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Memorytest86

Posted on 2010-08-19
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Hi experts,

Quick question. I am running a memtest on a computer with two sticks of RAM. When I ran it a few days ago, it was normal, it ran for about two hours, then said it passed and was fine at the bottom of the screen.

Today, I am running it again, and it has found quite a few errors. I am not really looking for help with the errors, although I may post them, but mainly I was wanting to know since it has run four hours, will it ever stop. In other words, will it finish and then say it found errors on the bottom of the screen.?
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Question by:Bert2005
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Expert Comment

by:deisrobinson
ID: 33478046
MemTest can take quite a while but it will eventually finish the more RAM to scan the longer it can take. Now if it has already found errors you can stop it and replace the RAM and re-run it again at this point. Otherwise, you'd be wasting time waiting for the remaining errors to pop up when you already know there are errors.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33478184
Thanks deisrobinson. I will do that. I am a bit confused unless there is an intermittent problem.

Two days ago, ran the test and got errors. Took the stick out of DIMM2 and it was fine. So, just to be sure, I switched them and put the one from DIMM2 in DIMM1, and it ran fine.

So, I figured it was something from DIMM2. But, just for kicks, I put them both back in and the test was normal, and the computer ran fine for two days. Now it is back to having errors with both RAM sticks in.

Both are crucial, both 1GB, both non-ECC and only two months old.
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by:deisrobinson
ID: 33478637
What is one of the errors you're getting. What symptoms made you run MemTest initially? If you had errors prior to checking the ram what kinds of errors were you seeing. If you're not in a hurry I'd run MemTest again with both sticks in their original DIMMs and see what happens. Maybe MemTest missed something the first time around? Then again with RAM it could be a bad stick or dust. You never know. Make sure both sticks are clean using compressed air prior to testing.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33478855
Bad BIOS Checksum. Starting BIOS recovery

This was the original error message followed by:

Trying to find floppy
Trying to find CD-ROM
Trying to find floppy
Trying to find CD-ROM

FYI: It wouldn't find either if I put them in such as Windows XP disk and a boot up floppy disk

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/Q_26403458.html

As the question/answer above states, turning off the machine and unplugging it for 20 seconds, fixed it.

Attached is the error messages. Unfortunately, I deleted the 10 error messages from earlier.

It was working last night when I left. It was locked. Not logged off. When I came in I was getting the scrolling can't find floppy, can't find CD-Rom.

Thanks for your time.
RAM-memtestx86.pdf
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by:deisrobinson
ID: 33479119
Ok based on that if possible you can test the RAM in another machine using memtest. Just in case. No point in replacing RAM over and over if it's being falsely reported as defective.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33479195
My only question is (and I am sorry if I didn't say this before) is when I do one stick, it says normal, the other stick by itself says normal. Then, when I put both sticks back in again, they were normal.

It was at this point, 24 hours later, that I got the error again.

Therefore, if I put the RAM in another machine, it is very possible it will come out normal for a test or two.

Would you say that given two tests which showed errors that it is definitely a component of the RAM, e.g. the RAM itself, the DIMMs or dust/dirt. etc.
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by:deisrobinson
deisrobinson earned 600 total points
ID: 33479606
If you are certain that the sticks are compatible(I.E you purchased them as a pair) and each individual stick is error free.... it is likely a problem with one or both DIMMS or another motherboard issue. But I'd still test the RAM in another machine just to be sure. With stuff like this it really could be a number of things so lets rule out every possibility before we declare the motherboard bad.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33480800
OK. One thing I just learned from this is once I start troubleshooting, I should start a log and write everything down. Otherwise after seven or eight tests, I tend to forget what worked and what didn't.

I do think I can say with a fair amount of certainty that when I first had the problem I had the two sticks in the DIMMS. The error message I attached occurred when it stopped working. I then took stick #2 out, and stick #1 tested OK, and the machine was bootable. I then removed stick 1 and inserted stick 2, and the test was normal (which was a little depressing as I wanted it to be the RAM). The computer worked. So, then I thought well maybe it was dust or whatever, so I cleaned everything and added them both back. It worked.

