PDA

View Full Version : iBook or OWC RAM woes




kakapo
Apr 5, 2007, 12:09 PM
please pardon the length of this post...

i finally bought a 1GB stick of RAM for my iBook a month ago. upon installing it, my iBook would not boot (no ?, no gray screen, just the startup sound and then blackness). i tried apple-option-p-r to reset PRAM and NVRAM and got nothing. w/o the RAM, the computer was (seemed) fine. sounded like a no-brainer, so i sent the RAM back and OWC was good about it.

the second stick of RAM worked upon install... until i tried to start up the first app at which point, the computer froze. again, it worked fine w/o the RAM. i uninstalled a deactivated beta version of Sidetrack and then computer worked fine with the RAM installed... for 3 days. i had another hard freeze and it wouldn't work w/ or w/o the new RAM. i wound up having to wipe the drive and reinstall everything. (the drive was corrupted enough that disk repair couldn't repair it. i attribute this to the hard shutdowns during the first RAM experience.) this new configuration (reformatted drive and new RAM) worked fine... for about a week.

in the past 12 hours, it has twice given me the black "You need to reboot your machine." window when i was in the middle of whatever. it wasn't totally dead so i've been able to run the hardware test CD - it said everything (including the new RAM) is fine and the TechTools Deluxe app that came with Applecare - it said everything (including the new RAM *and* a surface scan of the hard disk) is fine. also, i could do disk repair from the install CD and it found no problems. i concluded that i had fixed the problem by uninstalling the new RAM and then putting it back in and resetting the PRAM and NVRAM on the first bootup. finally, i felt the issues were resolved... until my wife just called and said that it froze in the middle of watching a DVD and neither safeboot nor reset PRAM would work...

so, i don't know what to do... what are the odds of getting 2 bad sticks of RAM in a row? what are the odds that the 2 apps i ran would miss a problem with the RAM? how long will applecare take? will applecare just assume it's the RAM and send it back to me and tell me to buy Apple RAM the next time? anyone have a similar experience?

thanks much,
erik



joekix
Apr 5, 2007, 01:08 PM
sorry to hear your having problems. i wish i could give you some advice. it's funny because i was about to order some ram right now from owc, but now you've made me a bit unsure about them. i don't know much about owc ram, but from what i've read, they have been pretty compatible w/macs. have you used their ram befroe?

kakapo
Apr 5, 2007, 01:31 PM
no, i haven't used their RAM before. they were recommended by a friend and by the RAM guide on here. i can't prove that it's a RAM-caused problem, but it is strange that i had no problems at all for 2.5 years and then suddenly started having problems at the same time i got new RAM...

OWC was great about replacing my first RAM. the only complaint that i have with them is that their tech support and customer service hours are not whatever the recording says they are. a few times, i've called and got the msg "we're closed. our regular hours are..." i look up and it's well within those hours...


sorry to hear your having problems. i wish i could give you some advice. it's funny because i was about to order some ram right now from owc, but now you've made me a bit unsure about them. i don't know much about owc ram, but from what i've read, they have been pretty compatible w/macs. have you used their ram befroe?

WildCowboy
Apr 5, 2007, 01:35 PM
OWC makes great RAM and has great customer service. However, they do still occasionally send out bad RAM...every vendor does. The chances of you getting two bad sticks in a row are pretty slim though (but not zero).

If the computer runs fine without the RAM, AppleCare will almost certainly tell you that it's not their problem. However, it could be that the RAM slot is bad, so if you can get them test it with Apple RAM and reproduce the problem, you'll be in good shape. But since you seem to have had some "success" getting it to run for a few days before running into problems, this could be hard for them to duplicate. (Or you may luck out and it will bonk immediately upon addition of adding Apple RAM.) The trick is trying to get them to help you diagnosis it.

And you're absolutely positive that you're using the proper RAM for your machine, right?

kakapo
Apr 5, 2007, 02:05 PM
yeah, intermittent problems suck. that's a good thought on the RAM slot being a potential issue. i'll have to check to see if it will boot up w/o the RAM when i get home tonight and then give apple a call.

i am sure that i ordered the right RAM and that it's the right RAM on the packing slip and sticker. i copied down the RAM description from the hardware test, but i don't have it with me right now. i guess that should tell me what it actually is.

it's a bit of a side note, but there isn't as straightforward an answer for 'the right RAM' on this iBook. the specs say PC2100 DDR266 SO-DIMM. crucial says PC2700, owc says PC2100, and the apple store(!) says PC2100 for the 512M and PC2700 for the 1G. digging into the specs a little further, i see that it should take either. owc has sent me one of each at this point. the latter (current) is PC2700 333.

thanks for the reply and suggestions!



