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Z87N-Wifi freezes frequently when two DIMMs present

Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
66
Motherboard
GA-Z87N-Wifi
CPU
i7-4790K
Graphics
Intel HD 4600
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Hi folks,

first, my build:

OS X Yosemite
Gigabyte Z87N-Wifi
intel i7-4790K
HD4600 graphics
Silverstone ST45SF SFX12V 450W PSU
Silverstone Argon series CPU cooler
Samsung 840EVO 500GB SSD
GMYLE bluetooth adapter.

Done a bit of research and I've found lots of situations where people are having freezes most likely caused by RAM, so I've gone and tried a few of the 'fixes' for myself. The Z87N-wifi is a mini ITX with two DIMM slots, that I have occupied with 2x 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport (low profile). They are rated for 1600, 1.35V, and 9-9-9-24. The first thing I tried is changing the voltage to suit this rating, as my BIOS settings on default were keeping the voltage around 1.38V. Not really a big deal, but by forcing it at 1.34, the system maintains it at 1.356V. I have XMP off, as I have a SFX PSU for 450W which I thought would probably not be "Haswell ready" as some PSUs advertise and should have XMP disabled. Comes with the territory of fitting an i7-4790K in a very small miniITX build, where you need such a tiny PSU. But this Silverstone SFX PSU is specifically said to support Haswell.

Now, I haven't done a memtest on my RAM, but I have removed one DIMM and had the machine run smoothly for a few hours without a freeze, and restarted multiple times to see if I could force a freeze, since they most often occur less than 5 minutes after startup. I have done this with both DIMMs individually. Neither causes issues on its own. It's the introduction of both at once that is causing problems. It doesn't really matter what task is being performed, sometime within 5 minutes after startup, the machine freezes. No KPs on screen, or visual evidence outside of a frozen screen, and no input working. Oddly, when starting up with two DIMMs, the bluetooth USB adapter behaves strangely, either not connecting with my Magic Mouse, or bringing the cursor back to the top left every time the mouse is raised and lowered. The only way to fix this is to remove and replug the adapter. But as I said, not long after this, I usually get hit with a freeze. This Bluetooth situation doesn't rear its head with one stick of RAM.

So I don't quite know what the diagnosis is here. Does it have something to do with the lowered power draw from the removal of one of the DIMMs? My PSU, while low wattage at 450W is more than enough for the power draw of the actual machine, which should average around 250-300W. Should I try lowering the RAM frequencies to 1330 from 1600? Does this have the potential to damage the RAM? I have read lots about how 4 slot Gigabyte boards cause problems when all are filled, but it seems like some cruel joke that a two slot board would have the same problem, limiting me to 8GB.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
66
Motherboard
GA-Z87N-Wifi
CPU
i7-4790K
Graphics
Intel HD 4600
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
The freezes got worse after plugging in the GMYLE bluetooth adapter I got from Amazon last friday. Before that I only had about 2 in a week of normal use. Afterward, I just realized, it has been 5-10 a day. Has anybody experienced system freezes when using the suggested GMYLE bluetooth USB adapter? I'm testing running the machine without it to see if the same symptoms crop up. Will update later.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
114
Motherboard
GA-Z87N-WIFI
CPU
Intel Core i7-4770K
Graphics
GeForce GTX 760
Mac
iMac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
We have roughly the same setup and I too had random freezes, but not as bad as what you are seeing. In Mavericks I'd get one a week and usually it would be I found it frozen when I tried to wake it up; I got to that state after upping the voltage on the RAM by .1.

However, now I'm happy to report that on Yosemite (and more to the point, on Clover) I haven't got a single freeze. The system has hung and then rebooted itself which means OS X is able to generate a report and tell me what was crashing and my best guess is the software itself not the hardware so I'm satisfied. I read another post that also claimed to have a more stable system on Clover so I wanted to share with you.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
66
Motherboard
GA-Z87N-Wifi
CPU
i7-4790K
Graphics
Intel HD 4600
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Thanks for your responses, guys.

It appears the Bluetooth is not the problem, as having it unplugged and using a wired mice all day, I'm still plagued by the same amount of freezing.

I reset my bios to default and reset the minimal changes needed (IGP enabled and set as default, disable vd-T). Still no dice. I do a quick test now to force a freeze by launching multiple programs. I've found that the system fails most when doing so. I don't know if this tells me it's a problem with my memory or my SSD. I don't recall installing 3rd party SATA or TRIM options in MultiBeast, so maybe I need those? I've been trying to test my RAM with memtest86, but I can't for the life of me get the disk image that I've loaded to my thumb drive, via terminal commands laid out in the memtest86 readme, to be bootable. It'll show up in my boot menu, but when I select it, it's not bootable, so it moves down the line to the next in line in boot preferences (OS X on my SSD).

As far as upping the voltage .1 on the RAM, if my BIOS is by default keeping it at 1.38V instead of the 1.35V it's rated for, would adding another .7 to that really do much? And is that damaging to the memory?

Also, lots of folks in the build process said to leave XMP disabled, but if I have a capable PSU, should I maybe turn it on? I don't think I'd had it enabled since getting my system working.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
66
Motherboard
GA-Z87N-Wifi
CPU
i7-4790K
Graphics
Intel HD 4600
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Read in another thread by a user with very similar problems that people are having trouble with continually connected external HDDs. Especially Western Digital ones. And wouldn't you know, I have a WD My Passport 500GB external HDD plugged in for time machine backups. We'll see how it works out, but I tried forcing the situation by opening LOADS of programs. Almost my entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite opened, iTunes, App Store, Mail, Safari. No freezes. Obviously won't know for sure until at least a day or so of consistent uptime. But this could be the problem. If that's the case, I'd really prefer not to be locked out of using an always connected external HDD for backups, so if anybody has any ideas as to what could be causing that problem, do let me know. Thanks!
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
66
Motherboard
GA-Z87N-Wifi
CPU
i7-4790K
Graphics
Intel HD 4600
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
24 hours of uptime! I will need to find if I need to do disk repairs to the external HDD or if it's a USB problem, but I at least know I can have a perfectly stable machine if need be. I also fixed the freezing overnight that was occuring. According to the console, it was waking and doing some business with the internetconnection and then locking up. I had turned off wake on LAN in BIOS but not in OS X energy saving. Doing this fixed it! So I'm at like 95% for a properly running machine!
 
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