I got a motherboard and processor from my brother that would be a great upgrade to my old P-III. I quickly secured a cheap stick of RAM and hooked everything up. The problem is that I couldn’t seem to get anything to install on the drives. It was always coming up with errors, causing a total failure. So, I bought a replacement motherboard, thinking that I might be having problems with the IDE connectors. I really wanted to use the board my bro gave me, though, as it had better capabilities.
I had the same issues with the new board, although the operating systems that were currently on the hard drives in the machine recognized the board and booted. I still received compression errors and files weren’t saving properly. Even after installing brand new IDE cables (the pretty round ones that glow under UV light), I still had these issues.
Programs that are memory intensive, like Firefox (yes, it is, all you naysayers – its the browser that I use, and likely a lot longer than you have, but its still got leaks), would crash for no apparent reason. Many games would just refuse to load. I began to suspect something else (which I should have checked before spending money).
It turns out that the cheap used memory module was priced so low for a reason. Its crap (to quote Fab from Linux Outlaws). A quick memory test with memtest86 indicated that there were errors on 5 of the tests in the thousands. Its a guarantee that I will have better luck with a good memory stick.
So, remember, if you’re getting I/O errors, check your memory first, as its pretty much the cheapest fix, and a likely suspect.