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Thread: G3 B&W Memory Problems

  1. #1
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    I have a G3 B&W 450. System 9.2.2 and OS 10.2.3. I cannot get two or more 256 Mb ram modules to work together. Any time two or more modules are use I get freezes. There is no way to predict when the freezes will occur. The problem is so serious that it makes OS 10.2.3 useless.
    If one 256 Mb module is used, there are no freezes. I can use two 128 Mb modules installed in any pair of slots without serious problems.
    I have used three pair of cheap ($25) modules from OWC. All were advertised by OWC as appropriate for the G3 B&W. I have used two ($50) pair from Fry's. None worked.
    Finally, I have used a pair of Kingston ($70) modules from Mac Mall. They were shown by Mac Mall and the Kingston web site as being specific for the B&W (KTA-G3100/256). They worked no better than the others.
    TechTool Pro was used to check all modules. TechTool Pro has ten different ram tests. If the modules are tested one at a time, each one passed all ten tests. When tested in sets of two, three or four, they always fail at least one to three of the tests. (Arpeggio, Web, or Leap) The tests were not consistent. The modules did not always fail the same test.
    Each module also passed the DIMM First Aid test.

  2. #2
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    DIMM First Aid. What was the output? Anything that is 8 nanosecond should pass (DFA will tell you). Anything that is 10 ns. is going to cause trouble.

    I'm surprised that "each module passed the DIMM First Aid test" - and yet obviously they are not working. Post the output, I'd like to see what it shows, if possible.

    Each module passes DFA no matter what slot it is in?
    If you move it to another slot, does it then fail?

    What you can use are PC133's that are 256MB CAS2 or PC100 125 MHz 8 ns. You can end up paying a couple dollars more but likely to never have any trouble with Crucial (buy direct and use their memory guide). All of my memory for B&W and Beige came from Crucial, no trouble. The RAM from Apple and OWC both gave me trouble (I even thought one DRAM slot was bad). Seems like you've tried enough different brands!

    You could have a bad memory controller I suspose. How old is the battery? I never found the B&W actually needed a cuda reset, but there is one there.

    With a B&W, are you using PCI IDE card? Rev 2? How much memory are you running and trying to run? Sometimes, its nice to have a list of each module, what it is, what slot. To 'troubleshoot' sometimes you need a spreadsheet as you check off combinations - taking notes while beta testing was hard for me to learn to do.

    [This message has been edited by Gregory (edited 11 February 2003).]

  3. #3
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    Gregory, thanks for the reply. Here are answers to your questions.

    Below are the results of the DIMM First Aid test. The first two are from the cheapest ($22 about 2 months ago) OWC Ram and the second pair is Kingston ($70 yesterday). All the others were returned when they did not work. Since this machine was made in 1999, I don't think it is considered a newer Mac. A couple of other pairs were 10 ns. One pair was 7.5 ns. One pair was PC133 from OWC. When paired with the first pair below, they gave terrible results. When used as the only pair, the results were about the same as the others. Since the ns are not listed in ads or packages, I have relied on the sellers or manufacturers to meet Mac specs when they say the ram is for the Mac B&W. Most of them seem to sell the 10 ns although Apple says to use 8ns.

    When a single 256 module is tested in each of the four slots, it passes all 10 TechTool tests. When the pair of 128s is tested in any arrangement in the four slots, they pass all ten tests.

    This is the first time these four modules been install together. I have not run the TechTool tests on this combination, but each pair has failed the TechTool tests. (One freeze as I am writing this.)

    I had planned to install at least 512 Mb plus the two 128s already had. Now the most stable results come from running the pair of 128's or a single 256.

    The computer has 1 IBM 80 meg drive and one SCSI 9meg drive. The firmware has been updated. It has ATI Radeon 7000 card, although most of the testing was done with the original (firmware updated) video card. The battery is about 2 months old. The only PCI cards are two video and one scsi.

    I did make a spreadsheet to see if there was a pattern for the errors. No patterns were apparent.


