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XP not starting after adding two sticks fo ram

by ozboi4u / August 30, 2007 6:33 PM PDT

Here's a bit of an odd problem. I previously had 512mb (2x256mb) of ram on my XP machine, but bought two sticks of 1gb (exactly the same as each other, and the same latency as the original) to add into the two remaining slots. When I add both, the computer will reboot after the "welcome" screen is shown and not actually enter XP. The blue-screen-of-death may or may not show at this point, but it goes so fast I can't read it.

I tried removing the old ram and only installing the new ram in the motherboard recommended configuration, but then XP wouldn't even get through the preliminary diagnostic level (as seen when booting up in safe mode) before rebooting entirely.

However, if I use only one of the new ram, XP boots fine. Swap the sticks over, and XP boots fine. If I include the original ram as well, XP also boots fine. The problem only occurs when I use both of the new 1gb sticks in combination.

My motherboard says it is rated up to 1gb per slot, and XP can use up to 4gb ram, so I'm at a loss as to what the problem could be.

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Download ...
by Kees Bakker / August 30, 2007 6:47 PM PDT

from and test the different configurations. Just having a look at the BIOS-setup what it recognizes might be illuminating also.

Both of the above give dedicated info. Much better than just seeing what XP does or doesn't.


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Memtest error
by ozboi4u / August 30, 2007 8:12 PM PDT
In reply to: Download ...

I tried Memtest but it only comes up with problems when both DIMMs are plugged in -- in which case it totally crashes. I will give memtest86+ a try (as it has support for KT880 base motherboards) and see if it can give me some sort of diagnosis ... if not then perhaps my BIOS will need to be changed from Auto detection of RAM.

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Fail again
by ozboi4u / August 30, 2007 8:28 PM PDT
In reply to: Download ...

Even Memtest86+ dies before it gets a short way through the second test. Perhaps my problem is purely my motherboard, as either stick of RAM works in any DIMM slot on its own but not together in any combination.

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What BIOS version are you running.
by VAPCMD / August 31, 2007 1:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Fail again

Sure the RAM you bought is listed as compatible with your MB?

ASUS QVL lists only 1 DIMM module at 1GB density...Transcend

It also indicates using only 2 DIMMs if you're using DDR400 (PC3200) for stable performance.


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Your answer if you bought the right ram sticks.
by YankeesNYwins / August 31, 2007 4:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Fail again

Yes, your answer is simply. - New!
by YankeesNYwins - 8/31/07 11:43 AM
In reply to: XP not booting after adding ram by ozboi4u
Your computer can NOT handle two GB's of ram. Just because a manufacturer puts slots for two GB's does NOT mean the motherboard can handle two.

Use what works and if it is only 1.5 GB's of ram that sounds about right.

I have a powerful E-6700 Intel dual core PCU and a platinum P6N MSI motherboard and can only use 3 GB's of ram.

Post 3 of 3 | Back to top

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Really? Ouch.
by ozboi4u / August 31, 2007 7:44 AM PDT

Wow, that's a pain. I never thought that it wouldn't support more RAM even though the slots allow for it. I thought it might have been a power-supply issue because I still have the 350W unit that came with the case, and a thread on another forums suggest this might be the case, but if the motherboard doesn't support more RAM then I may just be wasting my money (again).

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Listen, the bottom line
by YankeesNYwins / August 31, 2007 7:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Really? Ouch.

is how does it work with the ram that it can handle.

Don't confuse the ram amount for the processor speed.

The processor and the motherboard determines how fast your PC processes data.

Don't think that just adding ram will make your PC super fast. It is not that easy.

To understand what I am talking about think of all the data trying to get through the same small line at a faster speed with 3 or 4 GB's of memory so it is to fast and back up and instead of speeding it up it slows it down and in your case with your slow processor it made it come to a dead stop. Sorry but that is just the way it is.

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RE: If you bought the right RAM sticks....
by VAPCMD / August 31, 2007 8:10 AM PDT

Your answer is not consistent with the information in the Asus A7V880 product manual. The manual clearly states it does go to 4GBs, it states it does accept 1GB DIMMs and previously noted above, it also says "Use a maximum of two DDR DIMM slots when using Dual-channel DDR400(PC3200) DIMMs for stable performance."

Re you using only 3GB ... that's because of WinXP...not your system hardware. "How much memory your Windows OS will recognize depends on which version of Windows you are running. 32-bit versions of Windows will see (and utilize) only 3GB or 3.5GB. To utilize more memory, install a 64-bit version of your OS. More information about OS memory maximums can be found at"


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It doesn't matter what the manual says
by YankeesNYwins / August 31, 2007 8:20 AM PDT

if it doesn't work on his PC.

Tell him how to make it work.

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Re: It doesn't matter what the manual says
by VAPCMD / August 31, 2007 8:48 AM PDT

I won't disagree...however one should start with the FACTS...not WAGs and conjecture. If the manual said 2GBs vice 4GBs I'd start there but clearly it says 4GBs.

There are many variables ...the RAM, the MB, the MB BIOS, RAM voltage, etc., etc., that make such problems not simple to answer. Thinking back ... believe this was a bigger problem with MBs with VIA chipsets and this is a VIA chipset MB.

