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Thread: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?




  1. #1
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    Default Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    Hi, I’m very new here, so please excuse me if I ramble a bit.

    I have a GA-EP45-DQ6 motherboard and it’s been working fine for half a year now, with 2GB Kingmax RAM. But now I decided to upgrade to 4GB and bought a Corsair DHX kit, which worked fine for five days and then started crashing and giving errors under memtest86+. When I first installed the modules, there seemed to be nothing wrong with them, they showed no errors during 5+ passes of memtest. But after less than a week, my system started randomly crashing and the same tests then showed a deluge of errors.

    So I got the sticks replaced and the replacements had the same problem, only I caught it before the crashing started. Now, the store’s been very nice about all this and agreed to exchange it for roughly equivalent OCZ sticks. They said that there had been several complaints about that particular kind of Corsair RAM recently, so maybe it was a faulty series.

    On the Corsair forums though, they suggested that if the replacements have errors too, it might be an issue with the motherboard. Now of course, they would want to defend their brand, but I don’t want to dismiss it out of hand either. Is it even possible for a faulty MB to permanently damage RAM while appearing to work flawlessly?

    The MB didn’t do anything to the previous RAM for months, but on the other hand, those didn’t need to run at 2.1V, which the BIOS considers to be the lower limit of “dangerous” voltages. (BTW, how seriously is that warning to be taken?) There is an “excessive overvoltage” LED for the memory on the MB, which flashes up exactly once, when the system first gets power after being unplugged and then never again, as far as I can tell. And it does that regardless of the type of RAM or the voltage set.

    Right now, I haven’t received the OCZ sticks yet and I’m back to my old Kingmax RAM, but I want to play this as safe as possible. Any advice?


    System:

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
    Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 (BIOS version F12)
    Sapphire Radeon HD 4870
    PSU: Point of View / Tagan 850W
    Last edited by AdamH; 05-29-2009 at 06:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    The bios is set to the red at 2.10 or higher memory voltages. Some DDR2 memory is rated at 2.20 volts or higher.

    You can confirm the actual memory voltage in the bios PC Health Status screen or by using monitoring software (Everest, SpeedFan, HWmonitor, etc.).

    It's highly unlikely that your mobo "fried" your memory. You can probably run your memory at DDR2-800 speeds using 1.80 - 1.90 volts to see if you're still getting errors.

    We can help you better if you post your bios settings using the template in this post. Be sure to clearly indicate which bios settings use AUTO.
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    Well, the problem with the previous kits was that there were no errors at first, until about a week when one of the sticks would go nuts and start showing errors on every setting, slot and (considering that I managed to get them exchanged) probably every computer.

    Anyhow, I got the OCZ RAM now (it's an OCZ2P10664GK kit) and I plugged it in, left everything on auto and it seems to be error-free for now. Made 2 clean passes under memtest86+ v2.11. Of course, considering past events, I'm not entirely relieved. Various monitoring programs seem to disagree on what exactly the voltage and frequency is. PC Health Status says 2.240V. The overvoltage LED says nothing (except for flashing once when the system is plugged in.). edit: Actually, it seems to happen whenever it gets powered on and is beginning to bug me. How is this things supposed to work? Shouldn't it stay on if there is a problem? Why does it flash if there isn't?

    Here are the current BIOS settings:

    Code:
    MB Intelligent Tweaker(M.I.T.)
    Robust Graphics Booster ...............: Auto
    CPU Clock Ratio ..........................: 9X
    Fine CPU Clock Ratio.....................: +0.5
    CPU Frequency ...........................: 3.16Ghz (333x9.5)
    
    
    Clock Chip Control 
    Standard Clock Control
    CPU Host Clock Control..................: [Disabled] 
    CPU Host Frequency (Mhz) ............: 333 Mhz
    PCI Express Frequency (Mhz) .........: [Auto]
    
    C.I.A.2 .................................:[Disabled]
    
    
    Advanced Clock Control [Press Enter]
    CPU Clock Drive...........................: <<< 800
    PCI Express Clock Drive.................: <<< 900
    CPU Clock Skew (ps)....................: <<< 
    MCH Clock Skew (ps)...................: <<< 
    
    
    DRAM Performance Control
    Performance Enhance...................: [STANDARD]
    Extreme Memory Profile (X.M.P.).....: [Auto]
    (G)MCH Frequency Latch...............: [Auto]
    System Memory Multiplier ..............: [Auto]
    Memory Frequency (Mhz) ..............: 1066 1066
    DRAM Timing Selectable ................: [Auto]
    
    Standard Timing Control
    CAS Latency Time........................: 5
    tRCD .........................................: 5
    tRP'...........................................: 5
    tRAS..........................................: 15
    
    Advanced Timing Control
    tRRD...........................................: 4
    tWTR..........................................: 4
    tWR............................................: 6
    tRFC...........................................: 72
    tRTP...........................................: 4
    Command Rate (CMD) ....................: 0
    
    Driving Strength Profiles
    Driving Strength ............................
    
