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RAM configuration problems

BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Space is the PlaceRegistered User regular
So here's the story: I built this system recently, and just noticed that the RAM I bought (Kingston HyperX 2x1GB 1066 mhz DDR2 kit, KHX8500D2K2/2GN on this page) has been running at 800 mhz. I looked into this, and it seems that you need to manually set the frequency, timings and voltage in the BIOS to get it to run at the advertised specs of 1066 mhz with timing 5-5-5-15 at 2.2 volts. Otherwise it will automatically run at 800 mhz with timing 5-5-5-18 at 1.8 volts. That's kind of bullshit, but I thought I could handle it. You might have guessed by the fact that I'm posting here about it, but it turned out I couldn't.

After I entered the proper numbers in the BIOS setup, when I loaded windows the first thing I noticed was that my resolution had been set to something small. Then I got an error that a registry entry related to the video card driver had been damaged or something. At this point I was thinking "oh, that must be something that was tied to the system RAM, and is screwed up now that I changed the settings."

I uninstalled the broken video card driver, restarted, and started reinstalling it. In the middle of the installation, windows told me that I shouldn't install the driver because it doesn't have microsoft's approval. This was odd as I didn't get that the first time I installed it, and it's an official Nvidia driver so it seems unlikely they didn't get it certified. I told it to continue, and then it told me there was an error installing a certain file and installation couldn't continue. I started to get a bad feeling. I started firefox to try and get some help here, but it crashed. My anti-virus software then told me that something had fucked up, and I couldn't get it to reenable scanning. A plauge of locusts descended upon the countryside, the seas ran red with blood, the earth cracked open and the souls of the damned came screaming out of the fissure. It occured to me that I might want to revert my BIOS settings.

Reverting the BIOS fixed the problems, so here I am. Seems clear the RAM was screwing up a lot of data and corrupting shit left and right, so what did I do wrong, and how do I get it to run at the advertised 1066 mhz?

BahamutZERO on

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  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I think I have the same problem.

    I have the same ram actually, just the 2gb sticks (4 of them, I can only use 2 because of my Power supply atm).

    Having the ram set to 1066 seemed to make my system totally go nuts. I had to fiddle with the bios and ended up having to do a clean install of Vista to get it to actually allow me to do anything. It was erroring out on any and all installs, programs or updates. nothing would take.

    What mobo do you have? I have the ASUS P5QL Pro in the build thread OP and I couldn't figure out how to set the timings to the correct timings (it's 7,7,7,20?) for mine. The last setting there wasn't even an option to select the correct one. Either that or I was just doing it wrong.

    Anyway, I guess I don't have anything to add except to say i feel for ya here. Is there a major difference in performance between the 800mhz and 1066?

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  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    So here's the story: I built this system recently, and just noticed that the RAM I bought (Kingston HyperX 2x1GB 1066 mhz DDR2 kit, KHX8500D2K2/2GN on this page) has been running at 800 mhz. I looked into this, and it seems that you need to manually set the frequency, timings and voltage in the BIOS to get it to run at the advertised specs of 1066 mhz with timing 5-5-5-15 at 2.2 volts. Otherwise it will automatically run at 800 mhz with timing 5-5-5-18 at 1.8 volts. That's kind of bullshit, but I thought I could handle it.
    DDR2 specs specify that modules should run at 1.8 volts, which is why the RAM's SPD sets the timings to what the module can actually run at 1.8 volts. If your RAM and your motherboard supports EPP (Extended Performance Profiles) then it could have been automatically configured to run at the correct timings. The datasheet for the RAM says that it is "NVIDIA SLI-Ready" which means that it supports EPP, so either your motherboard lacks support or the support is disabled.
    In the middle of the installation, windows told me that I shouldn't install the driver because it doesn't have microsoft's approval. This was odd as I didn't get that the first time I installed it, and it's an official Nvidia driver so it seems unlikely they didn't get it certified.
    Not all of their drivers are WHQL certified, I'm pretty sure that all of the ones that they make available when you choose which GPU you own are. The drivers (at least for XP) will have "whql" in the filename if they are.
    Reverting the BIOS fixed the problems, so here I am. Seems clear the RAM was screwing up a lot of data and corrupting shit left and right, so what did I do wrong, and how do I get it to run at the advertised 1066 mhz?
    What was the tRFC set to when you changed the timings? Does your motherboard require you to set the timings for each stick and maybe you didn't notice?

