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Windows 7: Attempted RAM Upgrade - CPU Usage spikes to 100% - Now Sluggish

24 Nov 2014   #31
rhodes732

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Thanks TVeblen. I will try that procedure. First, an update.

I pulled the trigger last night and did a factory re-install of Windows 7 onto my SSD. While the computer is faster, the problem persists!

1. I STILL see the iastora.sys BSOD on boot, even after factory install. This morning I was welcomed to a 3 loop BSOD. 2 BSOD and restarts, and then the desktop finally loads. This points to some kind of hardware problem, doesn't it?

2. Performance is STILL very obviously degraded. Chrome struggles. My SSD's benchmarks are a shadow of what they were before. The CPU still spikes and sits at 100%.

3. More info: Before all these problems began, I'd been using an application called RAMMAP, which allows you to clear the Standby Memory, Working Sets, etc. Could this be involved? I was using RAMMAP because Premiere would quickly "consume" AND NOT "RELEASE" my 8 GB of RAM, so it became increasingly necessary to quit and restart the program, to "release" the working ram. Otherwise Premiere (and sometimes Windows) would need more RAM and suddenly crash, with the threat of losing the work I was doing. Hence my desire to double my onboard RAM from 8 to 16 GB in the midst of the project. Could the earlier use of RAMMAP be involved somehow?

4. Previous to all these troubles, I'd tried to install ANOTHER 8GB RAM upgrade - but had the wrong RAM. I mistakenly got Unbuffered RAM, and my system uses ECC / Registered. The computer wouldn't start, or even load the BIOS. It simply sat there. So I uninstalled the Unbuffered Ram, and rebooted. The computer was working fine after this procedure (which is why I didn't think to mention it). The specs were otherwise identical to the Crucial sticks I list below.

5. Then, for the second and catatastrophic attempted memory upgrade: The sticks I bought were 1.2v. Which matched the specs of the factory RAM. Here is the RAM I was recommended by a Dell Tech. (Note the egregious price, which is why I didn't get it):
Dell 4 GB Certified Replacement Memory Module : Memory | Dell

And here is the Crucial RAM I bought:
Crucial 4GB Single DDR4 2133 MT/s (PC4-2133) CL15 SR x8 ECC Registered DIMM 288-Pin Server Memory CT4G4RFS8213 at Amazon.com

Any reason that didn't work?

I'm still trying to get my computer to an acceptable working state. This was supposed to be a beast of a computer, but it's totally hobbled.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Nov 2014   #32
rhodes732

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Regarding Clearing the CMOS: I looked in my manual, and could find no mention of those jumpers. The only instructions listed simply say to remove the coin cell and re-seat it. Will this clear the CMOS sufficiently?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2014   #33
rhodes732

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Another thing I've observed:

My USB3 transfer times, as well as transfers between internal drives, has slowed tremendously too. Could this also point to CMOS corruption?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Nov 2014   #34
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Thanks for all the info.

The USB transfer rate, Hard drive transfer rate, pretty much everything could be related to this problem, based on your description of events. If all started immediately after the attempt to install the new RAM then it strongly suggests changes were made at the motherboard/BIOS level.

Removing and replacing the battery will reset the Real Time Clock, but not Clear the CMOS. Highly unusual that there is not a jumper, but it is a server board.
Best to post the model number of the motherboard, or better, a link to the manual for the motherboard. (I realize this is Dell - they purposefully omit all kinds of DIY info, but see what you can find)

1: What is a "factory re-install"? Is this using the recovery partition or disks to restore the PC to the original condition it was in when you got it from Dell? Most folks here would recommend a clean install. Those Restore installs just load up all the bloat-ware that came with the PC and are the cause of most performance problems with Windows 7.
I suspect that is why you have iastor installed and crashing again. Unless you installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver manually?
I would hold off on the clean install until you have worked through the other possible solutions.

3: This is call a "memory leak" and is a bug in the program. A bad bug too. you should check the website to see if there are updates/upgrades or fixes for it. Otherwise contact them immediately.

4: This is the 'normal' reaction to bad/mismatched RAM. And it is normal that full recovery will happen upon removing the offending modules. The problem you are having is quite unusual.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2014   #35
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

No mention of the voltage or timings in the Amazon spec. Can't compare.

Here are the specs on the crucial RAM part #CT4G4RFS8213
4GB DDR4 PC4-17000 Registered ECC 1.2V | Crucial USA
The specs match. The Ram could be bad (defective sticks), but it is the correct RAM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2014   #36
rhodes732

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Ok. Possibly very good news.

I uninstalled the 3v battery, held power button to drain, then reinstalled it.

On reboot, the computer didn't enter BIOS. Warning lights. Uh oh. A pattern of 2 then 7 blinks, from the manual meaning there was a "memory power issue." Manual instructs to uninstall the RAM chips and then re-seat them, and reboot.

So I do that. Computer powers up, and says system clock needs to be reset. So I enter BIOS, reset system clock, check settings there to match what was working before.

Windows 7 boots up... no BSOD... and now seems to be running super fast and clean now. I need to do more thorough testing, and launch chrome etc, but so far the lagginess seems to be gone. It feels new again.

TV - if this all works out, I will happily proclaim that you are a genius.

