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Problems upgrading to DDR2 memory

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by PacificQuest, Feb 15, 2008.

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  1. PacificQuest

    PacificQuest Thread Starter

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    Afternoon,

    I've recently bought an ASrock 4core dual-SATA2 motherboard which has dual memory DDR/DDR2 capability.

    I've been running on 1GB single stick DDR memory for a while and decided to upgrade to 2x 1GB single stick DDR2 (both exactly the same).

    I would have thought by simply turning everything off, removing the DDR memory and installing the 2x DDR2 memory sticks into the relevant DIM's and rebooting would be all I needed to do. However, I manage to boot into windows up as far as the welcome sound and the system makes a painful noise and re-boots. After that, it attempts to boot back into windows and all I get is a black screen.

    I've had the unfortunate experience of re-installing everything, and I've rolled-back to my original DDR memory and the computer works fine.

    By going into the bios whilst the DDR2 memory is installed I can see that the system recognises it, but I'm at a loss as to why I can't go any further.

    I've carried out all the usual checks, eg: cards being in securely, no static etc, etc.

    I've cleared the CMOS and rebooted with the DDR2 memory in and booted into windows.
    Everything went fine, my flash player updated itself, rebooted as normal but this time I only made it half way through the boot process before it rebooted itself again.

    It then took me to the safe mode option, however my USB keyboard was disabled so I powered off and replaced the keyboard with a standard PS2 connection and rebooted.

    I then received this black screen message:

    WINDOWS COULD NOT START BECAUSE THE FOLLOWING FILE IS MISSING OR CORRUPT:

    \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

    I powered off, replaced the DDR2 memory to the original DDR, everythings back to the way it was before and runs smoothly.

    This morning I cleared the CMOS again. Re-installed the DDR2 memory and booted into windows. Everything worked okay. I left the computer running all day and I've had no problems at all.

    Then I reset the computer ...

    It appears that I can leave the computer running for as long as I like and the default BIOS settings will run with the DDR2 installed. As soon as I reboot the computer however, that's when everything goes wrong.

    Does anyone have any other ideas they can think of? I've heard that sometimes DDR2 ram needing a little bit of extra juice, but then I have no idea on how to change this.

    Any help would be gratefully appreciated.
     
  2. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    The As Rock is a really inexpensive motherboard and as such is extremely fussy on ram. When you buy ram for a newer system you need to establish compatibility by checking the board site or the ram maker site and use a configurator to match the exact models that will work. The reason is you bought speed and that is the least important factor.
    www.crucial,kingston or corsair.com all have configurators where you can match your board. What you have clearly does not.
     
  3. PacificQuest

    PacificQuest Thread Starter

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    Rich-M you're a star. At least now I know what they meant by 'what you spend is what you get'.

    3 Clicks on the crucial website and I've found compatible memory, if only I'd come here first!!

    Many Thanks again for your help :)
     
  4. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Glad to hear it and I have to tell you you chose the best because Crucial is Micron Ram and they guaranty theirs will work as well!
     
  5. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 Banned

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    Rich-M likes ASRock motherboards. Product naming is wonderful on them isn't it? JK :p

    ASRock is the super budget brand of Asus. You'd think there would be some sort of Asus' renown quality in something that belongs to them? Well, it's the same for Cisco and Linksys. You won't find a single ounce of Cisco's quality in a Linksys product.

    Not sure where you heard that from. JEDEC standard for DDR2 is 1.8V where as DDR uses 2.5V standard. So DDR2 uses quite a bit less "juice" than it's predecessor.

    Since it does POST and you can get into the BIOS it tells me that there isn't anything wrong with your memory. To test the memory out you can download and run Memtest86: http://www.memtest86.com/download.html

    IMO, if you change something major in your computer, such as different memory architecture, I would reformat the hard drive and reinstall the OS. That's my advice. (y)
     
  6. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Why would you tell him this after he has ordered ram?
    Honestly of all the cheap boards I have worked with, I had more difficulty finding ram to work in AS Rock boards than any others.
     
