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I have a rackmount computer running Ubuntu (Karmic). It's about 18 months old and for as long as I've had it I've had problems with memory. It has 2 x 2 GB of RAM (Crucial Ballistix - BL2KIT25664AA80A) and every 2 or 3 months I get segfaults and crashes. I do a memory test (Memtest 86+) and find that one of the modules has errors (thousands of errors). I remove that module and return it to Crucial for a new one (covered by lifetime warranty), and everything works for another 2-3 months until the exact same thing happens again. Each module seems to last 4-6 months. I've exchanged 5 modules so far and tonight I removed the 6th.

Am I really having bad luck with memory or is it possible something else in my setup is defective? I am tired of returning memory to Crucial and will probably purchase something new this time, but want to make sure I'm not wasting $100.

The computer is on about 120 hours/week. I also have a second comuputer in the same rack with identical hardware that runs Windows XP for 20-40 hours/week. I'm having the exact same problem with that machine except in 18 months it's been just one module exchanged, presumably because of less time running.

Other information about the setup (identical on both machines):

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4 (Intel X38 chipset)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz Dual-Core
Case: Antec Take 3 + 650 3U Rackmount Server Case w/ 650W Power Supply

All bios settings are "default/auto" (memory timing, clock speed, etc). I have had no other problems whatsoever with either of these computers.

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1 Answer 1

This could be heat issues; do you monitor heat on the machines?

Also, you should seriously consider getting ECC RAM if this is happening so frequently. That may give you a little extra time / give you a little bit more warning before you get crashes.

Finally, do you run memtest when you get the RAM to verify that it is working correctly when received?

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Good questions. I check the temperature of the machines in the BIOS occasionally and they both seem fine. There's plenty of air circulation in and around the rack and the cases never feel hot. I do not check the new memory when I get it, but I will from now on. And I will consider ECC memory, though I'd really like to know what's causing the problem in the first place. –  Alex Reisner Aug 5 '10 at 16:20
    
Re: Temperature: Unless the machines are in a room that is explicitly allocated to storing computers, it is quite likely that the space has an energy efficient thermostat that ensures the temperature is comfortable while people are there, but allows the temperature to fluctuate more when people are not there. Keeping a log on the system or staying late / coming in very early may be the best way to be sure. –  Slartibartfast Aug 6 '10 at 1:29

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