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Your advice is needed - Does this sound like faulty ram

Posted on 2002-03-17
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
Specs

AMD Athlon XP 1800 CPU
1GB PC 133 SDRAM (512MBx2) - do not know manufacturer
15GB IBM HDD
Soltek SL75KAV Motherboard
32MB Hercules Geforce 2 MX Graphics Card
Soundblaster Live 1024 Value
Windows XP Pro

Problem

Since upgrading my chip from an AMD Athlon 1Ghz to a XP 1800 chip (1.53GHz) and upgrading the ram from 256Mb to 1GB, my pc randomly locks up/freezes, forcing a reboot of the machine. The first memory modules were faulty and have been replaced.

However, when I try to run Microsoft Flight simulator 2002 the pc blue screens and reboots. Sometimes windows catches the error and asks if I want to send an error report.

However, If I remove one of the memory modules the system is stable and the game runs correctly. As soon as I install the second module (1024Mb total) the system locks up.

Anyone have any ideas if this is faulty ram or a hardware conflict? I think the ram is faulty but I would like to be certain before I send it back (for the second time).

Thanks for any help you might be able to provide!
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Question by:dlmcdermott
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by:ornicar
ID: 6875315
Try to remove another module, if the problem appears, the RAM is faulty.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 6875340
Could be the slot the RAM is sitting is faulty or just needs to be clean out with a can of compressed air. Some times the slot will get slightly bowed from pressing down on them so it makes the contact a bit iffy sometimes.
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6875382
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 6876261
Thanks for your comments,

I have tested the modules individually in the machine and they both work correctly. However, when used in conjuction the machine locks up.

I have tested them in memory slots 1 & 2 on the motherboard. I will clean out the slots and see if that helps.

Cheers

Darren
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6876402
Are they a matched set?
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 6876412
Not sure,

they are exactly the same make & model but I don't know if they are a matched set!

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by:Wakeup
ID: 6877899
I have had similar responses with some memory in my system.  I thought it was bad ram.  It is not bad ram.  I believe it to be XP issues as well as Motherboard and or video card issues.  Let me see if I can find you a link to some of the problems I have had...I still have yet to resolve my problems.  And i can not find a link yet...but as soon as I do I will post.
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 6878283
I have cleaned out the motherboard slots using compressed air and have run the memory testing software which stephenlewis recommended. The software found no errors with the ram. I tested each module separately and then combined. No probs were detected.

I have tried changing the ram location in the motherboard slots
1 & 3
2 & 3
1 & 2

The problem occurs regardless of memory location on the motherboard. Again, the machine is stable when only one module is installed.

Wakeup, thanks for your comments, I'm thinking of formatting the system and installing windows 2000 to see if I have the same problems.

I'll keep you all informed.

Thanks again

Darren
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6878329
Do you have the latest video card drivers?  It seems like my problems are related to my ATI Radeon 8500.  I had the ATI Radeon Vivo and that worked with my two sticks of ram.  I switched to 8500, and then I kept getting errors everywhere.  BSD's....Lockups, and crashes.  Took out one stick of ram, works fine.  Put it back in, it screwed up.
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6878481
Does this mobo have ali magic chipsets? there is an issue with that chipset and dual ddr dimms, the dimms are under powered On Asus mobos there is a jumper right behind the agp slot (J10?) move it and it increases the RAM voltage by .1 volts, and stabalizes it. Don't know about Soltek SL75KAV Motherboard
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 6879322
The mobo has a VIA chipset and the memory is SDRAM. I have installed the latest Hercules graphics drivers, however they are not the latest nvidia drivers (23.11). Hercules have rebranded the 21.81 drivers.

I will try to install the generic nvidia drivers and see if that solves the problem. If not, its time for Windows 2000.

