One of the more common reasons a PC may refuse to start or experience issues can be tied to one of the most utilized components in the system: RAM. RAM issues can manifest in many different ways such as:
- Applications/Games freezing, hanging, or crashing
- Random PC restarts
- Stop Code/Stop Screen, aka BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)
- No Signal to the Monitor
- Not Booting into Windows
Whether this be due to a faulted module, bad slot, or even just an incomplete connection this guide aims to help identify, test, and resolve issues related to RAM in your PC.
Identifying RAM issues
There are a few ways to identify a RAM issue with your PC, however this will depend on your system and if you can load into Windows. If you are experiencing an issue where the PC does not complete POST (Power on Self Test) when the computer starts and you get no video signal to the monitor, your motherboard may have a debug LED or seven-segment display that we can use to identify the cause.
For the NZXT N7 series of motherboards, these LEDs will generally be located towards the bottom of the motherboard next to the onboard Power and Reset buttons.
If the PC loads into Windows and you are getting a stop code or “Blue Screen of Death”, the error code may be related to memory and testing the RAM can help us confirm this. Common stop codes for memory related issues include, but are not limited to:
If the system is experiencing a stop code or randomly restarts, you can test the RAM in the system using a software tool to confirm if there is a memory error detected.
Before tackling the hardware itself, it may be best to start with a reset of the UEFI/CMOS settings.
Before continuing: If you are using BitLocker or any drive encryption reliant on TPM/Secure Boot, it is recommended to disable encryption before continuing or to have your decryption password ready or to backup your TPM/Secure Boot keys according to the motherboard user’s manual. A UEFI/CMOS reset can result in total loss of these keys.
Resetting CMOS on most motherboards can be done in one of three ways. If your PC is able to boot, you can use the “Load Optimized Defaults” setting found in most UEFI/BIOS on the PC itself. If your PC is not able to properly complete a POST and boot, you may need to manually reset the CMOS. To do this, please check out our guide here:
Reseating the RAM is the act of removing, checking, and re-installing the RAM modules in a PC. In many cases, a RAM error can be caused due to a loose or disconnected memory module.
Note: In any situation where you are physically removing components from your PC, it is recommended to shutdown your computer and turn off the power supply using the switch next to the power cable. Leave the PC plugged in to a grounded outlet, and touch the metal chassis of the case to discharge any static electricity present on your body. If you own an anti-static wristband, it is recommended to use one.
To start, make sure that the locking clips at the top and bottom of each RAM slot are open. With some motherboards, you may find that there is only a locking clip at the top of the RAM slot and not at the bottom. This can be easily identified as the bottom of the slot will have a slotted piece rather than a closed-top clip as shown here:
With the lock(s) open, pull the RAM module from the slot and inspect both the slot and RAM for any potential damage. If you notice any damage to the RAM module such as a crack on the circuit board, torn contacts, or signs of scorching on the circuit board then this would be a sign that the RAM module needs to be immediately replaced.
When removing RAM modules from the PC, it is recommended to keep match pairs together at all times as this will ensure we minimize the chance for another error to be created. With most motherboards, match pairs will be inserted in slots 2 and 4, as well as slots 1 and 3. To identify how match pairs should be installed, please refer to your motherboard user’s manual.
If you happen to mix these modules however, it is fairly easy to identify match pairs by their serial number. For a match pair of RAM, the serial numbers will generally only be off by a single digit. For example, if your system has 4 RAM cards their serial numbers may look like the following:
In this situation, the match pairs will be 1 and 2, as well as 3 and 4.
To reinstall the RAM, choose a match pair and install them into the appropriate slots on your motherboard. For many motherboards the recommended slots to use are slots 2 and 4, however it is recommended to check your motherboard user’s manual to make sure you are using the correct slots.
With the locks on the slots open, line up the RAM module with the slot and firmly press the card into the slot. If properly done, the lock(s) should close and the RAM module will be secure. From here, turn on the PC and confirm if the issue is still occurring. If the PC is able to boot into Windows with a single match pair, shutdown the PC and try installing the second match pair to slots 1 and 3.
My PC is still giving a RAM error on boot, how do I fix this?
Depending on your system configuration, you may have either a faulty module, faulty kit, or an issue with another component such as the motherboard or CPU. To confirm this, we’ll want to test and isolate the issue.
As before, with the PC off we’ll remove the RAM and separate the match pairs if applicable. With the match pairs separated, choose one module and install it to the first RAM slot slot as shown in the motherboard user’s manual and try booting the PC again. If the PC refuses to boot with the single module, shutdown the computer and try the other module from the same pair.
If your system has two pairs of memory, repeat the above test using the second match pair.
Depending on the results, we can isolate the source of the issue:
- If the PC boots with one match pair but not the other, this would indicate an issue with that match pair.
- If the PC fails to boot with both match pairs in the same slots, this could indicate an issue with the RAM or Motherboard/CPU.
- If the PC fails to boot with one slot/pair of slots but not the other, this could indicate an issue with the Motherboard/CPU.
- If testing a single module and only one module will boot then this would indicate an issue with that pair.
- If testing with a single module and both will boot, then this would indicate an issue with the Motherboard/CPU.
My PC is booting, but I believe I have a RAM issue. How do I test this?
If your PC is able to boot, but you are still having RAM related issues such as applications crashing, random restarts, or stop codes, please check out our guide for RAM software testing here:
If you have any questions, or have confirmed a RAM issue with a NZXT BLD PC, please reach out to our Customer Support team for further assistance.