New RAM Old Problem

August 13, 2009 at 22:19:44
Specs: Windows XP Home, 3.0GHz DualCore & 1G
Okay, I've had a baffling problem with my computer not recognizing all my RAM and doing so in a very bizzare manner. My old thread is here...

http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

That thread has the most up to date info on my problem before this post. I just bought new RAM sticks to see if my old RAM sticks were fried, I even bought them in different sizes than my last ones to hopefully change the numbers but as far as my computer is concerned I didn't even touch it. I bought two new sticks from crucial.com of 1gig RAM each and my old ones were 512mb each. All my numbers in all the scenarios are absolutely identical to what they were with the old sticks which tells me my problem wasn't the RAM sticks as they weren't fried. The bios says everything is just as it should be and as it was before except the RAM totals are still off, the device manager says everything is normal, the properties tab of the My Computer icon agrees with the RAM numbers of the bios, the RAM diagnostics still show zero errors, but the RAM in my computer is still way more than the computer says it is.

Can anyone else think of any other links in this chain that I haven't checked that could be causing this? How could my computer consistently read my memory wrong with the same results regardless of what it's reading?

Certifiably Crazy


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#1
August 13, 2009 at 22:23:02
Oh yeah, just remembered something! Sorry for the double post.

The ram sockets are in perfect condition as I thought to check them for cracks, broken or bent contacts when I installed the new ram sticks.

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#2
August 14, 2009 at 00:13:32
How about the slots? have cleaned them befroe you installed the new rams?

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#3
August 14, 2009 at 06:30:54
Something you neglected to do in both threads is post the make/model of your board & the RAM specs. We have no idea what your board supports (SDR, DDR, DDR2), how much RAM is supported, or what you bought? You're also not stating what the RAM amount is being reported as? If you want help, you're going to provide more detailed info....

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Related Solutions

#4
August 14, 2009 at 07:50:53
Your problem may be baffling to you, but it's not to many of us who answer topics here. You have a very common problem - we hear about this same problem frequently.

It's quite likely your mboard cannot recognize 1gb modules, or you're using ones that are not compatible with your mboard. E.g. many older mboards will not recognize certain larger sized modules with 4 or 8 chips properly, but will recognize certain ones of the same capacity if it has 8 or 16 chips - the 4 or 8 chip ones are often cheaper, so people tend to buy those when they have the choice of different numbers of chips on a module.

See response 5 in this for some info about ram compatibilty, and some places where you can find out what will work in your mboard for sure:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...
Correction to that:
Mushkin www.mushkin.com

Once you know which module ID strings work in your mboard, you can get them from anywhere you like that has ram with those ID strings (part numbers).

If you have brand name ram, it is usually easy to look up whether it's ID string is in a list of compatible modules found by using your mboard or brand name system model number.
If the ram is generic, that may be difficult or impossible.
........

Ads for ram modules often don't specify how many chips a module has and don't show you both sides of the module, so you can't tell whether the other side of the module they're not showing you has chips too.

Some ram module manufacturers can tell or show you the number of memory chips on the module.
E.g. On the Kingston web site, if you search for ram for your model, then click on one of the part numbers for modules it finds, at the right end of the Detailed Specifications line there's often a link to a Data sheet document - in that document, it tells you how many chips it has, and if there are chips on both sides of the module it will show you that by showing both sides have chips graphically.
However, NOTE that I have found Kingston has replaced some 16 chip modules with 8 chip models for the same part number without changing the data sheet info and no longer makes the 16 chip version - the 8 chip version probably won't work properly on older mboards - in that case you have to search for old stock or used ram that has the same part number and does have 16 chips.

There are some modules with chips on one side that are wired up such that the mboard sees them as double sided, but they're extremely rare.


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#5
August 14, 2009 at 16:02:21
I think the issue was answered in the original thread.

Just because you think you disabled the on board video doesn't mean the RAM dedicated to the on board video has been freed up. You need to go into the BIOS and actually change the settings.


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#6
August 15, 2009 at 15:27:15
OK, I looked at your original Topic thread.

OtheHill said:

"Post the exact brand and model of your computer or motherboard if custom built."

Do that.

Most mboards automatically disable onboard video when a PCI-E card is installed in a slot, but some DO NOT, especially some more recent ones.

