Corsair RAM issues

By sparky05084
Feb 28, 2011
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  1. Hello all.

    Im new to this site and have been literally trawling the net and a lot of forums looking for anyone with my problems or similar. I feel I have gone as far as I can go with this and it has brought me here.

    I would be very grateful if I could be advised but I will warn that this may be a long winded post (sorry) as I have more than one query. It would seem silly to post multiple questions in different threads.

    Ok. First of all I will give you my system specs as follows:

    Epsilon 600W PSU
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz
    Corsair XMS DDR2 PC2-6400 C4 1GB 5-5-5-18 (2 x sticks)
    Corsair XMS DDR2 PC2-6400 C5 2GB 5-5-5-18 (1 x stick) *currently removed will explain why
    WD 320GB HDD
    Leadtek Winfast 8800GTX
    Sony Optiarc DVD-ROM DDU1615
    Sony DVD RW AW-G170A
    Creative Xfi Extreme Audio
    Foxconn P9657AA 8KS2H mobo - BIOS V 6.00 PG 08/13/06
    Windows XP Media Centre Edition SP 3

    I have had this computer since early 2006 (hence an original BIOS version) and it was purchased through Evesham computers so it was an OEM machine. Now, I have been running Windows XP for the same amount of time and have had little problems with it but recently I have been convinced and after much thought, to take the jump to Windows 7 (copy on its way as I write this).

    I am by nature a stubborn little sod but I decided that 2GB would not do my PC any justice running in a 64 bit environment. My CPU and mobo I believe is 64 bit compliant (please correct me if I’m mistaken) and as well as the arrival of Crysis 2 I decided to buy some more RAM.

    For a long time the standard Ram that was installed was the 2 1GB sticks (see specs). This Ram was not configured or over clocked just simply left as it was from the day it was installed. I ordered and fitted a 2GB corsair stick (again please see specs) and basically put this stick in slot 1 and put the 2x 1GB sticks into slots 2 & 3 so 4GB in total.

    Booted up windows and at POST it said update successful so that told me that it had read my new Ram. Also, going into system information told me that I had physically 3.2GB of Ram (I know that due to the simple fact I am running XP 32 bit that I won’t see all the 4GB of Ram, hence the upgrade to windows 7).

    All seemed well. However, very recently I have been having issues particularly during a cold boot up where the Foxconn splash screen or post screen if you like comes up, mobo beeps once and then it stays static or hangs. HDD activity LED solid and no noise at all. Now, forgive me I know exactly what you are thinking. Why are you mentioning Ram and now going on about your HDD?

    Well, allow me to explain. I first thought and got a friends advice and believed that I had a lazy hard drive and that it wasn’t spinning up. Now, it is worth mentioning by the way that warm boots and restarts do not cause issues only cold boots. As I said earlier I have had this PC since early 2006 and it has been running pretty much everyday so I really did think that it is on its way out even though it isn’t making clunking noises or sounding symptoms of a slowly failing hard drive like the read head dropping or failing pins etc.

    The boot up issues only seemed to start say a week after my new Ram install and I never thought anything of it until I went back to my friend. He had a quick look inside and said that because I am running the 2 1GB sticks in dual channel mode and the 2GB as a sole unit (not paired up) that it is causing conflicts and possibly halting the boot sequence as in post screen hanging.

    He also mentioned that the “blue slots” which I think are 1 & 3 are the dual channel slots and I had these sticks in slots 2 & 3 and the 2GB stick in slot 1 so 4 was spare (sorry if confusing). I removed the 2GB stick completely and put the 2 1GB slots into slots 1 & 3 as advised by my friend. Now, I have to say I went away being almost convinced he was wrong and thought that as long as the sticks are next to each other, regardless of colour being Blue and yellow slots that it would still pick up ram and these sticks would run in dual channel mode.

    So, finally first query. With reference to my mobo, is my friend correct? Does the fact that the slots do not correspond as in Blue, Yellow, Blue, and Yellow mean that these sticks should be in 1 & 3?
    Only because I ran Memtest last night in this configuration and it failed at test #6. Sorry I didn’t write anything else down so that’s all I can give you and I have no idea how this program works or what I am actually looking for but again my friend advised me to use it to determine “bad Ram”.