I venture to say the poster should be able to get the system up and running with 2GB...but may have to do some digging to solve it or go to CRUCIAL for guaranteed to work DIMMs for his system. Unfortunately many of the earlier DDR motherboards were problematic as there were issues with JEDEC DDR RAM standards in the transition from RDRAM to DDR. MBs were designed to work with 4 DIMMs and up to 4GBs . . . but they often didn't. Even if users got the MB to work with 4 DIMMs, the DIMM speed often dropped to a lower speeds ...200MHz to 166MHz or perhaps 133MHz.


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by YankeesNYwins / August 31, 2007 8:58 AM PDT

Thanks for agreeing with me.

The bottom line is always performance.

My partner is an electronic engineer that makes hardware and software for the 18th Airborne Corp and he says the manual versus performance doesn't always do what they claim.

This is "Harry the home owner" I am trying to help and I suspect he has no idea what you are posting.

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So the answer is ...
by ozboi4u / August 31, 2007 5:55 PM PDT

Thanks guys for your help. So far we've gathered this much:

- The motherboard supports up to 4GB of RAM.
- 32-Bit XP supports up to 3GB of RAM.
- There are problems when only two 1GB DIMMs are inserted.

I did some search on another forum and discovered this:

- The Asus A7V880 is prone to locking up because of RAM issues.
- Apparently the motherboard will under-power the CPU given certain RAM configurations, and that forcing the CPU voltage to 1.7V may work (haven't tried it yet, but will when I get the chance).
- Which probably explains why dropping DIMM speeds down might also work (because lower Hz means less power?).

Another problem I've spotted since leaving just one 1GB DIMM inserted with the original RAM is that the display will black-out for a moment, flicker, and them come back on. XP will also randomly (particularly when stating up) "recover from a critical error". This usually happens when I'm doing something processor intensive. I've got the feeling that perhaps this is also a result of the CPU being underpowered, but also maybe the video card.

So the new question is: even if I get the DIMMs to work by forcing the CPU voltage OR dropping the speed, should I upgrade my power supply from 350W to something like 430W or greater to ensure everything has enough power to function at an optimal level?

I think the answer is "probably", but I won't know until I try.

Thanks again for the help.

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Check out the 6th or 7th message at the link below.
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2007 3:35 AM PDT
In reply to: So the answer is ...
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No change ...
by ozboi4u / August 31, 2007 6:40 PM PDT

Upping the core voltage and dropping the DIMM speed do nothing to fix the problem.

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You bumped the DDR Reference Voltage or the CPU Core
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2007 3:09 AM PDT
In reply to: No change ...

Voltage ?

What is the DRAM Bus Selection set to ?

By the way...have you examined the capacitors on that MB ? Are they bulging or leaking at the tops and/or leaking at the bottoms ?


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CPU Core
by ozboi4u / September 1, 2007 11:10 AM PDT

Bumped the CPU core based on settings suggested on another forum, dropped the BUS speed to 233 with no effect.

Wouldn't know what to look for in terms of capacitors ... no idea what they look like, but I'll look into it.

Will try the suggestions from the link above, and see what I come up with. Even if I stop these random screen freak-outs, and also noticed a restart occurred when I left the computer unattended.

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Success ... so far.
by ozboi4u / September 1, 2007 11:41 AM PDT

Okay I've now got both 1GB DIMMs working. I had to remove the old RAM completely (no big loss as it was only 512MB -- even though it had the same speed and timing the latency was different), set the timing to 266MHz and drop the graphics aperture from 128MB to 64MB as suggested on another forum.

Everything seems to be working normal, so far.

Collapse - try MEMTEST86+
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2007 12:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Success ... so far.

Make sure you DIMMs are installed to take advantage of the DUAL CHANNEL architecture. You might be able to run at 333MHz or 400MHz since you've changed the you have the updated drivers as suggested in the ASUS forum ?

BTW....what MB BIOS version are you running.


PS I suggested bumping the DDR Reference Voltage, not CPU Core voltage. Bumping the DDR voltage might help if you run into a problem increasing the 266MHz to 333MHz or 400MHz.

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Latest drivers and BIOS
by ozboi4u / September 1, 2007 12:59 PM PDT

I'm running the latest BIOS and installed the updated VIA drivers as suggested. The DIMMs are installed correctly and BIOS is recognising and using the dual channel architecture automatically. 333MHz didn't work even after dropping the graphics aperture, but I'll try upping the DDR voltage and see if that makes a difference.

Thanks for the help!

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Sounds like you're on the right track.
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2007 3:20 PM PDT


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It's all good.
by ozboi4u / September 1, 2007 3:43 PM PDT

Upped the DDR voltage to 2.75 and the DIMM speed to 400Hz and all seems to be working fine. Thanks for all the info! Very helpful.

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Good run the Memtest86+ to check out the RAM
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2007 4:15 PM PDT
In reply to: It's all good.

stability at the speed and voltage. Let it run overnight if possible. Then you'll really be sure all's well. Just remember you could also back off the RAM timings slightly too if necessary.

All in all it shouldn't be this difficult. But that's what happens sometimes when the RAM standards aren't in place and mfgs are trying to design and mfg systems. Via had lots of problems during this period.


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