RAM Causing BSOD?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)' started by Jakee, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Jakee

    Jakee New Member

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    I recently just got a BIOS Checksum Error while trying to boot up, It wouldn't go away and got stuck in a loop.
    I opened up my rig and decided to see if it was my RAM as i felt the RAM could be causing some BSOD's aswell.

    Turns out that with both sticks in (DDR2 2gb Corsair DOMINATOR) It just cannot boot,
    I left one in and it still didn't get out of the loop.

    Though when i swapped them around it got past the loop and booted up with no problems.
    So far no BSODs or problems though I'm terrified to turn off the computer.

    The question is, The odds are that the stick that isn't being used now is faulty and causing all my problems? or something is wrong with the BIOS?

    Any advice/help would be great, Cheers again.
     
  2. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Well, logically if removing that one stick of memory restored proper function... it's your problem.

    But, yes, it could still be your bios. If you are overclocking your memory or running it under or over voltage, memory that would work perfectly at it's design settings might just screw up, presenting all the appearance of a hardware failure. Before spending money on premium memory you might want to put your memory timings on "Auto" in your bios, reset any CPU overclocks and try that stick of memory again.
     
  3. Jakee

    Jakee New Member

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    Thankyou for the reply but how would I go about putting my memory timings on "Auto" in the bios and how to reset any CPU overclocks.

    Cheers.
     
  4. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

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    It's individual in each different case, for example my sticks are set "Auto", should actually be set this way if bios is compatible and if not specially noted by the memory manufacturer.

    Reset CPU clocks -> set them "Standard" manually, or reset bios to its defaults.


    Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool
     
  5. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

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    Jakee,

    if you keep getting "BIOS Checksum Error", you need to restore bios (or reflash if restore fails).

    Exactly how are things now? Is it booting with 1 stick?
     
  6. Jakee

    Jakee New Member

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    Yes I've been on for about an hour now no problems, I also tried both sticks in together about 10 minutes ago and the computer didn't even respond to the boot up process and simply switched off and looped that.

    Took the "Faulty" stick out again and left the one and viola - No bad start up and I'm on again.
     
  7. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

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    Ok, if you swap the healthy one with the faulty, does it work? Asking this because the sticks may be a) not matching each other in case they are different brands, and b) one of them can actually be corrupted so you can get a refund for it. Or in rare cases it can even be a broken memory slot.
     
    CommonTater and (deleted member) like this.
  8. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Cybercore is on the right track here Jakee... when your machine is starting up you should see a "Hit Del to enter setup" prompt. You have a short window in which to press the DEL key on your keyboard to get into the BIOS settings. Once in there look for your memory timing settings which are usually in the "Chipset" portion of the setup. Simply select "Auto" from the list and see what happens... Same with your CPU settings, locate them and select AUTO.

    If you go to the manufacturer's site for your motherboard you can usually download a user manual for your model. It will have details about each setting in the BIOS... As Cybercore points out, it differes from make to make and even model to model.
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    This problem was experienced on my end, but in a much more nefarious way, and I identified that the RAM was not the cause by switching through DIMMs. In my case, the CMOS is completely fried, and I am waiting for a RMA from Gigabyte (this was a custom-built system). In my case the board had a backup BIOS on-board and its still fried. This is due to a corrupt CMOS, as no matter what BIOS version I flash to it sees it as having an "invalid checksum". If there is a BIOS checksum error occurring and you are fortunate enough to actually gain access to the operating system once again, I would highly suggest you look into flashing the BIOS to the latest stable release. Then reintroduce the memory modules. If not, it could in fact be a problem with the RAM, but my experience has been that even a single overvolt of the machine can damage the CMOS chip and BIOS itself. Some techniques that are recommended include completely removing the CMOS battery, all power going to the PSU, and draining the power from the system by holding down the power button for around 5-10 seconds. At this time the RAM should also be completely removed from the system, and you should wait around 4 hours to make sure everything has been completely cleared. If you continue to receive the BIOS checksum error even after performing all of these tasks, and evaluating the RAM, the CMOS itself may be damaged. However, because you are able to gain access to the system with 1 stick removed I would be highly inclined to think this is a memory module problem.

    However, by flashing the BIOS, clearing the CMOS, and completely resetting the system, you may be able to clear whatever is causing this error. This is not a 100% proven method, as often times it may not be the RAM but the board itself unable to handle the memory. If you could only test these modules in another system you would know for sure. I highly recommend carefully trying the above mentioned steps to see if this does anything to remedy the problem. BIOS Checksum Error can be very serious if you get locked out, as often times the BIOS will be fine but the CMOS chip believes you have a faulty BIOS flash.

    Remember, in my instance, no matter what RAM I used it didn't work, BIOS files also received a checksum error, and so forth... so the problem may in fact be the memory in your case. But to absolutely make 100% certain it is the memory, you will want to try to perform these operations. A good question would be for how long did the RAM work, at any time, before this problem started? I suspect it could be the RAM as the most obvious choice, but it could also be the board.
     
  10. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Good advice Mike. However he is getting it to work with one memory stick but not the other (so far) so there is reason to believe the checksum error might be the result of memory mappings changing while the machine was on (i.e. when the memory failed). Unless he is unfortunate enough to have your ugly mess to deal with, simply entering and saving the BIOS settings should clear the checksum error. If it doesn't then we graduate to the next level.

    Maybe it's a bit old school of me but I really don't like flashing NVRAM unless I absolutely have to in order to address a specific problem.
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    If an overvolt or power spike hit the board it could have knocked out that module or damaged the DIMM slot, so I would highly recommend reflashing the BIOS, and in doing so, clearing the CMOS completely. This will also ensure that any potential problems with previous BIOS revisions have been dealt with. If the BIOS does not flash you can identify that some circuitry on the board has resulted in corruption as well. In this case I advocate flashing because there is almost certainly a problem with this segment of the system, whether due to a memory module failure or otherwise. But you will likely never know until the CMOS itself is cleared.

    By reflashing and resetting the CMOS in general you can conclude as to whether or not the circuitry on the board is at fault as opposed to a damage module. I would be highly suspect of the board now, as one way or another, it is very likely an overvolt occurring on the DIMM slot may have resulted in the failure of the module to begin with. If the modules were slipped in shortly after cutting power to the board, with power still going to the board, this can also damage the DIMM slot and RAM itself.
     
  12. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Good insight Mike... And I'm not disagreeing with you one little bit.

    I'm just suggesting that our friend should try the least invasive fixes first.

    I mean... you wouldn't want open heart surgery for a wart on your shoulder... would you? ;)
     
  13. Jakee

    Jakee New Member

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    Pretty much at this stage i haven't changed any BIOS Settings - YET!

    When i leave the "Faulty' RAM stick in the computer turns on but restarts in about 5 seconds before the screen can even turn on and loops.

    But with the good one in everything is smooth start up (Which i haven't had in awhile) and no BSODs thusfar.

    The question is - Do i just go out and buy a new RAM stick or could there be other problems?

    I don't really wish to take further action since the computer is working the best it has since it was built ( It's custom built ) and i don't want to play around with it more then i have to.
     
  14. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

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    Jakee,

    you may want to get another stick identical to the healthy one. Apparently the "faulty" stick is indeed faulty, memtest would have sure detected that. If you have the warranty you can get the memory stick replaced.


    Edit: I think the more "healthy" RAM you can install now, the better off you'll be later - cause later you'll probably be reluctant to mess with it again. : )
     
    #14 cybercore, Sep 26, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010

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