RAM problem / question

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I have an Asus A8N-VM CSM mobo. It ran fine for 2 years, but with only 512
megs RAM things got a little crowded, so I decided to double the RAM.

I bought a 512 MB DDR PC3200 stick (cheapest OEM available), and installed
it. As far as know, this is the right type RAM for the mobo.

Everything worked fine - the new RAM was recognised in BIOS and and by Win
XP and the various application software.

However, after anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes of running, the computer's
video will degenerate in quality and lock up, the mouse icon disappears, and
everything freezes, requiring a reboot.  After I pulled the new RAM, the
computer went back to operating well.

What's wrong? Do I need a diferenent type of RAM, or to make some setting
adjustment, or did I just get a bad stick, or what?


Re: RAM problem / question

John D99 wrote:
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Specifically, what RAM did you buy?  A link to the product page, or
Manufacturer/Model would be helpful.  Also, specify the other memory
module as well.

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I guess all of those are possible.  How does your system perform if you
just use the new memory module?

Re: RAM problem / question

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Well, that's what they call "a really good question".

Answer: it bombs in the same way as when it was combined with the original

As for what the original RAM is, I bought the machine as a barebones and the
original module has on it :

512 MB, pc400, DDR1, 5006, gold conectors, [0638, 2-2, T6, 46v64m8, -58,
B4U818R - whatever any of that pertains to].

Re: RAM problem / question

John D99 wrote:
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PC400 is a weird spec, could it possibly be PC4000, which is equivalent
to DDR500.  At any rate, it looks like there's a problem with your new
module independent of the existing one.

Your motherboard manual says that you can use DDR400/333.  Working with
just the new module in the machine, I would try:

2) Go into BIOS and look at Advanced > Chipset > Northbridge > Memory
Configuration.  Write down the current settings, then adjust the first
three items to "Auto"  It's possible there are some wacky memory
settings intended to optimize your other module, but are in conflict
with your new module.  See if your system stabilizes.

2) Power down and unplug your computer from wall socket.  Clean the
memory module and socket with electrical cleaner.  If you don't have
electrical cleaner, blow out the socket with some compressed air, and
q-tip clean the memory module contact with some rubbing alcohol.  Make
sure the system is fully dry before restarting.  Typically a poor
contact will not demonstrate the symptoms you are seeing, but this is
worth trying.

3) At this point, I would suspect that you have a bad memory module.
Boot up your PC with a bootable copy of MemTest86+ and test your RAM.
(If you have an Linux LiveCD lying around, one of the boot items may
well be that memory test.)  If your memory will just not work with your
other hardware, it may be defective, or the dreaded "incompatible."  If
it's just a compatibility problem, your memory provider/reseller might
balk at giving you a refund.  Being able to report that MemTest is
producing errors might make you sound like you know what you're doing,
and support your case that the memory is defective.  Unfortunately, if
it is a compatibility issue, a replacement module will likely produce
the same results.

Re: RAM problem / question

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Dunno, its a hard question now that you've provided a potential culpirt in
both scenarios...  One being the only one in the latter scenario.  Hard to
figure out.  Its so difficult.

Rubbish, case closed.  Be quiet.
In the future,


CDOs are how we got here.
A modified version, new taxes in the future, is how Congress will get us

Re: RAM problem / question

Sound like the ram you purchased doesn't match the motherboard requirements.

Crucial Memory Advisor Tool

Test what you already purchased:
Try running Memtest86+, this runs from a boot disk or CD and should
eliminate or
confirm if your ram is bad.
Let it run for as long as you can, 2,4,6,8 or more hours, if no errors by
then your ram is OK.
Test with all memory sticks inserted and then only with the new sticks.

See: http://www.memtest.org /


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Re: RAM problem / question

John D99 wrote:
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    It could very well be a defective module.  Also, it might not be truly
compatible with your motherboard, after all.

    It is absolutely essential that any new RAM module(s) be fully
compatible with both the motherboard and/or any other RAM module(s)
already in the system.  Additionally, there are sometimes jumper
switches on older motherboards that need to be reset for new RAM
configurations.  Consult your motherboard's manual or the manufacturer's
web site for specific instructions and compatibility requirements.

     If you cannot lay your hands upon the computer's manual and the
manufacturer doesn't provide a support web site, you can use these
utilities to help determine the correct type of RAM needed:

SiSoft's Sandra

Belarc Advisor

Unlimited Possibilities' AIDA32

     Also, Crucial Memory's web site (www.crucial.com) has a database to
help to find the right RAM for your specific make and model computer
and/or motherboard.  (Incidentally, Crucial is the only company from
which I ever buy RAM.  I've never been disappointed.)


Bruce Chambers

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Re: RAM problem / question

On Fri, 27 Feb 2009 11:43:55 -0700, John D99 wrote:

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Examine the module closely for any signs of contamination or damage.

Even greasy fingers can leave residue that can cause short circuits. I
once had a module that was causing errors in memtest, along with random
OS reboots, and I noticed that there was a little bit of what looked like
grease smudged on the module. I carefully cleaned it all off with a
cotton swab and some electrical contact cleaner. I have been using that
same module for about a year now with no further problems.

Re: RAM problem / question

On Fri, 27 Feb 2009 11:43:55 -0700, "John D99"

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Check your bios to make sure the memory settings are set for
Auto/SPD mode instead of manually set.

The new memory module is probably damaged, possibly just
incompatible.  Whichever it is doesn't necessarily matter as
you cannot use it.  Return to place of purchase for a
refund, not an exchange for same thing in case it is
incompatible (or fraudulently rated for a speed higher than
it can run reliably).

When changing memory or memory settings, always run
memtest86+ for several hours prior to booting the OS.
Otherwise there is a very real risk of file corruption and
possibly a need to reinstall the entire OS.

Re: RAM problem / question

John D99 wrote:
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I think you were simply sold a bad module because junk RAM is
everywhere, and about the only way to avoid problems by sticking with
Crucial w/o heatsinks because almost everything else is made with
UnTesTed (UTT) chips.  Frys.com often it really cheap.  Run several
diagnostics -- MemTest86 ver. 3.5a, MemTest86+ ver. 2.11, and Gold
Memory ver. 5.07, at a minimum.

Re: RAM problem / question

John D99 wrote:
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You have received several sensible suggestions. Let me add my 2
cents. The 5 to 60 minutes before the fault shows up indicates a
defective piece that goes bad after it has warmed up.

One other thing you can try is to go into BIOS and manually set
the RAM speed to 333 (166 MHz clock). I've seen some cheapo units
labeled as DDR400 (PC3200) but are really DDR333 (PC2700). Some
are even detected by BIOS as DDR400, but cannot cope with their
rated speed. I've known several such products to run for years
without any problem as long as they are underclocked to DDR333

You can check this with Memtest86 as already suggested by others.
Run Memtest86 with RAM speed set to Auto or DDR400 (200 MHz). I
expect you'll get errors almost immediately. Then manually set it
to DDR333 speed (166 MHz), run Memtest86 again and see if the
errors go away or still show up.

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