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RAM error, what next?

As some of you might know, I use a pair of 512MB Twinmos Twister Pro Dual Channel RAM. They’re not only the fastest DDR1 modules around, but they permit overclocking without voiding the warranty. Of course, they weren’t cheap when I bought them almost 2 years ago. Around last week, my computer started crashing and I ran memtest86. It showed me several errors during test 5. I couldn’t believe it, because I didn’t even overcloak those modules. Anyway, I wrote to Twinmos, asking about the “lifetime warranty”. And what response did I get? “We don’t give out warranty on these modules anymore”. WTF? These modules are not even 2 years old! It seems like the Twinmos lifetime warranty is limited by them to the time they are still producing the product. But actually, for those who bought the RAM later than me, they might not even had 1 year of warranty. What a rip-off!

My hope then was that maybe only one of those modules was broken, so I took one of them out. Because my computer was running memtest just before, the module was really hot. I almost burned my fingers touching them. I’d never though RAM would get that hot, especially not mine, because they had really nice looking orange head sinks. Anyway, I took one out and everything seemed to work just fine, only way slower. Memtest86 showed me no errors. I was really relieved, because I don’t have to money to get new RAM. RAM errors are very critical and could cause significant data loss. Well, after some days, I decided to test the other “defective” module to see which part of the memory was broken. Not like there is a way to fix it, but I hoped the mainboard would be the problem and not my expensive RAM. I exchanged the modules and ran memtest86. And.. it worked! Why is it working now? Wait, maybe because it got too hot! I put both modules back inside and a 80mm fan over them and run memtest86… They are working! It’s incredible to think that those modules need to be cooled actively, but who cares, the fan is an Artic Super Silent (19dBA) which was only € 2.49, much cheaper than getting new RAM. So maybe when memtest is showing errors, you should first try to build some heat sinks on them and if this doesn’t work, cool them with a fan. It might save you a lot of money.

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