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Thread: G4 MDD 1,25 dual : Kernel panics using different ram modules

  1. #1
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    Default G4 MDD 1,25 dual : Kernel panics using different ram modules

    Hi,
    I have trouble with my ram modules since 1 year
    First, I thought it was because of the generic modules I bought, but the trouble is still the same with the other modules I've tried.

    Machine : G4 MDD bi 1,25 Ghz dual boot, ROM 4.4.8f2,
    Tested Systems : Jaguar, Panther 10.3.4 / 10.3.9, Tiger, OS X.3 installer CD
    Tested ram modules : 1 Apple stock 256 Mo, 2x512 dane-elec, 2x512 Crucial, 2x512 Elixir (generic)
    all are SDRAM DDR333 PC2700 mac compatible

    Here is my trouble :
    - 1 module installed : Boot OK, Stability OK
    - 2 modules installed : don't boot ( Spins forever or Kernel panic before system loads )
    - 3 modules installed : Boot OK, but Unstable (Kernel panics after a little time, when using applications on Panther)
    --> It seems to be working OK with Tiger (I need to do more test to be sure)
    - 4 modules installed : don't boot ( Spins forever or Kernel panic before system loads )
    All those steps have been tested with any of the different module, in any slot position.

    These test have been done with all PCI cards and peripherals removed and only one hard drive with a fresh Panther system.
    Each time I do : zap PRAM or reset nvram/defaults/all in open firmware , permissions repair (when it don't crash)
    Apple hardware diagnostics, including extended memory test, report everything OK when testing each module
    Also has been tested with another ATA drive (by an apple certified technician) with Panther on it : same results.


    Could DIMMFirst aid help ?
    Should I return the 2x512 modules to crucial and ask for a 1Go PC2700 instead (as it seems that only 1 module at a time is working OK ) and then use only 1 Go Ram ?
    Should I use PC3200 ?
    Why does 3 modules seems be stable under Tiger ? (but 2 and 4 modules, even paired, still don't boot)

    I hope some of you will help me to solve my troubles cause Applecare don't.

    Thank you .

  2. #2
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    See MacFixit from yesterday. I would start with memtest anytime you install RAM. Run memtest from the command line booted into single user mode.

    What does Apple Hardware Test say when run?
    Temperature range? cooling and ventilation?
    Have you cleaned out the dust that builds up in the front and air intakes?
    Don't put it on a carpet or it will tend to suck in more dust, dirt. More so if you have pets.

    When I first had to install RAM, I thought I would break it, and was worried about proximity to the CPU.

    If you have Radeon 9800, that adds more heat.

    You may need to do a clean install if you have memory problems, then you surely have data corruption occurring.

    There is no reason to repair permissions I can think of after a crash, but there is a good chance you want to run fsck or applejack or boot from an emergency CD or boot drive and run First Aid to repair the drive and then, if there are errors that multiple attempts don't clean, run Disk Warrior.

    You could have a bad slot. Or dirt. You can use any slot, no need to put them in any order of slots.

    I trust Crucial, but they did have a bad run it seemed some months back, but not a year ago (I bought three 512s for mine during 2004). I would question some 3rd party. I would return the non-Crucial memory. And I would try with just Crucial. Run memtest. If it fails, and only then, THEN contact Crucial.

    Yes, you can use PC3200 including 1GB modules. Mac compatible doesn't mean they are compatible with other memory, should mean it has the proper voltage, timing, and SPD coding.

    DIMM First out works with SDRAM, PC100/PC133, not DDR.
    Last edited by TZ; 05-27-2005 at 09:26 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thank you TZ for your very quick answer and help.

    I've been sometimes running Rember in the past and the test were OK.
    But I actualy follow your advice by running memtest in single user mode this night.

    So , to answer your questions :

    Apple Hardware test say OK to all the tests. fsck -f as been done (it was OK)
    I use loudmeter since a few month, so I know the temperature is 60C (140F) max.
    Graphic card = Nvidia GeForce

    The first time I had the problem was one year ago, after a motherboard and CPU replacement under warranty, because of heats problems due to a fan failure (thats why I now always run loudmeter). The slots where brand new so no dust at all...but the modules were generic ones. So I suspected the module's quality and the reseller did exchange them but didn't give my money back (nor improuvements) !
    As one generic module at a time was working (but with 2 = no boot) , I kept one generic 512 Mo instead of the stock 256 Apple/samsung one and all was OK.
    6 month ago I had enought cash to buy two other 512 Mo from Dane-elec and thought it would work cause it's a good made. but it was the same thing. So I did return them and this time got my money back.
    2 days ago I had enough cash to buy two 512 Mo from Crucial, I thought it would work...

