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Windows 7: BSOD and crashes playing BF3, happens with 2 different GPUs


25 May 2012   #11

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Well, the remaining DIMM showed 0 errors after 12 passes, so I guess I removed the correct one

What I'll do now is gradually re-install whatever I uninstalled as noted in my above posts and test the heck out of this computer this week-end (read: finally play BF3 after weeks )

I guess I'm going to have to ask a refund on that RAM and buy another set of DIMMs, hopefully I'll have it fast.

In the end, if all goes well and I have 0 crashes, I'll come back and mark this thread as solved.

In any case, your support has been incredibly fast, friendly and focused, so thank you very much!

EDIT: Well, the store at which I bought the RAM told me to do one more test before returning it: As I have an i5 2500K processor they would like me to test by changing the BIOS as follow:

RAM frequency to 1333MHz
Timings to 9-9-9-24
Voltage to 1.25V
Command rate to 2N or 2T

What do you guys think of that approach?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 May 2012   #12

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

It is not a bad approach, and I have seen it resolve problems maybe 5-10% of the time when errors show in Memtest86+. Those are not great odds, but if the company suggests you do the changes, it should be done at least to test.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2012   #13

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Okay, I finally found some time to re-test both RAM sticks as requested by the vendor.

I attached the two BIOS screens to display the RAM settings I used, as well as the MemTest results: 0 errors after 14 passes.

I'll keep an eye on this as I haven't had a chance to give it a "real" test, but after one long and crash-free gaming session I think i'll be able to mark this one as solved anyway
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 May 2012   #14

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Great news! Glad to see the RAM settings provide more stability. Look forward to hearing the final results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2012   #15

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Well, bad news (for me), after using my computer for a while with a few RAM-intensive games the issues re-appeared almost instantly.

Once again the same symptoms, either the game, Windows Gadgets or Firefox would crash.

Let's remove the second DIMM and all goes well.

Here's what's on my ToDo list:
- Wonder why MemTest went fine for 14 passes but computer crashed right after normal usage was resumed
- Currently the fan on my cooling system prevents me from using the A1 and B1 slots so I'd like to move the fan on the other side of the cooling and test the same 2 DIMMs in different slots
- I'm getting a new kit of exactly the same DIMMS so I'd like to test those in place of the current ones

For the first item, I have no clue, I can only note the results.

The second item is a test to check the memory slots, which would then point to a MB failure instead of a RAM failure, but again, see item one for my question

The third should give a final answer to the "Is it the RAM or the MB" question. Indeed if the system still crashes with new DIMMs then the mobo is the culprit, otherwise the first RAM kit is back to the store.

Is the process above worth anything or am I overlooking something?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2012   #16

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Memtest86+ is programmed to test the RAM in certain ways. There are two reasons it may not find errors when errors do exist:
  1. It was not run long enough. It may take up to 21 passes to find an error in RAM.

  2. It does not stress the RAM as thoroughly or in the same ways as Windows itself stresses it. This means it may not stress the electronics within the RAM that are faulty and may miss those areas of the RAM having errors. Sometimes, running Memtest86+ on a cold boot, multiple times, or for more passes will cause it to catch areas it missed the first time.


Your troubleshooting steps you have outlined are sound. Proceed as described.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2012   #17

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Okay, finally got the new identical RAM kit delivered, and had time to run some tests, I think the conclusion is indeed a faulty RAM kit:

First I ran a positive control test where I reset the BIOS settings to Auto for all items I had changed in a previous post, and re-installed the faulty RAM in the A2-B2 slots
--> Crashes as frequent as before, as expected

Then I placed the faulty RAM in the A1-B1 to see if it could be a faulty slot (mobo) issue instead
--> Crashes as frequent as before, consistent with the faulty RAM theory, but does not rule out the faulty mobo

Third step was to remove the faulty RAM and install the new RAM kit in slots A1-B1
--> Not a single crash in a total of 10 hours of gaming, where I used to have crashes every few minutes. Still consistent with the faulty RAM theory, but does not rule out the faulty mobo

Last step was to move the new RAM to the A2-B2 slots to test them:
--> Not a single crash in over 18 hours of gaming/intensive use.

So in conclusion I think it is safe to assume the mobo is fine and the old RAM kit is faulty, so I'll send it out for replacement.

Here are my lessons learned on this one:

- Even though everyone hopes for a quick fix, ALWAYS perform test steps one by one (e.g. remove ONE supposedly faulty component and test right away). If you change multiple things and the issue is resolved, you won't know for sure what actually solved the issue.

- MemTest results are definitely not 100% accurate unless you leave it to run long enough. I think it's pretty safe to say that running it for less than 10 passes is worthless.
Note that even with enough successful passes (20+ have been advised) it does not replace real-life situations a.k.a. whatever you usually do on your computer that makes it crash.

- If the component you're suspecting is plugged in the motherboard, don't rule out the possibility that the motherboard itself is faulty, ideally have a negative control test with another similar component that is known to work fine

- RAM issues are a pain to diagnose as you can easily have false negatives as I have had. Also there's nothing you can do with your computer without RAM

I'll mark this one as resolved, hopefully it can help other people.

Anyway, thanks a ton for your super fast follow up and very knowledgeable answers.

TL;DR: The RAM was borked in the end, tadaaa
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2012   #18

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Thank you for posting back with an excellent set of steps and tips for users. I have added it to my links to refer other users to when Memtest86+ tests show no errors, but the RAM may still be faulty. I appreciate you posting that!!!

Glad to see this resolved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 BSOD and crashes playing BF3, happens with 2 different GPUs




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