RAM Upgrade on GA-7VAX

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Hey guys. I've recently had a torrid time trying to upgrade the meesly
256MB of RAM my PC has with a further 1GB, taking me up to 1.25GB of

My problem has been that every stick I have bought (3 so far and all
have been sent back to Kingston or Crucial), the computer regularly
crashes, usually by a blue screen error. This happens in every RAM slot
I have and with the old RAM in or out. The problem goes away as soon as
I take the new RAM out.

Now I made sure to get exactly the same spec of RAM with the same CAS
timings and everything as what I currently had. so far I've bought one
stick of Kingston Value RAM from Dabs (the same brand that I currently
have in 256MB) and two sticks from Crucial direct from theri website.
Thankfully both companies have been great with returns and whatnot, the
postage costs have been ridiculous though!

Does anyone have any ideas what is going on? Along with the crashes I
get errors almost instantly when I run MemTest. The thing is I can't
see how all three sticks of RAM were faulty!
Crucial gave me some things to try like BIOS updates and increasing the
virtual memory allocation in Windows XP but none of them fixed the

My PC specs are posted below.

Kind regards,


PC Spec:

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ CPU
Gigabyte GA-7VAX motherboard with VIA KT400 AGP DDR chipset and Award
256MB Kingston ValueRAM PC2700 CAS2.5 RAM
Connect 3D Radeon 9550 256MB AGP Graphics Card
Creative Soundblaster Live! 5.1 Player PCI
Western DIgital WD800JB 80GB Hard Drive

Running on Microsoft Windows XP SP2

Re: RAM Upgrade on GA-7VAX

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 The only option now would seem to be to try 512MB modules. Your
board doesn't seem to like 1GB ones.

Re: RAM Upgrade on GA-7VAX

As it so happens, that's what I have tried. I still get crashes but
now, if I have just the two 512MB sticks in on their own, the PC is at
last stable. Problem is I would still like to figure out what's going
on, I've got another 256MB of perfectly good RAM sat here doing nothing
and I want to use it :)

The only noticeable difference is that these 512MB sticks are, like my
256MB stick, single sided whereas the 1GB sticks were all double sided.
Could this make any difference?



Re: RAM Upgrade on GA-7VAX


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Keep in mind that if/when you add additional modules, the
motherboard may automatically (else you might need to
manually), set higher (slower) memory timings to retain

In other words, IF your use of the system never exceeded 1GB
of memory, it could actually be a few (not much) % slower to
have the 256MB module installed.

HOWEVER, I suspect there's something else at play here.
Often KT400 (the included bios) will try to run the memory
at +33MHz, asynchronous mode.  Since an Athlon Xp2000 uses
133MHz FSB, you should try manually setting the memory bus
speed to 133MHz (DDR266, PC2100) in the bios.  On the
surface this would seem slower except with Athlon's DDR FSB,
it can reduce the latency to run synchronous memory bus and
be enough to offset the lower frequency... plus it's more
likely to run stable with more modules.

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Does it report all the installed memory is present?
If you need to manually set timings, it would be good to
first know for sure what timings it's presently using.  Use
a utility like "CPU-Z" (windows based) to see two different
sets of parameters:

-  What the memory SPD is programmed to support
-  What timings the board is actually using.

So for example if you manually set 133MHz memory bus, and
it's not stable yet and running at 2,3,3,5 (random numbers,
yours may differ), set it to the higher timings like

Do not run windows yet!  Running windows with instable
memory can easily corrupt anything written to the disk, not
just cause instability.  Result- you can have errors even
after the memory has been stabilized.  Reduce the chances of
memory errors by first running Memtest86+ for at least
several hours, preferribly overnight or longer for larger
amounts of memory like over 1GB.

Re: RAM Upgrade on GA-7VAX

Not all motherboards are stable when running with all three RAM slots in
use.  An ugly, but true fact.  I'll bet if you put the two 512 MB RAM sticks
into the first two RAM slots and leave out the 256 MB stick, it will
probably run fine.


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