Thanks again for your comments
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by:Old_Dog
ID: 6879722
Does this ONLY happen with Flight Sim 2002 now, since your replaced the original (faulty) DIMMS?
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 6879836
Unfortunately I did not have Flight Sim before I changed over the RAM. However, the machine crashes in windows which it hardly ever did before!
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6880760
dlmcdermott,
my problem here is very similar.  It is not flight sim.  It may be a combination of things.  RAM, Video card, and Windows XP.  I run into the very very same problem.  If I have two sticks of ram in my machine it crashes, BSD's, And/or locks up.  Take out one stick then all is fine.
I am running an ATI Radeon 8500 (Retail), with a Soyo Dragon Mobo, Athlon XP 1800 CPU, 512MB ram w/ 256mb of ram.

If I pull the 256mb of ram it runs fine.  So all is weird.  HOWEVER, when I was running my ATI Radeon VIVO card before that, I would not lock up or have those issues.  So it seems strange.  I have not tried to put that card back in my machine since I have since sold it.  But my friend who I sold it to is running that card and a 512 and my 256 stick fine.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6893747
dlmcdermott, how goes the trouble shooting?
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 6893762
Hi Wakeup,

Sorry for not posting for a while. I've been waiting to hear from my MOBO manufacturer. He is the tech advice given to me which I think may have solved the problems I was having (I'm still testing though).

1:First of all.Please tried to clear your CMOS setting and load the optimized default setting. (Which I did)

2:Secondly.Follow as below procedures and change some BIOS setting.
  "Advanced Chipset Features" (was already set to this)
  =Dram timing by SPD=Disabled (was already set to this)
  =Dram clock=133Mhz (was already set to this)
  =Dram drive strength=From Auto to manual (changed to manual)
  =Dram drive value=4F (changed from 2F to 4F)

3:Thirdly.If you want to install the AMD XP processor on the SL75KAV then you need to check the PCB version for the SL75KAV.Because older PCB version(AX or EX) Of SL75KAV could not support it. (my board is F5 and I already flashed the BIOS to support the XP chip).

So far Colin McRae 2 now runs in XP, it just crashed out before. Flight Sim seem to run okay but I have only tested it for 10 mins or so! :)
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6893770
hmmm...Sounds like yer getting somewhere
Let me know how things turn out!
Goodluck!
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6907778
How are things dlmcdermott?  I was wondering if you found anything out.  I too am having issues like this.  I will probably post the question as well.  To see if others have the issue.
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by:pelejab
ID: 6909369
seems windows xp is very temperamental with RAM memory - also have had problems as per my question 20271516. Interested to see what others have to say on it here and elsewhere.
cheers, Pete
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by:Wakeup
ID: 6952214
hey, check this out:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/jsp/qManageQuestion.jsp?qid=20283312

I solved my issue by swapping out my optical mouse (logitech) for a brand new one....and for some reason....no more lockups...and everything is running smoothly...why is that?! hehe...I dunno....so maybe try replacing your mouse?  Who knows....
worked for me!
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 7135682
Have you been helped here or is more needed?  Since time has passed since your last comment, an update is appreciated (in case things have changed).  If you've been helped, convert the expert's comment to the Accepted Answer to grade and close it.  If more than one helped you, ask for a point split by posting a zero point question in the Community Support topic area, include this link and details with your request (expert name and point values to each).  If you feel you've found/posted your own solutions, let it be known here and then request a refund/PAQ in the link below (again, include the question link).

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Asta
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 7140472
Okay, I haven't forgot about this post. I still haven't sorted out the problem :-(

I think the RAM is faulty as I was getting 0X0000008E STOP errors and BSOD's (which I believe indicates faulty RAM). I have sent the RAM back to the supplier for testing and have replaced it with a single 256MB module (which I know is okay). I have not had any blue screens or STOP errors since. One problem fixed I think!!!

However, my machine still constantly locks up when trying to play games, namely Return To Castle Wolfenstien and Microsoft Flight Sim 2002. I have looked at previous posts on other forums and thought I might be suffering from the Nvidia Infinite loop problem!. The game locks for no reason at any time, and when it does, the sound constantly repeats/loops the same noise (like a CD player when playing a scratched CD!).

I have tried changing the DRAM Strength Value from DA to EA and E7 and this hasn't made a difference. I attempted to change the speed of the AGP port down to 1x and 2x (again this made no difference).

