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RAM, BIOS or Windows?

By stykfigure ·
A computer was recently brought to my attention that is having problems booting. During POST the following is being displayed:

"Memory write/read failure at <memaddy>, read 00EF00CF expecting 00EF00EF.

Decreasing available memory" (twice then the following once just before trying to boot WinXP)

"The amount of system memory has changed."

This box has 2x 256 RDIMM in a Dell box. In BIOS, it shows only 320MB of RAM. If a mem stick went bad it should only show 256MB or 0MB right? For some odd reason it is between the actual 512MB present and the 256 of one failed. The PC will start to boot to XP, but hangs around the AGP load. One of the boots I noticed a blue screen flicker before it automatically rebooted. I have tried Safe Mode(Common and Cmd), Last Known Good, as well as looking at the BIOS settings for the Physical Memory and AGP Memory.
Any ideas? Thanks in advance:)

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by Sagat In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

what do you do in safe mode and the cmd. it could be a virus. is other change made to this

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by entawanabi In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

Most likely your medium is being stolen or it is being spun off at an accelerating rate as it oxidizes.

Solution: Get new equipment!

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by ctrservices In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

Since you don't have on board video, replace the existing AGP video card. (If you have an old PCI video card around, you might want to try this first.)

If you don't have the Ultimate Boot CD, download and burn a copy. Then you can test memory with memtest plus all your other basic hardware.

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by dmiles In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

You may have integrated graphics on that PC, where the graphics card-part has gone wrong. That is the only part of a PC that takes memory away the way you describe.
If there is an AGP-slot, try a card in there and see what happens.
Alternative is a PCI-graphics card.
In either case, see if you can disable the onboard graphics.

You might also try to go in your BIOS. There it might "shadow" ROM or Video-RAM. See if disabling that helps.

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by kbrugnani In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

It wouldn't necessarily show the size difference but a read/write error or other failure. It is hanging at the AGP because it cannot write to a block of memory. What I would do is get a new stick of ram and use that one only. If it boots with no issues, then it was both sticks. However, if it still occurs then you have a system board problem.

Hope this helps!

Memory write/read failure at address, read value expecting value could be "Faulty or improperly seated DIMMs or defective system board."

Decrease usually means "One or more DIMMs faulty or improperly seated."

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by Pendal1 In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

The first thing I would do is swap out the memory. If you swap out the memory and the problem is solved, then you know the sticks or stick was bad. I would also **** out the inside of the PC while you're at it just in case there's a cooling issue. I would also restore the bios to defaults. Finally, I would make sure my virus protection is up to date and run a scan. If none of these things works, you could also try the memory in another machine. If you get the correct reading, then you know the system board is the culprit.

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by stykfigure In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

Wow...I should have re-read my post:) I forgot to mention that it will not boot to Safe-mode. Actually it wont boot to Windows at all. I would replace a stick of the memory, but all I have personally available is PC3200 DDR. This MoBo requires RDIMM (Rambus) which has to be installed in pairs at $100 a piece. The video is running from AGP, I'm pretty sure it's not integrated although I forgot to check on that part (shame shame). I try to keep extra parts around just in case I have to swap one out to test it, but this is just a side-job/hobby and my funds are very limited:) I originally went to the house expecting to go virus hunting, only to spend the whole time trying to get into Windows. I've heard of some virus' that will flash the BIOS, and debated if that was the case. I was going to reset the CMOS, but decided against it at the moment. I pulled both sticks of memory as well as the 2 blanks (Rambus requires that all unused slots be 'filled') and checked for carbon scoring or circuit damage. I also wanted to ensure that the modules were seated properly, although this PC has worked fine since it's purchase 3 years ago. I have considered that to be a possible issue as well, due to the life of most computer components to be 2-5 years. The box had not been opened before this, so needless to say it was pretty dirty. I am scheduled to go back tomorrow, at which I will try cleaning it up a little and see if a different AGP card will work. I also have a PCI card to try just in case it is the AGP slot. I think I'll reset the BIOS while I'm there, just for the chance of it:) Thanks to everyone who has posted. I was suprised at the number of answers! Once again, THANKS and keep 'em coming:)

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

Since you don't have any spare RAM available for this M'Board remove one stick and try again if it boots up after you go into BIOS and allow the new Memory size to be recognized you have a bad stick of RAM.

If it doesn't show the correct size of available RAM in BIOS replace the stick with the other stick and try again. If you get the same error with both sticks of RAM they are faulty and if it works with both sticks you most likely have different brands/speeds RAM sticks and are running into Timing issues so you'll need to replace at the very least one stick of RAM with similar type & Speed.

Even if this has On Board video in BIOS it should show the entire amount of Available RAM but once you have an OS running it will show a lesser amount as some is being stolen by the Video to run it.


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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

OK if you need two sticks of RAM they should have come as a Pair also depending on the M'Board involved you may need ECC RAM and not just the usual cheaper RD RAM that could also be a problem.

Since you say your Video is AGP unless there is an On Board Video Chip which can be disabled in BIOS you should be seeing the correct amount of RAM installed in Windows if not and you get the same reading in BIOS you have at least one faulty stick of RAM and if that is the case I would replace both with a Pair as supplied by one of the major RAM Makers like Corsair, Kingston or the like.

While $100.00 per stick might appear to be a lot for RAM it wasn't so long ago that I was paying $1,600.00 AU for a 16 MEG stick and on that M'Board you needed at least 4 sticks I had 8 so the price I consider quite cheap for what you are currently getting.

But the paired RAM is always cheaper than buying a stick at a time.

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by Craig321 In reply to RAM, BIOS or Windows?

A memory module may be faulty or improperly seated. Reinstall the memory modules and, if necessary, replace them.

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