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Ram corrupting Windows XP among other things


drone02

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Hello, I tried to resolve this issue a while ago with no luck, but here we go anyways. I currently have: Windows XP MSI KT3 Ultra2 mobo Athlon XP2200 2 120gig Maxtor HD's and initially had a Corsair CMX256a-2700c2pt I actually purchased this RAM to hold me over till the 512 sticks got a little cheaper :): . The system worked fine, even on high bios defaults. Time passed, I saved up some money, and then decided to upgrade my memory to 2 512 sticks. I couldnt find the Exact Ram that I bought initially so I went with what sounded the most similar. CMX512-2700C2. XMS2700. 333MHz. CL2. It is essentially the same as my old RAM, or so it seems (one is platinum heatsink, the other is black). Anyhow, when I put the Ram sticks in the computer booted fine, but I was getting random windows errors here and there, and random crashing. I ran the Memtest as you suggested, and it indicated that the RAM was faulty. I updated the Bios, and manually changed the Bios settings to a ratio you recommended (I cant remember off hand, it was a while ago.) Anyhow, I still got errors, and the RAM was still testing as faulty so I returned it to the retailer. They could only replace it if it tested faulty (which it did) so they sent me a new 2 sticks. So I get my new sticks, and I was having the exact same problems. I tried one stick at a time in different slots, tweaking bios settings etc. It actually would not enter windows unless i got the settings just right. I reinstalled windows several times as a last attempt, but still nothing. And now, when I try to boot, certain Windows files required for booting arent found, and are not repairable. I had a spare HD around and reinstalled windows XP (using my old RAM 256mb), and it ran fine on bios defaults and high performance defaults. I then replaced the old RAM with a 512 stick, and windows booted, but memtest indicated it was faulty. I went to bios, put on the High performance defaults, and certain windows files were missing/corrupt. I turned it off, put in the 256 ram, and I get the same error. So it seems that just using the RAM starts messing with my Windows system files somehow. Keep in mind that I have to reinstall/repair windows whenever I get this error. It really makes no sense at all. I have really tried many other things along the way trying to correct this issue, but nothing seems to work. I find it highly unlikely that i could have recieved 4 faulty 512 sticks!... it must be a compatability issue, but according to my mobo manufacturer it isnt. I also find it strange that these memory sticks are corrupting files in my windows/system directory. I had this problem less than a year ago, but it was taking so long to fix that I just bit the bullet and figured I'd wait and see if any new info came out about these particular memory modules. I have an Athlon XP3000 coming in the mail soon, and a Radeon 9800pro 256mb, and I'm planning on upgrading my mobo. So on a side note, if you could recommend a good mobo that is KNOWN to work well with these memory modules and processor I wouldnt mind just trashing my old mobo (if it eliminates these errors/problems).. I have lost a lot of patience during this process, and I guess this is my last effort... (Buying a new mobo would be cheaper than buying more RAM at this point anyways) thanks in advance for you help, sorry for the long explanation :):
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I did not see your RAM timings in your post. What RAM timings and RAM voltage are you running. I'd suggest you set the RAM timings manually to 2.5,3,3,7 and your RAM voltage to approximately 2.7v to 2.8v. I am not familiar with your MOBO so you'll need to fish out the manual if you don't already know how to adjust these settings. Good luck, Mike.
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I have tried nearly all possible combinations of ram timings using the 512 sticks. - and only a few allow me to get into windows. Using the 256 stick (the older one), I can pretty much use any settings, and have the computer run successfully. I had the voltage set to every 2.7 and 2.8. btw, but it makes no difference. I'll trya nd post more information later after work. Thanks
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If you can, try the settings I listed and try each 512mb stick individually. There are several potential reasons that your MOBO will not run these sticks. 512mb sticks require more power than 256mb sticks so the MOBO and/or SU may not be up to the task. If you get a single 512mb stick to run stable and test stable with [url]www.memtest86.com[/url] , then I'd try again to install a second stick of RAM. If it crashes again, the power may be the problem. Also, if it will boot and run with a single 512mb stick, make sure to test each 512 individually to make sure it will run properly. Mike.
