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Notices, Help With Problems and Your Forum Ideas... => Computer Help => Topic started by: Nick on July 13, 2017, 11:20:13 am

Title: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 13, 2017, 11:20:13 am
Sorry to be back again... Any PC hardware experts out there?

I have an elderly PC that I built myself about 8 or 9 years ago. It's an Asus P5Q Deluxe motherboard,  Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0 Ghz CPU. (Actually it's a "grandfather's broom" sort of PC - bits of it are much newer, bits go back even further.)

When I built it, I put four 1Gb sticks of Crucial Ballistix DDR2 1066MHz RAM in - it's running 32-bit Windows (now Windows 10), so no point putting more in. A few years ago, one of the sticks went south. Crucial replaced it under their lifetime warranty, but those sticks were no longer made, so they gave me an 800MHz 2Gb stick. I filed that in the "rainy day" drawer and carried on running on 3Gb, which is only 0.2Gb under the 32-bit max anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, another stick went. Crucial have again replaced it, with the same type of 2Gb stick, which is ostensibly compatible with my mobo.

The PC is running fine with the remaining, original, 2x1Gb sticks, but I'm obviously reducing memory. So I've tried to fit the two, identical 2GB sticks, replacing the 1Gb ones. When I do so, Windows hangs at random. Sometimes a minute or so after boot-up, sometimes up to half an hour. But it freezes - no response to keyboard or mouse. There's no obvious pattern or relationship to what I am doing that I can discern.

I've run Memtest and Windows Memory Diagnostics against the new RAM - they've passed, no problems. I'm assuming there's some setting that needs changing. I'm not an overclocker - I've not adjusted any BIOS timings, voltages, etc., all the tweaks are in their default "Auto" settings, which have worked fine up to now. I'm nervous about changing BIOS memory settings that I don't fully understand in case I brick the machine completely.

I can carry on as I am, but I've a nagging concern over what I do if another stick goes south, as 1Gb of RAM is a bit small. I'm not even sure W10 will run in it.

I know I need to replace the PC at some point in the not-too-distant future, but I'd rather not do it now, not least because I have an even more elderly SCSI film scanner, am in the middle of a much delayed project to scan my back catalog of slides, and would like to limp on until that's finished. I have no idea whether I can obtain 64-drivers for the SCSI adapter, or even whether I could buy a new one nowadays. I don't really want to end up buying a new film scanner for the tail end of a one-off project.

Any ideas?
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: austinbob on July 13, 2017, 11:32:34 am
It could be possible, that if you're replacing the 1066 chip with 800 chip, you are effectively overclocking the the 800 chip. Could be pot luck whether it doesn't work at all, works unreliably or works perfectly.
Is there something in the BIOS which allows you to change the memory clock speed perhaps?
 :beers:
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 13, 2017, 11:47:23 am
There are any number of settings...  :confused1: Perhaps I should post a picture of the  relevant BIOS screen. I'll do it later today. I'm not sure which I should change and whether there are any inter-relationships I must observe.

But that's the sort of thing I think is the problem. What's bothering me is that I don't recall setting anything to allow the 1066 RAM to function, nor is their any sign in the BIOS screens that I did so - AFAIK it was just auto-detected and off it went. I don't understand why the same isn't happening now for the 800MHz sticks. 800 is definitely one of the supported speeds.
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: austinbob on July 13, 2017, 11:54:37 am
I would imagine your system can only auto default to one speed if its capable of auto adjusting. As you have two different chips running designed for different speed you need to somehow ensure the lowest speed is selected.

Its also possible, apart from BIOS adjustment, that there are a set of jumpers on you mother board which allow you to change memory speed. If you still have the manual for the board you could check that out. Or, if you have the motherboard type number you could search on the web for a manual/instructions
 :beers:
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Only Me on July 13, 2017, 12:06:13 pm
usually on a pc motherboard all memory sticks need to run at the same speed.
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 13, 2017, 12:16:11 pm
usually on a pc motherboard all memory sticks need to run at the same speed.
Yeah, I don't think I made myself clear. I'm running the machine with either a pair of 1066 or a pair of 800 sticks installed, not mixing them. I presumed doing that would be a road to grief, which is why I never fitted the original replacement.