I thought my CPU might be running hot as the VIA hardware monitor indicates it to be running between 49 and 52C (is this hot?). So I underclocked my chip last night, it is now rated at 1.10GHZ (CPU External frequency set to 133.3MHZ, PCI Frequency 33.3 MHZ & FSB Frequency 266MHZ & Dip switch set to 5.5x instead of 10.5x).

Since underclocking the machine I haven't had a lockup for over 2 hours (Previously I would get them within a few minutes of playing RTCW). I tried restarting the game and increasing the display size from 640x480 to 1024x768. No problems, the machine performs perfectly.

Could my problems lie with a faulty CPU? I'm unsure as I thought a faulty CPU would manifest problems even if underclocked!

Hopefully, we might be getting to the bottom of this!

Cheers

Darren
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 7141116
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by:Wakeup
ID: 7141560
darren,

Ya.  I had very similar problems.  What kind of mouse are you using?  I had a USB logitech Optical Scroll mouse which was causing my problems.  I could play may games for maybe 10 minutes max... RTCW, MOHAA and stuff like that.  Sometimes if I got lucky I can play for more than 10 minutes but that was rare.  I tried everything....New ram.  One stick of ram.  Two sticks.  Three sticks....256mb up to 1.25Gig.  new video card.  Old video card.  still the same problems.  New drivers, Beta Drivers, Old drivers.  Reinstall my games.  Uninstall them.  Reinstall them.  Clean install of WinXP.  Repair of Win XP.  Nothing could resolve it except I replaced my mouse.  When that happened.  Everything worked fine.  I do not really know why.  It just did.  It was a faulty mouse.
Try a new one....see what happens...
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Author Comment

by:dlmcdermott
ID: 7142732
Hi Wakeup,

Your problems seem exactly like the one's I am having. I have tried a bog standard Microsoft wheel mouse (No additional mouse software installed) and now I have an Microsoft optical mouse. The games RTCW & MOHAA run correctly when the CPU is underclocked. As soon as I set the DIP switches to the correct clock speeds the machine locks.

Someone has suggested increasing the voltage to the CPU as it might be slightly underpowered but I haven't tried it yet. I will keep you informed though!

Darren
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by:Wakeup
ID: 7142792
dlmcdermott,

Yah I would suggest increasing the voltage as well.  If that is not the case.  Try a better cooling system for your CPU.  Make sure it is cool enuff.  You can try taking the case off for better ventilation.  Try that and see what happens...
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Author Comment

by:dlmcdermott
ID: 7142819
I have ordered a Thermaltake Volcano 7+ to help cool the system. I have

How much should I raise the voltage by?

Here is what I found last night!

I have been looking around the options in my BIOS and have had the machine on for a couple of hours last night.

Here are the options under the Frequency/Voltage Control BIOS menu (Soltek SL-75KAV MOBO - Latest BIOS VERSION Q10)

Redstorm Overclocking Tech (Press Enter) - I have never been into this option
Auto Detect DIMM/PCI Clk = Enabled
Spread Spectrum Modulated = Disabled
CPU Host/PCI Clock = Default
CPU Voltage Regulator = Default

The options for CPU Host/PCI Clock are:-

+1 Mhz
+2 Mhz
+3 Mhz
Upto +28 Mhz

The options for CPU Voltage Regulator are:-

1.50v
1.52v
1.55v
1.575v
1.60v
Upto 1.85v

UNDER THE SMARTDOC ANTI-BURN SHIELD BIOS MENU, IT DISPLAYS:-

VCORE= 1.81V
VDD= 3.47V
3.3V = 3.39V
5V = 5.12V
12V = 12.72V

However under Both Hardware Sensors Monitor v4.0.4.2 Pro & Via Hardware Monitor v2.05

WHEN CPU IS UNDERCLOCKED TO 1.16MHZ
VCORE VALUE = 1.87
VDD VALUE = 3.54
3.3V VAULE = 3.40
5V VALUE = 5.13
12V VALUE = 12.72


WHEN SET TO ATHLON XP 1800

VCORE VALUE = 1.87
VDD VALUE = 3.54
3.3V VALUE = 3.38
5V VALUE = 5.10
12V VALUE = 12.84

I‘m unsure on how to proceed next. I do not know what the options mean under the BIOS menu (I'm not a hardware guru unfortunately). What settings should I try to make the system stable when running with the normal CPU settings and not underclocking.