E.g. I recently installed an Asus M3A78 Pro mboard - by default it does NOT auto disable the onboard video when you install a PCI-E video card in a X16 slot, and the card produces no video. You have to change settings in the bios. If you install certain specific ATI chipset cards in the PCI-E slot and use Vista, you can set it to Hybrid mode in the bios and have both the onboard video and the card in the slot work, and in that case the onboard video still shares part of the installed ram.

You may just not have noticed previously the onboard video was still enabled.

512mb - 448mb = 64mb.
64mb was probably being used by your onboard video.
Some bioses report the amount of ram MINUS that shared with the onboard video. Some also subtract 1mb for the conventional memory amount - the ram used by the operating system that can't be accessed by the user or used for changable operating system data by the operating system.

If the onboard video has been auto disabled, in almost all cases the bios then ignores settings in the bios regarding sharing ram with the onboard video, the total ram installed is reported by the bios, and any setting regarding setting Intialize Video first or Primary Video or similar in the bios is also ignored by the bios when iset to onboard video, if it can be set to onboard video or similar.
......

Not all ram that you would think should work in it is compatible with your mboard.

Tell us what the brand and ID strings (part number characters) that are on the ram modules you've tried.
.......

Other than ram compabilty problems, you can experience really odd problems sometimes if the modules are not getting a good connection in their slots.

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

Usually ram slots are not the problem, unless they have physical crap in them or on their contacts. You could try using a few drops of isopropyl or methyl alcohol on a tissue or coth wrapped over thin cardboard in the slots, but that's usually not necessary.

I have never encountered any ram slot that was actually BAD, unless someone had installed ram backwards in the slot and then tried to boot the computer, in which case the module fries and the slot's trashed forever.

However, ATX power supplies are always powering ATX mboards in some places including some contacts in the ram slots even when the computer is not running, as long as the PS is connected to the mboard, the PS is on, and the PS is receiving live AC power. If you did NOT disconnect the AC power to PS, at any time, while connecting or disconnecting anything connected to the PS or the mboard, you can easily damage mboard components and circuits, including the ram and circuits for the ram slots.
......

" Okay. I then put stick A into slot A and stick B into slot B and instead of 1,024MB like I should have or even 896MB like you think it would tell me under the circumstances, it tells me I have 504MB. I then take stick A and put it into slot B and stick B into slot A and fire it up and it tells me the same thing, 504MB of RAM."

If you were still using the onboard video and it was set to share 64mb of ram, if both 512mb modules were recognized properly, the total reported by your bios would have been 448 plus 512 = 960 mb.
The fact that you're seeing 504 when both are installed, whether or not if the onboard video was using 64mb, indicates either
- your mboard circuits are damaged, probably the ram slot circuits - extremely unlikely
- your ram is damaged despite the fact it appears it's recognized fine when installed by itself - possible but unlikely
- OR - one or both ram modules are incompatible with your mboard - many times more likely. Sometimes incompatible modules are recognized correctly when installed by themselves, but are not recognized properly when more than one is installed.

Once I/we know your mboard model and ram ID strings, I /we can probably find out if that is likely your case - if it isn't, THEN I suspect your mboard circuits are damaged, or the ram is damaged.
.......

You could install the ram modules in another mboard they are compatible with for sure to see if they're recognized properly. That's not valid unless the modules you install are in a list of modules found when you search using the model of the mboard.
If they're brand name system modules they often have an oddball brand name specific ID string. If they don't also have the actual maker's standard IDstring, some other modules with standard IDstrings will work, but they are not listed.
...

Another - remote - possibility, but I've never heard of it happening. On some more recent mboards the memory controller is built into the cpu, not the mboard. E.g. AM2, AM2+ mboards/cpus.
In theory it could be one or more pins on the cpu are not connecting to the cpu socket properly
In that case you could try re-seating the cpu in it's socket, but you'll probably have to remove the cpu heatsink before you can get at the socket lever. Check the cpu for bent pins while you're at it.

OR - the memory controller on the cpu could be faulty, but I've never heard of that happening.


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#7
August 15, 2009 at 17:52:35
Oof! Lotsa info. Okay, gimmee an hour or two, I'm gonna slowly look into all the stuff that's been said. I don't want to skip anything. I'll edit this post when I'm done looking into everything.