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Two quick questions: Does anyone know of way to check the RAM safely? When I put in the RAM with Improper Bios settings I have to format and reinstall windows. I'd like to avoid this at this point. I'm guessing Computer City/ Comp USA might have these services, so I suppose I can start there. And are the two memory sticks I memtioned technically the same, just one with more memory? CMX512-2700C2 CMX256a-2700C2PT According to the sticky, they seem to be the same except for the heatsinks and size. Just curious. thanks again... Gustav
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  • Corsair Employee
First thing, please check that both modules are exactly the same Revision! Second thing, I would suggest that you just use the 512 Meg module by it self with this MB! And for 2 single XMS2700C2 modules that suggested settings would be Cass 2.5-3-3-7 and I would set the Dim Voltage to 2.7 Volts as well! In addition with this chipset when you have more than one module you should have them in slots 1-3 and if you have more than 2 modules you may need to set the memory Frequency at DDR266!
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Sorry one more question: Is it possible for a motherboard or a certain bios setting to damage a RAM unit? The reason I ask is because my first 512 sticks were tested as faulty by my retailers as well.--And now it seems that my two new sticks are acting the same (which is hard to believe). In the meantime....I will do what you guys suggested.... I'll do the tweaks with a backup hardive just in case. If I test 2 Sticks, I should put them in 1-3.... but If I'm testing just one stick at a time, does it matter which slot I put it in? Also Is windows corruption unheard of by using faulty RAM?.. from what I gather this isn't too common. Gustav
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  • Corsair Employee
It is possible for the MB to be failing and damage a module, but it would be rare! And if you set a bios setting incorrect the system would just not post, but it would not damage the module! I would suggest using [url]www.memtest.org[/url] to test the modules so you don’t corrupt your HDD!
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[quote name='RAM GUY'] I would suggest using [url]www.memtest.org[/url] to test the modules so you don’t corrupt your HDD![/QUOTE] Drone02, this test runs in DOS so don't worry about corrupting your Windows install. When making major bios/RAM related adjustments, it's always a good idea to boot and run Memtest. If it passes, you have a good indicator that the settings are atleast partially stable and will not corrupt the OS. If it won't post and run Memtest, I would not try to run Windows with it. As far as getting a total of 4 bad sticks of RAM from Corsair, I'd have to say it's rare with the amount of testing that Corsair does prior to shipping. Is there any possibility that the vendor simply returned the original 2 sticks to you? Not accusing them but it has happened. Good luck, Mike.
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Well I did as you instructed, and downloaded the most recent memtest build from the link provided. I ran the test on both modules individually, on the settings you provided (2.5-3-3-7) actually, the options for the ratio they provided were slightly different, but they were all set at the lowest possible settings. (I will check what they are after I finish typing this post). At about 65% through it had several thousand errors. (Not sure what it all means), and then from 75% on it seemed to be fine. I had a similar report with the other stick of RAM (although I didn't watch every pass, it got a bit boring). I can run the tests again if you would like more specific information about the errors. Seems to me they may have just sent me back the original two faulty sticks. Thanks, Gustav
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SDRAM CAS Latency: 2.5 (2) Row Precharge Time: 3T (2T) Ras Pulse Width: 6T (5T) Ras to Cas Delay: 3T (2T) SDRAM Bank Interleave: 4way SDRAM Burst Length: 4QW SDRAM IT command: enabled fast command: ultra Those are the current settings.
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[quote name='drone02']Seems to me they may have just sent me back the original two faulty sticks. Thanks, Gustav[/QUOTE] I would RMA that stick or, you must RMA both sticks if you bought them as a TwinX pair. You may have better luck RMAing direct to Corsair. You can look in the Warranty Section or find a post by RAM GUY and he has an RMA link in his signature. Good luck. Mike.
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