Could I have lost my mobo by changing RAM timings?

Dream Operator

Senior member
Jan 31, 2005
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I recently picked up a new Corsair 620watt PSU. Ran the 20 minute coarse overclocking in the ntune software and got a mild overclock result. Decided to try the 3 hour tuning to see what I would get there. Instantly froze after clicking start. I rebooted and thought I might loosen the mem timings as the RAM I have is 2-2-2-5. In the BIOS, I changed to 2.5-3-3-6, and also enabled SATA 3+4 as I added a new 320GB to SATA 3. F10 to save, computer rebooted and has not gone through POST since. Black screen, no video.

I have removed all PCI cards, disconnected all HD's, CD/DVD drives, all USB devices. I cleared the CMOS (turned PSU off, unplugged power cable, removed batt., changed jumpers from 1+2 to 2+3, waited 10secs, put jumper back, batt. back, power cord back, PSU on). No change. Removed RAM, get beeeeeep, beep beep. Tried each stick of RAM individually, still black.

What do you think?
 

Jiggz

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2001
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It seems you've try just about everything except try a different video card or maybe making sure the video card is properly seated and connected. The No-Ram error, Beeeeep Beep Beep indicates the mobo and cpu are still good. So it could just be a video problem. Unless the new PSU is lemon.
 

Dream Operator

Senior member
Jan 31, 2005
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Thanks Jiggz,

Oh yeah, I did reseat the video card. Antec PSU tests good after all troubleshooting so far!!
 

Lord Evermore

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
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If you leave at least the boot drive plugged in, and let it boot, does it appear to continue the OS loading (watch the hard drive light; give it a minute in case Windows brings up the prompt for whether to go safe mode, hit the enter key a few times)? If it does, then it is most likely the video card. Try this with and without the video card even installed, the OS doesn't necessarily need one.

Does it try to read the floppy drive? If you put a bootable floppy in, does it appear to be booting from it (extended read time)?

It's possible to reflash the BIOS on many mainboards even if you have no display, and even if the BIOS is somehow corrupted. Use a DOS bootable floppy disk, with the flash software and DOS only on it, and an autoexec.bat file with just the command line for the flash software which causes it to automatically run the flash using the image on the disk, to overwrite the entire BIOS, no prompt for confirmation (check the command /? of the flash app to see what you need). There may also be an option to automatically reboot, or the software may beep, or just leave it for 5 minutes and then reboot.
 

Dream Operator

Senior member
Jan 31, 2005
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Rmoved the video card and tried the boot drive, system never gives the single "beep" to indicate that it is OK. Waited a couple minutes, no change, HD seems idle.

Floppy not connected right now. This PC is built in an Aria case w/o a floppy so I kinda screwed on that for now.

I shall leave it be for tonight. I'll take some floppies to work and see if I can make some BIOS disks etc. I will post more tomorrow (in more ways than one with any luck!!).

Thanks for the support all!
 

Lord Evermore

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
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Well if you don't even get a beep with absolutely nothing but CPU and memory plugged in, then it's one of those or the mainboard. Could be that the chipset is damaged somehow so that it can detect memory inserted, but not actually work with it. Same for CPU, it's functional enough to reach that test, but then can't work any further in the boot process.

I would say borrow some memory from someone (or to not risk damaging theirs, get yourself the cheapest smallest module you can) to see whether both your modules fried. Test your modules in another machine. Go from there, since testing the mainboard and CPU are a hassle. Borrowing a PSU isn't a bad idea either, and owning a spare is a great idea at any time.
 

Dream Operator

Senior member
Jan 31, 2005
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Today I tried a 512mb stick of Corsair Value Select. Still no video card. This time receive a different string of beeps. I forget exactly what it was, but it was more beeps than I get w/o RAM.

I researched AWARD BIOS beep codes and found that it may have been indicating lack of a video card.

I will try putting the card back in when I get home. Would be OK w/ me if it was the RAM. I was thinking about going to 2GB.

I'll be posting an update.
 

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
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You just never reset your BIOS. Here's how: unplug your power supply, then hold the power button down for 30-45 seconds. That will mostly discharge your power supply's and motherboard's capacitors (capacitors store energy, in the form of electricity). Now, after doing that, remove your motherboard's battery for ~2 hours. When you put the battery back in, your BIOS will be reset, and your system will be back to stock. If it still doesn't work after doing that, you've damaged some parts, through ESD.
 

Dream Operator

Senior member
Jan 31, 2005
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After inserting my video card, PC booted w/ the 512mb Value Select. The first thing that was on the screen was a CMOS error. It stated that it had been set to default. I pressed Del. to enter Setup to find my BIOS reset.

Off to the RAM Guy I go!

Thanks again to all for your input! Have a good day!
 

Dream Operator

Senior member
Jan 31, 2005
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Oh yeah, is it common to lose RAM from changing timings? I didn't think I was doing anything risky at the time.
 