    Channel A
    Static tRead Value.........................: 8 [Auto]
     tRD Phase0 Adjustment...................: 0 [Auto]
    tRD Phase1 Adjustment...................: 0 [Auto]
     tRD Phase2 Adjustment .................: 0 [Auto]
     tRD Phase3 Adjustment..................: 0 [Auto]
    Trd2rd(Different Rank)....................: 8 [Auto]
    Twr2wr(Different Rank)...................: 8 [Auto]
    Twr2rd(Different Rank)...................: 7 [Auto]
    Trd2wr(Same/Diff Rank)..................: 9 [Auto]
    Dimm1 Clock Skew Control...............:Auto  ps
    Dimm2 Clock Skew Control...............:Auto  ps
    
    Channel B
    Static tRead Value.........................: 8 [Auto]
     tRD Phase0 Adjustment...................: 0 [Auto]
    tRD Phase1 Adjustment...................: 0 [Auto]
     tRD Phase2 Adjustment .................: 0 [Auto]
     tRD Phase3 Adjustment..................: 0 [Auto]
    Trd2rd(Different Rank)....................: 8 [Auto]
    Twr2wr(Different Rank)...................: 8 [Auto]
    Twr2rd(Different Rank)...................: 7 [Auto]
    Trd2wr(Same/Diff Rank)..................: 9 [Auto]
    Dimm1 Clock Skew Control...............:Auto  ps
    Dimm2 Clock Skew Control...............:Auto  ps
    
    Motherboard Voltage Control
    Voltage Type.………... Manual
    CPU
    CPU Vcore................: 1.25000V [Auto]
    CPU Termination.....: 1.200V [Auto]
    CPU PLL....: 1.500V [Auto]
    CPU Referen.....: 0.760V [Auto]
    CPU Reference2.....: 0.800V [Auto]
    MCH/ICH
    MCH Core…………….....1.100V [Auto]
    MCH Reference….…….0.760V [Auto]
    MCH/DRAM Ref.…......0.900V [Auto]
    ICH I/O……………….....1.500V [Auto]
    ICH Core…………...: N/A
    
    DRAM
    DRAM Voltage ……....1.800V [Auto]
    DRAM Termination .…0.900V [Auto]
    Channel A Reference 0.900V [Auto]
    Channel B Reference 0.900V [Auto]
    
    Advanced Settings
    Limit CPUID Max. to 3.....................: [Disabled]
    No-Execute Memory Protect............: [Enabled]
    CPU Enhanced Halt (C1E)................: [Enabled]
    C2/C2E State Support....................: [Disabled]
    x C4/C4E State Support..................: [Disabled]
    CPU Thermal Monitor 2(TM2) ...........: [Enabled]
    CPU EIST Function.........................: [Enabled]
    Virtualization Technology................: [Enabled] Enabled if you use Vmware/Virtual PC
    
    Integrated Peripherals
    Legacy USB Storage Detect ..............[Disabled]
    Anyone care to suggest some very safe settings?
    Last edited by AdamH; 05-30-2009 at 04:49 AM. Reason: hatred and mistrust of overvoltage LED

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    The mobo's overvoltage LED is probably designed to flash momentarily when the power is turned on to indicate that the LED is functioning. I wouldn't worry about it.

    All the AUTO settings will work fine, as long as you're running your system at stock speeds. My preference is to set some of the voltages manually, as shown in this post.
    Before you make any bios changes, provide the following info in your next post:

    1) Link to your memory's full specifications.
    2) A screenshot that includes:
    Memset using the SPD and ">>" tabs
    cpu-z main screen
    EasyTune6 --> TUNER tab --> ADVANCE tab --> VOLTAGE tab

    Your memory voltages appear to be too high.
    We can provide some safe memory settings to give your system better performance once we see what Memset reports.

    Are you looking to overclock your system?
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by profJim View Post
    The mobo's overvoltage LED is probably designed to flash momentarily when the power is turned on to indicate that the LED is functioning. I wouldn't worry about it.
    I did think of that, but the other diagnostic LEDs don't seem to flash.

    Memory specifications here: OCZ official page

    Screenshot is attached (hopefully). I wasn't sure which one you meant by "main screen" with CPU-Z, so I'll make another post with a pic of some more CPU-Z shots.

    I'm not intending to overclock.
    Last edited by AdamH; 05-30-2009 at 07:14 PM. Reason: added comment about insidious overvoltage LED

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    Sorry, I hadn't realised that there is a 1 attachment limit when I made the screenshots. Here are the rest of the CPU-Z ones.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    Good screenshots.