    Model: PowerMac1,1
    PowerMac G3 (B&W)
    DIMM0/J19
    DIMM configured for 256MB
    8008040C0B01400001806000800400010F04060101000EA060 00001410143040
    20102010000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000128D
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000064AF
    8.0ns PC100-222
    Note: the number of column address bits is not compatible with newer Macs
    DIMM checks out OK

    DIMM1/J20
    DIMM configured for 256MB
    8008040C0B01400001806000800400010F04060101000EA060 00001410143040
    20102010000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000128D
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000064AF
    8.0ns PC100-222
    Note: the number of column address bits is not compatible with newer Macs
    DIMM checks out OK

    DIMM2/J21
    DIMM configured for 256MB
    8008040C0A02400001A06000800800018F04060101000EA060 00001414143220
    20102010000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000001217
    7F98000000000000042033324D5836345043313030434C3231 3638502002340A
    1FF30400000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000064F7
    10.0ns PC100-222
    DIMM checks out OK

    DIMM3/J22
    DIMM configured for 256MB
    8008040C0A02400001A06000800800018F04060101000EA060 00001414143220
    20102010000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000001217
    7F98000000000000042033324D5836345043313030434C3231 3638502002340A
    1F080200000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000064F7
    10.0ns PC100-222
    DIMM checks out OK

    All your DIMMs checked out OK

  4. #4
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    It annoys me to no end that people sell 10 ns RAM for use in a 100 MHz bus. The RAM will be too slow and cause the system to have to wait for data. Memory needs to be faster than the bus to operate correctly. Especially OS X which shovels a lot more.

    What I found from my experience was that having all the RAM of the same spec was what worked.

    By "newworld" that refers to "NewWorld" Open Firmware 3.0+ (ie, B&W G3 or later). If you were using a G4/500 it would push the limits further. 10 ns RAM might work in a G3/300 (but didn't for me in G3/350) - it was hard back in early 1999 to even find PC100 that was 8 nanosecond.

    You did your homework. You probably don't want to buy more. The safest at this time is to use PC133 because it almost always work. Again, know who you buy from. PC100 is 'old' and most vendors now sell more DDR than SDRAM and have phased out PC100 in favor of PC133. In that sense PC100 is 'old' and of course the Beige was PC66 (but can use PC100). Your ram would probably work in Beige system better in fact.

    To run OS X, 512MB is really "okay" but more is better (I have 768MB now, I had to pull 128MB to avoid k/p errors that might have been software or RAM.) CHUD Tools 2.5.2 from Apple was posted to fix a kernel panic resulting from one of its components.

    There are places like Crucial where you can find out and know what the memory will be, down to nanoseconds. And they have been helpful and knowledgable when I wanted more info, both by phone and email. Not to endorse or recommend, just that it is my personal preference, like someone else preferring Seagate. Not on the level of "only use Granite Digital for Ultra320 SCSI" or equally so "Disk Warrior rules in disk utilities." (but close)

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    PS: looking over the output of DFA - none of it looks 'good' to me. Not the 10 ns and not the notes on J19 and J20.

    I'd look at Crucial PC133 256's ($142 though), and try to return or sell what you have for some Beige owner. Sounds like a lot until you look at what 128MB sold for back in 1999 or something (~$1.14/MB) if you want the proper memory and avoid this voodoo.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys for posting all the gritty details. Good stuff.

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    The Kingston modules have been returned to Mac Mall and I have ordered ram from Crucial. Maybe it will solve the problem. Either I will be a great advocate for Crucial or I will know something besides ram is the problem. Thanks for the help.

  8. #8
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    Bailey,

    Gregory has been so on this that I didn't want to intrude but I do want to ask if your B&W is a revision1 or a revision2? Most 450's were rev2 but there are a obvious few that weren't and they will always have issues with the motherboard IDE controller causing corruption of the data and hence, crashes.

