Question ASUS Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Q-Code 55

May 25, 2019
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To begin with, my original build is:

MB: ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
CPU: i7-6700K
RAM: GSkill 32gb (2x16 GB) Ripjaw V Series DDR4 PC4-25600 3200MHz - Model F4-3200C16D-32GVK
GPU: ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG Strix Graphics Card

Everything else is fairly standard, EVGA 850 G2, Samsung/PNY SSDs. I've replaced dying SSDs with new ones, and even installed Windows 10 begrudgingly after using Windows 7 for years. My old 240GB PNY SSDs drive life remaining was dropping, in particular on the SSD that had the OS installed, so I swapped it out, reformatted where I could, and replaced what I couldn't.

When I had initially put this build together, I encountered zero errors. I monitored system health for the first few months, my temperatures never went anything close to dangerous or overheated. I never overclocked anything, as I am not familiar enough with that whole arena to delve into the specifics of voltages and what not. It ran fine for a year, at least, no issues. The maximum temperature I ever saw from the CPU was below 60°c, and GPU about the same - and that was while stress testing under defined parameters.

Anyway, prior to any hardware changes at all, I first started encountering blue screens and code 55 after installing Divinity: Original Sin 2. It came out of nowhere, and after having the computer for a year plus, with fairly heavy daily usage, I had never encountered any issues prior to this. I went through the process of elimination, seating the DIMMs in separate slots, paired and single, and worked my way through it. I ended up pulling the CPU and Heatsink (Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo), cleaning it up, re-applying the paste and reseating everything. It didn't work, but at some point after dozens of reboots and MemOK! clicks, I was at least able to get back into BIOS to reset everything. I was able to boot and use it for a bit, but it failed again.

I ended up ordering two separate sets of RAM - Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, CMK16GX4M2B3200C16, which is the 2X8 DDR4 with 3200MHZ 16-18-18-36 timing, and a set of Patriot Viper 2X4 DDR PC4-192000 2400MHZ. The Vengeance 16GB set worked for a while, but I ended up with the same error after a few months, so I switched over to the cheap Viper RAM.

Again, the computer ran fine for another year, with no problems or BSODs, but after playing the Fallout 76 Beta and Final Fantasy XV, and encountering memory issues and crashing due to lack of available RAM, I thought [watch your language] it, let me try the 32 GB sticks that I had bought intially. I took out the old set, put in the original Gskill 32B Ripjaw V 3200mhz 2x16, and they worked. The computer ran fine again for a year, until now.

I installed Mutant Year Zero and I played it for all of 15 minutes before I got the Blue Screen. I thought, shit, really? So I rebooted, and started googling people encountering issues with blue screens from the game. I didn't find any similar problems, and again, I thought shit, really? And, of course, as I was googling similar problems, I BSOD'd again, with nothing much really running outside of Firefox. However, this time it reminded me of the shit I see when a video card is burning out, with grahpical artificats on screen (black and red box in top left, BSOD not being able to form a dump file, and sound going BRRRRRRR).

I was able to reboot every time after each BSOD, but it seemed increasingly apparent that this was due to a driver issue with the 1080X, or the 1080X itself dying. I ended up purchasing Windows 10 Pro because I got sick of trying to use BlueScreenView to read the main .DMP file, and the minidump files, because I'm old and ingorant, and also I use Windows 10 at work and I've come to accept the UI changes. I tried installing the SDK debugging tool for Windows 7, but it kept failing, so I couldn't even run a WinDbg to see the dump files.

All the BSODs dump files seemed to indicate a driver error, or occasionaly a kernel error, so I thought I had it figured out. I installed Windows 10 to a USB boot drive, got it up and running, formatted and reinstalled everything. It was fine until I left to make dinner for the family, but I came back to a black screen and error code 55 on the motherboard. Since then, I've been seating and reseating the various sticks of DDR4 I have available, running MemOk! and always ending on 55. I have not been able to boot since then.

