BSOD and random reboots issue solved


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I just want to share a success story, from advice given on this forum.

My brand new Dell Studio XPS 8100 running 64-bit Windows 7 started doing random reboots about every half hour almost as soon as I took it out of the box (including during the very first startup sequence). I unchecked the option to restart after a crash, and the random BSODs began.

After checking this forum, I tried a few things. I tried reinstalling Windows and I tried a new PSU. Then I tried swapping the RAM sticks around. The problems stopped when I removed the two 1-Gig sticks and left the two 2-Gig sticks.

So it was either the motherboard or the 1-Gig RAM sticks. To check this, I replaced the 2-Gig sticks with the 1-Gig sticks in the same slots. The problem did not return. So I was pretty sure it was the motherboard.

I contacted Dell and they agreed with my analysis and scheduled someone to bring a new motherboard tomorrow (and they'll bring some RAM, just in case).

Thanks for all the help you guys give on this forum.
 
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Hey.

The problem is neither the motherboard nor the memory.

The problem is that the memory modules are mismatched, meaning that they are not the same as each other. Then because of that, the motherboard applies the incorrect voltage, frequency or timings in relation to at least one of the sticks.

So, the best course of action in this case is to ensure that all memory modules are of the same exact model number and even size. You could probably manually tweak the bios to allow the mismatched ram, but it is not worth the effort. I recommend all the same ram in each slot.

Hope this help with the problem, to give a better understanding.

You're welcome.
 
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Hi TorrentG,

Thanks for the info. I'll check that.

The strange things is, I bought two of the same machine (one was for my daughter) with identical setups. Hers has given no problems at all.

I was hoping to avoid messing with her machine but I suppose a good idea will be to borrow her memory and see if it works in my machine?
 
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Nah. Of course it's your hardware and your choice, but I wouldn't bother fussing with a well working machine.

If you have crash dumps, I can look at them to see if there are any red flags to point out. You can see the sticky thread in this section of the forum if you'd like to post.

Other than that, like I said, it would probably be in your best interest to run only the same exact sticks in each slot...no matter the config from Dell or if it actually works on another identical machine.
 
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When I was messing with the RAM I also tried moving the two sticks that I now have with the machine running fine, and placed them in the slots previously occupied by the 1-Gig sticks. This gave me loads of random reboots and BSODs. I thinks that's why I assumed it was the motherboard, because I had two sets of matching sticks working on one set of slots, but not in the other.
 

Nibiru2012

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I thinks that's why I assumed it was the motherboard, because I had two sets of matching sticks working on one set of slots, but not in the other.
From what you're describing, it definitely sounds like your motherboard. Good job by the way on the analysis of your problem.

I sincerely don't believe your RAM is mis-matched. Nor are the memory modules themselves (little chips on the DIMM sticks), As long as it's the same brand, series and timings everything should be fine, the voltage setting is through the motherboard.

You can put 2GB and 1GB sticks together on the same motherboard with no problem at all. I have done it my myself and my computer runs flawlessly.

In DDR2 or DDR3 RAM configurations the sockets are color matched, so as long as the 2GB stick are in the same color sockets and the 1GB sticks are in another color sockets your fine.
 
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Thanks Nibiru. The technician is coming tomorrow (I hope). I'll post the results after he's been. I hope it's the motherboard because he's bringing one with him...

This is a terrific forum by the way. I think it's great that you guys help people out like this. I've learnt a ton from reading through the posts.
 

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