bad RAM

By Tedster
Mar 16, 2006
  1. I have an MSI K7n2 Delta 2 platinum motherboard with an Athlon XP 3200+ CPU and

    3 sticks of crucial DDR 400 PC 3200 ram (1.5 gigs)

    My current batch of ram has gone bad.
    previously I had 3 sticks of kingston value ram (which also went bad)

    I'm trying to figure out the cause.
    The current sticks of RAM have heat spreaders and the PC is well cooled.
    I don't overclock, but the RAM runs at 402Mgz (stock) I can clock down to 400 but the default with the motherboad is 402

    I'm trying to figure out why my memory sticks are going bad. The previous failure was about 8 months ago. I do run the PC 24/7
  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    I'm just throwing out a couple of thoughts:
    Maybe the mobo has a higher then spec data bus voltage. I forget what the 1 and 0 volts are on the bus these days, but probably cmos, so would be around 3V for 1 and 0.5v for a 0. But maybe your Northbridge puts out a little more then that, just off spec (production variations).

    No latency stress, your BIOS is set to the spec of the RAM?
    Edit:(I thought I wrote this, but just thought it). Vdimm voltage left at some OCed level from a past sigway?

    Some weird resonance harmonic coming from the PSU, which matches the RAM clock freq (thus only effecting it). These PSU do use a high freq fly back, but it is only in the kHz range. So it would be quite the harmonic! Yeah scratch that.

    I don't know bro, I'm spent. You'll have to wait for the seriously pros here. (I'm just electronic technologist and GBsc, not a CompSci/EEng)
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Topic Starter Posts: 6,000   +15

    well I'm going to warranty RMA the RAM and then reset the BIOS RAM settings to stock. I'll check the voltage specs....
    I'll run 'em at 400Mhz instead of 402
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    Could you be inadvertently overclocking it? Since DDR is double data rate, to get a clock speed of 402MHz, it should be set to 201MHz in the BIOS.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Topic Starter Posts: 6,000   +15

    that's what it it defaults to: 201 x 2 = 402 in BIOS. That's the standard for the motherboard..... they're a smidgen overclocked, but hardly any at all.

    They have heat spreaders on them and I rarely play graphics intensive games, but I do run BOINC 24/7
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Topic Starter Posts: 6,000   +15

    ok. I've run memtest 1.55 and it comes up with bad blocks at
    00028a78500 and 00029a784e0

    this is running at DDR 402

    now I noticed that these failures only occur when running at DDR402 for about 6 to 8 months.

    when I clock it down to DDR 400, it tends to stabilize, however, I am not sure if the RAM is still ok. I've ordered as THIRD batch of RAM, this time the brand is Corsair.

    I am wondering if the minor overclock is causing premature failure (even with heat spreaders).

    I am also wondering if I should notch up ram voltage - will that help?

    I've downloaded version 1.65 as I have an Athlon XP 3200+ system.

    1.65 says it works with Athlon boards better.
    I have an MSI K7N2 Delta 2 platinum board
  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Topic Starter Posts: 6,000   +15


    apparantly the motherbaord doesn't like overclocked RAM that is standard.

    gonna have to downgrade to DDR400 with standard RAM.
  8. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Well I wouldn't think 402 is much of an OC from 400, in either performance or heat generation, so why that would effect the life time expectation I don't understand.

    Are you sure your default mobo Vdimm is normal. Maybe when it says 1.40V it's really something higher. Maybe you should try turning down Vdimm voltage to it's lowest (stable of course) and then see what happens. I'd wait and do it with your new Corsair as each manufacture's RAM would respond differently to Vdimm (sensitivity of their stable minimum voltage).

    The only other thing that would kill RAM would be plain old fashion use. If you run Prime95 24/7 I'd bet anyone's RAM would die earlier then expected. This isn't just a heat issue. Electrons moving back and forth across a semiconductor conjunction millions of times a second, etc, slowly degrade the junction. Add heat and migration of dopents due to heat and you have a receipe for early failure.
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Topic Starter Posts: 6,000   +15

    voltage settings

    I just checked the BIOS settings to see what I had them at. Apparantly they were set at 2.75V The memory is rated for 2.6 if I remember right. I have switched the memory voltage to auto at 402DDR

    At this point I think the memory is shot. I am getting random (infrequent BSOD) about 2 -4 times a day.

    When the new RAM comes in, should I set it at Auto for DDR402 or bump it up a notch above the voltage stated on the RAM sticks?
  10. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    I think you'd want to leave it on auto or even possibly set just a little below RAM stated voltage (provided you can still maintain stability). This is to ensure your mobo is not putting out a little more then Bios states.

    Wait you said you had it at 2.75 and the RAM was rated at 2.6, that's a pretty high overvoltage, maybe you just found what your problem is with RAM life time on your machine. I'd set it to auto or to exactly what the RAM default stated voltage (i.e maybe your mobo is just fine (not putting out extra voltage)). If your not really OC the FSB and pushing your ram beyond 201Mhz X2 =402Mhz then you won't need extra Vdimm voltage anyway.

  11. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Topic Starter Posts: 6,000   +15

    I've just put the new ram in, set the DDR for 400 on manual override and set the voltage for Auto. I'll see how the new RAM goes.....
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