Need to make a decision.. (RAM or Motherboard?)

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Right guys, sorry if you are getting bored with me and my problem but a decision has to be made now.

As some of you may be aware I have been having problems with my PC since I built it. Some games seem to cause my PC to just.. turn off. By that I mean the base unit seems to stay as it is, but the monitor goes off and the light flashes on and off like it's on Stand-by. It's happened after my PC has been on a while before I think, but it mainly only seems to happen if I go in to a game having only just turned my PC on, in the morning for example, almost as if the PC has to warm up or something, which is strange and shouldn't happen.....

Normally I just turn the base unit off and on and then load up Windows and the game that just crashed my PC runs absolutely fine.. other times I try and turn my base unit back on and it just beeps at me, pauses and then beeps, pauses and then beeps.. etc (Which I've read on MSI's site means a problem with RAM)

Here are my specs:

AMD Dual Core x2 3800, MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum nForce4 Ultra
PowerColor ATI Radeon X1800 XT 512MB, 2gb GeIL RAM
Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 NCQ 160GB, NEC ND4570 16x16 DVD±RW
Antec Sonata II Piano Black Quiet Case - 450w Smart Power PSU


These are the things I've tried..

Updated motherboard drivers.
Updated graphics card drivers and even gone back to previous versions.
Installed the Dual Core fix thing.
Ran Prime95 for 2 and a half hours without any problems reported at all.
Ran memtest for about 2 hours with no errors reported.
Checked my cpu and graphics card temperatures both idle and under load, both are absolutely fine.
Checked the 3.3v, +5v and +12v on my PSU, all seem fine.
Ran one stick of RAM at a time, have yet to see any crashing with one stick of RAM but the crashes are so erratic it's hard to say whether one stick instead of two solves the problem...
Tried running RAM in single channel, when I do this games crash consistently almost straight away..


On another forum someone suggested that, because MSI motherboards set RAM settings to auto by default, I set the RAM timings and voltage myself and see if that works. Do you guys reckon this could work?

I am now pretty sure the problem is either down to my RAM or my motherboard. Assuming running one stick of RAM fixes the problem, is this down to bad RAM or my motherboard not liking Dual Channel? Or maybe something else?

I've noticed that there is barely a difference in the speed things load when running 1 or 2 sticks of RAM, is this an indication of anything? (Yes, I've checked to make sure the RAM is running in Dual Channel)

I've also noticed, while searching for people who have the same problem as me, that a lot of the people in similar situations to me seem to have MSI boards..

I need to either RMA my motherboard OR RAM but I am not sure which one..

Please help...
 
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Hlebio said:
On another forum someone suggested that, because MSI motherboards set RAM settings to auto by default, I set the RAM timings and voltage myself and see if that works. Do you guys reckon this could work?

I am now pretty sure the problem is either down to my RAM or my motherboard. Assuming running one stick of RAM fixes the problem, is this down to bad RAM or my motherboard not liking Dual Channel? Or maybe something else?

.
Bios stock can be way off, slack rubbish. Should be enough to get it going. Always set the timings yourself.

Have you flashed the MB to the latest bios?
 
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I was thinking of trying that but I was advised that it's unlikely to be the problem and it's a high risk to take because if something goes wrong it can completely bugger your mobo?
 
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Alright guys, as I said games seem to crash most consistently in the morning if I put on a game more or less straight away. Tried that today but with only one stick of RAM in and there was no crash whatsoever.

What does this tell you?

A) The other stick of RAM is bad? (I am going to try a game with that first thing tomorrow morning)

B) The purple DIMM slot on my motherboard, which is occupied when I go Dual Channel, is faulty?

C) My motherboard doesn't like Dual Channel either at all or with this particular RAM?
 
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Soldato
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Swap the sticks round and try again, does it start to crash? No then its not the mem.

Either pair of slots should give you dual channel. Or try the pair in single channel and see if it works.

The first thing to try is a bios flash. It’s a normal response to memory compatibility issues. I wouldn't hesitate, yes a flash can go wrong but it’s quite rare, but it can fix issues. I've never had one fail yet.
 
