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newly built computer, not working properly.

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Old 05-07-2005, 06:55 AM   #1
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Hello and thankyou to all the people out their considering to help me.
I recently built this system myself (see specs).
When I try to play Half Life 2 i experience some of the following problems... (at totally random times whilst gameplay, sometimes 5min somtimes 1 hour)
- blue screen and reboot (after its rebooted either says that nvidia's drivers are unstable OR says windows encounted a serious error)
- sound loop with freeze and reboot.
- freeze and reboot
- General jerkyness and freezes which last 5 seconds at random times.

Everything I've tried
- Checking video card temps which are fine
- formatting with fresh windows.
- updating mobo bios to 1011(latest)
- using nvidia 71.89 driver (first installed driver from format, no need for drive cleaner)
- after installing this putting on latest via 4 in 1 chipset driver.
- fiddling with bios settings ( in FAQ at nvidia.com recommended for combating the 'nvidia driver is unstable' problem. so ie. changing apeature, fastwrite etc etc..

note: my PSU was recommended from a good PC shop for my setup, and i beleive its coping. can't prove this though.

The Suspicion

That my ram isn't compatible, my mobo says it supports corsair VS(value select) 512 but dosn't include the 256? however u would think that size dosn't matter, but if u look up the top at the kingston they have listed both sizes. What do u think? is it probs with my ram? look...
mobo specifications a8v

So at the moment i'm thinking about taking back to the shop both my 256 sticks and telling them my mobo dosn't support them and get the exchanged for a single 512 of the same brand/type.

Ahhh Help me, please - anybody. I must have spent 20+ hours trying to get this flippin thing to work properly.
Thankyou in advance.
Regards,
Nick

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Old 05-07-2005, 07:10 AM   #2
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Hi again.

You can check your RAM with MemTest86. It's very effective at finding RAM problems. You can also check that your CPU is working okay and getting along well with the motherboard by running Prime95 as explained here. I don't think you've tried these yet. It still sounds like a video card problem but these are very easy tests to run and are good for ruling out RAM and CPU as the cause of your problems.

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Old 05-07-2005, 07:30 AM   #3
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I have only tried memtest, and i left it running for 9+ hours and it still wasn't finished. I tried understanding the readme file on its operation however its pretty technical
during the test what exactly tells me my ram is bad? and what is the usual duration for the test?
I'm going to leave it going over night.
Going to also try the CPU test.
that sure was a quick reply!
cheers for on-going help Unclemacro
Regards,
Nick
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:07 AM   #4
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I just ran prime95 and got an error!!!
Now u'd think that would make me unhappy but now i know my problem!!!
going to put back on the original HSF and see if that works, if not. send it bak to AMD.
thankyou,thankyou for support
regards,
Nick
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Old 05-07-2005, 01:25 PM   #5
 
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probably a faulty cpu or motherboard. usually with memtest86 you can see error on your screen if there is an error. if you ran it 9hour without any errors, then im sure your ram is fine. could be other things such as cpu or motherboard.

if you got the cash, then i suggest you go to your local computer store and buy another cpu and test that cpu on your computer. keep the receipt just in case the problem persist.

if the problem goes away, you had a bad cpu. good luck and nice system you got there.
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:31 PM   #6
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..actually waffleweed i got a few errors in my memtest and at the time i was unsure about how it worked and thought maybe a few errors were ok
sorry for the misconception.

So now the situation is that my ram and cpu are said to be faulty, going by the programs memtest and prime95.
Whats my plan of action?
Is my mobo screwed and this is why they are both failing, should i maybe replace the ram first and see wot happens, OR get a complete cpu/memory swop?

Hope the warranty is going to cover this
Regards,
Nick
[p.s] i can see the light for half life 2... so close
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:44 PM   #7
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you might have to bump the voltage 1 step on your memory...i think you have that option in your bios. your memory is warranteed to slightly more than default. sometimes these modules need a little "persuasion" to perform correctly.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:29 PM   #8
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You should deal with the RAM problem first. You should get NO errors in MemTest86. RAM errors can cause Prime95 to crap out so your CPU may be just fine.

Before overvolting your RAM, I would try taking the RAM off of default SPD values and slowing them down to a slow timing like 3-4-4-(max value) and see if you can get them stable. According to your manual, you do that by going to the "Advanced" screen in the BIOS and then select "Memory Configuration". Then do the following:
1) set "CAS Latency" to 3.0
2) set "TRCD" to 4
3) set "TRP" to 4
4) set "TRAS" to 8
You can see the current timing values for your RAM on the "Memory" tab in CPU-Z. You can also try setting the "MemClock" Mode to "Manual" and slowing down the RAM clock. It should currently be 200MHz (which is really the value you want to use), but you can also set it to 166MHz or 133MHz and slow down RAM access quite a bit.

You should also try the RAM in both sets of slots. Your motherboard manual says to use the blue slots first but you should also try the black slots. There is often a difference in stability between the pairs of slots. You can also try one RAM stick at a time. It runs slower that way but it will work. That can help you figure out if you have a weak RAM stick.

If none of that works then you can also try increasing the RAM voltage, but I wouldn't do that until you've tried the other options. ASUS motherboards have a habit of understating the actual RAM voltage by 0.05 volts in the BIOS so the real RAM voltage is actually 0.05 volts higher than the BIOS tells you.

