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Errors with Windows when using 4GB of RAM!

Posted on 2009-04-07
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I have recently replaced my motherboard. The new motherboard is an EVGA nForce 780i SLI. Here is the pertinent spec of the PC:

Mobo: EVGA nForce 780i SLI
CPU: Intel Core Duo 2 E6700
RAM: 4GB OCZ Model No. OCZ2N10662GK
BIOS Version: P8

(The RAM modules I am using are on the compatibility list of the motherboard manufacturer.)

After all the hardware was setup I am running into the following problem:

WIth 4GB of RAM installed I had problem with installing Winodws.  (I have tried it with both Win Server 2008 as well as Vista Ultimate.) When I strated Windows setup I got the following error message:  Error: access violation (0xC0000005), Address. I tried couple of more times, double checking my BIOS settings but the same error would occur.

I decided to remove all RAM modules. leaving ONLY one GB behind and Windows (both Win Server 2008 and Vista)  installed fine with NO errors.

After Windows was fully updated (Vista was updated to SP1) I added 1 additoanl GB of RAM; now the system has 2GB of RAM installed.

Win Server 2008 Boot Manager gave me an Error at startup.  I have attached a screen capture of the error screen.

Vista Ultimate started with NO errors.

Then I installed 4GB of RAM and BOTH Win Server 2008 as well as Vista gave me the same Boot Manager Error message.

I then did some more diagnostics and investigation and following are my findings:

1) MOST IMPORTANT: I have determined 100% that whenever four sticks are installed, there is a major issue with POSTING. The PC will turn on BUT will NOT POST! Then I turn it off and then ON and sometimes on the first try it will POST and sometimes on the third, fourth or even FIFTH try it MAY eventually POST!

2) I have used Memtest86 v3.5 and so far 3 out of the 4 sticks, tested individually, have been 100% with NO errors after 3 passes. (I did not have enough time to check the 4th one and will do it later today but I suspect it to be OK as well).

I have also tested each slot/bank on the mobo separately using one of the known GOOD sticks and all banks returned NO errors after one PASS with Memtest86.

I also tested with two sticks installed and after 15 passes Memtest86 returned no errors.

3) Called the RAM manufacturer, OCZ, and they told me to set the memory timing on manual and match it to the stick's specs.  They also told me to set CMD to 2T whenever I have more than two GB installed. But that did NOT fix the problem.

I called them back and they told me to increase the Voltage and increase the timings: instead of 5-5-5-15 to 6-6-6-20 with 2.2 volts. But that was NOT good either as the PC was NOT even POSTING.

I called OCZ back and they told me it may be a Hardware or Software incompatibility!! I know Windows can hanlde 4GB, specially Win Server 2008!!  So I still don't understand what is going on!!!
BootError.jpg
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Question by:esabet
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by:skywalker39
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Hi esabet,

It's possbile that the memory could be bad, do you have any other memory to test? Have you tried a repair with the Windows installation disc?
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by:esabet
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I used Memtes86 to test all the RAM modules seperately and they all passed!  Is it possible that they are BAD even after that?
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by:skywalker39
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Not likely but possible, do you have another motherboard to try also?
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by:esabet
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No extra RAM oor motherboard!!! In fact I received this motherboard in replacement for my previous motherboard!
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by:skywalker39
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Did you try doing a repair with the Windows installation disc?
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by:esabet
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No! Since it only comes up whenever I install addiitional memeory I did not thing it i s windows installtion issue.
Also, If I press continue, I get the option to "Start Windows Normaly" and sometimes windows will proceed to load but hen I get some other randome message while windows is running.
So my prime suspect is the RAM!
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by:skywalker39
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Yes, I am leaning towards memory too, it's possible that your memory is having a conflict with your motherboard.
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by:esabet
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If it was not on the compatibility list I would have said it is not compatiable but it is on the motherboard's manufacturer list.
Someone told me to try G.Sklill memroy sticks but I don't see those listed.  Have you heard of G.Skill?
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by:skywalker39
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Yes, thats actually the brand of memory that I use in my computer. I built my computer about a year ago with the same G. Skill memory and I haven't had any problems.
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by:garycase
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Most likely there's nothing wrong with either your motherboard or your memory.

