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Toshiba Recalls Notebook RAM

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  • DIMMness (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:21PM (#10717515) Homepage Journal
    blaiming [sic]

    is there a vast sea of bad DIMMs out there?

    Maybe so, the HP Compaq laptop I'm typing on had 1G of RAM replaced several months back.

    As for slashdot editting, though, the memory isn't the only thing DIMM.

  • Link about Dell goes to a story about HP...
  • A Vast Sea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:24PM (#10717560) Homepage Journal
    Yes, and it's found using Pricewatch, Google, and other product search engines. Not all cheap RAM is bad, but you're a lot more likely to get something crappy if you go with the lowest bidder. Those prices are low for a lot of reasons, including support, warranty, and quality. I've bought my share of low-priced memory through Pricewatch, and I've also had to return several of them. Never buy memory that doesn't have a lifetime warranty.

    I'm sure Toshiba and Dell didn't buy their memory through Pricewatch (that'd be a hell of an order) but they probably sacrifice in the same way to get their internal costs down. Note that you'll pay a nice premium for ordering memory upgrades through the notebook manufacturer.
    • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:31PM (#10717642) Homepage Journal
      Those prices are low for a lot of reasons, including support, warranty, and quality. I've bought my share of low-priced memory through Pricewatch, and I've also had to return several of them. Never buy memory that doesn't have a lifetime warranty.

      There was a story a year or two back with a disconcerting phrase 'Acceptable Rate of Failure'. The context was CD ROM drives, IIRC, which are manufactured at such a volume that 15% failure is acceptable ... which should worry you a bit about how good, really, are the drives that actually passed Q/A.

      The profit goes out of doing business this way when you (as a manufacturer) have to foot the bill for replacement parts, manuals, shipping and logistics.

      • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:37PM (#10717722) Homepage Journal
        That is a fairly common practice. It's difficult to guarantee 100%, so you accept a certain threshhold of failing parts or units. They do it in cars, electronics, etc. You save money by manufacturing an engine in Mexico, but you accept that there will be a higher rate of failure. If you do the math and it's still cheaper, you go with it.

        Outside of the manufacturing world, we all accept failure as a reasonable part of our lives. It's usually not a calculated, profit/pleasure-maximizing decision, but it's certainly part of life. You learn from mistakes, you grow from them, and you're better for it. If we're lucky, Toshiba will learn from its mistakes and we won't have these problems in the future. From what I've seen, they've got some great notebooks at some decent prices. If it weren't for stories like this (oh, and my lack of disposable income) I'd probably buy one.
        • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:3, Interesting)

          Note the recent decrease in hard drive warantees and the even more recent increase.

          People voted with their feet, because hard drive failures are extremely annoying.

          CD-ROMs usually fail harmlessly and can be replaced painlessly.
        • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:2, Informative)

          by Kehvarl (812337)
          If we're lucky, Toshiba will learn from its mistakes and we won't have these problems in the future. From what I've seen, they've got some great notebooks at some decent prices. If it weren't for stories like this (oh, and my lack of disposable income) I'd probably buy one.

          They are wonderful notebooks (I'm on my second, but I've convinced enough friends to go with Toshiba that I've tinkered with several different models). The only issue I have with them is the recent decision to go with a touchpad rathe
        • The problem is when the costs of a failure are primarily born by a third-party. It may cost $100 to the manufacturer to replace a widget, but the end-user may suffer substantially higher costs in lost time, lost business, disruption to business. etc.
    • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mordors9 (665662) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:32PM (#10717648)
      Let's face it, as long as consumers keep looking for and buying strictly based upon price, the situation is going to continue. The company I work for has to replace hard drives in large numbers every year. But they bought cheap PCs to start with (lowest bid). So they got what they paid for.
      • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:3, Interesting)

        by owlstead (636356)
        Er, sorry, but that just such bullshit. The company you work for is conning its customers. Companies like that make it much harder for the consumer to get the best stuff for the lowest price. Isn't that what the free market is all about? If it was selling cheap cheese, the consumer could buy a different brand tomorrow. For computers, that's something an average consumer is not able to do.

        That's why, even if your hard drive states a one year warranty, a consumer can ask for a replacement of the drive within
        • The company you work for is conning its customers.

          Huh? I didn't read the part where the grandparent stated the company he worked for is selling those hard drives to its customers. It sounded like his company has had to return hard drives that they purchased.