    Running this program with the 2GB stick in as well failed it at test #1 so that can’t have been good.

    I am in the process of doing cold boot ups over a week to see if removing the 2GB stick resolves the issues but why would Memtest fail my 2 1GB sticks that have quite happily ran trouble free for over 5 years? Also, I haven’t touched them in BIOS or over clocked them so this all seems very odd to me. I haven’t changed anything at all and my PSU seems ok also and I wouldn’t think it was that.

    Would the fact that I’ve ordered (before the problems occurred) another identical 2GB Corsair stick to pair up with the one I’ve removed resolve the issues? This would mean that I would have 6GB in total and all sticks would be matching pairs.

    I think it is a bit strange that just because I wanted to go for 3 GB originally that the mobo would cause issues especially when the latencies are of the same characteristics.

    I also read that you shouldn’t take what Memtest says as gospel and that even good Ram has been know to give errors. How daft is that?!

    I can’t put my finger on what is going at all. Please help me and very, very sorry again for long post (pardon the pun)

    Thanks all

  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    For optimum performance you should run with matched pairs of RAM sticks. If you only have 2 sticks they should either be in the yellow slots or the blue slots to run in dual channel mode. If you have one stick in each colour it will only run in single channel mode.

    I found no usefull information in the mobo manual. Some I have read for other makes tell you if it can run with uneven amounts of memory in each channel, that may not be the case with this mobo.

    Is there any chance you can change that 2GB stick for 2 X 1GB sticks which will keep it balanced.

    Does the 2GB stick match the same frequency of the existing sticks as that might be another problem.

    If you want to run a test on the sticks the best method is to run the PC with just one stick in at a time, if any glitches, hangs or freezes happen then you will know which stick it is.

    I am assuming you are using memtest and running it while windows is running. It is far better, if you have to use testing software to use the memtest86+ which you have to burn to a CD and then boot the PC with it. This leaves the memory idle for far more accurate testing. You can get it from here. Always run at least 5 cycles of the test, overnight would be even better. The accuracy of any memtest software is never 100% and it is prone to miss minor faults hence my advise to run on one stick at a time for the most accurate results.

    Follow this guide to get and run memtest86+
  3. sparky05084

    sparky05084 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cannot post Memtest86+ V 4.2 Results

    Hello Mark56.

    Thank you for your reply. It appears that you may have been slightly mistaken. I have indeed been running Memtest from a bootable disk that I burned using Nero Image Burn.

    I simply booted up PC and selected boot device from BIOS and went from there. Now, previously I was using Memtest V 3.2 and at the time I had in the 2x 1GB sticks and the single 2GB stick. All Corsair XMS2 RAM remember.

    I got errors on this and assumed that was due to the fact I had mixed modules in there. Now I have received another 2 GB stick I have 4 sticks of RAM that make up matching pairs so:

    2 x 1GB sticks and 2 x 2GB sticks so 6GB in total ready for windows 7 (currently running XP but trying to "clean" system up prior to upgrade).

    I am using the latest version now of Memtest 86+ V4.2 and I removed all the sticks barring one that was the 1GB stick. I was out all day today working so I left it running for approx 12 hours (which in my mind is ample time to get a thorough test or tests done).

    Came back in this evening and guess what........errors!

    It was tested in slot 1 so I will move it over to slot 2 and see if same errors flag up as I know that DIMM's can be culprits as well.

    One thing I would like to ask and this applies to all PC help forums as it is a common thing.

    How do I attach images?? I have a screenshot of Memtest results that I would like you to look at and would appreciate some info on it but when I press attach image it’s asking for a URL.

    I don't know what to do.


    Sparky 05084
  4. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    You need to have done at least 5 posts before you can add attachments.

    From what you have described, you have faulty memory, I doubt very much that the test would be showing errors unless the stick is faulty, changing it to another slot is a wise choice just to be sure it is not the slot. Check all the sticks one at a time, although, when using memtest you can run it with all the sticks fitted and it will identify which channel any faults appear on.

    The best, but more time consuming, test is to run the PC on one stick at a time and check its performance.

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