Motherboards that use unbuffered RAM will be FAR more reliable if you only install 2 RAM modules -- especially if the modules are double-sided.   With 4 double-sided modules installed, you're presenting 64 loads on the memory data and address buses -- that notably degrades the signalling and can cause a lot of issues.   Some motherboard/memory combinations can still work okay; but many have problems with the degraded signals.   You can often overcome this by "tweaking" the settings -- using a slower memory clock; increasing the latency; or slightly increasing the voltage (as OCZ suggested) .... but this is nevertheless almost certainly the problem you're having here.

The best solution is to use 2 x 2GB modules instead of 4 x 1GB modules.   This will cut your bus loading in half, and almost certainly resolve this issue.
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by:esabet
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Thank you for the explanation garycase.
I have been recommended to buy G.Skill RAM modules.  More specifically the following:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1100 (PC2 8800) Dual Channel Kit
What is your opennion.  And does it matter that these are not SLI Ready?
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by:garycase
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Those modules are fine.   "SLI Ready" memory simply means the modules have extended SPD info that helps automate memory overclocking -- not something you really want to do anyway (and you can still do it manually if you wanted to).
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by:esabet
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I just realized that those G.Skill memeory modules have a high profile heat spreaders and given my hardware setup, that may casue some issues with the CPU cooling system.
Are there any other RAM modules that you would recommend?
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by:garycase
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by:PCBONEZ
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I agree with Crucial, Kingston, or Corsair.

Something to watch if they have heat spreaders is that they have thin (steel or copper) heat spreaders.
I had a situation where the RAM had those thick aluminum heatsinks/spreaders and the problem was with modules in slots right next to each other the gap between the modules was so small (<1/8") that there was no air flow and that caused them to over-heat.
.
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by:esabet
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Did some search and came across these Corsair modules:
CORSAIR TWIN2X4096-8500C5
The reason I choose these as an option is for their attractive timing and voltage. The timing on these are 5-5-5-15 @ 2.1v
What is your opennion on that please?
Also, as an update, I worked for a while on the OCZ rams (the settings and timings) and though they all pass Memtest (3 Passes) they just don't seem want to work for my configuration.
At first I thought Vista was OK at least with two of the modules intsalled but since last night, even with only two of them installed I get the same typycal Boot time error with windows.
Lastly I must mention that the Boot Manager screen shot that I have posted shows only one of the "typical" errors.  The error status/code and the file name is not always the same and changes from time to time!!!
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by:David_Ward
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" I know Windows can hanlde 4GB"

As far as I am aware only 64bit versions of Windwos can handle 4Gb+

Even then it is not just about the WIndows version, the motherboard and the BIOS version are important factors too.

I have, in the past had to make sure -some- was being used by the "System" (BIOS and Video RAM shadowing, for instance) to ensure there was less than 4GB available to WIndows, so that it would not barf.

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by:David_Ward
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althoughj yours is keeling over during post tests, so, I suspect it is the BIOS that can not handle 4GB.

Some Motherboards insist on RAM banks installed in pairs, if yours does not, I expect it will run just fine with 3Gb installed.
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by:esabet
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David;
I am installing 64bit versions in either case of Vista or Win Server 2008.  That is why I was confident to say Windows can handle 4GB.
Also, I have checked with the motherboard's manufacturer and according to the specs it should be able to handle up to 8GB.
Lastly, as you can see from my last post (and initial question) even with 2GB installed (as pairs of 1GB) windows is throwing error messages.  WIth 2GB there is no issue with POST, the system POSTS just fine and Memtest86 returned no errors, but when it comes to booting, windows Boot Manager, as displayed above, gives error messages.
So even if there is an argument about 4GB, I don't understand why 2GB is giving me problems. (B.T.W. I was able to install windows with no issue by using ONLY 1GB).
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by:garycase
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There's no problem with installing 4GB -- the issue here is RAM compatibility and address & data bus loading.   Since you're also having problems with 2GB, there's some compatibility issue with the OCZ modules and your motherboard ... if you "played" long enough with the settings (slow down the clock; increase the latency; adjust the voltage) you could almost certainly get them working reliably -- but since you want 4GB I'd simply buy 2 x 2GB modules and be done with it.

