I treated myself to some extra RAM for my main PC back in January, and it’s been a bit of a tale of woe.

I’ve been running with 1Gb since I first set this PC up, and it’s been mostly fine, but I tend to leave Azureus running in a secondary login, and it can sometimes be a bit of a hog, especially when I’m trying to do something on a main login.

So, I figured I’d boost the current 2x ½Gb chips with an extra 1Gb chip.  Now, I know my way around a PC as much as the next geek, but RAM’s always been a bit of a blind spot for me.  I asked around, and decided on a decent looking chip.  The issue was that I currently have non-ECC RAM and this was going to be ECC.  Shouldn’t be a problem, I was told.

Well, it wasn’t.  At least, not to start with.  But after a month or so, I started getting hard lock-ups.  This just doesn’t happen with Linux, so it had to be hardware, and I figured it must be the RAM.  I ram MemTest 86+ on it over night (which I had done cleanly for a couple of hours post-install) and this time I got some errors.

I sent it back under warranty, and popped the replacement in.  (Mind you, they accidentally charged me for it a second time!).  And it worked, for maybe 6 hours 🙁  Then it locked up as I tried to log in, a mere 60 seconds into boot.


It was then that a collegue pointed me to Cruicial‘s website.  I’d seen it before, but had been stuck in my “buy it from where I know” mentality.  I ran through the wizard, telling it my motherboard ID, and it plopped out a couple of recommendations, which were, incidentally, the same price (near enough) that I’d paid elsewhere but with free postage!  And this said that one mustn’t mix ECC and non-ECC RAM.  ANd don’t put ECC RAM in my motherboard.  OK, now someone tells me.

Stuff it, I though, it may be good money after bad but I plumped for a pair of 1Gb DIMMs.  This was Thursday morning sometime.  They were waiting for me when I got home shortly after lunch on Friday (we get off early then).  I plopped ’em in, ran a bit of MemTest for a while, then let ‘er rip.

Ahh.  Seems to work a treat.  That’ll learn me 🙂

Hang on.  Why ”beep”, you’re asking?  (well, you probably are if you’re still reading this drivel)

I decided that, now with 3Gb, I could afford to ‘do things properly’, so instead of just running up a blank X server & slapping openbox on it for Azureus, I’d just leave myself fully logged in.

This means that all the fast-user-switch stuff ‘just works’ and it’s a lot easier to manage.  The downsides are that (a) I’ve had Pidgin hit 100% CPU load after being left [I’ll have to watch that], (b) gDesklets tends to do the same if left running [I blame the RSS display;  I’ve had to add some buttons to launch and kill it instead of leaving it up], and finally (c) … if I select my login from the gdm main screen, I start getting a 3-4 second periodic beep out of the system.

WTF?  It seems to go away if I away to the gdm login screen and back to my login, but … WTF?

It may be due to my still running up as an ‘alternate’ login [I logged in as someone else, then logged in as me, then logged out of the first];  next time, I’ll just log in and let others launch a second display [that all works fine now wrt. sound & device ownership].

But just in case, I’ve looked up a number of places that might cause odd sounds to be emitted.  I’ve applied the gdm ones, but not yet restarted it to test.  And here they are, in case Google sends you my way:

Stop X beeping:
xset b off

Set terminal bell length to zero:
setterm -blength 0

In gdm.conf (for Fedora, /etc/gdm/custom.conf):


(ref. a Debian site and a WordPress blog entry).


About fnx

PSN: the_phoenix
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