How to troubleshoot cpu/ram problems

I am working on an HP Media Center PC  HP Pavillion AMD Athlon 64x2 dual core Processor 4200+ 2.8Ghz with 2GB of RAM.  Computer has been exhibiting unexplained shutdown issue.  Windows reporting only 984 Mhz and 960MB RAM.  However, there are 2-1GB sticks of RAM installed and questioning only 984Mhz proccessor.   Removed one stick of RAM.  Windows now reporting 2.8GHZ processor speed and the expected 960MB of RAM.  Take that stick out and put the other stick in  back to 984 Mhz and 960MB RAM.
Before I spend the money on another 1GB RAM is this actually an indication that the processor not the RAM  is having issues?
charismatic100Asked:
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NaturaTekCommented:
Memtest memtest.org to check for ram issues.

Sounds like one stick is not registering, I would try to move it to different slots, and I would try that each stick of ram alone in the pc, to see which one posts correctly or not.
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NaturaTekCommented:
This definitely sounds like a ram issue. You can use Microsoft ram test tool http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

Luckily ram is cheap and faster. Get a 1gb of ram at newegg.com for 15$ Or your local bestbuy (higher priced)

Try one stick at a time. Write down the results. If one stick dont even boot the computer, that's probably your faulty stick. Also try in diff combination of slots.
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charismatic100Author Commented:
Replaced bad Ram...Windows now reporting 1.93GB RAM, but processor speed is 984Mhz
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NaturaTekCommented:
Is this a laptop or desktop? I know laptops drop speed when not doing task intensive processes.
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charismatic100Author Commented:
It is a desktop.
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Bl00dyMurd3rCommented:
@NaturaTek

If i had to guess, its a desktop. Not very many laptops have a 2.8 ghz processor



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NaturaTekCommented:
On a HP computer, go into bios:
"Runtime Power Management Enable/Disable. Allows certain operating systems to reduce processor voltage and frequency when the current software load does not require the full capabilities of the processor

Theres a power management option in bios that helps extends battery life or less consume power, by lowering the processor speed, on some computer bios you might wanna check if
you have Cool'N'Quiet enabled, the cpu will run slower than the 2.1ghz normal speed.  Disable it and check the speed again.

Make sure any memory settings are set to automatic and processor frequency set to automatic.
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NaturaTekCommented:
@bloody, really? I have a duocore 2.8 sony vaio and a 3.2ghz toshiba laptop, doesnt include the many thinkpads above 3ghz I've used at network fleet of laps.
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charismatic100Author Commented:
There was one stick of RAM that was malfunctioning, it has been replaced.  My concern now is that Windows System Properties only reports 984Mhz processor speed, not even close to the 2.8 Ghz that is listed in the specs for this machine.
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NaturaTekCommented:
Did you check bios like my previous comment?
On a HP computer, go into bios:
"Runtime Power Management Enable/Disable. Allows certain operating systems to reduce processor voltage and frequency when the current software load does not require the full capabilities of the processor

Theres a power management option in bios that helps extends battery life or less consume power, by lowering the processor speed, on some computer bios you might wanna check if
you have Cool'N'Quiet enabled, the cpu will run slower than the 2.1ghz normal speed.  Disable it and check the speed again.

Make sure any memory settings are set to automatic and processor frequency set to automatic.
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NaturaTekCommented:
If you bought a new stick of ram, leave it alone inside and take out the other stick of ram, boot pc, see the speed you are getting. If normal it's possible the other ram is faulty as well. Faulty ram does give symptoms as incorrect processor speed. First try the options above and check timings are set to automatic and also try manual (if you have that option) based on the speed of the ram.
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charismatic100Author Commented:
Runtime Power Management, do not have that option.  No Cool'N'Quiet  in bios settings.   I tried the new stick of ram alone as you suggested, no change, processor speed remains at 984 Mhz.
It is getting very late,  moring will come very quickly.  Will have to pick this up in the am.
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NaturaTekCommented:
Look in bios to reset to default settings once previous solutions are tried.
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smacky81Commented:
Memory issues tend to exhibit a rebooting of the computer, where CPU issues (generally overheating) tend to turn the PC off completely.

The issue you are describing however, could be the motherboard.

When you put the stick of ram causing the problem, in, are you putting it in the slot that the working stick was in? If not try that and if it works as expected, then the ram slot on the motherboard is most likely the cause.

Due to what you are describing though, I think it highly unlikely that your CPU is the issue.
My money is on the RAM. Second place is on the motherboard.
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charismatic100Author Commented:
Made suggested adjustments in bios.  PC is reported as 'running just like it used to.'
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NaturaTekCommented:
Meaning pc back to normal or still with same issue?
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charismatic100Author Commented:
PC back to normal.  
I apologize.  I thought that I had closed this question and assigned points.
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charismatic100Author Commented:
Thank you.
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