Edit:

1. Maybe the ram got fried because the power supply was still hooked up when I worked on it.
Answer - Possible but not likely, I never ever ever touch the inside of my computer until everything is unplugged and detatched. I absolutlely do not look forward to cooking my tongue. Also, the power cord is the last thing I unplug, I'm always holding onto the computer securely when I unplug it to ground any static electricity I'm carrying, and I always use an anti-static wrist strap.


2. How is the computer reporting my ram amounts?
Answer - I have two ram slots on my computer and two ram sticks. The first set worked just as intended for a long long time until one day the computer decided to mix my life up a bit. It used to recognize each stick installed by itself as 512mb and both installed together as 1gb of ram, both in the properties tab of the my computer icon and in the system bios. Then one day it began reporting one stick installed by itself as 448mb instead of 512mb and two sticks installed together as 504mb instead of 1gb. Also, the status of the onboard video card and the alocated amount of memory for it didn't change between those times. It doesn't matter which stick I install when or in which slot either.


3. Post the motherboard brand, model and specs.
Answer - ASUS P5RD1-VM motherboard
Intel Pentium Dual-Core 3ghz CPU
Northbridge: ATI Radeon Xpress 200
Southbridge: ULI M1573
Frontside Bus: 800mhz with hyperthreading
VGA: ATI Radeon 9600 GPU
Audio: ADI1986A 6-channel high-definition audio codec
LAN: realtek RTL8201CL PHY 10/100 Mbit/s LAN controller
Form Factor: Micro-ATX form factor: 9.6in. x 8.6in.
Memory: 2 x 184-pin DIMM sockets support up to 2gb of unbuffered non-ECC 400/333mhz DDR DIMMs


4. Post the ram I have and the specs the manual and crucial say is compatible.
Answer - The manual says this is the ram I can use...
Memory: 2 x 184-pin DIMM sockets support up to 2gb of unbuffered non-ECC 400/333mhz DDR DIMMs
This is the ram www.crucial.com says I can use...
184-pin DIMM Banking: 2 (2 banks of 1)
Chipset: ATI Radeon XPRESS 200
Error Detection Support: Non-ECC only
Graphics Support: PCI Express x16
Max Component Density: 1024
Max Unbuffered DDR SDRAM: 2048MB
Module Types Supported: Unbuffered only
Supported DRAM Types: DDR SDRAM only
USB Support: 2.x Compliant
Each memory slot can hold DDR PC2700,DDR PC3200 with a maximum of 1GB per slot.
Number of slots: 2


5. Post the stats on the types of ram I have and had.
Answer - The two sticks I had that worked forever but suddenly stopped being recognized properly was from Crucial...
512MB, 184-pin DIMM, DDR PC3200 memory module
CT6464Z40B
Module Size: 512MB
Package: 184-pin DIMM
Feature: DDR PC3200
Specs: DDR PC3200 • CL=3 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR400 • 2.6V • 64Meg x 64
The two sticks I currently have and just bought that are being recognized exactly the same as the old are also from Crucial...
1GB, 184-pin DIMM, DDR PC3200 memory module
CT12864Z40B
Module Size: 1GB
Package: 184-pin DIMM
Feature: DDR PC3200
Specs: DDR PC3200 • CL=3 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR400 • 2.6V • 128Meg x 64


6. I just enabled the onboard video card in both the system bios and the device manager and now everything in the device manager is on and functioning properly with zero conflicts. Okay, now I rebooted, went into the system bios and set the system to use the graphics device in the pci-e slot first and the onboard second, then set the shared memory amount for the onboard card to it's lowest amount (32mb) and then disabled the onboard card so now the bios will only use the graphics processor in the pci-e slot, saved my changes and started the computer. Here are the stats between the onboard video and my video card now.
ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series
Location: PCI Slot 1 (PCI bus 2, device 0, function 0)
Memory Range 40000000 - 4FFFFFFF
Memory Range C0000000 - C000FFFF
I/O Range C000 - C0FF
IRQ 18
I/O Range 03B0 - 03BB
I/O Range 03C0 - 03DF
Memory Range 000A0000 - 000BFFFF
ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 Series
Location: PCI bus 1, device 5, function 0
"This device isn't using any resources."


7. Next I'm gonna turn off my computer, clean the ram slot contacts and the ram stick contacts, then I'm gonna scour the microsoft knowledgebase to see if there's a software setting that could be causing this. (I doubt it.) Shoulda thought of that first. I'll post back with updates and details when I'm done.