          I completely agree about the absurdity of a one-year warranty on hard drives, though. I just lost a WD 250 GB drive about a month out of warranty.


        • Many low-priced Seagate 7200RPM, 8MB cache drives have a 5 year warranty. Does this imply that Seagate will be out of business within 5 years?
      • well..

        if only there was guarantee and way for the average customer to make informative decisions on if the more expensive (let's say 10%) actually gave anything more or if the manufacturer was just asking 10% more to make the customer THINK that their product is better.

        (yeah, there's some parts that have a price range from 30$ to 200$ - with virtually no difference in product, quality or features)
      • as long as consumers keep looking for and buying strictly based upon price, the situation is going to continue

        While what you say sounds correct at first, my experience has been that this happens even when you buy not-so-cheap RAM. Crucial is known as a pretty good brand (not the best, but good), but in 2002 my company bought a bunch of Thinkpads and upgraded the memory with sticks bought from Crucial. Bad news - most of the memory was bad and Crucial had to replace it for free. Yes - it was cheaper than I

    • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trip23 (727132)
      That's quite true. Over the years I bought dozens of different RAM-types, quite often rather cheap. About 10% of the RAM was defective in one or another way, often I noticed it only months laters, when the machine starts to behave peculiar. But having been through a lot trouble I just run memtest for two or three days after purchasing new RAM. Good thing i have a couple of spare machines. Troubleshootingwise i tend to blame RAM a lot more then some years ago.
      • After building my own machine several years ago, I dealt with varying problems that seemed to get worse and worse until I got so frustrated I almost sold it off as parts. After discovering it was my cheap RAM, I got replacements and the machine has worked beautifully ever since.

        One of the two sticks they sent back was great (the one I used). The other failed a memtest-86 test (also the first thing I did when I got them).
        • I have stuck with Kingston and Viking over the years and have not had a bad module yet. I have heard that PNY is pretty good but when I worked for resellers we generally had a fair amount of bad PNY memory modules. Kingston can be found on sale and then you can apply coupons and rebates to get their memory down to a pretty good price.
          • I bought a batch of corsair to upgrade a couple of machines, as they're supposed to be a 'quality' brand.

            Every single one of them failed memtest86 (8 sticks in total).

            I sent them back, went out and got some cheap unbranded (what I normally used) which worked perfectly.

            So branded memory isn't always better.
            • Well, my experiance with Crucial RAM has been very good, however I haven't bought other ram brands in a very long time ~ 6 years. Their prices aren't too much higher for me, and I have no problems, so I see no reason to switch.
              • IIRC, Crucial is just Micron under a "better" brand name. Most of what I've got in the parts box have Micron chips on no-name sticks, but didn't cost anywhere near as much. (Also have lots of Hitachi, Panasonic, and other brands of chips, but Micron seem to be the most common, especially in salvaged sticks.)

                For all the griping I've heard about bad RAM over the years, only once have I ever encountered any, and that was over 10 years ago -- and I've got mostly no-name RAM here. I do wonder to what degree the
                • by RMH101 (636144)
                  Crucial = Micron. It's their retail arm. It's the *best* by far: I've built scores of systems, and Crucial *always* works. RAM isn't binary failure these days: use an nforce2 or 3 board (and you'd be daft not to) and you'll find a lot of super duper DDR450! turbo ultra extreme" riced up brands just don't work.
                  Crucial also ship it to you in an eyeblink, and give unconditional refunds: try going into a normal supplier and saying "this RAM I bought doesn't work in this particular motherboard. It's fine i
                  • by Reziac (43301)
                    Actually, I have a regular local supplier who will indeed swap back RAM that doesn't get along with some particular motherboard (or that ever dies, tho I've never had to invoke that warranty), no questions asked. My point wasn't "Crucial bad" as you seemed to think; it was that Micron chips are probably the most common of all RAM chips in the "random RAM of any or no brand" market, and seem to have a good survival rate, given that they are extremely common in salvaged RAM. However, I have not found it neces
    • Re:A Vast Sea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zakezuke (229119)
      Yes, and it's found using Pricewatch, Google, and other product search engines. Not all cheap RAM is bad, but you're a lot more likely to get something crappy if you go with the lowest bidder.

