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Memory Issues
on Apr 20, 2011 at 12:53:59 pm

I built my system using the DIY specs (parts list below) but I did deviate slightly with the RAM. The pricing on memory at the time was such that I was able to pick up slightly faster modules for only a few $ more than the RAM specified in the DIY guide. I went with 12 GB of CORSAIR XMS3 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) (CMX6GX3M3C1600C7), which has slightly better latency timings than does the recommended CMX6GX3M3A1600C9.

The problem now is that I'm getting random blue screens. At first I thought it might be OS related so I did some testing, shut down unneeded services, etc. but still had the same issues. Then I decided to run Memtest86+ (v4.20) and it found some problems with the memory. So now I've removed all but 1 memory module and am currently testing one module at a time, 2+ passes per module, to isolate the bad module(s).

My first question is whether or not folks agree with the approach or have other recommendations.

Second, I've not made any memory related BIOS tweaks as running all setting on "Auto". In doing that though I noticed that Memtest86+ indicates that the memory latency settings are a bit slower than those specified by the manufacturer and that the memory is running well slower than the stated 1600 MHz. Should I wait to tweak the BIOS setting until after I've identified the bad module(s) or continue down the current path and worry about tweaking the BIOS once the system is stable?

System Build
Motherboard - ASUS P6X58D-E
RAM - 12 GB of CORSAIR XMS3 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) (CMX6GX3M3C1600C7)
CPU - Intel Core i7 950
Graphics - PNY Quadro 2000
Boot Disk - Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB - 10,000 RPM
CD/DVD - Panasonic BDR-205 Blu-ray Burner
Power Supply - Corsair CMPSU-750TX
Antec Nine Hundred Two Case

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Re: Memory Issues
on Apr 20, 2011 at 8:42:24 pm

methodology solid (if 2 passes means the whole hours long test)

must set ram to XMP profile and even then you may need to do manual timing.
the sub timings of corsair ram and most others when below CL 9 tend to be wrong.

Super Talent and Mushkin would have been better choices.


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Re: Memory Issues
on Apr 22, 2011 at 12:44:52 pm

Yes, 2 passes does mean allowing it to run through the hours long test twice...or more.

Interestingly, when I tested the RAM modules individually they all tested OK. This led me to consider whether there was a motherboard issue so I began adding in sticks of RAM one at a time and running the full test (2 or more times) against each config...2 sticks, then 3, etc.

When I put the 4th stick in and started the test the screen lit up like a Christmas tree almost instantly. I shut the box down, removed that stick, reseated it in the same slot and ran the test again...Christmas in April once again. I then tried 2 other pieces of RAM in that same slot and they tested just fine.

So, it looks like I found a bad piece of RAM after all and as luck would have it I now know the exact config to use in order to expose the problem right away.

And thanks for the XMP profile recommendation...I'll look for that in the BIOS settings tonight.


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Re: Memory Issues
on Apr 22, 2011 at 5:20:21 pm

4th stick? an X58 should only have 3 sticks or 6 sticks

3x4gig for 12 gig
3x2gig for 6 gig
6x4 gig for 24

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Re: Memory Issues
on Apr 22, 2011 at 5:41:23 pm

The manual for the Asus P6X58D-E provides configs for 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 memory sticks. Per Asus, the proper triple-channel config for 4 sticks is A1, B1, C1 and A2. It's when I added the 4th stick to A2 that Memtest encountered the errors.

In the grand scheme my intent is to run the box with all 6 sticks but in testing the sticks to find the offender and/or to determine if there might be a bad slot on the motherboard I used these different Asus configurations. I started with their 1 stick config, moved to 2 sticks, etc.

As I understand it, in the 4 stick config described above the A1, B1 and C1 modules will function as triple channel and the A2 will act as a single channel. When running Memtest86 in this config it indicates Triple Channel.

For now, until the RMA is complete and I get a good 6th stick I'll be running with 6 GB in a 3 stick config. I only used the 4 stick config for testing and because ASUS indicates it as a valid config.

In any event, if Memtest only kicks off errors in the 4 stick config when the "bad" stick is in use but comes back clean when either of two other "good" sticks are used in that same slot on the board I think it's fairly conclusive that there's a problem with the "bad" stick. Would you not agree?

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Re: Memory Issues
on Apr 22, 2011 at 11:04:36 pm

i know what some of the asus manuals say (yet another reason i dont use them)

IF you are using 4 sticks in a tri-channel board then i can see memtest throwing an error.

if testing with 3 or just 1 and you find a bad stick thats another story.

as i said 3 or 6 sticks is the right way.. anything else is not.


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