Basically, first try to find a stable configuration even if it's slow. If you can't find one then you have a bad RAM stick. If you can get it stable then you can play with the timings and the voltage to find the quickest setup which works properly. I wouldn't go with the default timings in the SPD because sometimes they are too fast and sometimes they are too slow. It's really better to control your timings manually so you know exactly what it's running at.
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Old 05-07-2005, 09:11 PM   #9
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will try this thanks for your efforts unclemacro.
Regards,
Nick
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Old 05-07-2005, 11:05 PM   #10
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ah soz for double reply,
Everything in memory config settings at default was the same as wot u said to put in except for the cas latency which was defalt 2.5, I changed this to 3 and tested but no improvement.
memclock mode only has 'auto' & 'limit' not manual, so i set limit and when i go to change the speed it is default DDR200 and goes up to DDR400, i tried DDR400 no change...
Then in a last desperate attempt i tried limit-DDR200 (i'm guessing that at auto the speed varies, but at limit it sets the speed?)
Anyway its like ever problem has been solved at the flick of a option, played both half life 2 and vietnam with NO FREEZES, NO BLUE SCREEN and no jerkyness (using limit/DDR200)
Finally i feel some reliability and performance (except that the load times are very, very slow)
I'm also currently running prime95 and tests 1,2 and 3 have passed (before it said hardware failure during test 1)
Seems like we have found the problem unclemacro!!! and I really feel like i have learnt heaps along the way.
if it wern't for ur dedicated support, i may never have solved this
Now what to do with this ram, should i take it back to the shop and claim it faulty and get a 512 single stick (all i can afford and the plan is to get another 512 later)
Should i stick with corsair value select?
I'm planning on overclocking (once everything is happy) should i look at a more expensive ram like kingston?
Is kingston worth it and is it a must for overclocking?
Cheers!!!
Nick
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Old 05-08-2005, 12:40 AM   #11
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Glad to hear you've found the problem. The thing is that you've underclocked your RAM a whole lot and you should be able to get it to work reliably at a much higher speed with a few more adjustments.

The manual for your motherboard is a bit sketchy but it looks like you have to set the "MemClock Mode" to "Limit" to be able to control the memory ratio. That controls the speed your RAM runs at. The manual doesn't list the values but from your description it sounds like they should be DDR 200, DDR 266, DDR 333, and DDR 400. By setting it to DDR 200 you've basically cut the RAM speed in half. You shouldn't have to do that to make it run properly. Did you ever try DDR 266 or DDR 333? DDR 333 will probably also work properly and will be a lot faster than the DDR 200 that you're currently running.

The best thing to do is to try to find settings which work properly at DDR 400. If you set "MemClock Mode" back to "Auto" so it's set up like before, what values does CPU-Z show for the speed of your RAM on the CPU-Z "Memory" tab? It sounds like the value may have been 2.5-4-4-8 which is not the world's fastest RAM. If it didn't work at 3-4-4-8, then that's not too good.

I think you should see if overvolting helps the RAM stabilize. Set the "MemClock Mode" to "Auto" so it's set up at defaults and then go into the "JumperFree Configuration" part of the BIOS. Your "DDR Voltage" should currently be set to "Auto". You can set it to 2.6, 2.7, and 2.8 volts. According to Corsair, their default is actually 2.5 volts but I'm not all that sure what it's really set to now. Give it a go at 2.6 volts and see if it gets through one cycle of MemTest86. If not, then kick it to 2.7 volts and try again. If not, the kick it to 2.8 and try again. I used to design hardware and overvolting was considered unacceptable in shipping products. In overclocking circles, there seems to be a different standard. 2.8 is usually actually 2.85 on an ASUS motherboard so I personally wouldn't leave it at 2.8 volts permanently. Leaving it there for a while shouldn't do any damage. It they run okay at 2.7 volts, then you can probably live with that setting.

If you're planning on overclocking in the future, you can probably only keep your current RAM if you slow the memory clock down to 333 MHz. As you increase the speed of the FSB, you also increase the clock rate of the RAM which is why you probably can't overclock with your RAM unless you slow down it's memory fraction. When the memory clock is 333 MHz, the RAM clock rate is actually .83 times the FSB frequency. If you really want your machine running quickly while overclocking, you should consider getting some quicker RAM. I'd test your current RAM out first to see how fast it can go. But if you're going to push things much, some better RAM wouldn't hurt. I know it's more expensive but I'd be looking at a couple of 512MB sticks. 2 X 256MB is fine now but 2 X 512MB is much better in the long run. And if you have the most common Athlon 64, then you'll have to slow down the RAM quite a bit to run it with four memory sticks. If you don't have a Venice core (the newest version of the Athlon 64), then you should really stick to two memory sticks.
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Old 05-08-2005, 02:28 AM   #12
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when i launch cpz i get 'an error occured when opening the driver. COU-z will launch but all information wont be available'
when it launches it dosn't tell me anything on the memory tab section...?
Hmm tommorow i'm going to be swoping the ram for a single kingston 512, i will let u know what happens after that.

Nick
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Old 05-08-2005, 02:45 AM   #13
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If CPU-Z is having a hissy fit then you can also get the info from Everest or Sandra. You really shouldn't run that kind of CPU with only one RAM stick. It will work okay but it runs faster with two sticks running in dual channel mode. You should always run socket 939 motherboards with matched pairs of RAM sticks if you care about speed.

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