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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?