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Old 07-05-2010, 05:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Memory or Motherboard problem?

Hello all!

I used to be registered on here a long time ago when I was first building my desktop but it looks like the forum's undergone many changes since then. Anyway!

About two weeks ago I installed a new EVGA 260 GTX Superclocked and a Kingston SSD. I was a bit worried about my power supply (Mushkin 550W) not being powerful enough, but everything seemed to be running fine. Fast forward to about five days ago when I put my computer to sleep. For four days, I let it sleep, since I was just doing some basic stuff on my laptop. Shortly after waking it up, it bluescreened. Restarted, and it POSTed fine, but wouldn't load Windows - it actually came up with a Loading files screen as if I was reinstalling Windows.

I restarted and put my overclocked CPU back down to its stock frequency. Windows decides to boot this time, but after a few minutes in, Aero shuts off spontaneously. Two minutes later, it bluescreens. (Sidenote: each time it bluescreens, there seems to be a different error message. Some examples: reading to write-only memory, corrupt drivers, etc.) At this point, I figured it was just a Windows problem, so I unplugged all but the necessary hardware, tried using the Windows CD to fix the problem (bootrec.exe with fixboot, fixmbr, et al.) Nothing solved the problem. At this point I couldn't even boot Windows at my CPU's stock frequency. Tried booting off a live Ubuntu CD, didn't ever make it to the desktop before the system reset. Inserted a memtest86 CD, booted from it, and it wouldn't run past 4 seconds in.

I tested each of my 1GB memory sticks one by one, and memtest86 runs indefinitely on each of them, but they're all throwing tons of errors.

Here are my questions at this point:

1. What are the chances that all four of my sticks failed at the same time? Did my mobo fry them all? Are there any other tests I can do myself before I send my memory back to Corsair?
2. Is it possible that my motherboard's northbridge is messed up? Unfortunately, I don't have another mobo that uses DDR2 to test, neither do I have extra DDR2 sticks that weren't in the machine at the time.
3. Should I be using a bigger PSU? I know how important the PSU is to system stability, even though only powering the core components doesn't fix this problem.

I built this system in 2006 and I know it's showing its age in a few spots, but it still runs like a champ and plays the heck outta video games. I'd like to keep it for at least another few years, even if I have to upgrade a few parts in it. I was thinking about getting a 3.13GHz Core 2 Duo, thinking I could perhaps overclock it near 4GHz.

System specs:
Motherboard: ASUS P5W DH Deluxe
RAM: 4x 1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR-PC6400
GPU: EVGA 260 GTX Superclocked, XFX 9600GT running PhysX
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 (was overclocked to 2.8GHz, but now at stock 1.86GHz for diagnosing this problem), Thermaltake Max Orb heatsink/fan
HDD: SATA 1TB & 320GB, Kingston 64GB SSD
PSU: Mushkin 550W
Fans: one 120mm in, two 120mm out (temps are fine)
DVD: 2x SATA DVD drives
Audio: Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 4 Pro
OS: Win 7 x64

I think that's it. If I forgot anything, just let me know. Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Can you get the error code that is on the blue screen when it comes up?

Seems to me like its iver a hardware failure or software problem You might want to upgrade your PSU aswell?
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Hello rmseng,
Its possible the OC had/has something to do with the problem.
The PSU would be OK with one of those cards, not sure about running both of them.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Thanks for the replies so far!

Quote:
Can you get the error code that is on the blue screen when it comes up?

Seems to me like its iver a hardware failure or software problem You might want to upgrade your PSU aswell?
Sorry if I forgot to mention this - I'm not even getting far enough for a blue screen now. The computer restarts long before I am able to load Windows.

Quote:
Hello rmseng,
Its possible the OC had/has something to do with the problem.
The PSU would be OK with one of those cards, not sure about running both of them.
Yeah, I agree the OC may be part of the problem, but why now instead of earlier? The OC has been rock solid for four years ('til now), and it seems to me the processor is fine, but the memory or motherboard isn't. And I figure I'll get a more powerful PSU no matter what the actual problem turns out to be.

Any ideas on how I can figure out if this is actually a memory problem?
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmseng View Post
Thanks for the replies so far!



Sorry if I forgot to mention this - I'm not even getting far enough for a blue screen now. The computer restarts long before I am able to load Windows.



Yeah, I agree the OC may be part of the problem, but why now instead of earlier? The OC has been rock solid for four years ('til now), and it seems to me the processor is fine, but the memory or motherboard isn't. And I figure I'll get a more powerful PSU no matter what the actual problem turns out to be.

Any ideas on how I can figure out if this is actually a memory problem?
If your computer restart's befor windows load's you sure it isnt your reset switch?, unplug it from your mobo and try boot it up, see if it still restarts
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcboy09 View Post
If your computer restart's befor windows load's you sure it isnt your reset switch?, unplug it from your mobo and try boot it up, see if it still restarts
It's not his reset switch mate
Reset the BIOS, put everything back to defaults.
When you did the memtest, did you test each stick in the same slot? Try a different slot
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

It's not the reset switch. Do as SOUL says.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Quote:
It's not his reset switch mate
Reset the BIOS, put everything back to defaults.
When you did the memtest, did you test each stick in the same slot? Try a different slot
I reset the BIOS to default settings. I didn't try any repair options this time, so Windows got far enough along in the booting process that it gave me a blue screen: 'A process or thread crucial to system operation has unexpectedly exited or been terminated.' Windows will either blue screen until I hit the reset button or just go black and restart. This is the first time I've seen this specific BOSD message. The live Ubuntu CD still restarts the computer after showing the loading screen.

Yeah, I've tried various slots with various sticks of memory, with the same results.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Install one stick of your ram, leave the rest out. Go into the bios, make sure the settings for the ram are correct. E.g. correct voltage, correct speed, etc.

Also, check your temps. Make sure your cpu heat sink fan is spinning and not clogged up with dust, the same goes for your gfx card.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Memory or Motherboard problem?

Okay, with one stick in, everything looks the same. All my RAM settings are on default:
Configure DRAM Timing by SPD: Enabled (other option is manually entering timings)
DRAM ECC Mode: Disabled
Hyper Path 3: Auto
DRAM Throttling Threshold: Auto

What I hadn't mentioned before, come to think of it, is that my motherboard has never really reported my RAM on boot as PC2-6400, even though that's what it is. It varies based on my OCing, although at stock frequency - 1.86GHz, it reads it as PC2-5300 on boot. If I overclock to 2.8GHz again, it reads it as PC2-4800. This is while leaving the memory speed setting on Auto. Should I try going back to my overclock and setting the PC2-6400 speed (800MHz)?

My temperatures are normal: the BIOS reads 32.5C for the CPU, and the MB temp is 49C. IIRC, the temp monitor is near the southbridge on this mobo. The GPU isn't very warm to the touch.
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