RAM problems, whatcha think?

By Vigilante ยท 11 replies
Jan 1, 2007
  1. Hello all, happy new year!

    My system has been working fine for some time now. But fairly recently in the last 4 months or so I started getting some random BSODs. I did a full reload of XP Pro SP2 with all fresh drivers about 4 months ago when the BSODs started happening to often for comfort.
    It didn't seem to work though. The BSODs were fewer, as in maybe a couple in 3 weeks. My system runs 24/7 and rarely ever gets restarted except for a BSOD or update.

    Trying to fix the BSOD, I have upgraded my graphics drivers each time a new one came out, and checked for others. I keep my startups simple, I run Avast and use mostly common sense to keep myself clean.

    Ok, just recently I upgraded my graphics Forceware drivers to 6.12, restarted, and then I got a BSOD within a few minutes! Upon restarting, this ATI error (attachment) popped up like 4 times within 25 minutes. But then never happened again.

    Anyways, after much troubleshooting, nothing was good. But then the MS error report starting saying it was bad RAM! They asked me to download the MS RAM tester, which I did, and ran, with no errors. Then I ran memtest86 overnight and through the following day while I was at work, no errors.
    I went back into Windows and ran memtest (not 86), which is a Windows-based tester, and it popped up saying it found an error within 2 minutes!

    Now that's strange, why the non-Windows testers all say the RAM is fine, and the Windows tester says there is an error. I still suspected drivers until I did some more detective work.
    I went into the BIOS to see if my timings were right, and to lower them if they were good, for testing purposes. Turns out, in "optimized" mode, the timings were set to 2.5-3-3-8. I changed it to 3-4-4-8 just for the heck of it, and Windows wouldn't even get past the logo, it was frozen up solid. These timings were all that could work. Strangely, when I looked up my RAM, the correct timing is supposed to be 2-3-3-6!
    When I changed the timing to that, Windows wouldn't even try to get past the logo. Only on 3-3-3-8 does it go into Windows (but with errors and BSODs).

    Ok, the RAM I'm using is Corsair XMS Extreme TWINX1024-3200C2PT which is two 512 sticks. This on a MSI K7N2 Delta2 Platinum mobo. This mobo is on the Corsair list of compatible mobos. And my video is ATI X850XTPE, AGP.
    So then, I started swapping sticks. I tried one stick, on Corsair's listed timings, still couldn't get Windows to boot. So I swapped sticks and turned the BIOS back to auto mode, which set to 3-3-3-8. Windows booted right up. I ran the memtest and it found no errors overnight! Also, no BSODs. And this is where I'm left.

    I can swap sticks again and check memtest using the slower timings. But the problem is, my mobo is compatible and yet I can't run this RAM at the recommended timing, why? Is the RAM bad? Is the mobo bad? With this one stick memtest passes, but Windows won't run with the correct timing. Is there something else in the BIOS I should check for the RAM to run at the right timings?

    I'm not sure what to do at this point. I think Corsair has lifetime warranty, I could try sending both sticks back as a kit. Or I could test the other stick and send just one back if it's bad. What if both sticks test good individually? I don't want to buy another kit of RAM off the cuff if these are really good.

    So anyway, give some advice, I've included the last couple minidumps as well.

  2. ryantruck

    ryantruck TS Rookie Posts: 79

    Are you sure its not the Graphics Card
  3. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I would normally tell a person to leave the memory timings where the system works and not to worry about running them to spec. But with your knowledge and expertise, I would suggest that you RMA the memory and try a new set
  4. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Couldn't say if it was the graphics card, don't think so because the RAM specifically failed.
    I would hope the minidumps would reveal if it could be that. Maybe Howard or CPC can get to those and have a look.

    I'll try swapping the sticks again to see if just the one is bad. Though I wish I could run the right timings, kinda weird. My system is kept pretty cool, and the RAM have heat spreaders, so it's kind of a mystery.

    I'll let everybody know the progress.
  5. peterdiva

    peterdiva TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,088

    From memory that RAM requires 2.8v to run at 2-3-3-6, you might want to double check.

    One of the dumps lists memory corruption as the probable cause, and the other one references aswMon2.SYS, which belongs to Avast.

    BugCheck 1000000A, {a8433557, 2, 1, 804db7b8}
    Probably caused by : memory_corruption

    BugCheck 24, {1902fe, b83111b8, b8310eb4, 80521e87}
    *** WARNING: Unable to verify timestamp for aswMon2.SYS
    *** ERROR: Module load completed but symbols could not be loaded for aswMon2.SYS
    Probably caused by : Ntfs.sys ( Ntfs!NtfsMapStream+46 )
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    1. Post in the correct forum

    2. Do not overclock RAM unless you have $ to burn

    3. Read the guide forum - installing RAM and troubleshooting guide https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic65114.html

    4. you have a corrupt dll file - read this for a solution: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555531

    5. if you suspect bad ram - run memtest 86+ from a floppy for at least 7 passes

    6. Don't mix ram types or speed as stated in the guide
  7. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    My comments to Tedster in red:
    Ok, I'm aware that some 2 out of maybe 10 BSODs blaimed Avast, I was going to remove that tonight and see. However, since I took out one stick and am now running (with no errors) on one stick, I don't think Avast is it either. I'll remove it if I happen to get another BSOD.

    I'll double check the RAM voltage, thanks for the reminder.

    I'll have some more results tonight...
  8. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    I'd say just go get some new RAM. I got a deal on a 1GB OCZ dual channel kit the other day... maybe you can find some deals too.

    Although I do agree that increasing the voltage by .1 or even .2 might help.
  9. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Well the one stick I had in there ran fine for the day and evening. I swapped to the other one, and memtest (Windows) failed it! I also got another BSOD after an hour or so. So I swapped back to the good stick.

    I guess it's safe to say one of the sticks went bad. I have taken up this discussion on the Corsair warranty forum at houseofhelp.com.

    I'll let you know how it goes.
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Good work Vigilante,
    I'm running the same brand memory. They're almost 2 years old. Mine have built-in LED's
  11. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Ya, this XMS Extreme was suppose to be the bomb back when I bought it. Wouldn't figure this would happen.

    Depending on how Corsair deals with warranty, I may end up buying OCZ or Mushkin if I have to buy more.
  12. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    These were expensive too. $250 I think I paid. I'm almost sure they have a lifetime warranty
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