I have seen multiple posts across the spectrum on the Q-CODE 55 (found on page 1-28 of the owner's manual). The owner's manual states, as other sites will point out as well, that error code 55 indicates "Memory not installed". I have also seen, from reading multiple chain posts on various forums, TH included, that while the code itself references a memory error, that it's very possible that it could be due to a defective, or improperly seated CPU, along with the typical DOA/RMA scenario, in addition to a simple memory/DIMM slot issue. However, most of the posts that I have read that pertain to this error have all been new builds, with a few exceptions. My build is not a new build, it is probably 2-3 years old, at least.

At this point in time, in addition to trying all of the available DIMM slots, I've pulled the CPU and reseated it (cleaned the paste and re-applied), and cleared the CMOS. I've flashed the BIOS a few times in the past when I've encountered the error, but it never seemed to make much of a difference, though I suppose that will be the next step. I've gone through all of the DDR4 sticks I have on hand, seating and reseating in individual and dual pairings, with no real luck. It always ends up on Q-Code 55.

I suppose, my ultimate question is, why does this occur so long and so randomly after a computer has been functioning perfectly within normal parameters? I'm nowhere near the ability to comprehend and analyze these kind of problems, but I was hoping maybe someone here would be able to offer some shit outside of the box that I can try to resolve the issue before I call it a loss and order a new motherboard and go from there. I'm currently posting this from my old build that has had zero issues, other than the fiancee dropping it off a desk while cleaning. It still works alright, I guess.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
So, to begin with you don't need to seat and reseat the memory, change slots, etc.

Install the memory in slots A2 and B2, ONLY, if you have two sticks. If you have four sticks, obviously you will have populated all DIMM slots and it doesn't matter so long as all four sticks are from the same matched set and were bought together IN a set. If they were not, then you open the door to a variety of variables.

If the system cannot run properly with the memory installed in the A2 and B2 slots, whether at the default SPD JEDEC settings or the XMP profile settings, then there is either a problem with the memory (Not likely since you've had the same problem with multiple sets), the motherboard, bent pins on the motherboard, the CPU or a problem with an uneven mount job on the CPU cooler causing either contacts to lose contact or short inside the CPU socket. This can happen when one side or one corner is tightened unevenly to the others OR if the cooler is simply TOO tight in general.

The first thing I'd want to ask is, do you have the MOST recent BIOS version for the motherboard installed? For your board, that would be version 3801 released on 4-27-18. If not, I'd recommend that you update to that version. If you already are on that version, then it's one less possible issue. If you have a BIOS version that is older than 3504, then there are no less than five previous BIOS updates that deal with system performance, stability and memory compatibility, any of which could be relevant. You do not obviously need to update to each of those, as updating to any specific BIOS version automatically gives you all prior updates.

If updating the BIOS doesn't help and none of the suggestions I've made are the issue, and you've already tried CLEAN installs of Windows, and a barebones bench of the board doesn't help identify the issue


Then I'd agree that MOST likely you are looking at the need for a new motherboard.

What I DON'T see however is any mention of what the EXACT power supply model is you are using, and ANY time there are random or unusual errors, seemingly irrelevant Q codes or weird behavior and ghost problems in general, the power supply should practically always be the primary culprit since any error, fault, problem or failure that can present as hardware can BE the power supply itself since all hardware relies on clean, stable power to function correctly. In other words, any problem whether memory, graphics card or other hardware, can be mimicked by a bad power supply.

Also, if you have not already, it might also be worth trying to bump the DRAM (Memory) voltage UP by about .020v in the BIOS. Sometimes on Intel platforms running high speed memory ALSO requires a small bump in CPU clock speed to stabilize the internal memory controller. Trying to run those sticks at the default speed of 2133mhz might determine if that could be the problem, IF you are trying to run them at the XMP profile when you are encountering these issues.
 