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I know this is somewhat obvious, but have you tried re-seating everything on the board, gfx, etc.

I'd say that RAM is more likely to fail that the MB in my experience.

Did you run memtest from cold in the morning?
 
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fornowagain said:
Swap the sticks round and try again, does it start to crash? No then its not the mem.

Either pair of slots should give you dual channel. Or try the pair in single channel and see if it works.

The first thing to try is a bios flash. It’s a normal response to memory compatibility issues. I wouldn't hesitate, yes a flash can go wrong but it’s quite rare, but it can fix issues. I've never had one fail yet.

Hi, thanks for the advice.

I've tried running in single channel and when I do certain games crash consistently everytime... where as when it's in Dual Channel the crashes are erratic.

I reckon I'll try flashing the bios if I put the other stick of RAM in tonight and games aren't freezing tomorrow morning.

earlyflash said:
I know this is somewhat obvious, but have you tried re-seating everything on the board, gfx, etc.

I'd say that RAM is more likely to fail that the MB in my experience.

Did you run memtest from cold in the morning?

Obviously I've reseated the RAM many times, and I've also reseated the graphics card once, quite recently. I've checked the CPU is in properly and that the heatsink is firmly attached and besides, I managed to run Prime95 for 2 and half hours with no problems which I assume would not be possible if the CPU was not seated correctly or broke.

Haven't tried memtest from straight in the morning, but it's a good idea mate and one I shall try AFTER trying the other stick of RAM on it's own tomorrow BEFORE I flash the bios. :D Should I run memtest with one stick in at a time or both?

Anymore suggestions/advice greatly appreciated.. :)
 
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Hlebio said:
Haven't tried memtest from straight in the morning, but it's a good idea mate and one I shall try AFTER trying the other stick of RAM on it's own tomorrow BEFORE I flash the bios. :D Should I run memtest with one stick in at a time or both?
Definitely with both. You need to test things under the conditions that they are likely to fail.

If you get errors, you'll need to do it again with the chips the other way around (I.e. swapped) too definitively say if it's memory or the socket.
 
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Hlebio said:
Should I run memtest with one stick in at a time or both?
Both, then if it fails, one at time to find the bad stick. It does sound like either bad memory or incompatibility. It's a good idea to run with the latest bios, unless that particular revision is known to have problems. Have a look at the MSI forums which are very good for info on the bios release and memory compatibility.

http://forum.msi.com.tw/index.php?PHPSESSID=debdb3fe28cec8bbf0546850838c7ad4&board=28.0
 
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erratic crashing = try a new psu fella

try 2.9v on the ram, maybe 1.4/1,45v on the cpu.

If that doesnt work, try a better psu.

If that doesnt work im outta ideas
 
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How much more power is needed with 2 sticks of RAM over 1?

Is it possible that my PSU can handle one stick okay but once I add another my PSU can't take it and dies?
 
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Hlebio said:
How much more power is needed with 2 sticks of RAM over 1?

Is it possible that my PSU can handle one stick okay but once I add another my PSU can't take it and dies?
Nothing much.

And no. Very unlikely
 
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You are officially the third person that I know who has had this turn off/reset problem and all of you have used GeIL RAM. In every case it was the RAM that was causing the problem. Try using SisSoft Sandra to stress the RAM and see wether it resets. Try one module at the time, try swapping DIMM slots. My gues sis youve got bad RAM. Don't go GeIL, go Corsair, neevr have any problems with their RAM. Good luck sorting your problem
 
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Being advised that for my rig I'll need atleast 20A on the +12v but I've only got 15A.

This person talking sense?

Again, I don't really understand how that'd work because everything is running fine with one stick of RAM, another stick surely can't be taking up enough power for my PSU to crash..
 
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20A sounds about right, but you have dual rails. One just for the CPU. Your PSU makes it to 30A at 12v combined. One stick extra is a few watts, if its unstable because of power then the difference between 1 and 2 sticks is not the reason.

What's the voltages under load?
 
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Will running Prime95 be a good test for them under load or would I be better off running 3DMark05 then checking them straight after?

Let me know and then I'll test and post up the results.

Cheers.
 
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