I have the mobo manual - but I can't find any trace that I should need to set anything manually unless I want to overclock. Every setting has an "Auto" option, and the manual says that the defaults vary according to what CPU and memory are auto-detected.
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: nick_bastable on July 13, 2017, 05:01:35 pm
check the chip order often it can be slots 1+3   not 1 + 2   does it work with only one stick of RAM ?

Nick
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 13, 2017, 06:01:23 pm
They are in 1+3 - the slots are colour coded pairs, so I'm pretty sure I have that right.

I haven't tried running on just single sticks yet - I'll have a go this weekend.
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: escafeld on July 13, 2017, 06:53:21 pm
In the Ai Tweaker BIOS menu by default the values are 'auto' try manually setting the DRAM Frequency to 'DDR2-800 MHz' this should make sure that the Motherboard is running the memory at the correct frequency in case auto detect hasn't detected the memory correctly.

If this doesn't cure the issue then set AI Overclock Tuner to 'Manual' an option should then appear for FSB Frequency and set this to 'FSB 800'

Both the values selected are at the lower end of what is available so will no do any damage.
 
If you still have problems try just inserting a single 2GB memory
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: austinbob on July 13, 2017, 06:58:40 pm
In the Ai Tweaker BIOS menu by default the values are 'auto' try manually setting the DRAM Frequency to 'DDR2-800 MHz' this should make sure that the Motherboard is running the memory at the correct frequency in case auto detect hasn't detected the memory correctly.

If this doesn't cure the issue then set AI Overclock Tuner to 'Manual' an option should then appear for FSB Frequency and set this to 'FSB 800'

Both the values selected are at the lower end of what is available so will no do any damage.
 
If you still have problems try just inserting a single 2GB memory
Sounds like a plan... Best advice so far.
 :beers:
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 13, 2017, 08:03:52 pm
In the Ai Tweaker BIOS menu by default the values are 'auto' try manually setting the DRAM Frequency to 'DDR2-800 MHz' this should make sure that the Motherboard is running the memory at the correct frequency in case auto detect hasn't detected the memory correctly.

If this doesn't cure the issue then set AI Overclock Tuner to 'Manual' an option should then appear for FSB Frequency and set this to 'FSB 800'

Both the values selected are at the lower end of what is available so will no do any damage.
 
If you still have problems try just inserting a single 2GB memory

Thanks for the suggestions.

Unfortunately, I don't have quite those options. I can set the DRAM Frequency to 800 as you suggest, but the FSB Frequency setting isn't a selection list, it's a freeform numeric field, with an allowed range of values of 200-800, according to the note that appears when you select it. The value that presently appears is 333.

This agrees with what I can see by running CPUID's CPU-Z utility - this says that the DRAM frequency is 400MHz, and that the FSB:DRAM ratio is 5:6. Crunch those numbers and you get 333 for the FSB. (I seem to remember that the labelled DDR frequency is twice the actual DRAM frequency, but goodness knows where I read that.)

I also don't understand why I'm seeing a DRAM of 400/800 when I presently have the 1066MHz sticks installed (because they are more stable).

CPU-Z is also telling me that I have a "Bus Speed" of 333Mhz and a "Rated FSB" of 1333Mhz. It is also reporting a "Max Bandwidth" for my memory's SPD of "PC2-6400 (400MHz)". Oh, and that the memory is in dual channel mode.

It's my not really understanding the inter-relationship between all these different frequencies that makes me so leery of fiddling, especially when right now I have a working system!
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: escafeld on July 13, 2017, 09:50:48 pm
DDR frequency is double the actual frequency so setting the DRAM Frequency to DD2-800 Mhz is actual setting it to 400 Mhz.

Apologies for the incorrect FSB number. It should be set to 200 MHz which gives a FSB of 800. The setting value is the CPU External Frequency which is a quarter of the FSB. You shouldn't really need to change this from Auto. This was just setting it to the lowest value to make sure everything else was running correctly.

