Timing is Crucial

December 22, 2007

Heh, I just realized that the title of this post is punny in several ways. This is a post about my RAM timing, and my memory is made by Crucial.


My new computer has been throwing me for all sorts of loops. First, I realized my old power supply didn’t have the right number of pins for the main connection, so I had to go out and find one at the Office Max and pay far too much for far too little bang.

Secondly, there was the entireĀ  “maybe my RAM is the problem” “nope, the video card was just busted on arrival” issue. I now have an extremely nice XFX card, still a 7600GT, but a sexy one that works nicely.

Finally, the RAM issue. I had been getting random exception errors and some general funkiness with both my sticks of RAM installed. The biggest tipoff that something was wrong was that when I went to install certain applications (iTunes especially, but also Joost and a few others) when I had all 2gb installed, the installer would hang at a certain point every time. When I took out a stick, bingo, the hangs were gone.

Now I had gone to Crucial’s site to get the timing info on the sticks of RAM I have. Crucial said that 5-5-5-17 was what I should be running for these babies. Either someone fell asleep when copy/pasting the specs, or the part number printed on the bill of materials is wrong. When using this timing, the same things happened.

Then, it occurred. I had the RAM out. I was looking at it for a part number. And BAM! Right on the stick itself: 5-5-5-12

So I popped in the second stick and went to my BIOS to see what I had going on. I had set the timing to Auto, figuring that my ABit Fatal1ty board would be smart and get everything right. Not even close. The timing was 6-4-5-18. Set it to the proper timing, rebooted, and presto everything works flawlessly. Applications aren’t randomly closing on me. My drivers aren’t putzing out for no reason. It’s going awesome.

The moral of the story is “Automatic settings automatically fail in some situations”