DDR2 problem

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DDR2 problem

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:02 am

Are Phenom II's notoriously picky about DDR2 ram?

I have 2x2GB regular DDR2-800 I bought, and system was infrequently crashing. In memtest, I get a couple of failures on Test #8 only, but not on every pass. I've tried all combinations of one DIMM at a time in various sockets in memtest, and it doesn't seem to be just one DIMM that I can tell. I thought I had it pinned to one of the sticks, but then I got failures on the other. I've tried the most relaxed timings, 6-6-6-18-2T, tried 1.8-1.95 volts, clocking down to 667, no help. Memory tests fine in an Intel machine, and the Phenom machine works fine with another pair of (Crucial) "Rendition" ram that's a couple years older, also DDR2. Either I give up and get some different ram, stick to original 4GB, or RMA the stuff, but I'm in Canada - RMA shipping is going to make it hardly worth it.

I'm going to try in a second Intel chipset machine as the other "control" system is an oddball Nvidia chipset that Memtest doesn't recognize, so I'm not 100% sure what the timings, etc are on the Intel machine that passes memtest with the evil memory.

Any other tricks for this old girl?
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Re: DDR2 problem

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:28 am

I've not noticed any particular issues with Phenom II and DDR2 RAM. Matter of fact, the system I'm typing this on is a Phenom II 1090T on an ancient Asus M3A78-CM motherboard, with 4x 2GB DDR2. I've run several other similar combos over the past few years, and the only RAM problem I've ever hit was a single obviously DOA stick (system wouldn't even POST when it was installed).

Have you checked whether the problematic RAM wants to run at standard voltage, and (if not) whether your BIOS is configured appropriately? How confident are you that the motherboard isn't at fault?

I suppose it is possible that there could be issues with Phenom II and specific brands of RAM. FWIW I buy Kingston ValueRAM almost exclusively (and have been doing so for years).
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Re: DDR2 problem

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:52 pm

I'm with Just Brew It, it sounds like a settings issue. You should verify the voltage as well as the timings. If they check out then loosen the main four timings when running both kits together and see if that stops the memtest failures.
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Re: DDR2 problem

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:59 pm

Kougar wrote:I'm with Just Brew It, it sounds like a settings issue. You should verify the voltage as well as the timings. If they check out then loosen the main four timings when running both kits together and see if that stops the memtest failures.


I've tried 1.8, 1.85, and 1.95 for the ram, using only one stick in multiple slots, and still got the failures (no 1.90 option for some reason). I have other sticks of ram that work fine, in fact been running stable in the system 24/7 for years. I'm not sure on what tools to run on Linux though to verify it, I know way more of those tools on windows. And even then, I'm not sure if the machine will actually report actual voltage on the RAM, since it doesn't in the BIOS. Output of sensors in Linux is complete nonsense for the voltages. 6-6-6-18 is as loose as possible on the timings, didn't help.
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Re: DDR2 problem

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:56 am

If you've tried tweaking the various settings, you have other sticks which work fine with this mobo/CPU, and the problem sticks work fine in other mobos, then yeah sounds like you've found a compatibility issue between the RAM and either the mobo or the CPU.

The only other things I can think to try at this point are a CMOS reset (if you haven't already), and making sure the BIOS is at the latest version (sometimes a BIOS flash will improve RAM compatibility).
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Re: DDR2 problem

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:12 am

captaintrav wrote:I've tried 1.8, 1.85, and 1.95 for the ram, using only one stick in multiple slots, and still got the failures (no 1.90 option for some reason). I have other sticks of ram that work fine, in fact been running stable in the system 24/7 for years. I'm not sure on what tools to run on Linux though to verify it, I know way more of those tools on windows. And even then, I'm not sure if the machine will actually report actual voltage on the RAM, since it doesn't in the BIOS. Output of sensors in Linux is complete nonsense for the voltages. 6-6-6-18 is as loose as possible on the timings, didn't help.


Then given what you've said here and in your first post it sounds like a RAM incompatibility issue. Neither module of the new kit works regardless of voltage or timings, but the Crucial kit worked fine. Ya should probably stick with using the Crucial RAM, I've always read that they had the best compatibility record with their memory and this just seems to be another example at this point.
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Re: DDR2 problem

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:47 pm

Kougar wrote:
captaintrav wrote:I've tried 1.8, 1.85, and 1.95 for the ram, using only one stick in multiple slots, and still got the failures (no 1.90 option for some reason). I have other sticks of ram that work fine, in fact been running stable in the system 24/7 for years. I'm not sure on what tools to run on Linux though to verify it, I know way more of those tools on windows. And even then, I'm not sure if the machine will actually report actual voltage on the RAM, since it doesn't in the BIOS. Output of sensors in Linux is complete nonsense for the voltages. 6-6-6-18 is as loose as possible on the timings, didn't help.


Then given what you've said here and in your first post it sounds like a RAM incompatibility issue. Neither module of the new kit works regardless of voltage or timings, but the Crucial kit worked fine. Ya should probably stick with using the Crucial RAM, I've always read that they had the best compatibility record with their memory and this just seems to be another example at this point.


You must have misread or I was confusing. Both kits of ram are Crucial. :( But, it works fine in 2 other Core2 Duo machines now. So I'm guessing I'm stuck with an imcompatibility. I'll maybe try some other things, maybe this will be my impetus to replace the home server with a newer one, because I want more than 4Gb in the server for VMs and stuff. I don't want to really drop more $$$ on DDR2 when DDR3 is soooo much cheaper. Kinda sad, though, the Phenom II box is my last AMD hardware, and I kinda wanted to keep it as it was the peak of the good AMD CPUs. Without using it for a server I don't have much use for it.

edit: I guess I didn't mention it, it is Crucial 2x2GB kit CT2KIT25664AA800. Lifetime memory warranties are somewhat of a joke at the lower end. I have to pay to ship it to the USA, and their warranty policy says you need to use original packaging. Maybe they'll warranty it, maybe the won't, and it will cost me 30 bucks to find out.
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Re: DDR2 problem

Postposted on Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:09 pm

Just a thought...

You could pick up some DDR3 and an inexpensive Socket AM3+ mobo to put the Phenom II in. Yeah, AM3+ is a dead end; but it would still be cheaper than a from-scratch new build, you can potentially re-use the DDR3 in something else down the road, and you won't be limited to 8GB total (or whatever the limit is on that old AM2 board).
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