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I think I have bad RAM - 2 512mb ValueSelect sticks


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I had help putting together a Windows Server 2003 SP1 box. The person who helped me bought all the parts from NewEgg, including "CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory". This was in November 2005. NOTE: I am at work now the machine is at home, so I looked the RAM I just listed up. I THINK this is what I have, but am not positive. I can get this for you later. However, I know for sure that it is two Corsair 512MB sticks of the ValueSelect variety.


The machine ran flawlessly for a few months. The machine primarily served as a music server, so I left it on 24/7. However, after the flawless first few months, the machine would shut down with a blue screen or just die with a black screen requiring a restart. As time went on, they became more frequent (once every few weeks -> once a week -> every few days -> hourly -> every 10 minutes). When the blue screens became daily I started to pay attention to the error message, and they always said the offending file is tcpip.sys and the error message is always DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. Last week it got so bad that the blue screen would happen after about 10 minutes of running.


I did the following tests with memtest with the following configurations in the four slots on the motherboard (1-4). We originally put one in slot 1 (stick A) and one in slot 2 (stick B).


* Removed stick A from slot 1, left stick B in slot 2. Result: no errors after 75% of test complete (it takes a while and errors showed up much earlier in earlier tests). I wish I had waited for it to complete.

* Replaced stick B in slot 2 with stick A. Result: errors. This says stick A is definitely bad

* Removed stick A and put stick B in slot 1. Result: errors. This is weird. Stick B had no errors in slot 2 in number 1 above. Perhaps the slot 1 on the motherboard is bad?

* Put stick B in slot 3. Result: errors.

* Put stick A in slot 3. Result: errors.

* I didn’t test in slot 4.

* The number of errors ranged from 70 to 100+ in each test.

* I replaced both sticks in their original slots and tried running the computer as usual, just to see what happens. After a few minutes, the CPU usage in Task Manager tops out at 100%, and pretty quickly the computer comes to a grinding halt by freezing up. I desperately tried this a few times thinking the power of positive thinking would miraculously cure the bad sticks, and gave up after being rewarded with a blue screen that simply said something like ‘MEMORY_RECORD’ or ‘MEMORY_FAILED’. Can’t recall for sure, but it wasn’t good and it again pointed to memory.


The person who helped me put the computer together loaned me a higher-end 1G memory stick with a heat spreader last week. I put it in slot 2 and ran memtest. The result: zero errors! My machine has been running 24/7 for about a week with it perfectly.


I think you'll agree that the original RAM, both sticks, are bad. This leads to a few questions:


1. HOW does this happen??? I can see one stick going bad, but BOTH? This is a bit unnerving.

2. I know you have a lifetime warranty, but I did not buy the RAM (my friend did for me), so I do not have the NewEgg reciept. I also do not have an account with them, so I am unable to look it up. Therefore, I'm wondering how can I take advantage of your warranty.


I look forward to your response.



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