Diagnosing a Memory Error

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    I'm running a Dell Precision Workstation 650 (1 yr old). It has 2GB, 266MHz,Double Data Rate SDRAM,ECC,4x512 memory. It's still covered by a service agreement; however, sometimes I like to get some expert advice before calling tech support.
          A few months ago, at boot, I would get the message "Uncorrectable memory failure ...Press F1 to continue". The Dell Diagnostics "March A Test" identified the problem in addresses 73D00000h - 73DFFFFFh as Error Code 2F00:0419, ECC Error encountered. Suspected DIMM B.
         Dell sent me 4 new DIMMs. However, I would still get the message sometimes--not all the time. I would just "Press F1 to continue..." since the machine worked fine. More recently, the machine has been freezing.
         I ran the Dell diagnostics, and got the same error code, this time for DIMM A. If I switch the first and last DIMMs, I get the same error message, identifying DIMM A as the problem. Does it seem likely that the problem really is the DIMM or something in the system board?

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    The member who asked this question verified this comment provided the solution that solved their problem.

    Accepted Solution on 2004-04-20 at 19:39:52ID: 10874627

    This is my offered dianosis based on the following symptoms:
    1. failures have been noted for both sockets(B, then A) and with multiple memory modules(originals and replacements).
    2. works for a while then fails with increasing frequency.
    Dx: improper installation due to flexing of the mainboard.
    Tx: use a nonconductive support under the sockets when installing(don't forget to remove) the DIMMs to prevent mainboard flex as the modules are "snapped" into place. The module must be correctly aligned in the sockets retention tabs and both ends simultaneouly pressed firmly into place, snap. The mainboard must not flex and the module must not be rocked into position. It is best practice to install the memory prior to installation of the mainboard on the standoffs in the chassis to avoid this situation.
    Info: if the mainboard is flexed during installtion of the modules, the heat up and cool down cycles of operation will degrade the memory contacts causing intermittant and unpredictable memory failures progressively. Before pronouncing any more deaths (mainboard) try CPR using the above technique.
    If proper installation does not solve the problem, call the coroner and send the mainboard to the morgue.

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