Resolved Question

Gaming PC keeps BSODing IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

Hello! So, a while ago, I built a PC for my brother, pretty wierd build, but it seemed to work alright, until the last few months. Specs:
8 GB of RAM (1x4 GB DDR3 1600 single sided + 2x2GB DDR3 1066 double sided)
Asus Sabertooth X58
WD 500 GB 7200 RPM HDD (which is suspect is dying, SMART and CrystalDisk reported couple of times otherwise, tho every time one of the BSODs mentioned above happens, it gets corrupted from 34% up to 100%)
GTX 660 Gigabyte
Intel i7 950
Corsair VS550 PSU
Windows 8.1 is installed on this PC. Any help fixing this issue? Also, I ran AIDA 64 stability test on the memory and the local disk. At some point, the test was ended with a Warning which said that a failure was detected. Ran it then on the disk for 5 minutes, nothing (tho the disk had high usage even after the test was ended, which is not normal considering what programs I have running in the background, which is closer to none) and after that I ran it on the memory. After 5 minutes, the PC BSODed again that thing, the HDD also never ended its high activity from nothing. Is it the memory or the HDD? Or is it both? Or the drivers for the MoBo, as it doesn't officialy have any for Windows 8.1? Or is it all of these?

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Comments
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Clarification Request
About the last BSOD

It has a "MEMORY_MANAGEMENT" BSOD, not IRQL.

Best Answer

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Sorry for not keeping you guys updated

I really didn't have time the last few days, but what I have been doing is basically trying to test the memory on my MoBo. And all these days I've been running my PC using that memory and guess what?
No BSODs, not system instabilities, no nothing. It just worked. When I'll have some free time, I'll try that "slowest RAM in the first slot" trick and if that doesn't work, then I have the RAM configuration noted down and I'll just transfer it to the X58 Sabertooth.

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You were right, the HDD is fine

Just ran an extended PassMark DiskCheckup test and it turned out free of errors. Also turned out that the scratching noise that I've heard was made by a fan not being tightened all the way and not by the HDD.

I've used that RAM in my MoBo and it seemed to work just fine the whole week. When I tried to transfer my MoBo's config over to the Sabertooth, I had a bit of a surprise: the Sabertooth didn't support a lot of the settings that the EX58 did (e.g.: I didn't have the ability to manually change the SPD). So, I made an as-close-as-possible to the EX58 config and the system wouldn't even POST with that one. So, MemOK! time! Just to see that it reset all the BIOS settings and the BSODs are back (BTW, his system didn't BSOD the whole week with those sticks out, but I couldn't OC my Xeon, so I cannot use them instead). My conclusion is: I'm happy that none of the components are faulty, but some are just a bit incapable (ehem, X58 Sabertooth?) and I'm going to sell it alongside the i7 950, because I cannot find X58 MoBos in my country that don't come in a kit/combo. And, I'm going to buy an X58A-UD3R or another EX58-UD3R, depends on what luck I have, alongside an i7 920 or, again, depends on my luck, an i7 950.

I would be buying a new HDD anyway, since I am for me, but he really needs some speakers and the HDD still does its job, so the HDD stays and the speakers go. Also, since I'm here, I might as well ask: are these Sony SS-SBT20 speakers good? Found them for $18.75 (again, price is more exact in my country - 75).

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Ram

Not all ram will work with all mobo's.
There are just too many ways ram can be built.
Some mobo's are fussy others are tolerant.

When you get a fussy one you head over to crucial.com, they have done the homework as to what fits.

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I'm not buying new RAM

I'm getting a new CPU+MoBo combo, since I can probably get some money for his speakers and replace those too. And like this he can use the RAM and have new speakers.

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Answer
Any HDD issue can result in a collection of BSODs

That's a fact. If the drive is not 100% healthy in the SMART report I stop working on the machine until that is corrected. Only the foolish carry on (hey, their time, not mine.)

Given the 1st gen i7 the machine would get a deep cleaning and fresh heatsink compound all around as well as the BAD CAP check. If this continues after correction of the HDD and heatsink compound work if a reload of the OS and drivers fail then it's usually a subpar PSU or motherboard issue (replace those.)

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RE: Any HDD issue can result in a collection of BSODs

Well, the health was 100% last time I checked, which was a year ago, if not more. Will check today. Tho the random BSODs seemed to dissapear after I instaleed the Marvell 91xx 6Gb/s driver. Still worth a check.

The PSU is brand new and still has warranty, so even if it has problems I can send it over to Corsair for replacement. The CPU compound is recently applied (MX-4 compound).

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Update on the HDD

It still is 100%.

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Driver hell.

Sorry but Windows is well known to BSOD when it's clean installed. I have lost count on that issue(?) as I've been around Microsoft products since their days in CP/M to present day.

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It's a one year old installation

I don't think that's too new. But as I said, the IRQL BSODs dissapeared. About that MEMORY_MANAGEMENT BSOD (the last one I got), what does it mean?

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EDIT

I meant the BSODs dissapeared after installing the SATA 6Gb/s Marvell 91xx driver.

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You learn to deal with BSODs with research.
https://www.google.com/search?q=MEMORY_MANAGEMENT+BSOD

If you don't get BSODs then great. but I rarely see them at the office since we run a tight ship and don't update drivers without reason. A common plague today are folk that fall for "Update your drivers" software or such. We know to install what the maker tells us to, and stop when it works.

On a new machine that is ready to use, we don't do a thing but on a blank PC we'll update the BIOS then drivers and apps after the OS install. Then it usually just works.

