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Old Dec 30, 2012, 01:57 PM   #1
Rob.G
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2012 Mini Crashes Regularly

My just over a month old Mini crashes regularly. I've done the latest firmware update which eliminated the (unrelated) black screen issue, but since before that time, it still crashes about every day or every other day. I got to the point that I've stated taking a photo of the screen each time it does:







When I finally take it to an Apple Store, I wanted proof of what's happening, in the hopes that they'll just order a system board for it instead of wanting to keep it and "play" with it. It's an hour drive to the closest Apple store so it isn't something I want to have to anymore than I have to.

My best (educated) guess is a bad video card, as in probably bad video RAM. See all the little rectangles all over the screen? They flicker during the crash. I even shot a few seconds of video with it, but I'm not sure how to post videos.

I haven't yet come up with any kind of correlation between the crashes. It's happened during all kinds of activities. In a couple of instances, I had a video playing. This morning, I was ripping a DVD. It just seems to be somewhat random other than it happening usually every couple of days. I suppose today was rare too, since the thing had been powered off for a week while I was out of town. I turned it on last night at 7:30, and then about 16 hours later (11:30 AM), it crashed.

Whaddaya think?

Rob
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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You have a good system. Try re-seating the ram and booting from an external HD
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 02:50 PM   #3
Rob.G
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Hm. I hope that works. Just tried it because it just crashed AGAIN. I didn't boot from the ext drive yet though, as it powered itself on as soon as I plugged the power cord back in.

So do you think it could be bad RAM? I suppose I could pick up another set of DIMMs to try.

Rob
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 02:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo1mcm View Post
You have a good system. Try re-seating the ram and booting from an external HD
I think more likely you have hardware problem. If you haven't opened it to change the RAM, it should work fine as is. If you have upgraded the RAM yourself, then the ram is likely faulty.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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Did you make any hardware changes liking adding RAM? If not, take it back to Apple and get a new one. It's well within warranty, and if it's that defective, they should swap it out without question.

Just make sure to backup your data and wipe it before taking it in.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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The Video RAM is just shared system memory. Its not separate. So, it could be bad RAM. Also, are you monitoring your temperatures? If so, what temps are you running when it crashes? Could be heat related.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:38 PM   #7
Rob.G
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Nah, I changed out the RAM... two Apple-specific 8 gig modules. I also moved the 1TB drive to the secondary SATA port and put an SSD on the first port.

I guess my next move, then, is to put new RAM in it and see if that helps.

I doubt it's temp related, but I'll install something that displays temp someplace visible, since right now I have to go to the Dashboard to see it (iStat Pro). The fan has never been running when it's crashed.

Rob
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:11 PM   #8
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I assume that the Mini ran OK in the beginning. Did the problem start after you upgraded the RAM and SSD? Things can go wrong with an SSD swap including damage from static electricity, a plug not seated properly, etc.

If you kept the original RAM install the modules and see what happens.

If you wind up having to make a trip to the Apple Store you will need to uninstall your SSD and move the original drive to the port it was using.

If you have to do that you might as well run the Mini for a while and see if keeps crashing. If it runs OK then it narrows it down to a problem with the SSD.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:37 PM   #9
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I saw a problem like this on YouTube a while back, and the guy had the wrong speed ram. (The screen looked like yours)
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 04:59 PM   #10
Rob.G
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I installed memtest last night and rain it based on a post on one of the Mac blog sites (I forget which one), and it passed just fine. Had to run it in Single User Mode, and it took over an hour to make two passes. Seemed quite thorough.

I know I ordered the 1600 MHz chips, but I guess I'll have to look at the stickers on them closely next time it blows up or I care to power it down.

Rob
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 07:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob.G View Post
I installed memtest last night and rain it based on a post on one of the Mac blog sites (I forget which one), and it passed just fine. Had to run it in Single User Mode, and it took over an hour to make two passes. Seemed quite thorough.

I know I ordered the 1600 MHz chips, but I guess I'll have to look at the stickers on them closely next time it blows up or I care to power it down.

Rob

I'm going to emphasize that you can get bad sticks with the right specs. Also I just looked at their forum again, and it still doesn't seem like memtest is officially supported for ivy bridge. You could have purchased the right thing and just received a bad sodimm. I would also like to mention the presence of the TIMG tags for large images


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo1mcm View Post
You have a good system. Try re-seating the ram and booting from an external HD
This problem won't be solved by reseating ram or booting from an external drive. It is quite possibly a ram problem. The integrated graphics share memory with the rest of the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob.G View Post
So do you think it could be bad RAM? I suppose I could pick up another set of DIMMs to try.

Rob
Bad sticks are fairly common. This is why every time I post on the topic, I tell people to test ram as soon as they get it. I haven't found a memtest version that is stable with ivy bridge, which makes me sad. I would RMA whatever sticks you purchased. Say they're bad as it's the most likely cause of this in a new mini. It doesn't matter if they say they're Mac specific as long as the timings/voltage match the specs required by intel for ivy bridge notebook cpus. You can get bad sticks from any brand. They may be a bit more common on budget brands, as some of them are sold on very thin margins. I personally use Crucial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob.G View Post
Nah, I changed out the RAM... two Apple-specific 8 gig modules. I also moved the 1TB drive to the secondary SATA port and put an SSD on the first port.
Completely ignore the words "Apple specific" as a measure of whether the individual sodimms are good. I'm guessing you made the extremely (I emphasize extremely) common mistake of not testing it after installation. Usually I'd say something like 5+ cycles of memtest just run overnight. If anyone knows a good memory testing utility that currently works on ivy bridge, please comment.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 07:53 PM   #12
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It sure looks like video ram to me too (in this case shared system ram). I second the recommendation to try different ram.

