Do I need to RMA? PC immediately turns off with 3 or 4 sticks of RAM

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by antef, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. antef

    antef Senior member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, I built the system in my sig in January of this year. The other day I resumed the PC from sleep and I got a BSOD and rebooted. I used it for the rest of that evening until suddenly I got artifacts on the screen and it turned off, then kept trying to turn on again but immediately turning back off after a couple seconds, doing this endlessly.

    What I found is that by removing 1 or 2 sticks of RAM the PC will boot fine. 1 stick always seems to work, no matter which slot. 2 sticks usually works, but didn't one time. 3 sticks works frequently but not every time. All 4 sticks never seems to work. It will just turn on, wait 2 seconds, turn back off, and keep doing that without me pressing any buttons. Every so often it will stay on, but the screens will stay black. The only way I can get it to operate normally is by running just 1 or 2 sticks of RAM. I interchanged which sticks I used frequently throughout testing.

    This sounds like the motherboard is having an issue when too many slots are populated. Does this make any sense? I can't imagine what other component would cause this. The sticks seem fine, and I doubt running all 4 is stressing the PSU. Should I RMA this board?

    Thank you.

    Edit: Just updated my sig, here it is:

    Intel Core i5-2500K | ASRock Z68 Pro3-M | 4x4 GB G.SKILL Ripjaws | Crucial m4 128 GB | Samsung SpinPoint 500 GB | PC P&C Silencer 610 | SilverStone PS07 | Win 8
     
    #1 antef, Nov 8, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  2. kleinkinstein

    kleinkinstein Senior member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    823
    Likes Received:
    0
    Latest bios? Could be a Win8 thing. I have the Z77 Pro4-M and just noticed all new drivers and downloads available as of last week. Are all your dimm settings in the bios legit? Are you OC'ing your Ripjaws? I assume they are 1600MHz.

    PS. Nice case!
     
    #2 kleinkinstein, Nov 8, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  3. antef

    antef Senior member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    0
    I haven't updated the BIOS or touched any memory settings at all since building the system. I did try resetting CMOS and pulling the battery tonight which made no difference.

    Thanks...it's a little strange to build in, but looks nice and is compact.
     
  4. kleinkinstein

    kleinkinstein Senior member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    823
    Likes Received:
    0
    Go grab the latest drivers and greatest downloads for win8. On a number of forums I've been seeing boot issues seemingly related to the dimms after installing the new win8ate. Not sure of the cause and effect.
     
  5. Deders

    Deders Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Messages:
    2,369
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sometimes setting the command rate to 2t instead of 1t can help the controller cope better with more than 2 sticks of ram.
     
  6. vailr

    vailr Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    4,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    With one memory stick installed, flash to the latest (version 2.30) bios:
    http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?cat=Download&os=BIOS&Model=Z68%20Pro3-M
    That alone may solve the booting problem. Include the "clear CMOS" option (if available) during, or else after flashing.
     
  7. antef

    antef Senior member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, I just checked and it's currently set to "2N". Maybe it defaults to this with 4 sticks installed. Do people avoid using 4 sticks for this reason?

    A couple days ago I went ahead and flashed the 2.30 BIOS, however I did it with all 4 sticks installed and I didn't clear CMOS after (but it seemed all settings were reset anyway). This fixed my booting issue and I was able to boot normally with all 4 sticks. Why did you suspect this would help? Perhaps the update includes some improved tolerances for 4 sticks?

    Anyway, that part was very good, but my issues aren't over. I've received several BSODs since then. I ran Win 8's memory diagnostic last night and it detected errors. It didn't even finish the test and reboot successfully - when I came back later it was at a "Your PC startup needs repaired" screen, and I just rebooted and it was okay.

    I'm guessing at this point I should try running the memory diag with each stick of RAM installed individually? I'm still very uncertain if we're dealing with a RAM or motherboard issue. If the problem was the RAM, would the BIOS update helping the boot issue make any sense?
     
    #7 antef, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  8. vailr

    vailr Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    4,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    @antef: I'm guessing it's an insufficient memory voltage problem. The bios may allow increasing by one or two tenths of a volt, and could fix the problem.
     
  9. antef

    antef Senior member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks. Well I ran Win 8's memory diag tool on each stick individually, and only one produced errors. I then ran the test again with all sticks but that one and it passed. So this seems to indicate this one stick is bad and I will probably try to RMA it with G.SKILL.

    In the OP I mentioned trying all sorts of combinations of the sticks, but at the time I was only trying to get it to boot, not running the memory diag. Perhaps at the time the bad section of memory was only hit when all 4 sticks were in, and maybe the BIOS changed something such that was it able to avoid the bad area when booting. I don't know if that makes, what do you think? But given the consistency of what I see with the memory diag, I think I should RMA this stick.
     
  10. Bat123Man

    Bat123Man Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you haven't RMAed it yet, I would go with vailr's suggestion. I had the same type of problem on an older system. I was convinced the brand new OS (think it was Vista) wasn't ready for prime time. It turns out I just needed to boost the memory voltage by a single setting (up 2 tenths of a volt) for the system to run without error. What was weird was that XP ran on that system with no problems at all, but Vista would crash constantly. Both OS's were happy once I bumped up the memory voltage.

    BM.
     
  11. kleinkinstein

    kleinkinstein Senior member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    823
    Likes Received:
    0
    @ OP, is your Ripjaws of the 1.65v variety?
     
  12. antef

    antef Senior member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe I've removed OS differences from the equation at this point though. The system now boots with all 4 sticks with the new BIOS, but the memory diag reports errors on this one stick. That is run outside of the Windows environment. I would say that probably warrants the RMA right off the bat. But, I could try upping the voltage and seeing if it helps the memory test.

    It looks like it's 1.5V...here it is.