BAD RAM Memory modules

I think my 4 gigs Ram modules have some problem. (they are 4 modules 1 Gig each in pairs)

I started having problems with the computer, it wouldnt Load XP, and i had different error screens, some i think related to memory, and others to Operating System.

So i runned the DELL DIAGNOSTICS and it found thousands of errors in memory, and also i runned MEMTEST 86 + v 2.11  with error results on memory...

The strange think is that sometimes i was able to Load Windows XP Pro 32 bits, and use my applications, even my 3D applications (Maya, and After Effects, etc) which are RAM demanding, and they worked with no problems...)

So, to discard OS problems, i formatted all my Hard drive, and i reinstalled XP PRO SP3 32 bits only, and Now i want to address my RAM PROBLEM.

Can you help me, in how to check if my Memorys are completely faulty, or can they be fixed? Buying new Ram is an option, but not right now because i have to buy a new PC in this week, and not enough money...

Can this has been caused by an electrical fault? cant it be something related to the Power supply ? how can i check?
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Swap one ram stick run memtest. If it comes back error free you know you have the bad stick out. Otherwise you know its the other stick.

Ram can go bad naturally and/or may be caused from many other things. Since its a repetitively inexpensive things to replace just try to replace the ram and/or just the one bad ram stick.

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Put only one RAM stick into your PC and run the DELL Diagnostic for RAM only.

Do that for every one of them so that you can determine which one is faulty.

When completed, just insert the good ones and try your XP for a while and go from there.
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Forgot My specs:

Dell Precision workstation 470 (3 1/2 years old PC)
XP Pro Sp3
1 Harddrive SATA  160 Gb (or 150 Gb) approximately
4 Gigs of Ram, (PC2 5300 unbuffered.... i think...)

By the way, i understand they work on PAIRS, so if i do what you both are suggesting (which i did before but only tested one pair...i forgot to test the other...)  Do i have to do it with PAIRS, or will the Dell diagnostics work with just 1 sitck at each time?
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MemTest will work with one stick.
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
oops.. i think i am wrong about my RAM specs... i will post them again in a couple of minutes when i turn off computer and look at them
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
testing with memtest right now... after that i will also try Dell diagnostics.. Thanks guys, i will keep yo uposted as soon as the tests finish..   I am doing 1 stick at a time

If the RAM checks out add one stick at a time to determine if the issue is with the mothe board.
i suggest to NOT use 4 sticks; they load the memory bus with 4x 16 = 64 loads...not many boards run then well, since waveforms and levels detoriate.
you cannot fix ram modules -they are ok or not.
what you can - and should do- is :
-look on the ram supported list of Dell for your model
-if it is not on there, look at the specs, and check on the ram vendors site for compatibility.
-then look for the proper timings, and voltage for them, and set them accordingly.

...and of  course, if one or more are bad, you should replace them.
you can also test them on another PC (because the problem maybe on the motherboard, and not the ram...)
Only RAMBUS modules are required to be operated in pairs; regular SDRAM can be run singly, but they may not run as fast as dual-channel operation.  I agree with nobus that 4 modules may be causing signal degradation; you can compensate by relaxing the memory timings in the BIOS, but you would have to experiment to find the best settings.
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Hi everybody, nice to see some more comments... I have been doing a lot of tests this last 2 days, both with Memtest 86+ , and Dell diagnostics...  I am starting to think that the RAM modules are Ok, and perhaps the problem is the motherboard....(worst for me!!...) or a False report on Dell Diagnostics?? can that be possible???

I have to correct myself with one spec, i mentioned i had 4 gigs of ram in 4 sticks of 1 GB each, well i was mistaken, the correct specs are:
2 *  512Mb Ram Modules
2 *  1Gb Ram Modules

So, what i have done:

- I runned Memtest86+ and Dell Diagnostics, with 1 module at a time (always on the 1st rank(the first space to put the modules) ), and it showed no errors, all test passed in both Memtest 86+ and Dell diagnostics .

- I runned Memtest 86+ with all the 4 Ram modules inside, for several passes, and nothing bad came out, everything was perfect, no errors!!!!

- I runned Dell diagnostics with 2 modules (i put them on 1st and 2nd rank) and it started inmediately to throw errors on Dell diagnostics... I guess is possible that the 2nd rank (space) on the motherboard is gone bad??? The same happens if i put 3 and 4 modules.... Can Dell Diagnostics be wrong??

About NOBUS and CALLANDOR comments, is interesting about the Timings and voltage, but thats is new for me, i dont know how to do that, so i will start a new question on that subject, and post it here. But just to clear something out, why Nobus says that it is not recommended to use 4 sticks? if my computer is made for that, even more, it has 6 spaces for 6 ram sticks... Or did you mean that is not good to put 4 sticks for the Tests only?

that was what i posted : it can be the motherboard (ram controller) too
as for the 4 sticks - that comment is for UNbuffered ram - if you use buffered, no problem

here is how to install ram on your PC :   from :
Your computer supports ECC and registered memory.

Memory modules should be installed in pairs of matched size, speed, and rank (1R is single rank and 2R is dual rank). See the label on the memory module to determine its size, speed rank, and organization. Be sure that your memory module labels match.

Example: 256MB 1Rx8 PC2-5400R-544-10:
Size = 256 MB
Speed = 5400
Rank = 1R
Organization = x8

Memory modules can be single rank (1R) or dual rank (2R) and should be installed in the following order:
The highest rank memory module in DIMM_1 and DIMM_2
Equal or lower rank memory modules in DIMM_3 and DIMM_4
Single rank (1R) memory modules in DIMM_5 and DIMM_6

If only two memory modules are installed, they must be installed in DIMM_1 and DIMM_2. These connectors are located on the outside edge of the board (for your Dell Precision 670, see "System Board Components" and for your Dell Precision 470 computer, see "System Board Components.")

Memory modules should be installed in the following order: connectors DIMM_1 and DIMM_2, DIMM_3 and DIMM_4, and then DIMM_5 and DIMM_6.

If dual-rank modules are installed in DIMM_3 and DIMM_4, then DIMM_5 and DIMM_6 cannot be used.
Dual-rank memory modules are not supported in DIMM_5 and DIMM_6.
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Ok, thank you all, i have runned extensive tests with the same result, Only Dell diagnostics give me Memory Errors when i put more than 1 Ram stick, but when i test them with only 1 Ram stick everything is fine, so i have started this 2 other follow up questions, perhaps you can take a llook at them (NOBUS and CALLANDOR)

regards, and thanks a lot for your help.

unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
thanks everybody!, i awarded many of you and not just one, because many comments have some useful information for my problem.

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