The Corsair modules you noted above are fine; as are any of the 3 modules I gave links to in my last post.
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by:PCBONEZ
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I have seen scattered reports of some memory not being compatible with Vista.
It's a relatively new problem/complaint, I don't understand how it could be, I haven't seen an explanation, I'm not sure if I believe it's even true at this point, I'm just reporting that I've seen such complaints in a number of places now and the number of complaints seems to be growing.
- In technology it can be like that when new problems first start showing up, but it's also entirely possible the people reporting those problems don't know what they are talking about.

That said, the Corsair modules you are looking at should be just fine.
.

The *4GB* issue is not Windows-RAM, it's Motherboard-RAM.
Despite the fact that they are supposed to, many motherboards can't handle the load on the memory bus with more than two modules present. (MODULES, not GB.)
The -size- of the modules isn't the issue, it's the -number- of modules.
.
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by:esabet
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I understand what you guys are saying.
I have some updates:
I posted a question on the EVGA Forum board and it seems that there is a major incompatibility issue when COrsair is used with this board.  So tha is a no go! But I did find out atht it seems many people had good results when they used G.Skill modules os I ordered these on Wednesday.
In the interium I am still trying to figure out what is going on with the OCZ that I now own. First I enjoy doing it as a challenge and, second, its a good way to learn more!
I have done some further testing and I found out that up to now whenever I was testing the OCZ modules, I was only running them at 667 MHz while the spec claims them to be able to run at 1066 MHz.
Well, when I tried to set the RAM speed in BIOS at 1066, testing each module individualy, they all fail as the system would crash at POST! The highest speed i could achive was at 866 MHz!!
It seems something is up with these modules but what is the liklihood of having FOUR BAD modules!!
 
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by:garycase
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Most modules that run at higher speeds require higher voltage settings for those speeds.    Most likely you need to increase the voltage to run at the higher clock speeds -- check OCZ's specifications for those modules; and set the voltage to match the spec before changing the clock to the higher speed.
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by:esabet
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I have been in touch with OCZ and all settings, including voltage, are proper.
My problem is what are the chances of  ALL FOUR modules to be bad!!  I am begging to wonder if it is not a motherboard issue!
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by:skywalker39
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It's possible that it could be the motherboard (as I mentioned in a earlier post) do you have another motherboard to swap to see if it is the motherboard?
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by:garycase
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Perhaps the motherboard only supports memory running at the speeds they have designed it for -- the motherboard specifications show "... DDR2 533/667/800/1200MHz SLI-Ready memory ..." ==> 1066MHz is NOT listed.
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by:esabet
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I understand what you are saying gary but if you look up Supported Memory Modules on the website, the ones I purchased, amongst other 1066 models, are listed as compatiable.
Additioanly, when I called the supoprt they dd not say anything of the sort!
I did ask them how to test he motherboard and they told me its only possible by using different memory modules!!!!!
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by:PCBONEZ
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When you tested with one stick at a time did you reset the BIOS to defaults first so that you were not testing with settings from previous tinkering intended for dual channel mode?
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by:PCBONEZ
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When you test RAM everything you change the RAM configuration you need to reset the BIOS.
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by:esabet
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Hi;
I was not aware of the fact that I first need to RESET to factury defaults and then use the new settings!!
Thanks for the info and I will give that a try!
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by:esabet
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Ok.  I purchased new RAM mouldes and the same problem.  I can not get even the new RAM to run at its specs.  The new RAM calls for 1066Mhz 5-5-5-15 but the best I can do is 800 Mhz 6-6-6-20.
So I called EVGA (the mobo manufacturer) and they are replacing the mobo.
Lets hope that was the issue.
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esabet earned 0 total points
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It appears that i had a bad motherboard and was forced to replace it.
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