  7. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 Banned

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    I would have told him to test it from the start. Memtest86 is the de facto standard for testing memory. Why didn't you tell him that? Someone thinks that it is memory is a problem you have to confirm that, correct? ;)

    BTW, here's a nice review of ASRock's new motherboard, the ASRock Penryn 1600SLI-110dB: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3227

    What a motherboard name, eh? :p
     
  8. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Well now that you mention it, the fact that twice he installed a new stick of ram and his system would not boot, and then he put back the original and it did and then he repeated the same actions for the same results...and you want him to spend 8 hours (3-4 hours each stick with memtest86) when we already know what the problem has to be? You need to learn not to waste people's time when the answer is so obvious.
    Thanks for the review but I have had all the amount of cheap motherboards I need to work on for a lifetime!
     
  9. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 Banned

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    I've been in IT and supporting computer systems for 10 years now. I don't need advice on something as basic as RAM. I know it can have issues with compatibility in motherboards.

    You didn't even have him do any additional tests before you just gave him advice to buy Crucial. That sounds like FUD to me, a sales pitch. Don't get me wrong as I have used and highly recommended Crucial RAM in the past.

    But the fact that his PC will POST with the RAM he purchased tells me that it's not likely the problem. Most memory incompatibility problems that I've seen won't even let you POST. This goes from basic Dell computers to advanced Asus motherboards.

    If you are going to really narrow it down to a memory problem you must use something that is designed to test the memory while it is installed in the system in question. That means running Memtest86. Go ask any hardware enthusiast and they will tell you the same. In fact, Memtest86 is also the standard for testing memory overclocks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memtest86

    "Memtest86 is software designed to stress test an x86-compatible computer's random access memory (RAM) for errors. It tries to verify that the RAM will accept and correctly retain arbitrary patterns of data written to it."

    I don't know. Telling someone to run that is a lot better than just telling them to go out and spend more money. That's just me though. ;)
     
  10. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    I agree with Rich, no point in extending the analysis when you already know exactly what causes a successful boot, and what kills it. Could be something as simple as incompatible latency but so what, still won't work, and in my admittedly limited experience with bad or incompatible ram (less than half a dozen cases) I've never had a failure to post yet.
     
  11. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 Banned

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    Well, it worked with the old RAM because that's what the system was installed under. Why would it not work?

    He even stated at one point he got it to boot all the way into Windows and it only messed up when he rebooted.

    Here's what I really think it is. That motherboard uses a nasty VIA PT880 Pro with it's infamous Hyperion 4-in-1 drivers. There's a reason that VIA is dead last in the chipset manufacturing business, even behind SiS. I really think it's a driver issue. I'd have him uninstall the Hyperion drivers while in safe mode and then have him re-install those drivers.

    I guess we'll see though. If he gets the new Crucial memory and if he has issues can we recommend that the guy run Memtest86 first before we tell him to go buy Corsair or Kingston? :p
     
  12. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    You know we don't help the user here by getting into a contest over who is more experienced but I have been building and repairing pc's for 13 years professionally and longer where the experience doesn't count and if you want the truth, I have seldom run into an "IT" that knows a damn thing about hardware, but why should they as they normally are not so trained.
    Besides that I did not tell him to buy his ram at Crucial, I was simply telling him how to match ram for the future if you will re read what I wrote. I really had no expectation he would go to Crucial and buy, even though I do believe that was a very smart move.
    Now as for understanding what is going on, you need to reread the first post as he stated he booted into Windows but then automatically rebooted and then after could not reach Windows again except when he put the original ram back. This is not rocket science to see that put in a new hardware component and never get into Windows again and remain there, means the culprit probably is the last hardware installed. What I was trying to ascertain was had he checked compatibility before purchasing, which most users do not and that is what creates their problems.
    Your assertion that most incompatible ram prevents posting is completely wrong as some will cause that. more often than not you will post and boot, but BSOD's along with unexplained reboots, and unpredictable freezes are probably the most common in revealing bad or incompatible ram and so you know it, it is highly possible for the pc to seem to run perfectly for up to a year, before an explosion of wacky manifestations which are really hard to diagnose.
    Let's not get personal here as it isn't about you and me, it is about a user with a problem and nothing was meant personally, though it is easy to feel that way because I find it quite difficult to be diplomatic, if I feel a new or experienced user is being given unnecessary or poor advice, we are here for them!
     
  13. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 Banned

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    Sorry Rich-M, I am not going to read all of that. Let's just wait till PacificQuest comes back after he receives his new memory purchase as I have already proposed.

    I really would have told him to get a new motherboard instead. He can get a very good one for $59 after MIR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813127031

    That would get him away from that ASRock motherboard and VIA chipset.
     
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