If it does BSOD we research.
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I did my research. That's where I got my suspicions from

If I wouldn't have done my research, I would have not suspected my HDD from being on its edge. Anyway, I think I just found my problem, one that apparently you completely overlooked: my RAM configuration, it's listed in the original post. Just noticed the RAM usage going up-n-up-n-up until it reached 93%. And guess what? None of the programs I was running was using more than 53 MB. The next program after that is using 40. The next, 35 and so on until it reaches 0.1. There are ~16 programs running. So, the RAM usage should be less than 1 GB. But it actually is almost 8 GB.

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Windows? Using less than 1GB?

That was true over a decade ago but today, Windows will use RAM, even for a trivial thing. Being an VM OS, the correct amount of free RAM is zero. Disk access is costly, and freeing RAM in a VM OS is under a millisecond so it's correct for a VM OS to run with little free RAM.

Anyhow there are more things that use RAM that may not be in the usual Task Manager report. For example, where is the disk cache size? Many folk look at just apps and it doesn't add up. (it never does.)

I see some tinkering with the OS here so I can't guess whar's not stock. At the office, which is a clean ship, the settings are all stock.

PS. If you run W10, turn this off too.
https://www.howtogeek.com/224981/how-to-stop-windows-10-from-uploading-updates-to-other-pcs-over-the-internet/

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It is untouched

The installation is not modified by any means. It's my brother's PC, not mine. If he'd known how to modify the OS, he'd know about these forums too. Mine is modified, but no modifications that I know of can do such a thing to the RAM usage. There is tho one more thing: when I shut down the PC, I saw some program preventing Windows from shutting down that had no name and was pretty darn persistent. Windows stopped it, then it when to the Shutting Down… screen, then back to the programs preventing Windows from shutting down and this program was still there. Going to run a scan on it now. I can expect the antivirus to find some threats, as he managed to destroy Firefox in less than one month once.

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That is wierd actually - less than 1 GB

Looks like I didn't know what I was writing there… A bit over 1 GB is what I've actually seen it usually use.

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Destroy you say?

That's odd. Anyhow most browsers have a reset method which works better than any uninstall and reinstall. Be sure to use that.

Did you turn off the W10 sharing I noted?

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Destroy at its figurative means

By destroy I meant manage to screw up the search engine. It would automatically switch from Google to Yahoo! even if I deleted Yahoo!. So, the only option was to completely reset the browser, as you said.

I'm starting to be unsure as to wether you read my original comment, as I mentioned there that the PC has Windows 8.1, not 10. And for good reason, as Windows 10 runs pretty badly on HDDs, especially older ones after a couple of programs are set to start with the OS. Also, my brother likes the Start Screen, so there's another reason. And yes, I know very well Windows 10 has a Start Screen as well as my brother knows, but it's just not the same thing. It's only similar and that's not enough.

I rebooted Windows into Safe Mode and I'm letting it overnight to complete the scan. Hopefully that solves the issue.

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Odd about w10.

The problems were so small that our office lab and home went totally to w10.

I have not seen our PCs have issues with HDDs and W10. If anything we see less waiting. But again we run a tight ship, turn that thing off, etc.

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That's subjective

Windows 8.1 is his choice, so that's his OS. No viruses were detected.

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Answer
Start small

Grab a copy of memtest86 and put it on a disc or usb stick.

Boot it up and let it run for 5-6 hrs.

No errors allowed.

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I have an Ubuntu disc with memtest86 on it

Giving it a try right now.

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Had errors, I took a picture, if you can help
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It means

You have something wrong with your ram.

Start with one stick and run the test again.

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Too much time involved

I really don't have 15 hours to spend on just waiting, basically to lose.

I don't know if this is helpful or not, but I think it is. All those errors happened after the 4096 MB mark was exceeded and less than 6144 MB. And since I have a stick of RAM in there that has 4096 MB and the rest have only 2048, I suspect the second stick is faulty. Will remove it and run an AIDA 64 again to see if it BSODs that MEMORY_MANAGEMENT thing again.

Also, yes, it is the HDD as well. Ran an AIDA 64 test and returned unstable and below average results: ~70msecs of latency, minimum was 30 and maximum was 76. Buying a new HDD and a new 2 GB stick I suppose.
Or would it be better to get a 4 GB stick to replace both of the 2 GB sticks (it's DDR3 RAM, if that wasn't obvious by the X58 platform).

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Wait. Are you mixing RAM sticks?

One of the recurring sources of BSODs are mixed sticks. To avoid this you install all the same make, model and size. If you mix you find it may or may not work all the time.

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Read the original d*** comment

All the specs and configurations are listed in my original comment! Including the OS, the RAM config, the HDD, everything. Please read it!

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D****?

I hold that issue in reserve until we cover the other areas. I find that folk can't believe this or other issues so I wait. If you find that objectionable I apologize.

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Ram

What you want is a 3x kit.

Ddr3-1066

3x2GB or 3x4GB.

Then you look in the manual to see which slots are matched.

Fix the ram first and then chase the hdd issue

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What the money issue?

I can solve the RAM issue by simply pulling those 2 2GB sticks out and leaving the system with only 4 GB for a while. But I just don't understand how in the heck can't this MoBo, which is supposed to be top of the line in X58, a good RAM config for these sticks, but an EX58-UD3R, which I have in my PC and is apparenly not so top of the line, can. I mean, I can start messing with the MemOK! button, could that help?

I really can't afford both new RAM and new HDD, only one of them. So I must find a stable config for these sticks or just have the conflicting ones pulled out.

At least it's not the MoBo.

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