      Based on my observation, lowest bid memory is just the stuff that is in current mass production. This may or may not work with your chipset, nor are they going to take the time to document the chip density. Assuming quality control is not an issue, IMHO this is why it's generally bad to go with the lowest bidder be
  • Apparently there is if you have a Toshiba or Dell notebook, and are particularily unlucky. On a side note, 2 (notable)recalls since June isn't bad. I'm not saying it's great, or even good. But it's not bad.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:29PM (#10717624)
    Been seeing a lot of this recently. Why not just have a redirect to The Reg.
  • I've gone through 8-10 sticks for all my own computers and only until the most recent one do I have bad memory. Luckily I have so much that it's never an issue until I have lots of programs open, and even then, only WinAmp skips. I'm too lazy to fix it right now.
    • Re:Possible? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wordsmith (183749)
      An easily repeatable, predictable applicatoin behavoir problem like that doesn't sound much like a RAM problem. RAM issues tend to give you more sporadic errors, either memmory errors themselves or wierd bugs caused by the wrong values being pulled from memory for all sorts of things.

      You sure its not a conflict between winamp and some resorce on your computer? Maybe it doesn't like your sound card drivers, or the visualizations engine hicups with your graphics card driver, or its expecting a different vers
  • I think that's the kind of laptop I've got but I can't seem to remember.
  • by cats-paw (34890) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:33PM (#10717673) Homepage
    like a lot of slashdot readers I build my own computers.

    my #1 problem has always been RAM.

    I remember an interview with Larry Augustin of VALinux (remember them ?) when they were still building Linux PC's.

    And he said the number one thing they had problems with was RAM.

    I've had RAM which could pass all day long on a so-called memory tester, put it into a PC and the thing couldn't even finish POST.

    • by ch-chuck (9622) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:44PM (#10717803) Homepage
      I've had RAM which could pass all day long on a so-called memory tester, put it into a PC and the thing couldn't even finish POST.

      I used to use gcc linux kernel compile to thrash-test memory - start enough of 'em so it just starts to swap and let it run in a loop overnight. If no signal-11's [bitwizard.nl] in the morning it'll probably survive anything else.

    • I've had RAM which could pass all day long on a so-called memory tester, put it into a PC and the thing couldn't even finish POST.

      Doesn't sound like the memory module per se was faulty, but like it didn't work okay in combination with your particular (type of) mainboard. Good shops will allow you to swap the module for a different one with similar specs, even to bring in your computer to try out different modules until you find one that works. Sure that's a very annoying problem and it should never happen

    • My number one problem has been motherboards DOA. At least one from each vendor; Asus, Abit, Gigabyte, MSI, etc.. I've never had a problem with bad RAM. I have hundreds of sticks of all types of RAM sitting in a shoe box, and whenever I need one for whatever old system or whatever else needs them (like my MPC-2000), they always work like a charm.

      I've had crappy RAM, that you have to run at terrible timings, but they work allright.

      I have no doubt that RAM is a commonly bad part though. There's so much
    • Personally I use memtest86 http://www.memtest86.com/ [memtest86.com] on all the tests, I found 5,7,10 very good at spotting my problems. You can burn and image on a cd or put it in lilo. When I got my latest PC, I had lots of problems which I traced back to the memory not working at DDR400 in dual channel mode. Another program is prime http://www.mersenne.org/prime.htm [mersenne.org] in a torture test mode (but in windows). I noted some else suggested GCC the problem with that is that it does not test ALL memory, so will find some bit pr
      • Why does everyone suggest burning an ISO of memtest86? I'm staring at my memtest86 boot floppy right now wondering why anyone would waste a CD-R on such a small bootable program.
        • Some of us don't have floppy drives in some/any of our machines, unsurprisingly. I have a floppy drive in my box-of-bits for emergencies, but no machines with one present, because they're slow and unreliable and have fuckall capacity, so I really don't see the point. Plus two of the machines are recent Macs. :)
          • But....a PC's just not a PC without a floppy drive...*sniff.* I guess old habits die hard. I know that new macs don't have floppies, but do most people really not have one? Are most PC's today being sold without floppies? To me, a PC without a floppy drive just looks....wrong, somehow.
    • I have an old 286 that has one bad bank of RAM -- or the problem might be that one row of chip *sockets* is bad, I never actually checked for that. Anyway, its lowly 1 meg of RAM passed every memory tester in the kit; nonetheless it would frequently crash with a parity error, which is typically an indicator of bad RAM.

