Bruce Campbell vs the ASUS Motherboard of Darkness

July 7, 2008

Well, I’m not Bruce Campbell, but I did do battle with my motherboard this weekend.  I have an ASUS P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe motherboard with a couple of nvidia 7600 cards in SLI and 2GB of RAM and a Core 2 Extreme.  It’s a pretty good little machine.  It’s not going to win any gaming contests or speed races, but it’s a very capable machine.

Now, this motherboard can apparently handle 8GB of RAM.  So I bought 8GB of RAM for this beast.  I just got the DIMMs in the mail on Friday and immediately popped them into the machine.  Instant BSoD in Windows Vista x64.  Great, thinks I.  I got a bad stick of RAM somewhere and now I have to RMA something.  Of course, I had no idea which stick was bad, so how would I know which ones to RMA?  On with the testing!

First, I put my old 2GB of RAM back into the system.  The motherboard has 4 slots for memory, and I had two 1GB sticks of G.Skill memory in slots A and C, with slots B and D empty.  The system booted just fine.  I booted off of my USB stick and ran memtest86+ 2.01.  I let it go through about 15 passes on my RAM and it found no errors.  I did the same thing for two of the new sticks of RAM, again, putting them in slots A and C and leaving B and D empty.  Again, I let memtest run through 15 passes.  No errors.  So I put the second pair of new memory into slots A and C and again ran memtest.  15 passes later and no errors.  Well now, says I.  What the F, yo?  If the memory is fine, could it be the motherboard?

So I try and boot Windows Vista with the new memory.  I load 2 sticks in slots A and C and Windows boots and runs like a champ.  I load the second pair of new memory sticks into A and C and Windows again boots and runs just fine.  I now put all 4 sticks in the machine and it BSoDs on me.  So I take 4GB out of slots B and D, and put my old RAM into those slots.  So now I have 2 new sticks of ram (two 2GB sticks) in slots A and C, and 2 old sticks of RAM (which I know are good) into slots B and D.  The system boots and Windows starts up.  I’m a little confused but then a few minutes later, Windows BSoDs on me again.  So with 8GB of RAM in all 4 slots, the system crashes instantly.  With 6GB in all 4 slots, it crashes after a few minutes.  With only 4GB in slots A and C, it runs just fine all day long.

At this point I’m assuming that slots B and D on my board are bad (or at least one of them is).  I never tested those two slots when I first got the board.

Now my installation of Windows Vista x64 had all the latest hotfixes and SP1 installed, so I already had the 4GB patch listed in Windows KB929777.  My latest guess is that this is an ASUS problem or an nVidia chipset problem (I have no idea how to narrow it down further…).  After spending the better part of an afternoon rummaging through various forums, it seems that the majority of people with similar large memory problems also had ASUS motherboards.  They didn’t all have the same model motherboard, but they were all ASUS.  Is this something that is typical with ASUS boards?  Maybe some kind of conflict between the BIOS and Windows when addressing large amounts of memory

Well, whatever the case, I want my damn 8GB of memory.  If ASUS can’t get it done, I’ll go elsewhere.  So last night I ordered a new motherboard, the Gigabyte GA-X48-DS4.  It’s a little pricey ($224.99 at NewEgg.com at the time of this writing), but it has all the features I need, including two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots that run at full x16 speeds with two Crossfire-enabled cards installed.  I think it had 10 USB 2.0 ports on the back (using the header extension cable).  And it had 6 SATA 3.0Gb headers for all my hard drives.  I hope that my 8GB of memory works on this board.  If it does, I may have to swear off ASUS for awhile.  I always thought they made good boards, but after reading around, it seems they have problems with their memory slots.  Hopefully Gigabyte’s board will be better.

Of course, I have 2 nVidia cards in SLI right now.  The new board that I ordered uses the Intel X48 chipset which doesn’t support SLI.  It supports ATi’s Crossfire technology.  This meant I had to order two new video cards as well!  So this 8GB RAM upgrade has turned into a very expensive upgrade!  Thanks alot, ASUS!

I guess it’s time to eBay the old ASUS board, video cards, and 2GB of RAM.  Hopefully someone can put them to good use in a nice little computer build somewhere.  Oh well.  Onward and upward.

Gimme some sugar, baby.


One comment

  1. […] dump Just another WordPress.com weblog « Bruce Campbell vs the ASUS Motherboard of Darkness New motherboard arrived July 9, 2008 Well, as I stated in my previous post, I ordered a […]

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