Optiplex GX270 Blue Screens often

Hello, I picked up a refurbished Dell Optiplex GX270 with an Intel P4 2.8Ghz processor and 1 Gig ram (4 256MB sticks). I added a Geforce FX5200 AGP video card.  There is a fresh copy of windows XP installed just 3 days ago. The only software that has been installed is itunes and firefox. The computer is experiencing BSOD's pretty much regularly. They always have different messages, but seem to all point to the RAM possibly being faulty. I have run memtest86 on the system by downloading and burning the ISO and booting it from the CD drive. I am having weird results. First I tested ALL 4 sticks together I immediately got an error at about 34% coverage, then another error around 75%. Both occurred less than 10 minutes in. So I shut it off and pulled out one set of RAM, leaving one in. Let it run for about an hour and no error. Switched the sets around so as to test the second set and try and narrow down which stick is bad, and test for another hour and no error. Then I tested them all together again and even quicker than before I got errors. First error came at 14% and by 100% I had 4 errors. Then I began testing each one individually and again allowed each to run for over an hour and none give an error. Why is the RAM failing when tested together, but not when tested individually? Anyone with any suggestions please help.

I will detail the important parts of each blue screen below, The order they appeared in I cannot remember. I will give the error string and the first 0x code. If any more info is needed, please feel free to ask and I will do the best to give it if I can.

I think the first BSOD error was a PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA and I did not write down the 0x code.

I have also received the following ones after that:

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL 0x0000000A
BAD_POOL_HEADER 0x00000019
DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL 0x000000D1

We pretty much receive one of these BSOD's every 2 hours of using the computer. I am likely going to be purchasing new RAM for it anyway because I'd like to upgrade to 2 gigs and will need to buy 2 1 gig sticks. I just want to make sure I'm not wasting money if something else on the computer is faulty. Thanks for any help.
GaryAmbroseAsked:
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GaryAmbroseAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the info everyone. It turns out that it was just bad memory. I removed all the old memory and replaced it with 2 brand new 1GB sticks ordered from memoryx.net and it's been running for over a week with no problems. Thanks so much...
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senadCommented:
An issue I had recently was that some motherboards do not handle well all the
memory slots (4)  full.however bizarre that sounds...
Another isue I had was that the RAM (Corsair) was not compatible with the motherboard.
So check these issues very carefully ....
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senadCommented:
Reading your question more carefully,I think you are experiencing the issue when the MB can't handle
full slots....
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Also have a good look over the capacitors on the board - even with a refurb this is one of Dell's cheap Foxconn LS-36 motherboards with a horrible reputation for blowing caps. I'm worried that simply replacing components on the board mean the older components get put under more pressure. Check for bulging or leaking caps.
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akahanCommented:
Are you using the latest BIOS for the machine (A07)?

That machine has four slots for RAM; if you're only using two sticks of RAM, you're only using two slots (the ones with white clips), and no matter which sticks you're using, you're using the SAME two slots if you are only using two sticks of RAM.   When you use all four sticks, you're using four slots.  Suggests that the problem might be with one of the black-clip slots, rather than one of the sticks of RAM.   Doesn't memtest86 tell you which slot is having the problem?  (I can't remember whether it does or not).   *IF*  that's the case, then using only the first two slots should be fine, but if it were me, and the machine were under warranty, I'd probably demand a replacement that doesn't have this problem.  
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GaryAmbroseAuthor Commented:
One thing I forgot to add: for the BSOD with IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL 0x0000000A at the bottom of this one was also a message that said 'afd.sys - address F54072FF, base at F53FC000, datestamp at 48A40333'


senad, thanks for the reply, I purchased this system from a computer repair shop here in town so I assumed they would have the correct type of RAM in it, but I certainly may be being too optimistic, I will check it out. The sticker on the RAM is from ProMOS technologies, and after checking all the RAM it appears that there is 2 different types, there are 2 pc2700 chips and 2 pc3200 chips. I believe this may be the issue? I know some systems you can mix memory types, but my research with upgrading the ram in this one I have read that the GX270 has 2 different bus speeds and each one requires a certain speed memory, and they can't be mixed. I have the 800mhz FSB and thusly require only PC3200, the PC2700 is Fubaring everything up. Can someone please verify this for me? I will need to pay a visit to the shop and ask for the correct memory. Thanks, Gary
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GaryAmbroseAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the replies everyone, I think I have the issue figured out after checking all the RAM I have found both pc2700 and pc3200 chips, which I believe is not allowed with this system, it can only accept pc3200 chips since the FSB is 800mhz. Can someone please check into this and verify for me if this is the likely problem. If it is I will bring it to the shop and ask that they put the correct memory type in.
Thanks, Gary
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GaryAmbroseAuthor Commented:
Also, I am using the A07 bios, it was A06 but I immediately upgraded it after getting the machine because I was unable to boot to CD and the cd/dvd drive was not showing up under windows... turns out it was a bad IDE cable, replaced it and it immediately worked perfectly. This shop is not looking too good in my book, especially for the $250 I paid for this system from 2004.
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senadCommented:
replace and check ...
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WolfhereCommented:
Masquerade (above) is probably right on the money. Check your capacitors (bubbled and leaky/rusty looking). the GX270 from Dell had a bunch of boards with the bad capacitors that a lot of vendors had a while back. They can check out fine and fails on next boot. They had a recall, but if the system was still working at the time, they did nothing for you. I worked for a VERY large school district at the time, and had several hundred boards replaced because of this issue. As a side note, I just had another go bad on me on my present job. All the capacitors need to be flat. Even slight bubbling is bad. Symptoms are varied, dependent on which one is bad.
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GaryAmbroseAuthor Commented:
I have checked the motherboard thoroughly and I see no sign of leaky or bulging capacitors. Can anyone check for me and see whether my theory about the 2 different types of memory being mixed is correct? Alot of memory upgrade sites I went to said that this computer has 2 fsb speeds each of which takes only 1 type of memory, my fsb is 800mhz and thusly requires pc3200 type memory. However after contacting dell via online chat and asking them to confirm which memory type my computer takes, they said it does not matter.  I already ordered two 1 gig pc3200 sticks so when they arrive I will try them and see if the problem is fixed.
Thanks again to all, and keep the ideas coming if you have any other suggestions...
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
As long as you've matched the different speeds in paired slots (1 with 2, 3 with 4) you should be fine, The MB should just detect the PC2700 and slow everything down to 333MHz
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/opgx270/en/ug/memory.htm
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PCBONEZCommented:
GX270 suffered from defective Nichicon HN and HM series capacitors that were produced from 2001-2004.

The mini-cases also have a habit of killing caps [any brand cap] with excessive heat.
- This one affects all Optiplex, not just GX270.
- GX620 started showing up with that problem ~2 years ago. Now I'm seeing Optiplex 745 & 755 with blown caps.

What looks like a RAM problem is most likely due to the RAM and/or Chipset [home of the memory controller] receiving dirty noisy power due to failed or failing caps.
If these parts don't have clean stable power the signals they create [or pass through] get corrupted.
- Looks JUST like bad RAM to testing programs.
.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Oh,
You can fix it yourself. - - www.thecapking.com
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PCBONEZCommented:
You are using a board that is NOTORIOUS for bad capacitors.
Bad caps put excessive ripple in the power plane and that damage other parts.
That is probably WHY your RAM went bad.
You haven't fixed the problem, you put a band-aide on a symptom.
Odds are your new RAM will be damaged too.
-
Good luck with that.
.
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