    EDIT: You can get the EPP settings with CPU-Z.

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Space is the Place Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I have the P5QL Pro from the build thread too, yeah. If you are thinking the last number (20 for you) is supposed to be the command rate, I'm pretty sure it's not, and I don't think this board lets you set that value anyway, so it should just get set automatically.
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    So here's the story: I built this system recently, and just noticed that the RAM I bought (Kingston HyperX 2x1GB 1066 mhz DDR2 kit, KHX8500D2K2/2GN on this page) has been running at 800 mhz. I looked into this, and it seems that you need to manually set the frequency, timings and voltage in the BIOS to get it to run at the advertised specs of 1066 mhz with timing 5-5-5-15 at 2.2 volts. Otherwise it will automatically run at 800 mhz with timing 5-5-5-18 at 1.8 volts. That's kind of bullshit, but I thought I could handle it.
    DDR2 specs specify that modules should run at 1.8 volts, which is why the RAM's SPD sets the timings to what the module can actually run at 1.8 volts. If your RAM and your motherboard supports EPP (Extended Performance Profiles) then it could have been automatically configured to run at the correct timings. The datasheet for the RAM says that it is "NVIDIA SLI-Ready" which means that it supports EPP, so either your motherboard lacks support or the support is disabled.
    In the middle of the installation, windows told me that I shouldn't install the driver because it doesn't have microsoft's approval. This was odd as I didn't get that the first time I installed it, and it's an official Nvidia driver so it seems unlikely they didn't get it certified.
    Not all of their drivers are WHQL certified, I'm pretty sure that all of the ones that they make available when you choose which GPU you own are. The drivers (at least for XP) will have "whql" in the filename if they are.
    Reverting the BIOS fixed the problems, so here I am. Seems clear the RAM was screwing up a lot of data and corrupting shit left and right, so what did I do wrong, and how do I get it to run at the advertised 1066 mhz?
    What was the tRFC set to when you changed the timings? Does your motherboard require you to set the timings for each stick and maybe you didn't notice?

    EDIT: You can get the EPP settings with CPU-Z.
    I don't think I messed with a tRFC setting, I only changed the frequency, voltage, CAS latency, RAS to CAS, row precharge delay, and row active delay. Everything else I left set to auto. All of the timing settings except the row active delay were the same as at 800 mhz anyway, 5. I was working under the assumption that the 5-5-5-15 numbers referred to those four settings in that order.

    I'm sure there was only one set of configuration options for the RAM, not seperate ones for each stick.

    What's CPU-Z?

    Also the video driver thing was definitely because of the RAM issue, since I installed it again after reverting and didn't get any errors or warnings.

  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I don't think I messed with a tRFC setting, I only changed the frequency, voltage, CAS latency, RAS to CAS, row precharge delay, and row active delay. Everything else I left set to auto. All of the timing settings except the row active delay were the same as at 800 mhz anyway, 5. I was working under the assumption that the 5-5-5-15 numbers referred to those four settings in that order.
    tRFC on your motherboard appears to be "Row Refresh Cycle Time". Try setting it to 35 the next time you change the timings on your RAM and see if that helps. Also, your motherboard's manual doesn't say anything about EPP support.
    What's CPU-Z?

    A handy tool to get information about your RAM/CPU/motherboard/etc. Doesn't require installation.

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Space is the Place Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    So if I don't have EPP it won't automatically configure the RAM to work at the full 1066 mhz specs, but I can still get it to work manually, right?

    CPU-Z reports the RAM as being... 400 mhz? Whut? When I boot up the system it reports it as 800 mhz.

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Space is the Place Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Ok, setting the row refresh cycle time to 35 and the other stuff, I got a BSOD while windows was loading :( Similar to the BSOD I got before I repaired the windows install, in that it happens during windows loading and restarts immediately so I can't read the damn thing.

