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Please advise how to "upgrade the RAM", properly, for Thinkpad T480:

The problem

I got the machine in March 2018, and things were working right out of the box: I pop in my old SSD (re-imaged) and my old RAMs (32G) from T470, and everything was working back then.

Last Thursday, IBM kindly replaced my mother board to fix an issue with a set of three docking stations: none of the USB ports on the docks worked. After the motherboard replacement, I see Blue Screen every other 10 minutes or so.

It started as showing Blue Screen only when I pop the laptop from the dock; then, after the kind suggestions to change BIOS setting (disabling a set of Display + Thunderbolt settings), I am welcomed by the Blue Screen every 10 minutes or so.

Upon a third call to Thinkpad Premier support, I was told to throw away those 32GB of RAM, and go with the Lenovo RAM (8GB). It should have stopped the Blue Screen from popping up anymore. I don't get the rationale behind this, and I also would like to perform a RAM upgrade.

In short, Lenovo is selling 8GB of ram (another one) at 200+ USD. Again, I cannot make sense from this either.

Please advise what specification of RAM should I buy

Previously, my 32GB OWC RAMs are working well for my T470 and T480. I bought it from here.

Specification for the pair of RAM that fails on the new Mother Board:

32.0GB (2 x 16.0GB) 2400MHZ DDR4 SO-DIMM PC4-19200 260 Pin CL17

Here goes the specs for the 8GB RAM that I got out of the box, from Lenovo:

Samsung 8GB DDR4 PC4-19200, 2400MHz, 260 PIN SODIMM, CL 17, 1.2V, ram memory module, M471A1K43BB1-CRC

8GB is too small for my computing need, and buying another 8GB at $200+ is beyond my craziest imagination. Here goes the listings of RAMs that are sold by Lenovo. enter image description here

Glossary of Blue Screens - Debugging Info

Here goes a link to the "Crash logs", in XML format: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7e5eubwuq0h0lhk/Crashes_after_MotherboardReplacement.XML?dl=0

Here goes the variety of Blue Screen that I have seen. (These photos are hosted in a foreign equivalent of Dropbox.)

  • 1
    Most of these blue screens are "system service exception" in win32k and IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. While this may be caused by RAM problem, I am not sure. Try to run a RAM test from Windows diagnostic menu, or something provided by Lenovo if available. Only if RAM test definitely shows error, go for RAM replacement. Otherwise, reinstall Windows from scratch (as opposite to image created for some other model). – ddbug Sep 17 '18 at 12:28
  • There is absolutely no difference between the memory you currently have and the memory Lenovo wants to sell you except for the size of the module. Which means this isn't caused by incompatible memory modules. It could be caused by memory modules that need to be replaced due to them not actually be operational. Have you tried booting a fresh installation of Windows? Have you ran MemTestx86? Edit your question to include this vital information required to answer your question. – Ramhound Sep 17 '18 at 20:56
  • @ddbug and AT Ramhound, thank you for pointing me to the right direction. Will play with the RAM tests once I get replacement RAM from OWC. >>> It took me a frustrating morning to record those crash logs. I am also surprised by how affirmative Lenovo people were emphasizing their RAM, as if there should some black magic. [Interestingly, OWC support people also said that their RAM is intended for iMac only, as per their listing on Amazon.] – llinfeng Sep 18 '18 at 13:54
  • I'm thinking that maybe something is slightly different with the board they put in. Those BSODs are typically either bad/wrong drivers or hardware prob. Examining the dump files would give you a better idea as to what's going wrong and as you said the RAM was working perfectly fine before. Also have you considered doing a clean install of windows? – Hefewe1zen Sep 18 '18 at 14:24
  • @Hefewe1zen Will reinstall windows if the new 32 GB kit continues to generate Blue Screens. Not in a good situation to redo my OS in the middle of the week. – llinfeng Sep 18 '18 at 17:07
1

Debugging suggestions in brief

As suggested by @ddbug's comment, the right way to go is to inspect what does the error message tell us. This leads to the following list of steps:

  • Run a RAM test;
  • Replace the RAM if necessary.

According to @Ramhound, there should be no "dark magic" in RAMs: per the set of two RAMs that I have listed, none of them should work exclusively for Lenovo or iMac.

Final solution: replacing the 32GB RAM kit

Upon installing a brand-new OWC RAM (32GB), my laptop is back alive. I don't see a burning need to reinstall the OS.

In the mean time when I am with 8GB of RAM, I wrote the following AutoHotKey scripts to restrict the accidental firing of RAM-eating programs, namely Chrome and Kiwi for Gmail. These scripts look ugly, but does the job: if the physical memory is less than 10GB or so, shortcuts for those two programs won't start new instances from them.

; Chrome: this thing is also RAM heavy;
^+\::
IfWinExist ahk_group Chrome_no_Remote
    groupactivate, Chrome_no_Remote, r
; Assign to variable: TotalPhys the Bytes in memory
; Source: https://autohotkey.com/board/topic/33622-report-physical-ram-installed/#entry213392
VarSetCapacity( MEMORYSTATUSEX,64,0 ), NumPut( 64,MEMORYSTATUSEX ) 
DllCall( "GlobalMemoryStatusEx", UInt,&MEMORYSTATUSEX )
TotalPhys := NumGet( MEMORYSTATUSEX,8,"Int64"),   VarSetCapacity( PhysMem,16,0 )
DllCall( "shlwapi.dll\StrFormatByteSize64A", Int64,TotalPhys, Str,PhysMem, UInt,16 )
if (TotalPhys >= 10000000000) {
    IfWinExist ahk_group Chrome_no_Remote
        groupactivate, Chrome_no_Remote, r
    else
        run "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"
    return
}
return


; Kiwi as multiple Gmail account manager
#+k::
; Assign to variable: TotalPhys the Bytes in memory
; Source: https://autohotkey.com/board/topic/33622-report-physical-ram-installed/#entry213392
VarSetCapacity( MEMORYSTATUSEX,64,0 ), NumPut( 64,MEMORYSTATUSEX ) 
DllCall( "GlobalMemoryStatusEx", UInt,&MEMORYSTATUSEX )
TotalPhys := NumGet( MEMORYSTATUSEX,8,"Int64"),   VarSetCapacity( PhysMem,16,0 )
DllCall( "shlwapi.dll\StrFormatByteSize64A", Int64,TotalPhys, Str,PhysMem, UInt,16 )
if (TotalPhys >= 10000000000) {
    IfWinExist ahk_exe Kiwi for Gmail.exe
        groupactivate, KIWI, r
        ; WinActivate ahk_exe Kiwi for Gmail.exe
        ; Send, {ALTDOWN}{TAB}{TAB}{ALTUP}
        ; sleep, 50
        ; Send, {ALTDOWN}{TAB}{TAB}{ALTUP}
    else
        run C:\Users\llinfeng\AppData\Local\KiwiForGmail\Kiwi for Gmail.exe
    return
}
return

Old OS runs well

My laptop has been running for 10+ hours, and no Blue Screen has occurred a single time. Yet, the RAM consumption is horrible: with not doing any heavy-lifting, it is happily eating up 17GB of memory.

enter image description here

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