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Bad PC3200 or MoBo Incompatible?


Cosmicblue

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System Specs:

HP Pavilion a520n

Asus A7n8x-LA Explorer 4, Chipset nVidia nForce 2 SPP

AMI BIOS 2.53 (3.06 8/13/04)

AMD Athlon XP 3200+ Barton

2x256 Infineon PC2700 (DDR333) Dual Channel CAS 2.5-3-3-7

memtest86 runs error free

 

Recently purchased and installed 2x512 Corsair Value Select - VS1GBKIT400

When I run memtest86, I get errors in (mostly) two specific addresses:

0000336d0df4 - 822.0 MB in tests 3 and 6. It picks a bit.

00000c7388e8 - 199.5 MB in tests 3, 4 and 6. It drops a bit.

but always at 822.0 and 199.5

 

memtest detects the RAM as 1024 MB, DDR333 dual channel CAS 2.5-3-3-7

I can't get at the advanced BIOS settings (HP's got them locked) only Basic stuff, so I can't adjust any settings.

 

I don't know if I've got bad modules here or if it just won't run right at the settings that the BIOS puts them at. Or maybe the MoBo can't handle PC3200?

 

Should I RMA them for another set of PC3200 or should I exchange them for a set of PC2700?

 

Any help or advice appreciated,

Thanks

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  • Corsair Employees
Please test the new modules one at a time with http://www.memtest.org and lets make sure its not just a weak module. In addition, please try and enter the bios and load setup defaults with just our modules installed. You can get to the bios by either hitting the DEL key or ALT + F2. If you find one of the modules is failing then please follow the link in my signature “I think I have a bad part!” and we will be happy to replace them or it! But if you get errors with both modules I would maybe try and exchnage these for PC-2700 modules from your reseller.
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Hi RAM GUY,

 

Thanks for your quick and complete response. I had tried running memtest with one module at a time. One of the modules only received 1 error after two passes, the other got 18.

 

Well, I can't get into the BIOS (not the advanced stuff) F1 gets you into Basic BIOS (Setup). Have tried hitting Delete during POST, tried Ctrl + F1, F10, and now Alt + F2. When I first started troubleshooting this problem, my first thought was to adjust the settings. I've emailed HP support several times to ask "how do I get into the "real" BIOS settings?" They keep telling me that all I can do is press F1 and see the basic stuff.

 

Anyway, at this point, it sounds like my best course of action is to RMA to (Newegg) and ask for exchange to PC2700. Kind of a shame - I really wanted the bump in speed from 333 to 400. How much difference in performance am I giving up, anyway? Would it be very noticable? (maybe I shouldn't ask - lol)

 

One more thing - when I run through Corsair's "memory selector" for my HP a520n, it suggests "CMSS512MB-333" Now I do want to put a Gig in, AND take advantage of Dual Channel of my MoBo, so I could use two of these, right? But, couldn't I also use VS1GBKIT333? I always heard that for dual channel you should buy in sets, not individual modules.

What is the difference between "System Select" and Value Select, anyway?

I couldn't find detailed specs on the website.

 

Thank you again, you do a great job here, and it's appreciated by many, I'm sure!

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  • Corsair Employees
I would highly recommend you to update your BIOS to the latest one, and load set up defaults again, and see if the new BIOS has the advanced chipset features setup unlocked; or maybe even try consulting with manufacturer for an alter BIOS.
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Hi RAM GUY,

 

I updated my BIOS a few months ago, shortly after it came out (8/13/04) That is the latest available. I have also contacted Asus directly in the past about using an alternative BIOS. They strongly recommended against that. They stated that the Mobo I have in my HP system, Asus A7N8X-LA, was manufactured for HP solely and has a "custom" BIOS.

 

So, I've learned my lesson. I will never buy a commercially manufactured PC again. I'll build my own from now on. Due to this problem with not being able to tweak any RAM settings, I considered replacing my current Mobo with a "standard" one, re-using my XP 3200+ CPU, but decided to hold off a while and put the money toward my next system instead.

 

Anyway, how much do I give up in performance between PC3200 and PC2700 with an Athlon XP 3200+ running Dual Channel. Is it significant?

 

And do you think I can use the PC2700 "Value Select" instead of the PC2700 "System Select" all things being equal? (CAS 2.5-3-3-7)

 

Thank you for your advice.

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  • Corsair Employees

As long as you will replace the module in the system I would suggest Value Select. System select would be suggested if you are trying to add to what came with your system.

The difference between PC2700 and PC3200 will vary with the chipset you use. In the case of Nforce2 it would be about 6-12% difference.

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Hi RAM GUY,

 

Hey, I just got some info from a fellow over on the HP Users Forum in response to my question there about getting into "real" BIOS. He pointed me to a utility from nVidia named nTune that works with nForce chipsets, which I have. I just dl'd and installed it. It appears that it will let me adjust memory settings! tras, trcd & trp.

 

So the current RAM in my system is PC2700 2x256 CAS 2.5 3-3-7 @333MHz. Runs memtest86 for hours with no errors.

The Corsair RAM is PC3200 2x512. The settings it defaulted to are CAS 2.5 3-3-7 @333MHz also, but I get many errors in memtest86.

 

What settings should I try setting it to?

 

Thanks again........

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just an update. I received the replacement PC3200 modules (from Newegg) about 4 days ago. They are the same exact part number, (VS1GBKIT400) as I returned.

 

Put them in my system and ran memtest86, (without changing any settings), for several hours - 0 errors! And I've run memtest and Prime95 many times over the past few days - never a single error!

 

So, I guess I just had a couple of sticks that were marginal or weren't happy with my mobo's BIOS settings. But this pair is very happy, and so am I!

 

Thanks for your help and advice...........

 

Kudos to Corsair for putting customer service above hiding problems!!!

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