      I happened to notice that the crash could nearly always be triggered by changing fonts in WordPerfect 5.1, and then someone told me that WP uses the far end of free memory, preferably EMS, fo
    • Recently, I've found the number one problem to be lousy power supplies. The thing with lousy power is that it mimics a lot of the symptoms of bad ram. The power supply is the weakest component many systems, and is very commonly overlooked by many DIY types who tend to get the cheapest case+supply they can find. (do you really expect the "400W" power supply in that $40 case to be any good at all?)

      The worst experiences I have had with RAM was the cheap 72 pin EDO stuff that came from places like Best Buy
  • by IGTeRR0r (805236) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:34PM (#10717675) Homepage
    I'm clueless on DIMM, so here's the definition, it's good to know: "Short for dual in-line memory module, a small circuit board that holds memory chips. A single in-line memory module (SIMM) has a 32-bit path to the memory chips whereas a DIMM has 64-bit path. Because the Pentium processor requires a 64-bit path to memory, you need to install SIMMs two at a time. With DIMMs, you can install memory one DIMM at a time." -- GamerCentric.com [gamercentric.com]
  • As for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Judg3 (88435) <jeremy@nOSpaM.pavleck.com> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:35PM (#10717689) Homepage Journal
    Except for a bad 32mb SIMM I had in 1997, I've never ever had ram go bad on me, but then again I always use Crucial - I've seen some of the prices for ram you can find on Pricewatch and all, but remember 'if it sounds to good to be a deal, it probably isnt'.
    Besides, with everything else then can go wrong with PCs these days, I like to be reasonably assured my ram is fine.
    • I always thought the saying was "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
      But manufacturing quality in general has gone down the tubes. It's a $49.99 DVD player or a $100 printer for a reason... it's not even worth the raw materials it's made from.
    • ... though, in that price range being non-cheap doesn't guarantee quality.

      you know, with mem among other parts there's some riceboy'ing going around - slap a copper headspreader on a mem stick and suddenly it's the kewlest thing ever and sure to not have fails in chips.

    • Except for a bad 128MB DIMM I had in 1998 from Micron/Crucial, that they refused to honor the lifetime warranty on because they said "Oh we don't support end users, you have to be an OEM." even though it came back bad on every ram test when I first got it and I still had the recipt and the reseller said "It's a manufacturer lifetime warranty, it has to go through them." I haven't had a problem either.

      Of course since then, I haven't bought any of their RAM, and the 2GB of Kingmax SODIMMs in my Toshiba M200
      • Re:As for me (Score:2, Informative)

        by EvilMagnus (32878)
        Heh. Fortunately, they changed that policy. :)

        I recently had an excellent experience with Crucial's lifetime warranty - and the RAM wasn't even defective, I just needed a single-bank version instead of the double bank I had. They gladly swapped the DIMM for me - no receipt required, either.
    • I bought a gig of ram from Crucial a little over 3 years ago - 4 x 256MB modules. Coincedentally, the third of four just went bad today.

      I was talkin on the phone, and alluvasudden my system spontaneously rebooted. Did it again while booting up. I ran memtest86 and saw a torrent of errors.

      I was wondering if it was me causing the problem or what - having read many of the threads here, I guess not.

      That lifetime warantee sure kicks ass. The ram I bought has doubled in price since.
    • Since ~1996, I've generally only bought the cheapest RAM I could find, usually whatever Memory Man [memman.com] has for cheap under their house brand.

      I slam it into the cheapest motherboards I can find. (This, invariably, also works well.)

      I've never had a RAM failure. I've thrown away good, working, stable Pentium-class machines with 8-year-old, cheap-shit RAM.

      A long time ago, I even used SIMM stackers to load up 16 mismatched, cheap-shit 30-pin modules into four 72-pin sockets on an Intel FX-chipset motherboard.
  • by LiquidMind (150126) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:37PM (#10717710)
    "...on Dell's bad notebook RAM..."

    i've had problems with it too. It dumps all over the carpet, scratches up my costly italian-made OS, it bitches at users it doesn't know, it whines when it needs to be flushed, etc.

    *rolls up newspaper* bad memory indeed.
  • by twitter (104583) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:49PM (#10717858) Homepage Journal
    From the HP site:

    HP, which discovered the defect during routine notebook testing, said the flaw could result in blue screens, which indicate a computer crash; intermittent lock-ups or memory corruption.