I tested RTCW again - runs perfectly under 1.16GHZ
Rebooted, changed DIP switch settings (XP 1800) - Machine locks as soon as I press on Load Game!

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Author Comment

by:dlmcdermott
ID: 7149297
I have tried changing several settings on the MOBO with various results. I have tried to change the CPU voltage core to 1.85v and this has the adverse affect of crashing the machine as soon as it loads the windows desktop. I have upped the memory voltage from 3.3v to 3.4v, however, this made no difference.

Here is a list of things I have tried!

JP17 = jumper on motherboard controlling automatic setting of the bus ratio. By default position 1-2 is bus selected by dip switch 2 on motherboard. Position 2-3 is auto. LED indicates when auto mode is enabled!

CPU Speed, Ram Voltage, CPU Voltage, Led status, JP17 Position, Machine Status

1.16GHZ, 3.3V, Default, Off, 2-3, Boots & loads Windows XP

XP1800, 3.3v, Default, Off, 2-3, Boots & Loads Windows XP

XP1800, 3.3V, Default, On, 1-2, Machine does not boot (does not attempt to load Win XP)

1.16GHZ, 3.3V, Default, On, 1-2, Machine does not boot (does not attempt to load Win XP)

XP1800, 3.3V & 3.4V, 1.85, Off, 2-3, Machine boots but crashes as soon as Windows XP gets to the desktop stage (blank screen and a full reset is required).

1.16GHZ, 3.4V, 1.85, Off, 2-3 as above (boots but crashes as soon as XP loads & displays the desktop)

XP1800, 3.4V, Default, Off, 2-3 Booted ok once, However, crashes in Return to castle wolfenstein (CPU Temp 53.2c). Immediately rebooted, crashed on loading XP several times (Completely unstable - constantly locking up)

IMMEDIATELY UNDERCLOCKED THE MACHINE TO 1.16GHz
1.16GHz, 3.4V, Default, Off, 2-3
Windows loads and I played RTCW for over an hour - no probs at all! (CPU Temp 53c)

Immediately Rebooted & clocked back to XP 1800
RTCW crashed after 5 minutes (CPU 52.6c)
rebooted it crashed after 1m 40s

Underclocked it again
No problems

Hence, if I change the CPU voltage core to 1.85v, the machine crashes as soon as windows loads.
If I change JP17 to position 1-2 the machine fails to do anything but the LED is on (SW1&2 ALL OFF).

If the CPU Voltage is left to default, the machine is stable when underclocked. However, am I correct in saying that I should not be able to underclock the machine when JP17 is set to 2-3. The MOBO should auto detect the CPU clock speed!

Any ideas if its the chip or mobo which is at fault?
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 7275058
We've had some Email notifications problems during the rewrite process, and some participating experts here may not have received information on your last comments here.

Please comment again and let them know your status today so that this collaboration effort can be revived and completed.

Thanks,

":0) Asta
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by:pelejab
ID: 7276652
methinks time(=money) spent on all this under/over clocking etc versus cost of new pc would have been cheaper to have bought a new more powerful PC......just joking of course.....grin
cheers, Pete
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Wakeup earned 50 total points
ID: 7277711
may be a bad CPU as well....
If your CPU is a retail one you have 3 year warranty....
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Author Comment

by:dlmcdermott
ID: 7279263
Sorry,

I forgot all about this topic. I finally managed to get this sorted about 2 weeks ago. The problems were due to a combination of unbranded RAM and a faulty CPU.

I have now replaced the RAM with a single Samsung 512MB PC133 SDRAM module and a replacement Athlon XP 1800.

It now works a treat, no crashes or blue screens!!

Thanks for your all suggestions guys & girls especially Stephen Lewis, Asteac & Wakeup.
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by:dlmcdermott
ID: 7279265
thanks for all your help!
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 7279794
Great news, happy the problem is solved and thanks for adding the specifics.
":0) Asta
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