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#8
August 15, 2009 at 21:09:57
Holy F.S. What The F.H. just happened? After I did all that stuff I posted above it was going just like it has for a long time now. I rebooted before I went to the microsoft website to search their knowledge base, it was STILL working like it has been (bad). Then without thinking instead of pulling up firefox, I rebooted by habit (DOH) and when it came up ... *poof* it's recognising all my memory now ... like it should be.

So that means problem fixed but not figured out. Anyone know what happened for future refference?

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#9
August 16, 2009 at 08:17:44
We're glad to hear your problem appears to be solved!!

My guess is this was your problem:

"A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned."


and that cleaning the contacts on the ram, and/or re-seating them, or less likely, cleaning the contacts on the contacts in the ram slots is what cured your problems.

I've had to do that many times.
Usually the symptoms are you have one or more of many possible random problems, and if you test the ram (when you have not re-seated it or cleaned it's contacts) you find the ram that was working fine previously is producing a relatively small number of ram errors in a ram diagnostics test (if the computer was still working) , but of course the symptoms you get would depend on which of the many contacts were getting a poor connection.

I'll comment on your stuff in response 7 a little later.

"VGA: ATI Radeon 9600 GPU"

"ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series"

You tried two different cards?


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#10
August 17, 2009 at 00:50:56
Can you post the link of the last thread that you are telling so that I can review it more?

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#11
August 17, 2009 at 05:03:06
I don't believe that the same amount of RAM on TWO different sticks would be not configured by the computer yet all of a sudden start working.

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#12
August 17, 2009 at 08:59:57
"ASUS P5RD1-VM"

Apparently this is an older mboard.

I believe I installed a mboard with an Atlhon equivalent of this same ATI main chipset chipset a while back for someone, and was quite impressed with the onboard video - there was no onboard video that was better at the time this main chipset first came out.

The main chipset has no Hybrid video support, so, this applies:

- this mboard (normally) automatically disables onboard video when a PCI-E card is installed in a slot.

When the onboard video has been auto disabled, the bios then ignores settings in the bios regarding sharing ram with the onboard video, the total ram installed is reported by the bios, and any setting regarding setting Intialize Video first or Primary Video or similar in the bios is also ignored by the bios when iset to onboard video, if it can be set to onboard video or similar.

However, I suspect you had a poor connection in your ram slots that was preventing that from working properly, as well as preventing more than one module from being recognized properly.
I would have thought the 1gb modules you specify
1gb single
Part #: CT12864Z40B • DDR PC3200 • CL=3 •
would have been recognized, when there was something wrong, as 1024 - 64 = 960 mb, rather than 448 mb, when installed by themselves, but that ain't necessarily so when there's a problem.

However, sometimes the bios doesn't automatically set Intialize Video first or Primary Video or similar in the bios to PCI-E when you install a PCI-E card - you should check in the bios to make sure that's set correctly when you install a PCI-E card. If it's set to PCI, the card still works in XP, but the advanced PCI-E features supported by the specific video drivers and related programs will NOT work properly if the bios is set to PCI.
I highly doubt setting that to onboard video would have any effect when a PCI-E video card has been installed because the bios probably ignores that when a PCI-E video card has been installed, but, still, that setting should be set to PCI-E when a PCI-E video card has been installed, for the same reason, because I don't know what the bios would default to when it ignores the onboard video setting (although you may see what it defaults to the next time you go into the bios after attempting to set that to onboard video and having saved settings).

"CT6464Z40B"

"CT12864Z40B"

You're correct - both types are compatible with your mboard.

Installing a PCI video card in a slot (and not a PCI-E card) often does NOT auto disable the onboard video, although it MIGHT when it is installed in the last PCI slot closest to the PCI-E slot. If installing the PCI card does not auto disable the onboard video, then you need to set Intialize Video first or Primary Video or similar in the bios to onboard video or PCI, whichever you prefer - usually setting it to PCI yields you better features if the card has a video chipset that's a lot newer than the onboard video's video chipset (e.g. supports higher resolutions, more wide screen resolutions), but in this case it's max fps etc. specs may not be as good as for the onboard video.

By the way, it's usually a BAD idea to install a PCI card other than a PCI video card in the last PCI slot closest to the PCI -E X 16 slot - that slot usually shares it's IRQ with the onboard video or the video card in the PCI-E X16 slot, and sharing the IRQ with other than a video card usually causes problems.


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