    So since one year, I have always used only 1x 512 and have never had a problem. (except not enough memory for my use and an unused 512 ). Do you really think I can be victim of data corruption. I didn't notice anything and use my computer a lot for professional audio work. How can I verify that ? My 4 ATA (450 Go) drives have several partitions an several boot systems. Do you think I should initialise all them (hope this could be the last solution) or just the booting partitions ?

    The reason why I repair permissions is that it's a good test for me : when 3 modules are inserted simultaneously, the system can take 1 to 30 minutes before crashing. With disk utility running, it takes only 20 sec.

    I think I perhaps was not very clear with my problem (sorry, my english is not very good) so let me give an example :

    - 1 apple 256 in any slot works OK
    - 1 Crucial 512 in any slot works OK
    - 1 Crucial 512 in any slot works OK (the other module)
    All together in any 3 slot : boot OK but unstable
    The 2 crucial in any 2 slot : don't boot at all http://www.macgurus.com/forums/newre...ote=1&p=86370#

    So I tend to believe it is not a dust/contact or compatibility issue but I might be wrong.

    One good new is that I verified and it really seems to rock solid with 3 modules (any of them, even generic) and Tiger.

    Any other ideas ?

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    Boy, you've got me on the RAM issues. Sometimes, I wonder if a system was made on "lemon Monday" or something.

    RAM that works alone is one step. And swapping one at a time and trying it in all four slots. Some RAM doesn't get along with another batch, even from same vendor, if there were variations.

    Disk drives. Got policy and practice is to actually zero a drive before using it actually. Then load it to the 'brim' until it is full almost 90%+. With large files or DVD images, there isn't any fragmentation, and therefore, no fear that the HFS Extended bug will bite (never fill a drive more than 85% full or the directory can run out of space with too many entries for all the segmented file sectons).

    I was interested in seeing if AHT found any problems not related to memory, it is a poor test even in extended more, for RAM (though it catches some of the more obvious problems).

    Wiping clean one volume or drive - after making sure the data is backed up elsewhere twice - zero - and do a clean install might help. And use a fresh user account. And test that for awhile.

    Sometimes in copying a volume for backup is the only way to insure that the file copies.

    Intech Speedtools does have a slow and lengthy test for integrity, drive media, and can try to map out any bad blocks it finds. Time consuming. I think it does a better job than zero a drive, but that is because it reads and writes to/from the same block multiple times.

    Macintouch as a long article on "Bad RAM" linked in the Memory Reference or just go to www.macintouch.com that goes into some "interesting" stories. Freezes, crashes, memory errors that can written out to disk would lead to corruption. The most common places to find such corruption would be in any plist or preference file, cache folders, or when creating or updating files.

    When you partition or erase a drive (not just a volume) the first 100 sectors are tested for bad blocks as the partition map cannot later allocate a spare block if there is an error. The volume directory is in "user space." Disk Warrior is mine and most others favorite tool to build a new directory.

    I clone my system regularly, then use the clone as the 'new' boot drive which keeps it fresh, optimized, and running at optimal performance.

    part of that practice is to keep user accounts on a separate drive from the system. For ease of updating the system, backing up user data, and to improve performance.

    Today, I've updated my backups (every weekend at the least), booted from alternate system, initialized a drive so as to move/clone the system to fresh drive. if the system or system drive goes, easy enough to erase and restore. Same for /Users.

  5. #5
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    OK, so here's the results of memtest in single user mode :
    1 module by one = OK (any made)
    More than one = lots of failures . ends often with panics (even just with 2 crucial).

    Very strange, I guess it's a Mother Board issue (but now out of waranty, so I can't exchange).

    So I decided to stop wasting my time and my nerves with all that and ask Crucial to exchange the 2x512 module with a 1 Go one since 1 module at a time works well (I guess it is possible , if I explain them the problem.) I will then be able to use 1Go instead of 512, and think it will be enough for my needs.
    I would like to have your advice : Should I ask for a PC2700 or a PC3200 1 Go module (I understood PC3200 could be better) ?

