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Motherboard Memory Configuration

Posted on 2003-03-05
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I have a Micron Millenia XP+ Series Desktop running Windows XP Professional.  This contains a MSI K7N420 Pro Motherboard.  It also 2 128 MB DDR SDRAM DIMMs and 1 256 MB DDR SDRAM DIMM.  Recently it began crashing when doing anything highly graphic intensive (3d Editing, Gaming, etc.)  After some troubleshooting I was able to stop this by removing memory from the first memory bank.  It seemed to work fine with various combinations of memory in the other 2 slots.  As soon as I put memory back in bank 1, it crashed.  I thought this meant that the first slot on the motherboard was faulty so I called Micron and recieved a new motherboard.  To my dismay, this did not solve the problem.  It has continued to crash, even 1 time with slot 1 open, which it never did with the original motherboard.  Today, I discovered that if I put the DIMMS in the order of 128, 128, 256 from slot 1 to slot 3, the computer freezes when starting windows XP.  When I removed any of the DIMMs, it would load fine.  Any ideas on what could be causing this?
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Question by:Guillon
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8 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 8074736
OK, with all the memory in place, run the memory tester memtest86 which is a free download here:
www.memtest86.com
It makes a boot floppy that runs the test; it isn't a Windows program.  So that takes Windows out of the picture.

You either have a faulty memory module or some problem with Windows.  This test will either identify or eliminate a bad module and then we can move on.
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Author Comment

by:Guillon
ID: 8074760
I should have mentioned that I already ran that memory tester and everything came back fine.
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Author Comment

by:Guillon
ID: 8074827
I should have mentioned that I already ran that memory tester and everything came back fine.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 8078849
OK, then this is not a memory problem.

You've noted that the problem occurs during heavy graphics use so have you checked for newer video drivers?
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Author Comment

by:Guillon
ID: 8079320
Yes.  I have tried the newest version of the video drivers and also some older versions.  The video card is integrated in the montherboard, so when the motherboard was replaced, so was the video card.  We have more of these same exact computers and have not had the same problem with them, which leads me to believe it is a hardware problem, but I guess there could be something wrong with Windows???
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:galloglass
ID: 8080543
Guillon,

Try re-arranging the modules to a 256-128-128 configuration instead of the 128-128-256.

The standard memory arrangement is big module first followed by the smaller ones otherwise, please refer to your motherboard manual.
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Accepted Solution

by:
galloglass earned 300 total points
ID: 8080702
Guillon,

PLEASE read this article about the MSI K7N420 motherboard and its 'anomalous' 2nd DIMM bank:

http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=nforceddr&page=1&cookie%5Ftest=1&bhcp=1

I hope this will clear the cloud hovering over your head. =)

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Author Comment

by:Guillon
ID: 8088489
Thanks for the link.  I took the memory out of slot 2 and it seemed to be working great last night.  I'm not 100% sure the problem is resolved, but it is defiantly related to this article.  Thanks for the help!
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