Why are my RAM modules getting corrupted on my PC?

April 20, 2014
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Hello,

I am using a Dell Precision Core 2 Duo (E6550 2.33 GHZ) tower PC (T3400 Workstation). It has 4 slots of RAM.
My PC is corrupting the RAMs again and again. I was using 4GB DDR2 RAM, and one by one the PC was corrupting them and now I have only 1GB left. Someone told me that your RAM bus is not supporting that PC required. Any help please what type of bus should I use for this PC and how much RAM can I use – 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB?

Please help me out.

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  1. Ed
    May 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    There may be another issue. Bad capacitors on the Motherboard.

    Remove all cables so you can get a clear view of the top of the motherboard. Pay special attention to the area near the Memory modules or near the CPU Heat Sink. Look for one or more vertical cylindrical capacitors probably about 1" tall and 3/8" to 1/2" in diameter. (Values are usually around 1200-1500 mfd at 6.3 VDC) The tops should have an x or smile engraved in their surface. These tops should be perfectly flat. If they're domed, you've found your problem. The reason I know this is my Dell failed these capacitors and it is about the same age as yours. If you can't solder, this is game over. If you or someone you know can, capacitors are cheap and $10.00 including shipping from Digi-Key or maybe even Radio Shack should give you all the parts you need. If you've never soldered before, don't start you learning curve here. Learning to solder correctly takes time and experience. To much heat and you'll delaminate board rendering it useless.

    Good Luck!

  2. Oron J
    April 21, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Adding to Jan adn Hovsep's ideas, check the contacts on the sockets & modules. If you live in a high-humidity area, contacts can get corroded or covered with fungus (I've even seen fungus inside CDs from Thailand!). If there is any corrosion/contmination, do your best to clean it but only use dry lint-free cloth or very pure alcohol.

    BTW, you can test the sockets on your motherboard by moving the working DIMM into each socket in turn and booting the machine. In a similar way, you can test the DIMMs by placing them into the socket which is known to work.

    If the sockets are damaged beyond repair, it should be possible to replace them - technically - but I suspect that would not be economically viable. You could replace the whole motherboard if it comes to that, but again, an original Dell mobo would probably be too expensive too make sense. However, if it comes to that you may be able to get a similar motherboard on eBay etc but make sure it's compatible with your CPU and RAM.

  3. Hovsep A
    April 20, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Follow Jan F solutions, also try to reset cmos battery

    you can try crucial ram scanner
    http://www.crucial.com/systemscanner/

  4. Jan F
    April 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

    According to the specifications the supported RAM is DDR2 800MHz (PC2-6400). However, I do suggest to go to the Dell support page for your specific configuration. Some systems do require Regisered/Buffered or ECC (Error Checking & Correction) RAM.
    http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/?c=us&l=en&s=bsd&~ck=mn

    That being said, using wrong RAM usually results in the system simply not running, often a beep error code.

    RAM usually gets corrupted by overheating. This can be caused by bad circulation in the case or the motherboard putting too much voltage on the RAM. If your motherboards BIOS has a setting for the RAM voltage make sure it is set to automatic or at 1.9V (max. recommended for DDR2). Take a look at the memory specification to see which is the proper setting. It might be a good idea to reset the BIOS altogether too.

    Once you have ruled out voltage corrupting your memory I suggest to put only 1 memory stick into a slot and then running Memtest. If no errors were reported put it into the second slot and run Memtest again, 3rd and 4th slot. This way you can check if it's a specific slot having issues.
    http://www.memtest.org/
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/diagnosing-memory-problems-on-your-computer

    Since this isn't a one time incident it's possible your motherboard is faulty too.