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Experiences/Opinions regarding Crucial Ballistix ram?

 
 
Doc
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      03-21-2011
Have a Core2 Duo machine I got off Ebay a while back, ran fine at
first, over time it started developing glitchiness which I traced back
to bad RAM - it came with two 1-gig sticks of Crucial Ballistix DDR2,
with heatsinks. Memtest showed a wall of red. Never had RAM with a
heatsink before.

Anyone have any experience with this kind of memory? Is this common?
As far as I know this is the first time I've had a RAM failure after
owning a number of computers going back to an Acer 286.

Thanks.
 
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John Doe
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      03-21-2011
Doc <docsavage20 yahoo.com> wrote:

> Have a Core2 Duo machine I got off Ebay a while back, ran fine
> at first, over time it started developing glitchiness which I
> traced back to bad RAM - it came with two 1-gig sticks of
> Crucial Ballistix DDR2, with heatsinks. Memtest showed a wall of
> red. Never had RAM with a heatsink before.


There are no answers to that. No one here can tell you what the
cause for failure might be. It might be the RAM, it might be
mishandling of the RAM, or maybe some other cause. The only
exception might be if you stick the part number into a search
engine and come up with red flags.
--














>
> Anyone have any experience with this kind of memory? Is this common?
> As far as I know this is the first time I've had a RAM failure after
> owning a number of computers going back to an Acer 286.
>
> Thanks.
>


 
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Paul
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      03-21-2011
Doc wrote:
> Have a Core2 Duo machine I got off Ebay a while back, ran fine at
> first, over time it started developing glitchiness which I traced back
> to bad RAM - it came with two 1-gig sticks of Crucial Ballistix DDR2,
> with heatsinks. Memtest showed a wall of red. Never had RAM with a
> heatsink before.
>
> Anyone have any experience with this kind of memory? Is this common?
> As far as I know this is the first time I've had a RAM failure after
> owning a number of computers going back to an Acer 286.
>
> Thanks.


Test one stick of RAM at a time. If one stick is defective, contact
Crucial concerning the terms of the warranty.

Hmmm. Since you bought the machine used, the warranty is void on your RAM.

http://www.crucial.com/company/terms....aspx#warranty

"Terms of Limited Lifetime Warranty

...Any claim made alleging that any product fails to conform to
the foregoing warranty may be made only by the end customer who
purchased such product and only while such customer owns such product."

Which would suggest the warranty does not transfer to the new owner.

*******

To vet memory (pick a winner), use the reviews on Newegg to spot trends.
If any company is having problems making quality RAM, or the RAM seems
to die after a relatively short period of time, it will show up there.

Use the Newegg "sort by rating" function, which will list the good
candidates first in your search.

Winning RAM has:

1) No reports of failures in the Newegg reviews.
2) A low operating voltage to meet specified timing. Obviously,
if you're searching for top speed RAM (you're an enthusiast
looking to beat the highest RAM speed reported), then a high operating
voltage spec by the manufacturer is unavoidable. But if you're
a customer who "just wants their computer to work", no screwing
around, then I might make a slight preference in purchase, for
a RAM that meets timing at JEDEC standard voltage. The last
Kingston DDR2 non-enthusiast RAM I bought, was rated to meet
timing at 1.8V. This isn't a strong preference, it isn't the
end of the world if you buy 2.1V RAM, but if I'm offered two
equally good products, I might use (2) as a tie breaker.

Obviously, low CAS, high clock speed, yadda yadda is all good stuff,
but that isn't going to help you much, if the computer is getting
errors. So finding good, error free RAM, is your first priority.
For example, I have some CAS4 and some CAS5 RAM, and I know the
CAS4 will be 1% faster, but that won't show up unless I'm rendering
something for hours on end.

I've had quite a few failures here. Two lots of generic (unbranded)
RAM bought from local computer stores failed. One computer store was
bankrupt, at the point I would have needed to contact them. I stopped
buying generic after that. I've had one stick of Crucial Ballistic fail.
All my Kingston, still works.

HTH,
Paul
 
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Loren Pechtel
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      03-21-2011
On Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:24:43 -0700 (PDT), Doc <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>Have a Core2 Duo machine I got off Ebay a while back, ran fine at
>first, over time it started developing glitchiness which I traced back
>to bad RAM - it came with two 1-gig sticks of Crucial Ballistix DDR2,
>with heatsinks. Memtest showed a wall of red. Never had RAM with a
>heatsink before.
>
>Anyone have any experience with this kind of memory? Is this common?
>As far as I know this is the first time I've had a RAM failure after
>owning a number of computers going back to an Acer 286.


I've encountered multiple machines that failed Memtest after working
for an extended period.

As for the heat sinks--could someone have been overclocking?
 
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Paul
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      03-21-2011
Loren Pechtel wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:24:43 -0700 (PDT), Doc <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
>
>> Have a Core2 Duo machine I got off Ebay a while back, ran fine at
>> first, over time it started developing glitchiness which I traced back
>> to bad RAM - it came with two 1-gig sticks of Crucial Ballistix DDR2,
>> with heatsinks. Memtest showed a wall of red. Never had RAM with a
>> heatsink before.
>>
>> Anyone have any experience with this kind of memory? Is this common?
>> As far as I know this is the first time I've had a RAM failure after
>> owning a number of computers going back to an Acer 286.

>
> I've encountered multiple machines that failed Memtest after working
> for an extended period.
>
> As for the heat sinks--could someone have been overclocking?


Manufacturers use heat spreaders on DDR2 and DDR3, even when they
aren't needed.

The last Ballistix I bought, had heat spreaders. If you were to
remove the heat spreader, instead of seeing a Micron branded chip,
you'll see a custom logo there instead, so you don't really know who
made the chips on it. You'd assume they were Micron, but Crucial in
recent years, has been known to use a variety of parts as circumstances
dictate.