    I'd also like to thank you for your explanations about hard drives and partitions. It's almost the way I use it, except for the separation of the user account folder -I only do backups-. I'm very interested in that. Do you know any good tutorial on how to release that. Could it also work to share the same account between my tower G4 and Ibook by synchronizing. Does it work with different systems (say Panther & Tiger). What should be on each ATA bus (system - /user) to increase speed ?

    Cheers.

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    In case you aren't clicking on the "Today's Active Threads" there is a new version of Memtest (4.10) posted today that is an improvement over earlier version.

    Also, if you want to use Rember, "Show Package Contents" will show 'memtest' - replace that with the new memtest command line utility.

    it shouldn't matter what you use, whether PC2700 or PC3200. Maybe you have two good RAM slots and can use something else.

    If it is logicboard, I would expect AHT to spot it.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the very interesting /users thing and optimisation links.

    About my ram, here's the resume of the tests

    AHT : all is OK
    --> logic board is OK
    memtest : each RAM module is OK separetly
    --> RAM is OK
    slots : when one stick is inserted in any slot, works OK
    --> Slots are OK

    Tomorrow, gonna zero all the drive, rebuild partitions, install a system, and by the way do the /users migration :-). Then I'll try memtest 4.10

    If it still don't work and before I give up , is there a test I miss, anything else to try ?

    Thanks again Gurus for your help

  9. #9
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    Hi again, Gurus.

    Just to give you some news, can you guess what I did this evening ?

    Let me tell you :

    With one crucial stick installed, zero the drive (the only one attached), rebuild partitions, install Tiger . Download memtest 4.1.
    Shut down, install a second crucial. reboot in single user mode. reset nvram/all. reboot, and...

    ...KERNEL PANIC !!!


    As you will surely understand, I think this will be my last post on the subject because I'm tired of searching and frustrated in not having any ideas of what it can be about (hardware?).
    Gonna ask Crucial for a 1 Go stick.

    Anyway, thanks again for your helpfull advices.

    Cheers.

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    ledd

    This is darn confusing. I wish I had a suggestion. - Randy

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    Here's the answer from Crucial :

    " Thanks for your enquiry. Using PC3200 memory would be no problem for this G4 machine , however, we would not be able to swap 2 x 512Mb modules for a single 1GB as your Mac has a limit of 512MB per slot and will not support 1GB upgrades.

    This appears to be a system related loading fault. Could you ensure that you have the latest revision of Firmware updated from Apple's website?

    --> 4.4.8f2, is that the good one ?

    We have a good sales history on the 512MB modules with no known issues against this model. If you still have this issue then it would be worth contacting Apple support as this appears to be a machine related fault with your G4.

    Regards, "

    As you can see, I am really unlucky ...and under waranty since 1 year.

    I really nead more ram (and got 3x512 + 1x256 unused). The unique solution I see is to make the Mac reparation.

    Do you think Apple will repair or exchange it for free if it's a machine related fault (as I guess it is). Witch service to contact ? Applecare ? (I'm in France).

    Do you think I can try to reload the firmware ?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledd
    ...and under waranty since 1 year.
    ...My english is really bad. I meant out, of course...

    Cheers

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    Default Well two thoughts...

    first, crucial is wrong (but not sure that matters)... they are reading what is in the spec manual for the MDD's. it has been proven numerous times that 1gb chips work. (i know this does not help you...but thought folks should know)..

    secondly, do not mess around with the firmware.. if the PowerMac is truely under warranty, then bring it to a local Apple Authorized repair center and let them deal with it..

    if out of warranty, then go ahead and read up on the Apple website for the latest firmware for your machine (its a page somewhere within their support pages).

    finally, if firmware is up-to-date then you might have an issue with the logic board... and may want to invest in a Mac 3200 1gb Dimm from Crucial. its worth a shot and not that expensive to just 'try'. you may even want to try the Gurus 1gb Dimm (I know that would be my choice!).

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    Look at this page from Apple's site. Called "What is firmware?" Gets into updating also. This search right here might help too. - Randy

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    DIMM Configurations
    The largest DIMM supported is a two-bank DIMM of 1 GB using 512 Mbit DDR SDRAM devices. The maximum number of devices per DIMM is 16.

    he memory controller supports 64 Mbit, 128 Mbit, 256 Mbit, and 512 Mbit DDR SDRAM devices.

    1 GB 512 Mbits 16 M x 8 x 4 8 512 MB

    http://developer.apple.com/documenta...cG4/index.html

    I am not totally certain, but I think the Mac-Mini and MDD share the same memory controller.