Today, it didn't work as stated above, so I ran the memtest86, and about ten errors popped up. As it ran, I had to work out of one room (being a doctor), as it ran longer. As advised, given all of the errors, I stopped the test and took out stick 2. It then worked.

That is where I am now. Stick 1 is the only stick of RAM in, and it has worked the rest of the day. I am testing it now.

This is where I need the log or journal. I can't remember if I have put one stick of RAM in the other DIMM to see if it is the DIMM itself. Obviously,  if it is, it is intermittent as it does work for a day with both sticks of RAM in.

I will try your other test.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 33481078
What exact memory modules are these?     I've seen similar issues when using higher-than-standard voltage modules on some motherboards.     You can sometimes resolve it by simply setting the appropriate voltage for the modules in the BIOS -- but the most reliable way is to use modules that use the standard voltage [e.g. 2.5v for DDR, 1.8v for DDR2, 1.5v for DDR3).

If your modules don't use the stock voltage, I'd try a pair that do.     If you still have issues, it's time to consider other possibilities.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33481238
Thanks Gary,

Sorry for my answer. It will be embarrassing. First, for some reason, this BIOS doesn't seem to indicate the voltage. I was able to on a similar computer. I may have not looked in the right place, but I looked in RAM configuration. The only voltages I found were in the VID, which were rather low, like 0.5 to 1.05 or something.

The RAM is Ballistic Tracer by Crucial. On one side it says, CL111B8.92, then 103657 underneath.

The other side says, BL12864AL 106A.8FE5   1066Mhz  5-5-5-15   2.0v

The BIOS is American Megatrends v02.58. Here is where I am embarrassed, but I am not very good at this. I have had all of these computers and updated all the RAM and I have never updated the BIOS.
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Accepted Solution

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garycase earned 1400 total points
ID: 33481402
Ballistix modules are usually non-standard in their voltage requirements. Most (if not all) of the Ballistix DDR2 modules on Newegg show a 2.0v requirement (vice the 1.8v standard); and the DDR3 modules all show 1.65v (vice the 1.5v standard).

I've seen a couple of cases where simply replacing a pair of Ballistix modules with a pair of standard voltage modules resolved very perplexing intermitten memory failures such as what you've described.

What is the make/model of the motherboard? Also, what is shown for the voltage on CPU-Z (look on the SPD tab and select the modules one-at-a-time). http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z/versions-history.html
... Note that the make/model of the motherboard will be shown on the "Mainboard" tab of CPU-Z
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Author Comment

by:Bert2005
ID: 33481478
ASUSTek Computer INC.
M2V-TVM    Rev 1.xx

I couldn't tell which voltage to give you. There were four of them.

Also, there is no RAM in slot 2, because the computer tends to crash when there are two sticks of RAM in. I am sure it would do fine for awhile, if you need the information. I have no problem adding it and running another CPU test if you wish.


Slot-1-CPU-Z.JPG
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Author Comment

by:Bert2005
ID: 33481483
After clicking on Memory and seeing 333.3 Mhz, I am guessing it was the first one or 1.8v.
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Author Comment

by:Bert2005
ID: 33481732
If there is different RAM I should be purchasing, please let me know. I have about eight of these that were recommended by Crucial. I remember having some issues with another computer, which did not run with both of the same sticks of RAM but did work with one module. Finally, I was able to get to 2GB by using one of the new modules along with one of the old.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 33482518
since the original problem was a bios one - was the recovery successful?
you can try that again; at boot by using Alt+F2
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 33485014
No guarantees when trying to resolve weird memory issues, but what I would try next is try a pair of standard modules that run at 1.8v at your board's standard memory speed (DDR2-533).

Something like this:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144157

If that doesn't resolve it, then it's most likely a motherboard issue -- a BIOS update MAY help if you're running an older version ... but first I'd try different RAM.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Bert2005
ID: 33526640
Thanks for the help. Nobus, thanks also. I had/have no trouble getting to the BIOS.

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