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I just swapped out my RAM kit on my MSI P55 GD80 board to the Patriot Viper Xtreme 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3.

The timings on the new RAM kit are specified at 8-9-8-24 by the manufacturer but when the timings are set to auto by the motherboard it sets them to 7-7-7-20, which were the timings of the old kit. I manually adjusted the timings to 8-9-8-24 and the machine ran well for two weeks then completely crashed to the point where it wouldn't post. I had to clear the CMOS to get it to boot, at which point the board set the timings right back at 7-7-7-20.

I guess I have two questions:
(a) Was the crash likely the result of this problem? The rig ran fine without a hitch in the previous 9 months (since it was new) with the old kit.
(b) If so, should I leave the settings to auto even though the timings are too tight and see if it crashes? I haven't really given it a chance on "auto" yet, I manually adjusted the timings shortly after installing the new kit.

Any help on this problem would be greatly appreciated.