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Vista Problem - Memtest vs. Memory Diagnostics


JohnG_NYC

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First a little background:

I am running Vista Ultimate on an Epox 9nda3+ (nforce 3 ultra) mobo. I am using 2 VS1GBKIT400 kits to get 2GB of memory in the 4 DIMM slots that I have.

 

Now the problem. I am getting random lockups and decided to do a test with Microsoft Windows Memory Diagnostics. When I have all four slots filled as above, it stops at about 28% of the first pass and reports a hardware error. It does not say anything further. I tested the same configuration with Memtest right afterwards and everything was error-free.

 

I did a few more tests with Windows Memory Diagnostics as follows:

 

SLOTS 1 & 2: Filled; SLOTS 3 & 4: Empty - No errors (DIMM SET 1 used)

SLOTS 1 & 2: Empty; SLOTS 3 & 4: Filled - No errors (DIMM SET 2 used)

 

My BIOS is set to AUTO for DIMM configuration and shows the following:

1T/2T: 2T

CAS: 2.5

RAS to CAS: 3T

Min RAS Active: 8T

Row Precharge: 3T

Write Recovery: 3T

Write to Read Delay: 2T

Row Cycle: 11T

Row Refresh Cycle: 14T

Read to Write: 4T

 

I am assuming these are right - I am a novice at this.

 

My question - besides why Memtest thinks all is OK while Microsoft Memory Diagnostics thinks there is a problem - is what could be causing the problem. It does not appear to be the Corsair memory - nor does it appear to be the slots (based on how I tested). Is there some sort of wierd timing problem when two pairs are used? If so, how do I fix?

 

Thanks.

 

John G.

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Can you tell me the make and model of MB you have along with the CPU speed and it’s FSB as well? In addition, please tell me the bios settings you have set for both CPU and memory and any performance settings that you may have set?

And what is the make and model of your PSU and Video card as well?

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Make & model of MB is as given: Epox 9nda3+ (nforce 3 ultra MB).

CPU is Athlon 64 3200+ (2.0 Ghz and not overclocked).

Video board is an ATI Radeon 9500 (AGP)

I am not overclocking (if that's what you mean by performance options).

The case and power supply are made by JustPC and the PSU is 450 watts. (JPC-450-12V).

It has a 2.0GTs HT FSB.

DIMM settings are AUTO and listed in the original message (and here again)

 

1T/2T: 2T

CAS: 2.5

RAS to CAS: 3T

Min RAS Active: 8T

Row Precharge: 3T

Write Recovery: 3T

Write to Read Delay: 2T

Row Cycle: 11T

Row Refresh Cycle: 14T

Read to Write: 4T

 

There is no setting for memory clock for DIMM in the BIOS.

 

I noticed folks speaking of mismatched versions of ram. Could that be what this is? It does post and run the OS.

I am just baffled that MemTest says all is OK and Windows Memory Diagnostics immediately (28% in) chokes.

 

What do you think?

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First: I was able to change the memory frequency in my bios to DDR333. I then ran the Windows Memory Diagnostics and it did run through without any errors. It appears that did the trick. Hopefully that was the (only) source of my Vista freezes.

 

I do have a few questions:

1. Where do I find the revision number on my sticks? I looked all over and did not see anything that said "revision". Is it buried somewhere in the serial number or on the chips themselves?

2. Why does the frequency need to be changed when I go to 4 sticks? What effect does this change have on performance? (I know Vista still shows the same rating on my memory in its index.)

3. Why is it that Memtest does not gag when I am at DDR400 the same way that Windows Memory Diagnostics does?

 

Thanks for all your help on this issue.

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1. Where do I find the revision number on my sticks? I looked all over and did not see anything that said "revision". Is it buried somewhere in the serial number or on the chips themselves?

A: (How To Read the Memory Label)

 

2. Why does the frequency need to be changed when I go to 4 sticks? What effect does this change have on performance? (I know Vista still shows the same rating on my memory in its index.)

A: There is more loading on the memory controller and as you add more memory it may need more latency either in frequency or timings to properly address all of the memory.

 

3. Why is it that Memtest does not gag when I am at DDR400 the same way that Windows Memory Diagnostics does?

A: Most likely because the problem is not a failing module but a loading issue.

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You mentioned in your answer that there are two possible solutions for the failure: a change in frequency or timings. I am assuming from your recommendation to go to DDR333 that the recommended one is frequency - is that correct - and why?

 

If I wanted to do it by timings, what would you suggest?

 

What am I losing with either of these changes?

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John I have answered your questions already.

You mentioned in your answer that there are two possible solutions for the failure: a change in frequency or timings. I am assuming from your recommendation to go to DDR333 that the recommended one is frequency - is that correct - and why?

2. Why does the frequency need to be changed when I go to 4 sticks? What effect does this change have on performance? (I know Vista still shows the same rating on my memory in its index.)

A: There is more loading on the memory controller and as you add more memory it may need more latency either in frequency or timings to properly address all of the memory.

Memory Voltage: 2.75 Volts

Memory Frequency: DDR333/166Mhz

1T/2T: 2T

CAS: 2.5

RAS to CAS: 3T

Row Precharge: 3T

Min RAS Active: 7T

All other settings should be set top Auto or Bios default

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I appreciate your answer:

 

it may need more latency either in frequency or timings to properly address all of the memory

 

I took the above to mean I could change frequency OR I could change timings. I was asking your advice on which one is preferrred - frequency OR timings. And if I were doing it SOLELY by timings and NOT frequency, how I should set the timings.

 

Maybe I did not phrase it right - or maybe I misunderstood what you were saying.

 

I was also curious about the downside - if any - of these changes.

 

Thanks.

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