May 25, 2019
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I did mention the power supply in the short summary of the generic build description, but I guess I did not elaborate. That build has the "EVGA Supernova 850 G2, 80+ Gold 850W, Fully Modular..." I have a few power supplies around, although the highest outside of this one in particular, is only a 650W. I have ran this board and build off the 650W, which powers another, cheaper build as its primary, and I have encountered the same issue on this build using that particular PS. Although, the mention of a power supply being a problem in this particular situation does seem... odd. I will definitely explore that as a potential culprit, but I really doubt that I will get any further by trying another 3 or 4 power supplies. On the other hand, I've been proven wrong more often than I've been proven right, so I will definitely explore that route.

For the memory, I have only used dual sticks, I have never used quad combos with this build, mostly due to issues with the size of the heatsink interfering with the placement of the sticks and my fat fingers. I have also only used the A2 and B2 slots for this particular build, outside of trying to whittle down potential culprits for faults during these bouts with the dreaded 55 code.

For the CPU and Heatsink, as I mentioned previously, the build has ran fine, with a few hiccups, over the past few years. I pulled the sink and CPU from the motherboard today in my quest for answers, though I suspected it was not the culprit. Regardless, I try to consider any possibility for the issues I've encountered. I examined the pins and the CPU, as I had done previously. There were no signs of damage to either the CPU itself, or any sign of bent pins on the MB. I did a thorough cleaning of the paste on both the CPU and the sink, and I reseated both without issue.

The other issues you have mentioned really do not have any impact, or I am unable to perform them in my particular situation, as I am not even able to get to the BIOS to begin with. I avoided flashing the BIOS initially, simply because it has proven unhelpful in the past, but I set up a spare PC and reset a USB with the current BIOS offered by ASUS to see if that would solve the issue. Again, on a build that has worked fine, with the aforementioned issues, for a year plus. This also did nothing to advance the issues I have encountered.

If I could actually get to BIOS, I would be able to rectify the situation, or at least make an attempt to do so. I had some luck altering the voltages previously after encountering these errors, but at this point, I have not been able to get past the 55 code, which doesn't allow me to boot at all.

Again, I am probably entirely ignorant on the issue, but I find it hard to understand how a computer can run fine for a year or more without issue, then suddenly encounter this shit, considering nothing has changed whatsoever outside of installing and playing a new game. The initial fix I had found when encountering this problem was to replace the RAM with some budget sticks, but then after a year of not using that RAM, and not changing anything at all, I was able to use that RAM without issue for another year?

As an aside, I have attempted tightening and loosening the sink, prior to removing it and reseating it and the CPU entirely. I have read, during my quest for a solution to this issue, that the error code could be related to the CPU itself, in particular how it is seated and how tight, or loose, the heatsink is. I know, obviously, that the CPU is not a DOA piece, as I have used it for ~3 years without issue, and again, everything was fine prior to the BSODs. Hell, even after the first few BSODs, I thought, shit, these 3000 FPS loading screens on Mutant Year Zero are probably killing the shit. So I pulled up all my monitoring shit, but even then, the max temp. I saw on the CPU and GPU were less than 60°C. The CPU hit like low 50s, and the GPU pretty much the same. I even ran a UserBenchmark to see if the shit was fried, but both were still in the 95th percentile, not that it means much in particular, but they obviously were not fried and on the way out. Even the RAM was in the 90+ percentile.

I appreciate the help, but I'm stumped.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Yeah, that G2 is good (I have one as well, in a 750w capacity) and is unlikely to be the relevant issue although anything is possible but it's very unlikely if you have the same issue with two different units as you say.

Honestly, given all that you've tried and all that you've explained, I find it hard to believe the problem is anything other than the motherboard itself. Code 55 is mostly always memory related, but that can mean the memory, or the motherboard or the IMC on the CPU. You've tried different sets of memory, an IMC problem likely wouldn't come and go, it would be all the time and motherboards are high rate of failure products compared to most other hardware aside from maybe power supplies and graphics cards.
 

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