Question PC freezing or BSOD, half ram after restart

pj6

Sep 5, 2020
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I've been having this problem for about a year now. It all started when I bought a 2nd set of RAM sticks to bump my PC's total memory from 16gb to 32gb. Unfortunately, although the 2nd set has the same frequency as the original set (DDR4 2400), I failed to notice that the CAS latency is different (original set is CL15; new set is CL17).

Specs:
OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit (Build 18632)
CPU: Ryzen 5 2600 with original cooler
MOBO: MSI B450 Gaming Plus
RAM: 16gb (2x 8gb) G.Skill Aegis DDR4 2400 CL15 (Part number: F4-2400C15D-16GIS)
GPU: MSI GTX 1070 Armor OC
SSD: 480gb Kingston A400
PSU: Seasonic Focus+ Gold 550FX (550 watts)

My PC worked fine for 8 months (bought the whole set on Dec 2018) until I decided to buy the 2nd RAM kit on Aug 2019: 16gb (2x 8gb) G.Skill Sniper X DDR4 2400 CL17 (Part number: F4-2400C17D-16GSXW)

Symptoms:
  • System freeze or BSOD when high memory usage. When a system freeze happens, all inputs (mouse + KB) are not recognized. Video and audio are both stuck at what's currently playing at the moment that the freeze occurs
  • On very few occasions, my PC restarted automatically after a freeze. However, most of the time, I have to press the reset button in my PC case
  • Sometimes, instead of a freeze, a BSOD occurs (random stop code, usually related to memory)
  • When I restart the PC, the board emits 3 long beeps before showing the MSI logo. Interestingly, Windows would show only half of my RAM being available (8gb out of 16gb), with the other 8gb being "hardware reserved". At this point, I can now use the PC normally - even playing AAA games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Battlefield V
The problem occurs when my PC's memory usage is high. A guaranteed way to trigger it is to play any game (even old ones like Battlefield 4); although it can also be triggered by opening a lot of memory-hungry websites in Chrome.

What I've done so far that didn't help:
  1. Reinstall OS - I used to have a Seagate HDD. I've since reinstalled the OS to my A400 SSD
  2. Unplug the HDD (since I initially suspected that it is dying)
  3. Remove the original RAM kit (i.e. only the new kit installed)
  4. Remove the 2nd RAM kit (i.e. back to original set up)
  5. Re-seat the original sticks
  6. Try only 1 stick (I've already tried all 4 sticks individually)
  7. Update the BIOS (I've done this several times already)
  8. Update the GPU driver
  9. Update other drivers (whatever's available for my board in MSI's website)
I'm now back to the original set up with just the 2 original sticks installed since this is the most "stable" configuration (at least I can boot the PC, trigger a freeze/BSOD, then afterward I can use the PC normally)

Diagnostics:
  • Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool reports no error
  • Running memtest86 triggers the same system freeze or BSOD problem. However, when I restart my PC, memtest86 can finish all 4 passes on half the available memory without any error
Memtest86 first run:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ayjBoBpaT_2Ecmnoo84A_LdqZq8hUdf5/view

My PC froze at that point and I had to press the reset button. On restart, as usual, only half of the installed RAM is recognized.

Here's a video of another unsuccessful memtest86 run:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_g-3XnWXfsCr6XoUrS32mU-qbcRuHY81/view

In the above video, my PC automatically restarted in less than 2 minutes. You can hear the 3 beeps that my board emits. Interestingly, my PC restarted twice at that time (two sets of 3 beeps)

I managed to have a successful memtest86 run after the restart:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/16aOubasDdq30uGRWs94hjscAQhFJayXa/view

Notice that, once again, only 8gb of RAM is recognized.

Other info:

My RAM as seen by CPU-Z:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/12yZYwnnkgXsCveE0VDBkLBXXUUbg5wx0/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Pd56IN6OvqXKoXqcO2pYM9CFXVP8Dj9K/view

My RAM as seen by Windows 10 64-bit:
Before freeze/BSOD:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vaTna2cgkqsWbKm7ZF0JUWA66_quXmDt/view

After freeze/BSOD:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SYUtuxVlhwwqBZThNfjblEvPb_Kjf-SJ/view
(NOTE: only 8gb available out of 16gb installed)

Here are two of the most recent BSOD stop codes that I got:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fObUlw-_sNSab8hMCj8rAR8rtJm7T2VE/view

Note that I've gotten a bunch of other stop codes before. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a photo of them

Questions:
  1. Could it be that my original sticks were damaged by the 2nd RAM kit? (due to mismatched CL rating and default voltages)
  2. Could it be that my board's RAM slots are the ones that were damaged and not the sticks themselves? I don't have a spare board to test any of my RAM sticks on. For what it's worth, I couldn't see any physical damage to the slots
 
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