After a routine cleaning – removing essentially all the parts (PSU, CPU fan, GPU, HDD and DVD drive, cleaning each separately, well except for the HDD and DVD) – the system would not come back on. The monitor showed nothing. The boot beep was longer, about a full second or more. The boot process repeated itself over and over, each time displaying nothing and just beeping.

I unplugged the system and moved the rightmost RAM stick over one slot. That did it! My primary question: the RAM is under warranty – should I take it back, or this a problem with the motherboard?

I'd like to be able to use the dual channel capability. According to the motherboard manual, I should put the two sticks in the leftmost slots (of the same color) and not one in each of a different color. So, as of this moment (as I write this!) I don't know what memory state it's in. Secondary question: How do I check? Everything seems fine; should I be worrying? I really hope it's not the mobo.

I use Kingston HyperX DDR2 RAM on a Gigabyte motherboard.


Another detail I should probably mention: I ran memtest about a half year ago, overnight, (RAM was in the leftmost two slots) with no errors. The whole story goes like this: I've been having trouble for two years now figuring out the cause of my system lockup, which happens fairly often but irregularly.

I've ruled out temperature and overheating, HDD error; I've installed new drivers for everything, etc. I really hope the RAM is the problem, because then I could just get a new pair and be done with the system freezing issue.

  • Running memtest again cannot hurt.
    – soandos
    Aug 22 '11 at 7:56
  • There's a very low probability that both RAM sticks are faulty. Testing those RAM sticks on another machine should get rid of any doubts. Also having them tested independently can point you over the issue as well.
    – m0skit0
    Aug 22 '11 at 8:26
  • After you had it working did you try putting it back in the other slot? I'm wondering if it wasn't properly seated.
    – Col
    Aug 22 '11 at 10:30
  • @Col Yes, I did and yes I checked for snugness.
    – userJD-512
    Aug 22 '11 at 11:33
  • @userJD-512 I just had a look on the kingston site and they offer a lifetime warranty on the hyperx ram so it might be worth reporting the issue to them. They should either send you a new stick or at least do some diagnosis to rule out the ram as the issue.
    – Col
    Aug 22 '11 at 14:31

When it comes to memtest, overnight is not always enough, and passing half a year ago does not mean they'd pass now. Overnight might be enough to prove the memories are faulty, but not enough to prove they work. Something like 1-3 days straight is needed to be reasonably certain about the memories working.

Also, it is possible the motherboard is somehow faulty, and single-channel operation works but dual-channel does not. If the same memories in different slots work fine but in some not, I'd suspect the motherboard. Dual-channel operation obviously changes the stress to the motherboard and processor, so it can make problems come up that would eternally go unnoticed on single-channel operation.

Knowing your processor, motherboard and memory models would not hurt in helping you, too.

  • Thanks for the response. After switching around the RAM, it turns out that if either stick is in that second slot (second from the top in the photo), the system won't boot. I get that 3-second beep. I air cleaned the slot and I also popped the battery to clear the CMOS(?) just in case that was messing with the slot. No dice. What say you about a mobo with a faulty slot? Is it bad for the long run? And one more question: do you know of a way for me to determine whether I am running dual or single channel? I'd like to use what I've got at it's fullest potential, right? Thank you.
    – userJD-512
    Aug 23 '11 at 18:31
  • The "memtest" at least used to be able to tell if you are running dual-channel mode. Bad slot is not a big deal if you don't need to occupy all slots. Just prepare to replace the mobo in year or two, if this is just the first sign of it dying. If not, then, well, good.
    – Zds
    Aug 23 '11 at 19:31

Its impossible to diagnose over the internet. But your test with moving the RAM to different slots is a good enough reason to replace them under warranty. Once you get the replacement RAM, and the machine is still not functioning properly, then you know its the motherboard. But at least you know your memory is good at that point.

  • I suppose you're right--it's simple enough to do. I suppose I could also run memtest again. I've also learned that booting with only one stick in, then switching them, then booting with one stick in the next slot over, etc could be a reliable test as well. Anyone recommend any other simple tests for either the slots or the RAM sticks (like a program?)
    – userJD-512
    Aug 22 '11 at 8:02
  • testing each stick is the way to go
    – Keltari
    Aug 22 '11 at 8:09

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