS. The Memory Diag tool that comes with Vista is "product specific" It will test the OP's memory for faults that may only occur with Vista's boot sequence. I'm very familiar with Memtest86 and it works for generic memory failures. But since he is having such a strange issue I thought this tool may be helpful since it is a little more specific.

As for where I got my info, I'm training for MCSE and a lot of my knowledge is from my classes. Windows Vista really is a very different animal. Some of the tools we are accustomed to using for XP, 2000 are not going to work anymore.
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#12
UV_Power

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Tried the Vista memory test on both sticks. No problems were found. I will post the results of trying a new PSU. I won't get a chance to do it until maybe tomorrow afternoon.

Edited by UV_Power, 24 September 2008 - 02:40 PM.

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#13
M420

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This may sound dumb, :)
but have you checked for dust in the RAM slots? Also, since this MOBO has a few years on it, you might check for metal hairs between the RAM slots. Having both MEM sticks in at the same time may be creating some static. The MOBO wouldn't boot right if there is an electric short.

BTW, you will need a magnifying glass to see the metal hairs.
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#14
UV_Power

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have you checked for dust in the RAM slots? Also, since this MOBO has a few years on it, you might check for metal hairs between the RAM slots.

I blew some canned air into all the slots with no effect. Also, didn't see anything with magnifying glass.

Also, it wasn't the PSU. I tried a bigger one (Coolermaster 500W) and it all results the same.

The other thing I tried was changing the FSB/DRAM ratio manually rather than it's default 'Auto'. Still nothing.

BTW, I don't know if I made this clear before, but I tried swapping all the memory with both computers. All memory works with the other computer and not with mine, so it seems it's the motherboard with the problem, not the memory. Also, I made certain everything was DDR PC3200.

I have run out of patience :) and decided to dance around the problem. The way I solved it is by using just one 1GB in the first slot which effectively gives me 2x512MB. And now my other computer is running 3x512MB instead of one 1GB and one 512MB. Both computers are up and working like they used to, but unless I figure out what the problem is, I can't run dual channel again. :)

I would like to re-iterate by saying thanks again for everyone's support. :) I would like to keep this thread OPEN if possible (rather than SOLVED) in case someone comes along with another idea of what I could do. But, until then I will just be running 1GB on one stick.

Thanks G2G! :)
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#15
Troy

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Well that is the way of technology. Often I'll come across a problem I can't seem to fix the way I'd like to, but after a minute of thinking I can propose some sort of solution that circumvents the problem.

I'm glad you've got things sorted (noted - not solved), but it just might be that your motherboard finally decided not to play nice anymore, period. You may have to add it to the R.I.P. section in your signature... :)

If it's been some time and you have a further question, don't forget to PM me with this link, otherwise I might miss it. Subscriptions run out after two weeks.

Cheers

Troy
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