If the computer runs fine without the RAM, AppleCare will almost certainly tell you that it's not their problem. However, it could be that the RAM slot is bad, so if you can get them test it with Apple RAM and reproduce the problem, you'll be in good shape. But since you seem to have had some "success" getting it to run for a few days before running into problems, this could be hard for them to duplicate. ...

And you're absolutely positive that you're using the proper RAM for your machine, right?

kakapo
Apr 6, 2007, 06:48 AM
based on the hardware test report, the 1GB RAM from OWC is indeed PC2700 as advertised. also, my iBook does work w/o the RAM. presumably, the previous episode of not working even w/o the RAM was due to hard drive corruption.

now, i'm left w/ convincing one or the other of Apple or OWC that i have a problem w/ their hardware. they both have good customer support, but it's also reasonable in this case for them to point the finger at the other...

sigh. computers...



And you're absolutely positive that you're using the proper RAM for your machine, right?

kakapo
Apr 10, 2007, 02:33 PM
slight rant: i just had a very unsatisfying conversation with an applecare rep. apparently, when you use the phrase "kernel panic" in close association with "RAM", the blinders go up. the reps responses included: "Apple RAM is completely different from other RAM just like a core 2 duo for a mac is different from a core 2 duo for a pc." and "9 times out of 10 if you use third-party RAM, you'll get kernel panics. It might not show up right away, but it will happen." and "PC2700 RAM is not correct for your iBook."

the apple store will not service portables, and it doesn't look like i'm getting any traction with applecare, so i'm left hoping it is in fact a problem with the RAM and that OWC will replace it... again.

OWC Larry
Apr 10, 2007, 10:41 PM
There is a lot of fun out there when a problem like this pops. One of the more interesting recently had to do with a user that upgraded from 512MB to 2.0Gb. Two sets of memory failed (including Micron factory original) and Apple blamed the memory. The standard factory 256x2 worked fine... the system only had problems when 2 x 1GB were installed.

This was a MacBook Pro and the issue was improper thermal grease application to the processor. With the 2 x 256MBs, the computer never 'broke a sweat' because it was bottlenecked. With the additional memory, now the processors could open up and work to potential - which caused the thermal issue to crash the computer. It was only after the customer took it to an apple store and the Genius Bar rep tested with two Apple 1GB modules known good from another machine that they diagnosed the actual issue.

If there is anything third party in a system - that is the first thing that is always blamed.

In this case, the best way to isolate the issue is to test with a known good piece of memory. If you can e-mail me, I can find out what the result of testing was on the module you returned (we test ALL returned memory for Quality Control tracking - and FWIW, overall we experience a fail rate of about 4-7 memory sticks per 1000 shipped - that's .4 to .7% and includes all fails - including those potentially caused from static damage, etc). Anyway - at worst, we can set you up with a third module pretested in the machine you're upgrading (we also maintain a lab with pretty much EVERY Mac model which we use for all our memory testing/qual) for third time's a charm run depending on the rest of the story.

We stand by what we sell with a Lifetime Advance Replacement warranty and cover return freight on DOA modules within 30 days in addition to covering the freight on new ship outs. It does us no good when a module has to ever come back both in terms of handling costs and, most importantly, our customer's satisfaction.

OWC Larry
Other World Computing

slight rant: i just had a very unsatisfying conversation with an applecare rep. apparently, when you use the phrase "kernel panic" in close association with "RAM", the blinders go up. the reps responses included: "Apple RAM is completely different from other RAM just like a core 2 duo for a mac is different from a core 2 duo for a pc." and "9 times out of 10 if you use third-party RAM, you'll get kernel panics. It might not show up right away, but it will happen." and "PC2700 RAM is not correct for your iBook."

the apple store will not service portables, and it doesn't look like i'm getting any traction with applecare, so i'm left hoping it is in fact a problem with the RAM and that OWC will replace it... again.