Non-enthusiast RAM, tends to come without heat spreaders.

Whether a heat spreader is an advantage, depends on the overall
dimensions of the module that result. In some cases, a large heat
spreader, blocks the air channels between DIMMs, so the DIMMs in
the center of the DIMM "sandwich" can run hotter than they should.
In fact, if you use four modules, they may run cooler if they come
without heat spreaders in place. It leaves a little room for
air channels.

Some goofy module designs, even include "fingers" that stick up
above the module. That is intended to compensate for the poor
air channel performance. And then the fingers can bump into other
objects which are just above the DIMM socket area.

The only technology, where spreaders were essential, was RDRAM/RAMBUS.
That's because, continued access of a single memory location
(or localized access) would cause just one chip on the module
to heat up. An article I read, claimed before RDRAM came out, that
the chip could have up to a 4W power dissipation. By comparison,
a modern DIMM, with shrunk geometry chips on it, now runs 2W for
the entire module. So RDRAM had heat spreaders riveted to the module,
to ensure the "hot spot" problem was solved. DDR/DDR2/DDR3 modules
don't have the same hot spot issue, because they're a parallel
technology. The entire bank heats up together, and with less heat
from each chip.

DDR/DDR2/DDR3 modules can heat up, if you do enough of the right kind
of cycles on them, and some Northbridges actually had provision for a
feature to detect excessive, power hungry type cycles, and reduce
the access rate. It was considered better to do it that way, than to
glue a thermistor to the module and check for abnormal temperature that
way (to implement throttle on overheat).

DDR module power ratings, are based on an "industry standard cycle mix",
which assumes a less than punishing access pattern. If a person was
crafty, say a hardware designer doing a custom design with RAM for
storage, they could arrange to do long bursts of reads or writes
(i.e. 256 locations in a row), and the power dissipation that results,
would end up being higher than the spec sheet value (because the spec
sheet assumes a more relaxed pattern). For comparison, processor
accesses are done in terms of cache line fill/evict (burst of 4 or 8 perhaps),
which doesn't take the form of a burst of that length. The bursts are
shorter, with some "dead cycles" in between.

Paul
 
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larry moe 'n curly
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      03-22-2011


Doc wrote:

> Have a Core2 Duo machine I got off Ebay a while back, ran fine at
> first, over time it started developing glitchiness which I traced back
> to bad RAM - it came with two 1-gig sticks of Crucial Ballistix DDR2,
> with heatsinks. Memtest showed a wall of red. Never had RAM with a
> heatsink before.
>
> Anyone have any experience with this kind of memory? Is this common?
> As far as I know this is the first time I've had a RAM failure after
> owning a number of computers going back to an Acer 286.


Heatsinks on RAM are usually an indication of low quality, not high
quality, because it's cheaper to use junk chips (search for "UTT"
memory) and cover than with decorative pieces of metal than to use
prime quality chips marked with the actual chip maker's logo or part
number. I've had only one bad module made with prime chips, and it
was bad because of bad soldering (solder on the gold contacts). OTOH
maybe 20% of the modules I've bought that had no-name chips or
heatsinks on them failed MemTest86 (MemTest is a different diagnostic,
one that runs under Windows and isn't as good) or Gold Memory, most
recently a Corsair 1GB DDR module (out of 3 pairs). BTW, Gold Memory
often finds defects missed by MemTest86/MemTest86+, so it's a good
idea to run both diagnostics.

Ballistix DDR2 has a recommended operating voltage of 2.2V (original
version) or 2.0V (current version). Crucial admitted that their 2.2V
Ballistix was defective (not just has bad bits but burns out) but said
the 2.0V version was OK and, when not overclocked, 100% reliable even
at the standard 1.8V for DDR2. But I've heard many people complain
even about the 2.0V version. Crucial RAM is warranted for life, so
you may want to get Crucial to replace any bad Ballistix with some of
their regular RAM that has no heatsinks but does have brand marks on
each chip.
 
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larry moe 'n curly
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      03-22-2011
On Mar 21, 3:36*pm, Paul <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> The last Ballistix I bought, had heat spreaders. If you were to
> remove the heat spreader, instead of seeing a Micron branded chip,
> you'll see a custom logo there instead, so you don't really know who
> made the chips on it. You'd assume they were Micron, but Crucial in
> recent years, has been known to use a variety of parts as circumstances
> dictate.


Crucial said their first generation Ballistix DDR2 modules, with a
recommended voltage of 2.2V, failed, that is, burned out, as opposed
to merely show errors, because they were operated at lower voltages.
How can chips fail from that, especially when they were manufactured
to run normally at 1.8V?
 
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Paul
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      03-22-2011
larry moe 'n curly wrote:
> On Mar 21, 3:36 pm, Paul <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> The last Ballistix I bought, had heat spreaders. If you were to
>> remove the heat spreader, instead of seeing a Micron branded chip,
>> you'll see a custom logo there instead, so you don't really know who
>> made the chips on it. You'd assume they were Micron, but Crucial in
>> recent years, has been known to use a variety of parts as circumstances
>> dictate.

>
> Crucial said their first generation Ballistix DDR2 modules, with a
> recommended voltage of 2.2V, failed, that is, burned out, as opposed
> to merely show errors, because they were operated at lower voltages.
> How can chips fail from that, especially when they were manufactured
> to run normally at 1.8V?


I haven't a clue. I'm more used to stuff burning out on high voltage,
or stuff burning out on excessive differential (on multi-rail chips).

If the voltage is high enough for the chip to work, you'd think they
wouldn't do the chip design in such a way that long term reliability
was affected (like totem-pole currents somewhere).

Paul
 
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