    People have used 1GB PC3200 in MDD 1.25/1.42 systems. Crucial use to say that Beige G3 only supported 128MB SDRAM, too, and that is out of date.

    I don't know what the problem is, but without AppleCare etc. Apple has no obligation. And we are scratching our heads why. Maybe a RAM slot is physically damaged or shorted or the system wasn't on a strong UPS/ZERO-SURGE unit.

    If only one RAM slot works (and all four are independent, you can use j20-23 and leave any empty) doesn't seem possible.

    I'd write it off if you can't do anything. But I think you are asking Crucial etc when it isn't their RAM that is at fault, and their "good will" and service.

    1GB of DDR400 goes for about US$114-118 and RAM is as cheap as it can go according to industry news. (I remember paying that for 128MB SDRAM.)

  16. #16
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    Angry

    I've got my PC 3200 1 Go RAM module !!!
    Crucial has really been adorable in the exchange process.

    ... But it still doesn't work...

    And there's a new sign :

    Before, I thought that only one module at a time would work (in any slot) for a mysterious reason. Thas why I bought the 1 Go stick, to use it alone. But now :

    1 x PC3200 1Go alone don't work (it don't boot like previously with 2x512)
    but
    1 x PC3200 1Go + 1x256 Apple stock or 1x512 generic : boots but unstable (Panics. It's more stable with Tiger but not enough to be really usable)
    and
    all the modules are recognized ( 1,25 or 1,5 Go Ram in the Apple system infos)

    So the 1 Go stick is indeed compatible with my computer -Rguising and TZ, you were right :-) -

    3 modules = no boot
    4 modules = no boot

    Apple hardware extended test is ok, even with several sticks inserted. Firmware is the latest.

    So, I phoned to Apple to explain my troubles and they answered me that they can't do nothing because I've warned AppleCare about my problem in January, one month and a half after my warranty has expired.

    I am really sorry to bother you with those problems, but perhaps those strange symptoms can direct one of you to the source of the trouble. I'm really desperate about the situation and don't see any logic. It seems now that my computer don't like having more than 512 Mo of memory.

    Any ideas ?

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    I don't usually chase symptoms - and it could be logicboard of course. But anytime you change RAM configuration on MDD, best advice, and I think you've been doing so, is to boot into Open Firmware and do the three commands to reset the system. Every time.

    Outside of searching for parts - some are in the MDD Reference and other MDD threads.

  18. #18
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    Default I think I also have bad ram slots

    hello I've been reading this thread since i just got 2 GB new ram (4x512) from crucial and when I put in in I spent a whole weekend with Kernel Panics. So what i did , I numbered the ram ( 1 thru 4 ) and wrote down the names/numbers of the ram slots ( 0/J21, 1/j22, 2/J23, 3/J20 ) and started to try different configurations while writing down wich went were and what effects it had. At first it seemed that ram 3 and 4 were bad, they crashed my system once within every 12 hours. At the time of the crashes they were seated in either ram slot 0 and 1 ( the ones closest to the processor )and slots 2 and 3 had ram stick 1 and 2 in them wich ran stable for 24 hours straight. Now however it seems that the slots are the culprit because when I put them in slots 2 and 3 no KP's (I left ram 1 and 2 out ).

    So my next test will be putting ram stick 1 and 2 in slots 0 and 1 and see what happens

    So how can your ram slots go bad or is it too hot next to the processor, and what (if any) is a good cleaning solution for ram slots.

    kind regards Oliver

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    Did you buy what Crucial recommends? That is the only way they will guarantee etc. Very unusual.

    Always reset nvram - this is especially true with MDD G4 and any G5.

    Highly unlikely, though. There are cases where two different makes of RAM, even OEM, will not work together.

    update: Did not see in the title that you have MDD.
    Check our FAQ on memory and the MDD.

    Also, http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/kernelpanics.html
    Last edited by TZ; 11-07-2005 at 08:46 AM.

  20. #20
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    Talking Update

    I just tried to run apple hardware test and it would not boot up.
    i ended up in open firmware befo the test would even start up tellng me about "invalid memory acces" at srr0 and ssr1, so i tried it wth all the new crucial ram and it did it again.

    So then I tried my old ram wich passed all the tests fine even in my suspected "bad" slots.

    phew I am so relieved , now I will exchange the ram and hopefully b a happy camper.

    thank you for your eyes and advice

    Oh and I did as you adviced in your post to reset the three settings in open firmware wich didnt do anything wih to me points out that it is bad ram.

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