    I'm guessing the 400 mhz listing in CPU-Z is normal, and that the number is listed as doubled generally because of some technical trick. Also there's nothing that looks related to EPP in CPU-Z, so I am guessing I don't have it on the mobo.

  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'm guessing the 400 mhz listing in CPU-Z is normal, and that the number is listed as doubled generally because of some technical trick.
    It's called Double Data Rate for a reason ;-)

  • grambogrambo Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Just to confirm (I know 99% you are most likely doing this properly) you are changing the RAM speed setting (aka divider) not the actual clock setting right? If you are changing the memory clock you are overclocking your CPU which is probably causing instability.

    Otherwise, I assume you are just selecting DDR2-1064 or whatever the speed is listed as in the BIOS instead of DDR2-800 (while staying at the same CPU clock). If this is so, running everything at spec it should work (the most important thing is memory voltage and the first 4 memory timings e.g. 5-5-5-12). Try using memtest at those settings, if it fails there are a few potential reasons:

    1) Bad stick of memory
    2) Motherboard having trouble handling the memory speed or handling the speed at that voltage (highly unlikely at that speed on a P5Q)
    3) Power supply having trouble (unlikely)

    I've had to return a few bad sticks before, it does happen.

    grambo..png
  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Space is the Place Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Would a stick that works fine at 800 mhz go bad at 1066 mhz? When it's tested by the manufacturer to run at 1066? I've been running with these sticks at 800mhz for weeks with no problems.

    When I change the settings to DDR2-1066, memory voltage to 2.2v, and set the first 4 timings to 5-5-5-15 as it is supposed to be, it works as I described in the OP: could boot windows, but souls of the damned started rising up, bathed in hellfire, seas ran red with blood, everything was crashing and fucking up, etc.

    My power supply should be more than adequate, it's a Corsair HX520w.

  • grambogrambo Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Yes it's possible the sticks will just not run (stable) at their specified speed/timings/voltage, I've had it personally happen (with Corsair DDR a few years ago, high end stuff at the time, two different SKUs).

    Please clarify though, you are changing ONLY the divider (e.g. selecting DDR2-1064 instead of DDR2-800 in BIOS) not changing the memory bus from 400 (DDR2-800) to 533 (DDR2-1067).

    And yeah, that PSU rules, I am running the same model, powers Q6700 3.3GHz, 4GB DDR2 (4x1GB sticks), GTX280 overclocked, SB X-Fi, 3 hard drives, DVDRW, 5 fans etc. no problem.

    grambo..png
  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Well this all is making me afraid to even bother trying to set my ram to 1066 when I get the new Power supply. I just got done reinstalling everything I'm not about to do it again. Everything is running hunky dory right now at 800mhz.

    I'm having trouble finding reviews of the ram though to know if the difference in performance between the two speeds makes it worthwhile to fiddle with. I mean, I got it so cheap that even if it's running at 800mhz, I still got a good price.

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  • grambogrambo Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Well this all is making me afraid to even bother trying to set my ram to 1066 when I get the new Power supply. I just got done reinstalling everything I'm not about to do it again. Everything is running hunky dory right now at 800mhz.

    I'm having trouble finding reviews of the ram though to know if the difference in performance between the two speeds makes it worthwhile to fiddle with. I mean, I got it so cheap that even if it's running at 800mhz, I still got a good price.

    You can always revert your BIOS settings if you encounter any trouble. Really though, I doubt you will see more than 1-2% performance increase from running your RAM 133MHz (267MHz DDR) faster at the same CPU speed. Especially in gaming, where GPU is really what matters in modern games at high detail. You would probably not notice any perceptual difference, but benchmarks like 3DMark, SuperPi etc would be slightly higher.

    grambo..png
  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    grambo wrote: »
    Well this all is making me afraid to even bother trying to set my ram to 1066 when I get the new Power supply. I just got done reinstalling everything I'm not about to do it again. Everything is running hunky dory right now at 800mhz.

    I'm having trouble finding reviews of the ram though to know if the difference in performance between the two speeds makes it worthwhile to fiddle with. I mean, I got it so cheap that even if it's running at 800mhz, I still got a good price.

