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Failed Memtest - Now what?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Chris C., Dec 10, 2011.

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  1. Chris C.

    Chris C. Thread Starter

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    hello! i've been having problems on and off for quite a while with my browsers (chrome, firefox) crashing at random. it will be ok for weeks, then suddenly i will have either isolated incidents, or even days where it just crashes every 5-10 minutes. it doesn't matter if i'm just checking email or on facebook, but mostly seems related to flash ads or games. less often i will get the blue screen which mostly shows the same error: PFN list corrupt.

    i have no new hardware or software, so after researching the error message, i decided to test the RAM (i made a boot disk with memtest86 something or other.) i got a giant pile of failures, so i'm pretty sure that must be the problem. i just don't know what to do next - is the information from the test meaningful? and if so, is it stored in a log somewhere? i jotted down some of the info that was coming up, but it was scrolling and i had no option to save it.

    any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
    (also, my apologize for any weird formatting - i had to copy/paste from notepad because i crashed in the middle of typing my post!)
    ~christine

    info from the test:

    Testing 132k 2039m 2038m

    L1 cache 16k 18941 mb/s
    L2 cache 1024k 16719 mb/s

    Chipset Intel i915 p/g
    Settings RAM: 266 MHz (DDR 532)
    CAS 4-4-4-12 Dual Channel (Interleaved)

    Samples from the error list:

    Test 4 Failing address 000628642fc
    Test 6 00062f65efc 1583.3 mb

    *******************

    Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.2
    OS Version: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 3, 32 bit
    Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz, x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 1
    Processor Count: 1
    RAM: 2038 Mb
    Graphics Card: Intel(R) 82915G/GV/910GL Express Chipset Family, 128 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 76285 MB, Free - 43100 MB;
    Motherboard: Dell Inc., 0G8310
    Antivirus: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011, Updated: Yes, On-Demand Scanner: Enabled
     
  2. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Before spending any money, I would give the mb a VERY close inspection with a bright light. Look for any capacitors that look like the pics below.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Snagglegaster

    Snagglegaster Banned

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    Chris, that's a pretty old system, so it's certainly reasonable to be concerned about whether the MOBO is good or not, since Memtest can't distinguish between memory controller errors and actual RAM errors. You should be able to tell which module is bad from the address where the failure happened, but just to be sure, I would run Memtest on all the modules one at a time starting with the prime suspect. I would expect that you will find one module is bad, and that's probably a $15-$20 fix.
     
  4. Chris C.

    Chris C. Thread Starter

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    thanks so much for the feedback & the pictures.

    the capacitors look pretty shiny (albeit dusty)

    i got the computer on ebay like 2 summers ago...is that old in computer years? i have dinosaurs here that lived many years longer than this one. everything inside looks pretty spiffy. i think the guy i bought it from put it together right before i got it.

    in any case, could someone explain (step by step) or point me to a tutorial on how to run memtest on individual modules, and then also, how to capture the failure info? i used a boot disk and it just started running. i can only see a few lines at a time, but they just scroll on. there were like 10,000+ errors (failures) when i stopped the testing. (i think it finished then started over before i caught it.)

    thanks again for any help!
    ~chris
     
  5. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    Jay
    Actually a computer running DDR ram if more than just a couple years old. This isn't by chance something along the lines of a Dimension 3000 is it?

    To test the individual Ram Sticks, Pull all ram except for one stick then run Memtest. When done shut down and swap for anotherr ram stick, repeat this until you have teset all the ram sticks.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Test them one stick at a time if you have a problem figuring out which is bad. Remove the others for the test.

    It should be abundantly obvious whether it is the memory controller or the memory by the test results.
     
  7. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    It lists a 915 chipset which was released in 04~05 so it is at least 6yrs old. You may have received it 2yrs ago however that mb is at least 6yrs old.

    Just pull out one of the chips and run the test on the remaining chip. When finished, pull out the one that is in and replace it with the one you first pulled out. If both chips checkout ok on one slot on the board, that means that the other slot has a problem. Basically you want to check each chip in each slot to find out which [slot or chip] is causing the problem.
     
  8. Chris C.

    Chris C. Thread Starter

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    thanks so much for all the detailed information - this is really helpful.

    every computer i've had before this one was a hand-me-down that i used for a couple years after the person who gave it to me, so i was really expecting to get some mileage out of this one. hopefully i didn't get a dud.

    *knock on wood* my computer's been acting perfectly since the evening after i posted this - it's so random! anyway, i haven't had time to run the tests yet, but here's hoping something definitive (and easy to repair!) comes of it when i get a little bit of time to check.

    thanks again!!
    ~chris
     
  9. Chris C.

    Chris C. Thread Starter

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    nice...me & my big mouth, it's crashing tabs again............time to test LOL!
     
  10. Chris C.

    Chris C. Thread Starter

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    okay, one stick failed in two slots - the other looked good. i ordered two anyway from crucial just for fun & consistency, and it should be here in a couple days.

    before i mark this as solved, i need to ask: will i hurt anything by just running on one stick? it seems to be acting okay other than being a little sluggish when multi-tasking, which obviously is to be expected.

    thanks once more for all the help. this site is a life saver! gonna donate a few bucks and put my money where my mouth is :))
     
  11. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    No it won't hurt anything to run just one stick of ram. Other than the obvious which you have already seen, there will be no problems.
     
  12. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Glad you found the problem (y)
     
  13. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    If the problem reoccurs when you install the new memory examine the capacitors again. That model board was used in the Dell Optiplex GX280 machines and they had a serious capacitor problem.

    You may possibly have a capacitor problem that is only affecting one memory DIMM (slot) at this time. If the errors return with the new memory it is almost certain to be a capacitor problem.
     
  14. Chris C.

    Chris C. Thread Starter

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    if the problem reoccurs when i install the new memory i will stab myself in the eyes!! lol

    if it were a capacitor problem, wouldn't it affect any mem stick that was put in the affected slot? when i tested them, one stick failed tests in both slots. the 2nd stick passed in both slots. do you mean to say this might not be conclusive?

    i appreciate knowing what else to look for, so thanks for that and the other replies! :)
     
  15. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    You're correct, I missed the post where you had tested the memory in both slots. Every time I tested memory that had thousands of errors the problem has been with the capacitors, but memory can be hard to diagnose at times.

    This last weekend I was rebuilding one of my old machines with 2 sticks of 512MB memory. One stick would work in DIMM 0 every time, and the other stick would work sometimes and sometimes it wouldn't work. I just replaced both sticks with new and the problem was solved.

    I hope the memory solves your problem, but if it doesn't check the caps. Sometimes the top "bulging" is so little, it's hard to see it with the board installed in the chassis.
     
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