Richard Freeman on 30 Dec 2009 07:10:28 -0800

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [PLUG] How To Diagnose System Instability?

On 12/30/2009 09:57 AM, Casey Bralla wrote:
> Beyond these tasks, does anybody have any suggestions to help identify the
> cause of the instability?   I would hate to have to replace the motherboard.
> And how would I "prove" that the motherboard is the problem?

This sort of thing can be a MAJOR hassle to trace in my experience, 
unless you have some fairly sophisticated testing hardware.  You're 
already on the right track - I'd try operating on a minimal amount of 
RAM and move it around from slot to slot.  If any combination of DIMMs 
and slots causes errors either all your RAM is bad or the problem is 
something else.  If you can test that RAM out on another system with 
memtest or use RAM from a known-good system you could eliminate that 

The problem that if it isn't RAM it could be a number of things - 
motherboard, power supply, and even CPU are likely candidates.  It could 
even be a PCI card, although that seems less likely.  If your power 
supply isn't high-end then your home electrical supply might even be an 
issue if it isn't filtered (UPS/etc).

By far the most straightfoward way to test this stuff out is to run long 
runs of burn-in software (memtest, etc), while swapping out components. 
  If you're at a place that has lots of spare equipment lying around 
this is no problem, but at home this is going to be very expensive 
unless you happen to have a near-identical system handy.

If anybody has better advice I'm certainly interested.  For many boot-up 
issues a port-80 card can be helpful (they're dirt cheap these days), 
but not in this case since the problem is intermittent.

Philadelphia Linux Users Group         --
Announcements -
General Discussion  --