The other possibility is that you've exceeded the reasonable limit for number of dock icons.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 12:02 AM   #13
jeffsaha
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I agree with it being the video RAM. When overclocking video RAM on PCs you start to see artifacting similar to that when going too far. RAM swap test would be best. I also have 16gb Crucial RAM and have not experienced anything like that.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 12:39 PM   #14
Rob.G
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Soon as I get paid, I'll head up to Fry's for some more RAM. Either that or try to RMA this stuff with NewEgg.

It just crashed again a few minutes ago, btw... again watching a YouTube video.

I'd rather it be a RAM problem than a system board problem. If I don't have to deal with Apple, it'll be simpler.

Rob
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 02:01 PM   #15
Rob.G
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Augh. I went to NewEgg to try to RMA it (turns out it's over 30 days, so I can't)... and found reviews -- EVERYBODY posting is having the same crashing issues. WTF. Lovely, there's $80 down the drain.

Edit: Back on the NewEgg site; the Crucial PC12800 RAM is out of stock; what do you think of Corsair ($99) or G.Skill ($85)? Both seem to have good ratings. Wish I'd seen the ratings on the Mushkin crap before I bought it. Fry's doesn't have anything I can use or I'd go up there.

Rob
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 02:42 PM   #16
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G Skil has good reviews. Try contacting Mushkin directly. They are a reputable company.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 03:52 PM   #17
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I have been using 16GB (2 x 8GB) Crucial brand and it has worked well in my mid-2011 base model Mac Mini during the last year (16GB for the Mac Mini late-2012 is available direct from crucial.com right now for about $84 + shipping). However, it's not always the brand that matters. Unless the dual modules are a matched pair and are pre-tested in the same model of computer they are going to be used in then faulty modules can happen with any brand. I believe Crucial and OWC guarantees their memory modules will be compatible with Macs as long as you purchase the right memory for your exact model and year.

As it has already been suggested your best solution at this point would be to contact Mushkin directly. They are a well known memory company and should be able to exchange those modules. If you have not already contacted Mushkin for a replacement set of modules you can go to the mushkin.com web site and click on "support" in the upper right corner. It looks like they have a Limited Lifetime Warranty on their memory and they also have an Advance RMA policy where they will charge your cc and cross ship you replacement memory and then refund your cc once they receive the faulty memory from you.

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Old Jan 1, 2013, 05:00 PM   #18
paulrbeers
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So do you not have the original 4GB of RAM the Mini came with? Can't you slap those back in and check to see if the issue goes away?
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 05:13 PM   #19
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The crucial ram was cheaper from crucial.com than from newegg when I ordered it.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 06:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rob.G View Post
Augh. I went to NewEgg to try to RMA it (turns out it's over 30 days, so I can't)... and found reviews -- EVERYBODY posting is having the same crashing issues. WTF. Lovely, there's $80 down the drain.

Edit: Back on the NewEgg site; the Crucial PC12800 RAM is out of stock; what do you think of Corsair ($99) or G.Skill ($85)? Both seem to have good ratings. Wish I'd seen the ratings on the Mushkin crap before I bought it. Fry's doesn't have anything I can use or I'd go up there.

Rob
If returning the RAM under the manufacturer's warranty isn't an option I would consider contesting the sale with my credit card provider.

You have discovered something important: always read the consumer feedback at online retailers such as Newegg before you purchase RAM and other computer components such as hard drives.

Cheap RAM isn't always a good value. I learned a long time ago to stick with RAM from Other World Computing and Crucial. Both companies have a long track record for providing reliable RAM along with having good reputations for their customer service. Every time I have checked customer feedback for the cheap RAM at Newegg and Amazon that is often touted on this forum I invariably decide that it just isn't worth the time, trouble and cost of dealing with potentially bad RAM no matter how good of a deal it may seem at the time.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 06:26 PM   #21
Rob.G
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Yeah I have it here somewhere; but trying to live in 4 gb when you're used to 8 or 16 will be difficult.

Meanwhile I submitted an RMA request with the Mushkin website.

Rob
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 07:32 PM   #22
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Back to 4 gig! It crashed again not long after my last post, so after three crashes in one day, I had had enough.

Rob
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 02:23 AM   #23
jimbo1mcm
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Back to 4 gig! It crashed again not long after my last post, so after three crashes in one day, I had had enough.

Rob
Might be time to head to Apple for an exchange. Give the problem back to them.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 10:44 AM   #24
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Might be time to head to Apple for an exchange. Give the problem back to them.
If the problem is caused by bad third-party RAM it isn't Apple's problem to begin with, so returning it is not an option...
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 10:54 AM   #25
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Since I'm back on my original 4 gig, we'll see if it behaves. If it does, I'll assume it's the memory. I got my RMA approval from Mushkin, but no mention of cross-shipment. I'll just go ahead and ship out the RAM today or tomorrow and wait for it to come back; I can live with 4 gig for a week or two.

Rob
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