    You can always revert your BIOS settings if you encounter any trouble. Really though, I doubt you will see more than 1-2% performance increase from running your RAM 133MHz (267MHz DDR) faster at the same CPU speed. Especially in gaming, where GPU is really what matters in modern games at high detail. You would probably not notice any perceptual difference, but benchmarks like 3DMark, SuperPi etc would be slightly higher.

    Well I'm worried about it corrupting vista. I had some hardware issues before (bad video card, weak PS) that I'm pretty sure led to vista just plain not working. constant blue screens, inability to install anything, etc. I just don't' want to fiddle with it and have the same thing occur. I don't particularly enjoy reinstalling my pc and all my games etc.

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  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Space is the Place Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I adjusted an option called "DRAM frequency." Nothing about any buses messed with.

    I'll just list all the items on the screen in question. Most of them are probably irrelevant, I've noted the ones that seem related to the RAM in bold. I've left everything set to auto if I don't know what it does or if it's irrelevant:

    AI Overclock Tuner (auto/manual)
    FSB Strap to North Bridge (auto/?)
    DRAM Frequency (auto/specific frequencies) [you can set this to various frequencies from DDR2-533mhz to DDR2-1200mhz, including 800mhz and 1066mhz]
    DRAM Timing Control (auto/manual) [manual lets you set timing values, otherwise uses values from SPD]
    DRAM Static Read Control (auto/disable/enable) [says it's related to DRAM overclocking but doesn't say how, left on default of auto]
    DRAM Read Training (auto/disable/enable) [ditto]
    MEM. OC Charger (auto/disable/enable) [ditto]

    AI Clock Twister (auto/?)
    AI Transaction Booster (auto/?)
    CPU Voltage (auto/specific voltage)
    FSB Termination Voltage (auto/specific voltage)
    Memory Voltage (auto/specific voltage) [goes from 1.8v to at least 2.2v, haven't bothered seeing how high it can go]
    North Bridge Voltage (auto/specific voltage)
    South Bridge Voltage (auto/specific voltage)
    Load-Line Calibration (auto/?)
    CPU GTL Reference (auto/?)
    CPU Spread Spectrum (auto/?)
    PCIE Spread Spectrum (auto/?)

  • grambogrambo Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Sounds like you are doing everything right, so now I would:

    1) contact the manufacturer about it, sometimes there are known 'issues' with certain SKUs of memory and certain motherboards so perhaps they can suggest a change to settings to make it work. Corsair and OCZ have forums where you can talk to tech support people with real knowledge who give you the right answer, check and see if Kingston does.

    2) Search forums for someone running the exact same mobo/RAM (at 1066) and see if they have suggestions on different settings.

    3) Attempt to get an RMA if you really want to run 1066. Personally I'd buy some high end 1066 at a local store in town (say Ballistix tracers 1066) and verify they run properly, then return them (assuming store has a cash back guarantee). If that worked I would RMA the Kingstons.

    grambo..png
  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Space is the Place Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'll contact kingston, but I'll probably end up just using them at 800mhz.

    Also, ASUS's support site is fucking awful. I think I remember it being good in the past, but now it's all in engrish and parts of it don't work. And it's incredibly obtuse and hard to navigate.

  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I bet money he's still changing the actual speed of the FSB. I had the same issue running GeiL EvoOne 1066 memory, and I was changing the speed from 800mhz (400mhz) to 1066mhz (533mhz).

    No wonder I was getting BIOS fail messages!

  • ArcticMonkeyArcticMonkey Registered User
    edited November 2008
    grambo wrote: »
    Sounds like you are doing everything right, so now I would:

    1) contact the manufacturer about it, sometimes there are known 'issues' with certain SKUs of memory and certain motherboards so perhaps they can suggest a change to settings to make it work. Corsair and OCZ have forums where you can talk to tech support people with real knowledge who give you the right answer, check and see if Kingston does.

    2) Search forums for someone running the exact same mobo/RAM (at 1066) and see if they have suggestions on different settings.