    ¬?You have probably done this already but here's the site to confirm which version you do have: xlr8yourmac

    Rick

  9. #9
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    Rick,
    Thanks for the information on verifying the Rev. 1 or Rev. 2 It is the Rev 2.
    The controller chip does have 646U2-402 stamped on it.

    Any suggestions on identifying the problem is appreciated. I have been trying for 2 months to figure this out by myself.

  10. #10
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    From what I read in G3*Zone on xlr8yourmac.com there are some "hyrid" models that have some rev 1 features, but are rev 2 models. IDE chip, single bracket. But I'd think any G3/450 was top speed for rev 2's. Also, most rev 1 units had 512k L2 while "most"? rev 2's are all 1MB L2.

    The Yosemite isn't adept at working with different variations in RAM, unlike G4's which can read the EEPROM code and 'auto-negotiate.'

    Let us know (tomorrow or over the weekend) what the Crucial stuff does - at least if that has trouble we know its not RAM and you might need to shop for a mobo or something.

  11. #11
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    Friday Feb. 14

    The much praised Crucial Ram has arrived. It was immediately installed and checked with DIMM First Aid. It met all Apple’s requirements and was deemed OK.

    The ten TechTool tests were run on separates modules and both passed all ten. Then I proceeded with tests on the pair. As usual the pair passed the first seven test with no problems. Problems arose on the last three tests. (The same as with all the other brands checked in the past.)

    Here are the test results. Dimms are named A and B. Slots are 1,2,3,and 4. The three tests are 8, 9 and 10.
    Trial 1 Slot 1-A Slot 2-B Test 8-Fail Test 9-Fail Test 10-Fail
    Trial 2 Slot 2-B Slot 3-A Test 8-Pass Test 9-Fail Test 10-Pass
    Trial 3 Slot 2-B Slot 3-A Test 8-Fail Test 9-Fail Test 10- Pass (Repeat of Trial 2 with different result.)
    Trial 4 Slot 3-A Slot 4-B Test 8-Fail Test 9-Fail Test 10-Fail

    Then without turning the computer off or changing anything the arrangement in Trial 4 was tested using one test at a time with the following results.
    Test 8-Pass Test 9-Pass Test 10-Pass Test 8-Pass Test 9-Pass Test 10-Pass.
    For good measure tests 1-7 were run as a group and they all passed, DIMM First Aid was run again with both Dimms receiving an OK.

    I don’t know what this means. The DIMMs failed all three tests then passed all three tests twice.

    Saturday and Sunday
    Tests were run several more times with the usual inconsistent results.

    My conclusion is that the ram itself is not the problem, but I can’t figure what it is. I hope someone who has had a similar problem can tell me how to solve it.

  12. #12
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    The memory controller? Seems like it. Your memory will work in a Beige or in a Yikes or Sawtooth or other G4 100 fsb systems. New mobo or move on?

    You've been thorough and more in seeing this through.

  13. #13
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    Gregory
    Thanks for your help.

    I did find a web site with extensive coverage of bad ram at MacIntouch.com
    http://www.macintouch.com/badram01.html

    It covers Macintosh Ram Problem on any Mac.

    Since I have several days before the Crucial ram has to be returned, I have been using it . I zapped the PRAM four times. Yesterday there was only in problem with the computer in a total of 8 to 10 hours. (System 9.2) If it continues to work this well, it will not be returned.

  14. #14
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    Bailey,

    So even though you did a rest of open firmware, that wasn't enough, and it needed zapping pram some extra times, and that seems to have cured it?

    I've seen a bad PCI slot and anything put in that slot cause trouble, and I'd seen and read the "Bad RAM" acticle (every day as it evolved). I think I tried to send in my story, too, about how OS X PB proved to be the "best" memory test utility up until then, to weed out faulty, defective, marginal memory. Along with the lack of abilty of the B&W to read any ROM code on SDRAM in order to adjust or optimize to work together (how I came to believe that best strategy was to use ALL of the same spec and source of memory, even better if it all came from the same batch, expecially on pre-G4's like Beige and Yosemite.

    Glad there is a happy ending to this story.

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