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View Full Version : Is there only one good stick of memory on the planet?


pg07143
03-17-2010, 10:36 AM
I have a machine that was blue screening consistently on boot. It is a Dell Dimension 4700 that has 2 X 256MB PC2-3200 RAM installed. I removed one of the sticks and the machine started working fine. I moved the working stick to each of the 3 memory slots and everything stayed stable. I advised the customer to upgrade memory and I bought 2 X 1GB PC2-5300 RAM (PNY). When I installed the new RAM, the machine started blue screening immediately. I ran individual memory tests on the new RAM and it fails miserably. I am doubtful that I got 2 bad sticks of memory, but ordered 2 more just to be sure.

One thing of interest that I noticed is that one of the capacitors near the RAM slots is slightly bulged at the top. I would totally expect a bad cap to cause this type of behavior, but the fact that the computer runs fine with one of old 256 sticks of memory makes my head hurt :confused:. Anybody out there have similar experiences?

MobileTechie
03-17-2010, 11:45 AM
I don't think I've ever bought a bad stick of RAM but I'm sure it will happen.

The chances of all 4 of those sticks being bad seems a bit low. I think you should test the on your bench machine to see if you get the same results.

pg07143
03-17-2010, 12:45 PM
I know, it should be that easy. Believe it or not I don't currently have any other desktop machines that take DDR2 :(. I need to get another bench machine soon.

ATTech
03-17-2010, 02:51 PM
Happened to me. Client had two sticks of RAM, determined that one was bad, went to Fry's and bought another one, got back and stuck it in, wouldn't boot. Determined that the new stick was bad, went and exchanged it. The new new stick worked.

anonymous Mac Tech
03-17-2010, 03:25 PM
I have a machine that was blue screening consistently on boot. It is a Dell Dimension 4700 that has 2 X 256MB PC2-3200 RAM installed. I removed one of the sticks and the machine started working fine. I moved the working stick to each of the 3 memory slots and everything stayed stable. I advised the customer to upgrade memory and I bought 2 X 1GB PC2-5300 RAM (PNY). When I installed the new RAM, the machine started blue screening immediately. I ran individual memory tests on the new RAM and it fails miserably. I am doubtful that I got 2 bad sticks of memory, but ordered 2 more just to be sure.


Well you have 2 different speeds of RAM so no wonder. I'd stick with testing with the exact spec RAM. Also a bulging cap is a blown cap waiting to happen. As far as the caps are concerned I've seen machines run fine with several blown caps and other machines crap right out with one slightly bulged cap. But most of the time if the cap is domed its going to blow eventually. Let them know about the cap and let them make the call if they want to pursue it further.

NYJimbo
03-17-2010, 04:03 PM
I would take the new "bad ram" and stick it in a known good computer and runs memtest86+ against it.

If its clean then you got other problems. If it fails then you got bad ram.

Thats how you check when you got this kind of situation. Dont assume the new ram is bad because its failing in the machine you bought it for.

If you dont have a machine to test it then you are stuck, not a good place to be when clients are depending on your expertise.

Building a machine that can take DDR2 should cost you almost nothing.

onetech4all
03-17-2010, 04:57 PM
Yup, same here.
I got a Dell Inspiron 1150 from a friend for free with only 512 MB. Went to Fry's to buy 2 Gigs. Got home, installed the Ram, laptop would not boot up. It came down to 1 GB memory stick that was bad. (I am sure it wasn't static that killed it). Got it replaced, everything is running just great. My wife loves her present. :)

When I was working for this computer store in O.C., this guy brings in his desktop with a hard drive problem (HDD crashed). He bought 2 Sata hard drives, brand new, from Frys. My colleague has problem with one of the hard drives to make it take Windows XP. He calls me for ideas, after playing around with the BIOS, cables, etc. Found out BIOS was not reading the HDD, which lead to the conclusion that it was a bad hard drive. We didn't bother testing more; we just used the 2nd Sata HDD and fixed the desktop. We got the other drive replaced.
In a nutshell, you will get brand new hardware that is bad from out of the box. It's not out of the ordinary.

Elemdee
03-17-2010, 05:25 PM
Hopefully this next set of RAM you ordered is PC2-3200 to match the specs of the machine.

ATTech
03-17-2010, 07:22 PM
Hopefully this next set of RAM you ordered is PC2-3200 to match the specs of the machine.

The machine can take 5300 memory.

Blues
03-17-2010, 07:25 PM
Also test the new RAM in a good machine before installing it to know if the machine is killing it.

pg07143
03-17-2010, 08:34 PM
The speed is backwards compatible. I just put a new PC2-6400 stick of RAM in it and it is running like a charm :). Thanks everybody to the good info and advice.

Joines
03-17-2010, 08:53 PM
I had a client who was having BSOD's, so I tested the memory and narrowed it down to 1 bad memory module. Luckily their computer was under warranty so I could just call Dell and get it replaced fast!

I had a 30 minute conversation with Dell describing what MemTest was and how I knew it was bad (including telling him I put the one stick in alone and it still BSOD'd but not with the others)

Dell finally sent the replacement memory, in which I installed and the computer BSOD'd =(

Tested their "new" (refurbished) memory, and it was bad.

Had to make the same call again, and explain to another Dell rep. They did eventually send good memory, and I tested it before I even put it in the machine.