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Windows 7: How do I diagnose damaged Ram?

14 Oct 2014   #1
Mudcrab Moffatt

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
How do I diagnose damaged Ram?

Hello,

Lately I have been having performance issues with my computer that I have been trying to diagnose. I have an HP EliteBook 8560W (i7, 8 GB RAM (two 4 gig sticks), Graphics: AMD firepro 5950 mobility) that when I first bought, could do anything from run StarCraft II on high settings with around 60 fps to seamless SolidWorks modeling.

I recently booted up SC2 for old time sake and was only able to get about 30 fps on the lowest settings, so I started to try to resolve the issue. I ran virus scan, defragged the hard disk, updated graphics drivers, chipset drivers and bios. Still no luck even though my task manager says I am only using 20-35% of my ram and less than 10% of my processor. It seemed like my graphics card was shot or my computer was just being lazy!

So the next step I took was to open a ton of applications (itunes, windows media player, chrome with youtube and pandora, and started running a virus scan). I was curious to see how hard I could make my computer work. I got it to use about 50% of the ram and had the processor at 15% or more. I then proceed to boot up SC2 and to my surprise I was able to get 60 fps on high settings!

Could it be possible that I used up all the memory on a damaged RAM stick and started to tap into the other 4 gig stick? or is there something else I am not considering.

Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Oct 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool

Above is a link to the most commonly used RAM testing application.

Let it run all of its tests 6 or 8 times. Might take overnight.

Windows 7 has a built-in RAM testing app of some kind, but I don't know how effective it is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #3
ICIT2LOL

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10
 
 

May I add this

MEMTEST

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/105647-ram-test-memtest86.html this one you will need to make abootable disk set the BIOS to optical(or USB if preferred) boot the machine and let it run for at LEAST 8 passes unless the errors come up straight away. Takesfair time to complete and some leave itrunning overnight.

NB

When you run the memtest if the errors come up straight away as in my pic then you will need to test each stick if you havemore than one and if it is only onethen test again in another slot because it could also be a fault on the board.

So for example two slots A & B /sticks 1 & 2 if the errors come up remove all sticks

Then try stick 1 in slot A if noerrors install stick 1 in slot B if no errors then install stick 2 inslot A if no errors then install stick 2in slot B. If there were errors to start with one of these combinations will have to show errors.

Doing this will narrow down the problemslot as it could be the slot and not the stick or even a specific slot andstick combination. A lengthy process but only necessary if you get errors.
some pics so you can see what you are after -


Attached Thumbnails
How do I diagnose damaged Ram?-memtest-info.png   How do I diagnose damaged Ram?-memtest-error.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Oct 2014   #4
Itaregid

Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Note that no software based RAM tester is conclusive. If they report the RAM is bad, it probably is bad. But these testers can, and often do report no errors but the RAM still fails when installed, or when paired with other RAM. So often the best test is to swap in known good RAM, or run with 1 stick at a time to see what happens.

Note to conclusively test your RAM, you need to use sophisticated and very expensive test equipment, like this Eureka Express DDR3 DIMM Memory Module Tester.

But I don't think your RAM is bad. Bad RAM does not normally result is "poor" performance - it results in no performance - that is, you BSOD (lock up with blue-screen errors), or the system just crashes, reboots, or shuts down.

Quote:
So the next step I took was to open a ton of applications (itunes, windows media player, chrome with youtube and pandora, and started running a virus scan). I was curious to see how hard I could make my computer work. I got it to use about 50% of the ram and had the processor at 15% or more. I then proceed to boot up SC2 and to my surprise I was able to get 60 fps on high settings!

Could it be possible that I used up all the memory on a damaged RAM stick and started to tap into the other 4 gig stick? or is there something else I am not considering.
Opening a "ton of applications" does not really tax the system unless you are actively using those programs - otherwise, they go idle and move into the background. Windows 7 (and W8.x) is excellent at memory management.

So my question is this, how does SC2 run now - after you have done all this experimenting?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2014   #5
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

This does not sound like a RAM problem at all. The only way that bad RAM could cause performance problems is if one module failed leaving you with only 4 GB RAM. You check for this in the system properties. If it shows more than 4 GB that is not your problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2014   #6
ICIT2LOL

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10
 
 

Yep well the memtest was just a suggestion because it seems the P has done a fair but already. Anyway I'll leave you fellows to it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2014   #7
Mudcrab Moffatt

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Thanks for the all of the suggestions. I ran memtest86 + and some hp hardware test tools. According to all of the results, everything is working perfectly.

I am still unable to run SC2 with 60 fps (on high settings) without all of my other applications open and running (i.e. youtube playing multiple videos, virus scan scanning, itunes playing music) - CPU around 20-30 % and physical memory around 50%. It is one of the strangest things I have ever seen, it seems that I need to really get the cpu running and use up some more ram before I am able to play SC2 at 60 fps - a bit counter intuitive.

Any other suggestions?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2014   #8
Mudcrab Moffatt

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Upon further investigation, it seems that simply using up the physical memory doesn't always resolve the problem. For instance, I opened programs that didn't require a video card (instead of running things like youtube videos), used up over 50% of my physical memory, and tried SC2, but it only had 9 fps. Could it be possible that when no other video card intensive programs are open, my computer uses the graphics processor built into the motherboard? Alternatively when I open graphics intensive programs such as videos and then SC2, is the motherboard graphics card busy and SC2 boots on the other one?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2014   #9
Itaregid

Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Quote:
it seems that simply using up the physical memory doesn't always resolve the problem.
Sorry, but I am confused with that as I don't see how using up memory would resolve any problem.

Note that in spite of what the notebook marketeers would like us to believe, there is no such thing as a good gaming notebook! Why? While notebook makers can pack PC power in those "tiny and thin" notebook cases, there is NO WAY they can pack the necessary cooling (or cleaning capabilities) in there too.

Considering full tower gaming PC cases are challenged to provide a sufficient supply of cool air flowing through the case, it is no wonder notebooks MUST frequently toggle down in speed (and performance) to keep from burning up due to a lack of cool air flowing through the "tiny and thin" notebook case.

These "tiny and thin" notebook cases prevent the use of fans with wide blades - essential to catch and hurl large volumes of cool air.

Also, because there is no industry standard for notebooks like the ATX Form Factor standards for PCs, and due to consumer demands for notebooks to be thinner and lighter, notebook designs are very proprietary, and consequently, there is no simple-to-remove "side panel" as used on PC cases to allow user access for easy and thorough cleaning of all the heat-trapping dust that WILL be drawn in by the fans.

Do you monitor your temps?

Also, while integrated graphics have come a long way in recent years, they are still best for general office work, surfing the Internet, or watching HD content via DVDs or Blu-Ray - not for the extensive graphics crunching demands of modern 3D animated games.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How do I diagnose damaged Ram?




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