    With stock cpu speeds, the following will give you better memory performance:

    DRAM Performance Control
    Performance Enhance...................: [STANDARD] <-- set to Turbo (Extreme might work with stock settings)
    Extreme Memory Profile (X.M.P.).....: [Auto] <-- set to Disabled
    (G)MCH Frequency Latch...............: [Auto]
    System Memory Multiplier ..............: [Auto]
    Memory Frequency (Mhz) ..............: 1066 1066
    DRAM Timing Selectable ................: [Auto] <-- set to Manual

    Standard Timing Control
    CAS Latency Time........................: 5 <-- set to 5
    tRCD .........................................: 5 <-- set to 5
    tRP'...........................................: 5 <-- set to 5
    tRAS..........................................: 15 <-- set to 15

    Static tRead Value.........................: 8 [Auto] <-- set to 7 for memory channels A and B (6 might work, lower = better performance)

    MCH/ICH
    MCH Core…………….....1.100V [Auto] <-- this might need to be set higher with tighter memory settings, possibly 1.16 - 1.20 volts

    DRAM
    DRAM Voltage ……....1.800V [Auto] <-- set to 2.20 volts, possibly 2.22 volts

    With the tighter memory timings, you'll want to ensure that your system is stable by running Intel BurnTest (IBT) for 10 - 20 passes, followed by Prime95, OCCT or Orthos for 12 hours or more.

    It is a good idea to save your stable bios settings by using the SAVE/LOAD bios profiles option in the bios. Check out this post for more information.

    Let us know how you make out.
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    All right, I made the following BIOS changes:
    Code:
    DRAM Performance Control
    Extreme Memory Profile (X.M.P.).....: [Auto] -> Disabled
    DRAM Timing Selectable ................: [Auto] -> Manual
    
    Standard Timing Control
    CAS Latency Time........................: 5 -> 5
    tRCD .........................................: 5 -> 5
    tRP'...........................................: 5 -> 5
    tRAS..........................................: 15 -> 5
    
    Static tRead Value........................: 8 -> 7 (memory channels A and B)
    
    CPU VCore: 1.25000V [Auto] -> 1.25000V (manually)
    
    MCH/ICH
    MCH Core ...................................: 1.100V -> 1.200V
    
    DRAM
    DRAM Voltage ..............................: 1.800V -> 2.200V
    (BTW, should I do nothing to do with the advanced timing controls?)

    The system seems fine so far. I ran IBT for 15 passes on standard and no apparent problems. Although if I try it on maximum, it tells me I can't use more than 2047 MB on a 32-bit system and if I try 2047, the test ends instantly with no results.

    The 12-hour test will have to wait until tomorrow, so I'm doing a bit more memtest right now. I'm using 86+ 2.11 because that was recommended by the folks at Corsair, but I don't know if that's the best for OCZ. Any opinions on that?

    Anyway, thanks for the the detailed advice so far. It's been a great help. I'm just hoping the system won't mysteriously die in 5 days again. I'm starting think about the damn thing like the curse in Ringu...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    The advanced memory timings can improve performance, but not to a significant degree. If you want to give it a try, change the following settings:

    Advanced Timing Control
    tRRD............... 4 ..........: [Auto] <-- set to 3
    tWTR.............. 4 ..........: [Auto] <-- set to 3
    tWR................ 6 ..........: [Auto] <-- set to 5
    tRFC.............. 72 ..........: [Auto] <-- set to 52
    tRTP............... 4 ..........: [Auto] <-- set to 3

    Setting tRFC = 52 will have a significant effect on memory performance.
    At 333MHz cpu speeds, Static tRead Value = 6 has an even greater positive effect on memory performance. If tRD = 6 is too tight, your system may not boot or you'll fail stability testing fairly quickly. You'll need to perform addition stress testing with these changes.

    Memtest86+ is an excellent test for all memory. At this point you can get away with a one pass test and then follow up with IBT and extended Prime95 testing.

    Don't be paranoid about your new memory,as it can fail at any time, but this is the exception, not the rule.
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is my GA-EP45-DQ motherboard killing my RAM?

    Okay, update:

    I made no more changes and did a 12-hour test with Prime95. No problems.
    Used the computer for a day, not doing much more than browsing. I rebooted a few times for various reasons, such as uninstalling EasyTune (is there way to make it not bother me at startup?) and Steam being a pain. No real issues.

    Then, an hour ago, I rebooted again and got a BSOD. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off automatic restarting for that, so I didn't get the details and I don't know where to dig up the logs.

    That gave me quite fright, but no errors in Memtest and afterwards I could boot up without a BSOD and once again get 15 passes on that IntelBurnTest program.

    This whole thing is beginning to traumatize me, I think.

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