Lord Evermore

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Oct 10, 1999
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It's not common. The only way to definitely damage anything is by setting voltage too high. Generally even overclocking can't damage components, unless they overheat. But there's always the chance that a small bit of static discharge occurred. The fact that the system was failing right at the start when you tried to reset it is an indicator something was wrong originally.

CMOS being reset to default is of course normal when you clear the CMOS. :)

You did make sure the CPU heatsink was on properly, and had the thermal compound properly in place, and not covered with the usual plastic protective tape?
 
Oct 4, 2004
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No, you can't fry your RAM by setting aggressive timings. But you can (and will) lose it if you over-volt it more than it is supposed to handle. I don't think ntune would over-volt RAM dangerously without asking for confirmation, would it?
 

Dream Operator

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Jan 31, 2005
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I had not adjusted the RAM voltage myself. That part was still on Auto. Not sure what went down. I would be surprised if ntune did change the RAM voltage, but I guess it could be possible being on Auto.

Corsair asked me to update to the most recent BIOS and set the timings and voltage automatically. I tried and was unable to enter the BIOS. The BIOS logo came up for each module individually, but I could not enter. 1 module went past that screen, but said there was no system disk. Both modules together=no video. I replied with that info. Hope to get an RMA soon.
 

Lord Evermore

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Oct 10, 1999
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Setting any options to Auto will cause the system to use the settings programmed into the SPD, so the voltage would not have gone above the recommended settings from Corsair.
 

Dream Operator

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Jan 31, 2005
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Good to know.

RMA issued. Shipping Monday.

Overclocked using the Value Select, but I dropped it to 333mhz. Stable and cool enough at 2,585Mhz, mem at DDR390. System seems OK. Hopefully my new XMS modlues will rock like they should!
 

Dream Operator

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Jan 31, 2005
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Called Corsair on 3/1 to check status. I was expecting to get a tracking number. I even thought the RAM might be showing that day. I spoke to a guy in the RMA dept. He told me my part is obsolete and they are currently out of stock on the replacement that they have selected. I told him that I was in need of the RAM (512mb hurts!!!) and explained that I thought it would be arriving that day. I then asked if there was a 2gig set he could arrange instead. He agreed and told me he would ship out a 2048 set of PC3200! I can't recall if he gave more detail than that as I was exited to get the upgrade. I just hope its not Value Select! Should be arriving 3/5 or 3/6.
 

Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
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Corsair ValueRAM isn't too bad. Got a 2x1GB kit running in a system at CAS 2.5 (stock is 3) on stock volts.
 

Dream Operator

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Jan 31, 2005
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OK, No RAM 3/5 or 3/6. I call 3/7 and leave a message with the same guy I dealt with before. 3/8, I receive a package. Shipped overnight (which tells me they forgot about me!). It is a 2x512MB kit of XMS. Which would have been cool a week ago, before I was told I would get a 2GB kit. I called the guy and he said he requested a 2x1024MB kit to be sent. He was not sure why it wasn't. He told me he would arrange a 2x1024MB kit and call me back w/ a tracking number (still waiting for the call back). He told me I could use the 2x512MB kit in the meantime.

I decided to pop in the RAM since I'm sick of running on 512MB. I turned off the PC, pull the 512MB VS and put in the 2x512MB XMS and powered on. Bios screen showed, but would not go past. I then thought I should have cleared the CMOS before popping the new RAM. I cleared the CMOS and now I get 3 beeps indicating no RAM. This happens with 1 or both modules of the XMS. I tried 1 module in each slot, same result each time. I then put the 512mb VS stick back in. Booted up first try, BIOS was reset.

Any suggestions? I'm wondering if my board won't run RAM at 1T or something (the VS is 2.5-3-3-8 2T).
 

Dream Operator

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Jan 31, 2005
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Nevermind. RAM is working now. But strange...

I found that the VS RAM was AUTO at DDR333 after clearing the CMOS. I didn't think much about it until I got the XMS RAM working. Since the BIOS was reset, my overclocking scenario had been erased. I put the VS RAM on Manual - DDR400. Booted to Windows, shutdown, removed VS RAM and installed XMS RAM... voila! Then I tried to put the BIOS back to what I was doing with the value select - Drop the RAM to DDR333 and bring the CPU frequnecy up until the RAM is back at DDR400 (241x11). It would not POST at DDR333. I tried more voltage, adjusted the timings mildly, still couldn't get in. I put the CPU at 220 and got in. Tried to overclock using nTune (manually though). Crashed at 225. Put XMS RAM at stock DDR400 2-3-3-6 1T 2.7v, CPU at 200x11 1.325v and left the HT at x4 to give some room for overclocking. Currently at DDR450 and 20 minutes into a 30minute RAM test in nTune. CPU at 2,475 HT900. Not bad, but strange that the whole DDR333 thing didn't work. I would be at 2,750 on the CPU if that would have happened.

I'll see what happens when the 2GB kit comes.