View Full Version : NMI: Parity check / Memory parity error

07-01-2011, 05:56 AM
Every now and then customers Dell Dimension 3100 desktop, Windows XP Pro Sp3 will stop on startup at blue screen with message.

"NMI: Parity check / Memory parity error"


I went last week to diagnose blue screen complaints, there was no dump logs and after quick check I found their was a 2GB single stick in a MOBO that only supported 1GB per slot and up to 2GB.

I showed customer Dell support page stating specs and said this needs to be sorted as the RAM is too big and will cause issues, I also informed the customer (to cover my arse) that as their was no error logs (dump or event manager) I am fixing a problem that will lead to the blue screen. I will install the 2x1GB RAM and the customer should ring me if the problem occurs again.

A couple of days later customer calls me back saying it has Blue screened again but after they restarted a couple of time they were able to load through to desktop and computer works fine.

I arrived at house computer started fine whilst I was there, no dump or events logged. I took computer home, started it up and straight away was greeted by the above error which just stayed on the screen. I restarted the computer and it booted up fine. I restarted 5 more times and the error did not return.

I thought it might be heat related (hardware) so I put the computer outside at (13oC & cloudy) for an hour and tried again it booted up fine.

It makes it hard to diagnose when the error is really intermittent.

07-02-2011, 03:30 AM
I have left computer overnight unplugged. This morning I fired up the machine and it started up as normal.

Any ideas when a problem this random (happened only once for me)?

Do I give back to customer and say, it is either your CPU, Motherboard, RAM or Graphics card but due to the randomness of the issue it is impossible to diagnose?

09-08-2011, 10:14 AM
The result was gave it back to customer, told customer it is unique error which can be occurring in CPU, RAM or motherboard as the problem is random it makes is difficult and expensive to keep throwing parts and labour at it. They can either live with the occasional crash or as the computer is already quiet old they may want to consider upgrading in the not to distant future.