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Topic: OT: Bad RAM ??

  1. #1

    OT: Bad RAM ??

    Hi Gang,

    A hard drive problem on my GigaStudio PC this morning led me to run and install Norton SystemWorks. For the first time ever on this 1 1/2 year old machine, I ran Norton\'s hardware diagnostic utility.

    Surprise, surprise, it turned up a RAM error. Repeating the test consistently turns up the error at the same memory address.

    I think I know what to do to track this down. What I do not know is to what extent I should really believe Norton. Is Norton Systemworks really a reliable indicator of memory quality? Anybody know? (I\'m running Windows 98SE)


  2. #2

    Re: OT: Bad RAM ??

    Hi Trond,

    If you were getting inconsistent memory addresses I\'d be suspicious. The fact that you\'re getting the same address would indicate to me that Norton is on to something. I had a problem with meory that was only resolved by removing DIMMs one at a time until the problem stopped. That particular system hasn\'t crashed for a while now. What strikes me as odd is that the system would test the memory every time I booted it, but never found the problem. I would start by removing one DIMM at a time and if the problem never comes back you got lucky. Be careful however about static, when you pull the DIMM make sure you\'re grounded and store it in a static free bag. If your computer crashes you can be pretty sure the DIMM in the bag is OK, replace it and pull the next one. Good luck.

    Steve Chandler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: OT: Bad RAM ??

    Try removing one stick of RAM at a time to see if the memory error moves or is not present. If you get the same error no matter what RAM is in the machine, then don\'t trust Norton.

    Have you had any errors or crashes on your system?

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Bad RAM ??

    Here\'s a very good tester if you want a second opinion:


    IMO if a ram tester tells you you\'ve got a problem, you can have high certainty there\'s a problem. It wrote data to a location, then it read back different data from that location, there\'s just no way that\'s not bad.

    My always reliable giga machine went south after I opened it up, tested and removed a drive, vacuumed the system out, and put it back together. I now know that vacuums can pack a good static electricity wallop, don\'t do this, and certainly ground yourself when messing with RAM, it is easy to fry it.

    memtest86 showed me where and how my ram was bad, every crash had been from a bad ram location. Gigastudio does not tolerate bad ram (or bad data) at all!

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Bad RAM ??

    A couple more things, if your RAM tests bad, you\'ve got a problem, though it could be RAM or motherboard or CPU, or a combo of these. Assuming you haven\'t torched your CPU, ram has to be the most likely culprit though.

    My system hasn\'t burped since I replaced my ram with memory that tests perfect.

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Bad RAM ??


    Thanks for the link to memtest. I just downloaded it and will give it a try.

    Also a good tip on the vacuum. Having found 3 lbs or so of dust bunnies inside my wife\'s office PC, also completely blocking the air inlets on the front of the machine, I was almost tempted to bring out the vacuum and \'really do the job right\' on our array of PC\'s! :-)

    I was, until now, totally unaware that most PC\'s self-tests for memory integrity were so spotty and unreliable. I\'ve been cruising along for years, blissfully ignorant, yet often cursing the \'Evil Empire\' for the unreliability of PC\'s operating with Windows OS\'s (compared to my Mac systems). Maybe some of our unexplained crashes will disappear, as did yours ...


  7. #7

    Re: OT: Bad RAM ??

    Hi Haydn,

    Sorry I missed your earlier question about whether or not I had crashes on my system. Yes, indeed, occasionally when loading a GSP.


    The memory testing program you pointed out to me worked great on the PentiumIII PC, a second machine I discovered today with bad RAM. It reported the same error address, basically, as did Norton. It also found more errors, but all on the same stick. That stick is now history, and the RAM tests come back clean.
    As far as my GigaStudio PC goes, alas,the memory test program isn\'t made for an Athlon according to what I read. I\'ll simply trust Norton on that one, I gained confidence in its diagnosis based on the Pentrium PC experience today.

    Thanks to all who pitched in here.


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