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Memory Defect Isolation Procedures

To use these steps, I am assuming you have identified an actual memory problem that is being reported by the POST or disk-based memory diagnostics. If this is the case, see the following steps and Figure 6.21 for the steps to identify or isolate which module is causing the problem.

Figure 6.21

Figure 6.21 Follow these steps if you are still encountering memory errors after completing the steps in .

  1. Restart the system and enter the BIOS Setup. Under a menu usually called Advanced or Chipset Setup might be memory timing parameters. Select BIOS or Setup defaults, which are usually the slowest settings. If the memory timings have been manually set, as shown in Figure 6.20, reset the memory configuration to By SPD.
  2. Save the settings, reboot, and retest using the testing and troubleshooting procedures listed earlier. If the problem has been solved, improper BIOS settings were the problem. If the problem remains, you likely do have defective memory, so continue to the next step.
  3. Open the system for physical access to the modules on the motherboard. Identify the bank arrangement in the system. Using the manual or the legend silk-screened on the motherboard, identify which modules correspond to which banks. Remember that if you are testing a multi-channel system, you must be sure you remove all of the modules in the same channel.
  4. Remove all the memory except the first bank and then retest using the troubleshooting and testing procedures listed earlier (see Figure 6.22). If the problem remains with all but the first bank removed, the problem has been isolated to the first bank, which must be replaced.
    Figure 6.22

    Figure 6.22 This system is using user-defined memory timings, which could cause the memory to be unstable.

  5. Replace the memory in the first bank (preferably with known good spare modules, but you can also swap in others that you have removed) and then retest. If the problem still remains after testing all the memory banks (and finding them all to be working properly), it is likely the motherboard itself is bad (probably one of the memory sockets). Replace the motherboard and retest.
  6. At this point, the first (or previous) bank has tested good, so the problem must be in the remaining modules that have been temporarily removed. Install the next bank of memory and retest. If the problem resurfaces now, the memory in that bank is defective. Continue testing each bank until you find the defective module.
  7. Repeat the preceding step until all remaining banks of memory are installed and have been tested. If the problem has not resurfaced after you have removed and reinstalled all the memory, the problem was likely intermittent or caused by poor conduction on the memory contacts. Often simply removing and replacing memory can resolve problems because of the self-cleaning action between the module and the socket during removal and reinstallation.
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