Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

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Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:12 am

So here is a little story. I purchased 2 sets of 2x4GB 1333 modules for my AMD-based rig back in late 2010 within a couple of weeks of each other for a total of 16GB (4x4GB). Bought nice Corsair XMS3 with heatsinks, matching sets. These migrated in my Intel-based PC last year and worked fine up until a couple of weeks ago when my PC refused to boot up at all. After some head scratching, swearing and a little troubleshooting I found out 1 of the modules was the cause. After taking it out PC booted with no problems running with 12GB.

So I did advanced RMA and got 2 replacement modules. Put them in and all was peachy so decided to run memtest for my own amusement. Got an error right away. After more swearing, head scratching and troubleshooting, eliminated new RAM and traced it back to the second original set. They were bought within 2 weeks of each other and they exhibited problems within 2 weeks of each other. Now have to RMA that set as well. I'll be stuck running on 8GB instead of 16 for a while. Yes, first-world problems, I know but still it's annoying. When I say blood bath, then it is blood bath! pay for 16GB then it should be 16GB! :)

Yes, I'm pissed off. For most of their life these were sitting in a large, well-ventilated case. They had heatsinks. And they lasted barely 2 years. What the hell? Now, before you say this is a coincidence I had a similar issue back in 2007 with DDR1 Corsair RAM. The RMA was relatively painless and that's why I decided to go Corsair again. I think this is going to be my last Corsair memory for a while.

On a positive note, kudos to Winblows 7 that managed to run without issues on bad RAM. Very impressive.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:25 am

Did you try them in a different system? Maybe your current motherboard is just a little picky about RAM; I've seen this multiple times before.

Although Win7 seemed to run OK, I'd be a little concerned that something may have gotten corrupted on the hard drive.

Lately (past 5 years or so) I've been sticking to Kingston whenever possible. They seem to be of high quality, and are very reasonably priced. I've literally installed dozens of sticks of Kingston RAM at home and work. I've only had to RMA one stick that was DOA, and none of them have failed over time. The only complaint (and it is a very minor one) is that since the DOA stick was part of a dual-channel kit I had to RMA the entire kit even though only one stick was bad, so the system I was building was down for the count. This may be an argument for buying them singly instead of dual- or triple-channel kits if you are concerned about that sort of thing, but the failure rate seems to be low enough that it really shouldn't matter.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:56 am

You can literally replace the brand with any other (yes, probably even Kingston) and you will find the story holds true for someone. Nothing is perfect. Bad batches exist. Similar to hard drives and you will find different people swearing against each and every maker.

Since you have 16 gigs of RAM, chances are the critical system code may have never been loaded to those faulty locations and may not matter. But as JBI said there may now be corruptions lurking within. You never know if some corrupted data has been written the registry or files. It is now up to how paranoid you are.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:16 pm

just brew it! wrote:
SNIP

kit even though only one stick was bad, so the system I was building was down for the count.


My Corsair was also a "kit" and because I had to send it ALL back they sent me a replacement kit first and
I sent the defective kit back later.

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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:34 pm

Flying Fox wrote:But as JBI said there may now be corruptions lurking within. You never know if some corrupted data has been written the registry or files. It is now up to how paranoid you are.

...and this is another reason I prefer systems with ECC capability, even for desktop use. Obviously it can't prevent RAM from failing, but it does mitigate the damage by correcting random single-bit errors and letting you know when a DIMM starts to go.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:59 pm

The last time I had bad memory, the first place I noticed it wasn't Windows (although that did end up needing a resintall not long after the incident), it was large file downloads in compressed archives, or file archives I had copied from one disk to another, that were mysteriously and frequently corrupt.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:41 pm

So you got a newer board that likely is a bit more picky with older higher-voltage DDR3 and you blame the manufacturer? Did you try different speeds, voltages, etc?
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:45 pm

Waco wrote:So you got a newer board that likely is a bit more picky with older higher-voltage DDR3 and you blame the manufacturer? Did you try different speeds, voltages, etc?

Of course I blame the manufacturer. My memory wasn't overclocked at all, it ran on all-stock settings. That should work regardless of picky boards or anything else. And it did for a year until it went bad.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:58 pm

How do you know for certain that the motherboard isn't going bad instead?
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:29 pm

I tend to buy Crucial, because it guarantees Micron as the manufacturer or Samsung because it guarantees Samsung as the manufacturer.

Corsair RAM is generally decent, but they use many different sources for the chips, based on whatever's best-value for the particular speed product they're releasing. They do use Intel (Micron), Samsung and Hynix modules for some of their stuff, but they also use plenty of cheaper brands; They don't advertise this, but they don't hide it either - Qimonda, Promos, Nanya and Winbond are what I'd call "second-tier" DRAM foundries that aim for lowest cost rather than standardising on quality. That may be a gross generalisation, but at a very very simplistic level, that's the deal.