    Gosh, I've seen a lot of that out there. They won't give you your money back, [microsoft.com] but free replacements which are easy to install [mepis.org] have been getting rave reviews [desktoplinux.com]. After hundreds of similar replacements, I can say for sure that the RAM was not the problem. Every now and then there really is a hardware problem, like a dead back up battery ($3.00 at Walmart), but mostly it's bad software. So spin a CD before you pop the cover.

  • reason? (Score:3, Funny)

    by SKPhoton (683703) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @08:03PM (#10717969) Homepage
    Toshiba recalls RAM.

    Sources say the reason behind this move is that the faulty memory can accessed randomly.
    Toshiba unavailable for comment.
  • I've never had my RAM go bad.

    I've had three hard drives die (two IBM, one Seagate). I've had two NICs fail, and another onboard ethernet port. I've fried a CPU. I've had one SCSI card stop POSTing, and one sound card stop being recognized. I've lost two CD-R drives, had to replace my computer case once, and had two power supplies die on me. I've given away a pair of semi-functional monitors. I've had two motherboards die on me too - the last one with some very impressive blackening of the power connectors.
    • Remind me never to ask you to build me a PC. Let's not forget how cheap these parts are. Compare the prices to genuine SUN parts, which are built to be reliable (or were). We pay £200 for a card that costs £2000 in a SUN box, who cares if a few expire?
      • Well, considering that this is spanning about ten years of always having two or three computers around, it's not really that bad of a track record. Things break. That's life.

        I mostly care whether stuff breaks if it does so at a bad time, when I don't have a spare. Since I rarely keep spare motherboards around, the recent frying of my mobo is sort of a problem. :P
  • No Suprise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by glowimperial (705397)
    I have built a number of desktops in the past few years for myself and others, and have returned a lot of RAM. Premium RAM seems to have lower failure rates, but I have returned some damn expensive RAM too. I never had problems with older RAM. Are the quality control issues different now?
  • Whenever anyone 'recalls' something, I always take it in the "I recall the good ol days" context.

    I envision people at Toshiba sitting at a boardroom table saying "Yup. I recall Bad RAM. Those sure were the days, what a hoot"
  • by LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @08:27PM (#10718206)
    DDR is a very high speed multipoint parallel interface with very little tolerance in the drivers and recievers. Designing DDR motherboards and DIMM modules is difficult. The capacitive load of the DDR bus varies depending on how many DIMMs are loaded and the DIMM architeture (#chips on DIMM). DDR drivers dont vary the buffer strength based on loading so you will have too much overshoot with one DIMM with 5 chips (x16) and too overdamped with 4 DIMMS with 36 chips (stacked x4) on each DIMM. This is why most motherboards are more relable when all DDR slots are full.

    Motherboard manufactures must qualify each DIMM combination separately. You should always use the DIMM modules recommended by the motherboard manufacturer. This is a problem that will only get worse.
    • Rambus used a high speed serialized type bus architecture. Low-pin count and very high performance.

      I've built lots of machines based on Rambus memory and never once had a bad stick of memory or a compatiblity issue. I can't say the same for SDRAM based machines: "OK, this stick won't boot in this board or with those other sticks, so let's try this one..."

      Why didn't Rambus designs have quality control issues like SDRAM had in the past few years? I don't know, but it could be that Rambus had very strict
      • RAMBUS is a point to point buffered interface. Each signal only sees one load with dedicated TX and RX signals. The interface is actually a daisy-chained loop, rather than multipoint bus. That is why you need you need the blank DIMM to pass the TX to the RX signals. Since the loading is always the same, it's much more consistent and you will se less vendor to vendor variance.
  • ...is reporting that Toshiba is recalling notebook RAM blaiming third-party DIMMs... Don't blame it on the editors, it was a bit error in memory.
  • I've been having to RMA more and more "value" RAM lately. Some is bad...but some is just incompatible, whether its with the chipset on the motherboard or what I don't know. If a person sticks with trusted brands with good chips they seem to have better luck
  • the company i work for has purchased two large loads of dimms recently for laptops and about 60-70% of the ram starting giving our laptops fits.

    we'd pull out the new one and put the old back in and the problems would go away.

    we have been lucky and able to return most of it but i think there still might be a few bad sticks circulating amongst our many locations.

    unfortunately, we've purchased the ram from multiple vendors and the ram is different brands so i can't add much more than this to the thread.

    one
  • Patched DRAM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dielectric (266217) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @10:13PM (#10719074)
    I learned something interesting just yesterday about making DIMMs. There are companies out there that specialize in recovering failed DRAM chips. They buy them as factory rejects for pennies, and use some trickery to mask off the bad bits and re-use the recovered DRAM as a smaller density. I know Micron buys lots of this stuff for their value line. Maybe the patching isn't as good as we'd hope?

