Aug 5, 2006
The story starts in early November of last year when I assembled my first PC. Up until now there have been no major issues. I’m still not sure if the CPU temps are optimal, but they seem to be ok. In the last 4 months, it did not experience obvious system instability or frequent crashes. I leave the PC on almost all the time. I did see some surprise resets but most were followed by a Windows Update notification (self download, install, and restart) or a “Windows has recovered from a serious error” notification (often when using Winamp; I always thought that this can only be related to some software error, but now I’m not sure). This happened about once a week. I also experienced graphic corruption when the feed from the graphics card seemed to be messed up. “Out of range” on the monitor and a distorted image. But this only happened when using Windows Media Player with video files and I found some Microsoft Article saying it’s probably a DirectX problem. I’ve never experienced a crash in a graphic-CPU-RAM intensive game (Flight Simulator being the best example – it takes GBs of RAM when available and puts the CPU Core it is using almost to 100% full time; I play in up to 2h sessions).

One thing that I never gave too much attention was the fact that the PC would not start first time after being shut down. No problem with restart. I actually noticed this when I first pushed the power button, but I never thought this was a serious issue. It starts ok the second or third time I press the power button. What happens is that everything lights up but the monitor does not get any “juice”. It acts as if there was no signal coming from the graphics card.

Last night however, things went pretty bad… I was using Internet Explorer, opening about 10 individual windows at a time (still on IE6.something). It gradually got slower and at some point… it would not open any more windows. The limit was first ~10, then it got down to 5. Right click would not work, Task Manager Would not show. Trying to save a photograph would result in a “Not Enough Memory” error message (no, my HDDs are not full). I finally switched it off and I left it like that for the night (5-6 hours). After I woke up, I pushed the power button. No image on the monitor. Reset… still no image. Switched it off and pushed the power button again… looked like it was going to start and I get some strange error: The FIRMWARE has detected that system memory HAS DECREASED (or very similar). Press any key to continue… I did that for like 20 seconds and than it loaded Windows. I had to go but I left it on to see if it crashes… almost 10 hours later it is still on. The PC now still shows 1.98GB RAM (System in Control Panel).

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6400 with stock cooler
MOBO: Intel DG965RY (with Intel GMA onboard)
RAM: 2x 1GB DDR2-533 Kingston (kit) running in dual channel (BIOS confirms)
GF7900GS 250MB from Leadtek
Benq FP93G LCD Monitor (not the GX that is also available on Newegg but very simmilar) connected to the graphics card via DVI cable
Windows XP PRO SP2

Not sure if this is important but…

HDD: 1x WD 300GB SATA 3.0GB with 16MB Buffer and an older 160GB IDE Samsung
Optical drive: some LG DVD-RW
Both the DVD-RW and the IDE HDD on the same cable (only one IDE slot on the MOBO)
Everything in an Antec NSK6500 (PSU included)

Now… I really suspect it’s the RAM. No start, “memory decreased”, “not enough memory”… But it might also be the graphics card. No image on start, graphic corruption etc. Or both…

Should I take the RAM to the shop and claim my “lifetime warranty”? I am reluctant to doing that because they will probably keep it there for 1 month only to say that it will take a few weeks before they can bring a replacement kit. Or they will offer a replacement kit which might not work with the Intel MOBO I have (not all RAM works with the DG965RY, even if it should). Or they might say I “mishandled” the RAM sticks… Or they could say it worked fine in their computer and give it back broke until the problems become more obvious… (I live in Romania, that’s standard warranty services over here) I really don’t want to take it to the shop unless I am sure that the sticks are the problem. I can’t really test them in another PC because my old PC has the old DDR.

Any ideas? Should I just wait for the RAM to stop working at all? Can it be something else? Could some RAM only have problems starting up and not in RAM-CPU-GPU-intensive games?


Did you run it through at least a couple of complete cycles (could take hours)?
How much total RAM did memtest86+ show?
How much of your RAM is assigned to the builtin graphics (you should be able to set this in the BIOS).