What you have to remember is that the Corsair RAM is often cheaper RAM from the second-tier foundries, but part of the overall product is the service and the assembly. Corsair do more testing than the bargain-basement generic RAM so it's still a better bet, but what you're really paying for with Corsair modules is Corsair's lifetime support and RMA system, which is much better than the equivalent service you'd get by buying generic RAM.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:10 pm

This is why Motherboard Manufacturers have a QVL for their Mobos. Order something that's not on the QVL you're at risk regardless of a picky board. I've seen this time and time again with friends who either dont know about the QVL or ignore it trying to save a buck or two. I have had pretty good luck with Corsair, but then again I have always made sure the sticks I am buying are on the QVL.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:15 pm

I don't think I've ever had a problem with any Corsair memory I've bought from Value Select to Vengeance Series.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:15 pm

Synchromesh wrote:Of course I blame the manufacturer. My memory wasn't overclocked at all, it ran on all-stock settings. That should work regardless of picky boards or anything else. And it did for a year until it went bad.

Suit yourself. Just because your memory is running at "all stock" settings doesn't mean it'll work in whatever board you put it in.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:53 pm

just brew it! wrote:How do you know for certain that the motherboard isn't going bad instead?

I ran the new RAM they sent me in same slots. It ran memtest overnight with no issues whatsoever. So it's unlikely to be a board problem.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:26 am

Synchromesh wrote:
just brew it! wrote:How do you know for certain that the motherboard isn't going bad instead?

I ran the new RAM they sent me in same slots. It ran memtest overnight with no issues whatsoever. So it's unlikely to be a board problem.


Again, I have to ask if the ram in question is listed on the Mobo manufacturers QVL? If not, then yes, expect some issues.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:39 am

I haven't done any research mind you, but I've never liked the Corsair RAM in the box I was given a few years ago.

I'd replace it but the gains to be seen from faster RAM on the triple channel i7s is pathetic, so why spend the moneys.

I want to though. Eventually.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:30 am

tanker27 wrote:Again, I have to ask if the ram in question is listed on the Mobo manufacturers QVL? If not, then yes, expect some issues.

I just rechecked. Yes, Corsair lists this on their website and yes.

But either way, I never had any issues running even non-QVL RAM in anything before. It's all DDR3 standard and it should work regardless.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:42 am

Savyg wrote:I haven't done any research mind you, but I've never liked the Corsair RAM in the box I was given a few years ago.

I'd replace it but the gains to be seen from faster RAM on the triple channel i7s is pathetic, so why spend the moneys.

I want to though. Eventually.

"Eventually" you'll want to upgrade the motherboard and CPU too... :wink:
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:46 am

Synchromesh wrote:It's all DDR3 standard and it should work regardless.

Just because there's a standard doesn't mean every board's BIOS sets the main and sub-timings properly when reading the SPD codes from the sticks. :)
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:03 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Corsair do more testing than the bargain-basement generic RAM so it's still a better bet, but what you're really paying for with Corsair modules is Corsair's lifetime support and RMA system, which is much better than the equivalent service you'd get by buying generic RAM.


Pretty much this, there isn't a ram brand yet that I haven't had bad modules from (either DOA or later death) so warranty and RMA process is a large consideration.

Also ECC modules go bad just as much in my experience, it is really for uptime against inevitable bit flips screwing your data or crashing the system, not hardware redundancy. (there is an advanced type of protection for the latter, but only in $$$$$$$$$$$$ kind of systems)

They will only correct for single bit errors, when chips or modules truly fail, they fail HARD. Boot up and the board doesn't see it anymore, or massive errors on anything inside a particular address range.

Another thing that can go bad is the slot itself, had that happen a a couple times and it sucks since you usually only figure it out after the Nth dimm swap.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:14 am

Bauxite wrote:Also ECC modules go bad just as much in my experience, it is really for uptime against inevitable bit flips screwing your data or crashing the system, not hardware redundancy. (there is an advanced type of protection for the latter, but only in $$$$$$$$$$$$ kind of systems)

Makes sense, they use the same DRAM chips as regular modules. In fact, since they've got 9 chips per side instead of 8 you'd expect ECC DIMMs to go bad 12.5% *more* often! I agree completely, ECC is mainly for protection against "soft" errors (random flipped bits).

Bauxite wrote:They will only correct for single bit errors, when chips or modules truly fail, they fail HARD. Boot up and the board doesn't see it anymore, or massive errors on anything inside a particular address range.

While they indeed only correct single bit errors, they also provide protection against silent data corruption from multi-bit errors by generating a machine check exception.

I also disagree that DIMMs always fail "hard". From what I've seen it is closer to 50% hard failures, with the rest being modules that just get an unacceptably high rate of data errors.
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:07 pm

Bauxite wrote:(there is an advanced type of protection for the latter, but only in $$$$$$$$$$$$ kind of systems)

I think Chipkill ECC has been in AMD systems since the Athlon 64, though I don't really know. It's sad to me that i7 motherboards don't all support ECC RAM.

I'd have bought some already if mine did.

Will definitely be trying to get it in my Haswell sys if I get one
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Re: Rant: Corsair RAM is no good!

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:32 pm

I recommend going to the RAM manufacturers website and seeing what the manufacturer recommends for the motherboard. Some motheroards are more sensitive to RAM of specific voltages or has limits on the configuration of the RAM chips on the dimms.
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