    3) Attempt to get an RMA if you really want to run 1066. Personally I'd buy some high end 1066 at a local store in town (say Ballistix tracers 1066) and verify they run properly, then return them (assuming store has a cash back guarantee). If that worked I would RMA the Kingstons.
    I'm not sure which Asus MB OP has, but the KHX8500D2K2/2GN was recommended by Asus for my P5QL-E at least. It works fine on that MB at 1066Mhz without changing Ram Voltage for me. The only thing I changed in BIOS was DRAM Frequency to DDR2-1066, (Which left timings to 5-5-5-18, not 5-5-5-15, but I haven't bothered to fix that).

    Also when using dual memory channels the change from DDR2-800 to 1066 is not that huge since the bottleneck will usually be somewhere else, so using DDR2-1066 sticks at 800Mhz with 4-4-4 timings should be close to 1066Mhz at 5-5-5 in performance.
    The 800Mhz tells how much data can be read in a second, while the 4-4-4 tells how quick data is delivered to the CPU after being requested. And 800-4-4-4 and 1066-5-5-5 is really close with 1066 being a fraction faster.

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  • grambogrambo Registered User
    edited November 2008
    grambo wrote: »
    Sounds like you are doing everything right, so now I would:

    1) contact the manufacturer about it, sometimes there are known 'issues' with certain SKUs of memory and certain motherboards so perhaps they can suggest a change to settings to make it work. Corsair and OCZ have forums where you can talk to tech support people with real knowledge who give you the right answer, check and see if Kingston does.

    2) Search forums for someone running the exact same mobo/RAM (at 1066) and see if they have suggestions on different settings.

    3) Attempt to get an RMA if you really want to run 1066. Personally I'd buy some high end 1066 at a local store in town (say Ballistix tracers 1066) and verify they run properly, then return them (assuming store has a cash back guarantee). If that worked I would RMA the Kingstons.
    I'm not sure which Asus MB OP has, but the KHX8500D2K2/2GN was recommended by Asus for my P5QL-E at least. It works fine on that MB at 1066Mhz without changing Ram Voltage for me. The only thing I changed in BIOS was DRAM Frequency to DDR2-1066, (Which left timings to 5-5-5-18, not 5-5-5-15, but I haven't bothered to fix that).

    Also when using dual memory channels the change from DDR2-800 to 1066 is not that huge since the bottleneck will usually be somewhere else, so using DDR2-1066 sticks at 800Mhz with 4-4-4 timings should be close to 1066Mhz at 5-5-5 in performance.
    The 800Mhz tells how much data can be read in a second, while the 4-4-4 tells how quick data is delivered to the CPU after being requested. And 800-4-4-4 and 1066-5-5-5 is really close with 1066 being a fraction faster.

    Yeah it's odd I wouldn't expect a problem running at those speeds especially at 2.2V. You have to remember though, basically the memory manufacturers bin the actual ram chips based on quick performance tests, so there is an error rate in that they will sell 1066 DIMMs that aren't capable of running stable at that speed (error rate is probably pretty low depending on how much testing is done after assembly of the DIMM).

    1ddqd: in the ASUS bios for Intel chipsets, there is an option to change the memory divider which is what he is doing, but rather than having ratios like 1:1, 3:2 etc. it lists the speed the memory will run at given your current bus speed, so he is basically selecting 3:2 or something instead of 1:1. To overclock the CPU there is a separate menu option under CPU to change the bus frequency/multiplier.

    And yeah, Asus' website is absolutely terrible. It's been the same for at least 4 or 5 years now, super slow, unresponsive, random broken FTP links, 25kbyte/s downloads, corrupt files, different bios revisions on different geographical sites etc.

    grambo..png
  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    grambo wrote: »
    1ddqd: in the ASUS bios for Intel chipsets, there is an option to change the memory divider which is what he is doing, but rather than having ratios like 1:1, 3:2 etc. it lists the speed the memory will run at given your current bus speed, so he is basically selecting 3:2 or something instead of 1:1. To overclock the CPU there is a separate menu option under CPU to change the bus frequency/multiplier.
    I know, I've got an Asus P5E-VM HDMI - I was messing with the exact same thing in the exact same wrong way lol

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