    Eh, blame it on alpha particles. Those buggers are causing all sorts of problems with bit-flips in memory cells. Buy ECC!
    • they *manufacture* RAM, they don't rebadge it.
    • I learned something interesting just yesterday about making DIMMs. There are companies out there that specialize in recovering failed DRAM chips. They buy them as factory rejects for pennies, and use some trickery to mask off the bad bits and re-use the recovered DRAM as a smaller density.

      This has been going on for ages; The original Sinclair ZX Spectrum came in two models - one with 16KB RAM and the other with 48KB. The memory was implemented as 8*4116 16kbitx1 chips and 8*half-faulty 4164 32kbitx2 chips

  • by baxissimo (135512) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @11:50PM (#10719795)
    I have a toshiba laptop and I got an email notifying me about this. The thing that annoyed me was that they aparently chose to hire a 3rd party to send out the emails to all their customers. So I got this email claiming to be from Toshiba, but the email headers weren't from a toshiba domain (rather from "toshiba.toshsvcs.com"), and even the link I was supposed to click on in the email didn't match the domain it was supposedly taking me to. The link was like: www.toshibadirect.com/CEP [toshsvcs.com]. It says it's going to take me to toshibadirect.com, but upon closer inspection is actually taking me to toshsvcs.com.

    I did whois on this toshsvcs.com domain and it just points to some dude in Arizona. So I'm thinking, wow, this is one of the best phishing scams I've seen... or is it?

    Well apparently it's not, but it sure could have been. It kind of ticks me off that they're doing it this way. How am I supposed to explain to my grandma how to recognize a phishing scam when companies like Toshiba are hiring people to send out legitimate emails that are virtually indistinguishable from scams? In fact, this would still be a great one for the phishers to jump on. Just copy that toshiba recall email, and replace the already suspicious links with new ones that don't redirect to toshiba's website, or which do after asking you to enter your computer's password.

    What's the world coming to? Oh, well at least we're getting rid of that oaf in the White House. Oh crap, you mean we're not???

  • I purchased a HP notebook last spring with a single Infineon PC2700 256MB SODIMM. I replaced it with a pair of Corsair PC2700 512MB SODIMMs... and got BSODs. Switching to the original SODIMM and an Infineon 512MB stick also caused BSODs. Two 256MB sticks worked. Any single stick by itself worked. Finally, I tracked down a pair of Crucial/Micron PC2700 512MB sticks and those worked perfectly.

    I'm told that subsequent BIOS updates have fixed many of the compatibility problems, but several hours on the ph
  • Toshiba claimed that my old Satellite 2540CDS RAM could be upped to 160MB.

    In fact, the required 128MB add-in modules were hardly ever delivered - and certainly not to me. Not that they didn't try... they got me a couple, but the machine would not boot.

    Apparently they did exist, but the few floating around are preowned and priced $750 (seven-five-zero).

    A collector's item!
  • Every time I get a new PeeCee or new RAM I test it with memtest86 [memtest86.com].

    memtest86 is free and in beer and speech, and is operating system independent. You just write the binary on to a floppy disk and boot the machine off of it.

    I've cured several machines of mysterious problems by identifying bad RAM with memtest86. It was always cheap, unbranded RAM that was the problem. I get all my RAM from Crucial [crucial.com] nowadays and I never have a problem with it. (I am not affiliated with Crucial or memtest86).

  • Maybe two years ago, the german C't computer magazine did a major test to determine the quality of RAM available in the end-user market.

    They bought lots of different RAM, ranging from no-name discount RAM sticks to "premium brands", then tested them in a number of boards. Further tests were done in cooperation with a company that specializes in testing of semiconductors. Here a special analyzer was used that could test the RAM under well-defined electrical conditions.

    The results were disillusioning:
    While

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