As the DRAM figures you are getting are 400/800 implies that the auto detect is no working correctly which is what I found on my sons Asus board many years ago and the suggestion to set it manually. Currently this will not be a problem to you as your memory is just running slower than it could potentially run at.

I would suggest just changing the DRAM frequency manually when you change you Memory over to ensure it is correct. If the frequency had stayed at 532/1066 with the DDR2-800 memory that would explain the random crashes you had and would occur when a lot a memory activity was happening. It is not necessarily related to a single activity on the computer.
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 14, 2017, 10:09:33 am
Thanks. The fog is beginning to clear a little.  :)

I think what I may do first the next time I swap the memory over is run CPU-Z and see what settings the board is actually applying to those sticks (assuming it doesn't hang first). I'm puzzled as to why, if the BIOS is stuck on a  400/800 DRAM frequency, the other memory wasn't running properly. But perhaps it was doing something different entirely for them. I didn't run CPU-Z against them - it didn't occur to me.

I'll be back, as Arnie would say...
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: lil chris on July 14, 2017, 03:54:04 pm
Hi there I had a computer with the same motherboard but it is well gone now and I no longer have the manual. You could try resetting the bios by removi g the battery and moving the jumper, then see if it auto detects the memory. If not set it manually has  previously suggested.
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: MJKERR on July 14, 2017, 04:34:14 pm
it's running 32-bit Windows (now Windows 10)
it freezes - no response to keyboard or mouse. There's no obvious pattern or relationship to what I am doing that I can discern
Are you sure this is not the well documented Windows 10 tablet version incompatability issue?
Does your keyboard have a Windows button?
If so, when this issue occurs the only solution is to use the Windows key

My previous Windows 8 that was updated to Windows 10 suffered this

I now have two identical computers that had Windows 10 already installed, and they both suffer this
The only solution is to Restart

It was supposedly fixed two months ago, but people are still reporting the issue is present!
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Dorsetmike on July 14, 2017, 06:29:33 pm
Reinforcing my avoidance of 10, still running 7 with no problems (since I turned off updates)
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 15, 2017, 10:02:29 am
Hi there I had a computer with the same motherboard but it is well gone now and I no longer have the manual. You could try resetting the bios by removi g the battery and moving the jumper, then see if it auto detects the memory. If not set it manually has  previously suggested.

Thanks. I was keeping that as the "nuclear option" in case all else fails and I'm desperately trying to keep the beast working. I don't like doing things that can have widespread consequences but whose effects I'm unsure of. I much prefer to diagnose what is actually awry and take targeted action if at all possible.

Are you sure this is not the well documented Windows 10 tablet version incompatability issue?

I've got no idea what that is, I'm afraid. It's happily passed me by! Any link?

I don't think I've ever put this machine in tablet mode, and my tablet is running fine. I wouldn't rule anything out, but I'll be very surprised if this is a Windows issue. Windows 10 has been running without problems on all my machines since I upgraded them soon after release. My problem is very directly linked to which memory sticks are in the machine, so I'm inclined to think @escafeld (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=profile;u=5876) is on the right track. Occam's Razor, and all that.
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: MJKERR on July 15, 2017, 11:21:24 am
I've got no idea what that is, I'm afraid. It's happily passed me by! Any link?

I don't think I've ever put this machine in tablet mode
That is exactly what happens, the computer enters Tablet Mode, even with the option disabled
As the option is disabled the pointing devices are also disabled!
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: Nick on July 16, 2017, 09:49:31 am
I don't think that's what is happening. Tablet mode is visibly very different on my desktop PC because I have a lot of applications pinned to the Taskbar, which disappear when tablet mode is invoked. (I just checked.) It would be difficult to miss that.

Odd behaviour, though. IIRC, invoking tablet mode on my tablet doesn't disconnect either keyboard or mouse (I have a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse set for it.)

You mentioned the Windows key. I do have one. How is it relevant?
Title: Re: Memory woes
Post by: MJKERR on July 16, 2017, 10:36:02 am
Yesterday one of my computers entered Tablet Mode twice, and the other one once
There is no visible difference, the mouse and keyboard becomes disabled
As above, the only way out of this is to use the Windows Key, which then gives access to the Taskbar, and to then tab to perform a Restart