In response to your questions, by "Factory Install" I mean a reinstallation of the OS from a bootable USB key I had Dell Backup and Recovery Utility make for me back when the computer was new. It was the best way to clone the OS drive and its several weirdo Dell partitions, and then install all that on my SSD.

Memory leak sounds exactly right. Premiere gobbles RAM when you're doing intensive stuff (shuttling around, cutting high res)... but then it never releases the RAM when you're letting the program "rest." The only way to "regenerate" your RAM is to quit and restart the program. Super annoying.

So now - does it make any sense to attempt to install the two Crucial RAM modules? Or would that be simply insane? Should I just bite the bullet and use the factory 8GB, or do I really have to buy the RAM directly from DELL? The good news is, my workstation is in a "low risk" posture now - it has a clean OS on it, no programs, and I'm using my older workstation for the moment to finish the Premiere work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2014   #37
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Hey good news!

Yes I think you figured out how to reset the BIOS and that is all it needed.

You need to contact (Adobe?) Premier and explain the memory leak problem. I can't believe a reputable company like that has not already identified the problem and issued a hot fix.
Although it could be just a bad install on your computer too. But best to check with them before playing with that.

Regarding the RAM upgrade:
Now that you know how to recover, you could give it another go. Just be very sure the modules are seated well, and make sure there is no power to the motherboard at all when you install them (disconnect the power cord).

If it were me I would have a memory test program ready to go. I have always used Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool , but you will need to make sure they have updated their program to test DDR4 RAM. My current version does not.
With Memtest (or other test program) ready I would install the RAM and then boot directly into the BIOS. I would check to see that all of the RAM is recognized there. If it is, then I would exit and then immediately boot into Memtest. I would run the test for a minimum of 3 passes (overnight for 16GB).

If all tests well, then, and only then, would I boot into Windows.
Tip: disconnect the hard drive(s) while testing the RAM. You don't need them for any of this. After all tests out then shut down and connect them. That way you can't possibly start into Windows accidentally.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2014   #38
rhodes732

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Cool.

More good news - I just re-ran my SSD's benchmark (Samsung Disk Magician), and the results are fully 20x faster across the board than they were with all the problems. The SSD benchmarks like new again. Awesome. So clearly, it worked.

If only I'd tried the CMOS before re-installing the entire OS! Clueless Dell tech.

I think what I will do is to just live with the 8GB for now. It was working, albeit annoyingly. I'll probably return the RAM and reevaluate when I'm not mid-stream in a project.

That said: Is it possible that my system was "destabilized" due to the original attempted install of the UNBUFFERED RAM?

Or, maybe I mistakenly tried to install these correct RAM sticks while the computer was plugged in (but powered off) - actually I think I may have done just that. Would that wreak this kind of havoc?

I guess I'm trying to avoid the Memtest route - it sounds very time consuming. Since the RAM I have now is correct specs wise (that we can tell - they even say "SERVER" on them) - the only possibility is that they were installed improperly like above - or that they're simply bad RAM sticks, right? How likely is it they're bad?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2014   #39
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote:
That said: Is it possible that my system was "destabilized" due to the original attempted install of the UNBUFFERED RAM?
No, I don't think so. As your experience proved, the system just wouldn't boot with it, and recovered completely after the offending sticks were removed. There is nothing about it that would explain your symptoms.

Quote:
Or, maybe I mistakenly tried to install these correct RAM sticks while the computer was plugged in (but powered off) - actually I think I may have done just that. Would that wreak this kind of havoc?
Doubtful. But remotely possible. We worry about damaging the motherboard or the sticks due to residual power in the capacitors. But you would not boot or recover if that happened to the motherboard.

Quote:
I guess I'm trying to avoid the Memtest route - it sounds very time consuming. Since the RAM I have now is correct specs wise (that we can tell - they even say "SERVER" on them) - the only possibility is that they were installed improperly like above - or that they're simply bad RAM sticks, right? How likely is it they're bad?
It is not time consuming if you start the test and then go watch TV and go to bed. You wake up in the morning and see what the results were. The PC is busy - you are not.
I would never consider installing new RAM without running a test on it first. Most folks here wouldn't either.
It is annoyingly common to get a bad stick of RAM from time to time. We diagnose that problem here at Seven Forums constantly.
More likely is the fact that high performance RAM is really touchy about matching specs. That is why you can have weird problems like this when you mix and match. And why system builders will always opt for a set of 4 matching sticks rather than mix and match.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2014   #40
rhodes732

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

My computer is back in business, everything running beautifully.

So here it is: TV, you are, in fact, a genius.

So - I checked out Memtest, and the latest version AFAIK was released 9/27/13. I see no mention of DDR4; it very likely isn't supported. So I don't think that would work regardless.

Is there any other way I can check these new sticks before Windows gets its hands on them? It would be great to run with 16 instead of 8.

And, TV, in your wisdom, do you think these Crucial sticks are bad? Or user error during installation (I'm pretty sure I did this part wrong)? Or a mismatch with the factory sticks?

If it's a mismatch... I'll be forced to buy from Dell, won't I. I've never had problems in the past adding 3rd party RAM to my Dell Workstations. (Which have always been super reliable rigs btw up until this current SNAFU. My previous one is a Precision 390, eight years old and still running great).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Attempted RAM Upgrade - CPU Usage spikes to 100% - Now Sluggish




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