2010 iMac freezing with 3 beeps after running for hours to days

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Chorny, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Chorny, Feb 5, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012

    Chorny macrumors member

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    #1
    2010 i5 3.6 21.5", Snow Leopard (10.6.8)
    I added 8 GB of RAM to the stock 4 in early December and shortly afterwards began to have random/infrequent system freezes with 3 beeps repeating until hard shutdown.
    Sought advice and decided reseating was the next step. Put it off but the frequency of these freezes increased dramatically over the last few days so I did a thorough and satisfying reseat a few hours ago. Ran for about 30 minutes afterwards before it happened again.

    I can find a zillion threads on various forums from those who have had similar problems, but I'll be darned if I can find one instance where someone came back and posted a resolution.

    The RAM consistently tests OK in any test I've thrown at it.
    Thanks for any pointers or links.
    ======Edits Feb 12====
    Zapped PRAM after this initial post . . . 6 days no beep-freeze, until 2/11.
    Pulled stock RAM and placed 'new' RAM in main slots (farthest from display side).
    No freeze yet, ~ 1 day.
     
  2. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #2
    Basic troubleshooting, remove the last thing you changed when you started noticing problems.
    The bad part is you say it takes hours to days to see the problem so it may take you hours to days to test the system.

    Take out the sticks of RAM you added and run the system as you normally would for a few days to a week.
    Switch out to the RAM you purchased and repeat.
     
  3. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I think I have further troubleshooting steps laid out, thanks. I zapped PRAM (should have done so sooner but had to dig out an Apple keyboard)- waiting for it to happen again now.
    Was really hoping to hear from someone who had the same problem and solved it.
     
  4. kpgh554 macrumors regular

    kpgh554

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    #4
    It sounds definately like a ram issue..copied this from an imac manual.

    If the computer detects out-of-specification or no SDRAM or the RAM installed does not •
    meet the appropriate specifications, the screen will remain black but the computer will beep
    This error condition may be due to physically damaged RAM, installing the incorrect type of
    RAM, or not having RAM installed.

    Some RAM may appear to pass the Power-On-Self-Test (POST) but still cannot be used by •
    the operating system. In this case, the computer will display a gray screen, sound three tones
    and repeat the tones until the computer is turned off.

    The solution to both of these situations is to first re-seat the memory and test the computer •
    again. If the memory fails the POST test again, try memory that has been verified to work
    correctly on another system (i.e., “known-good”) or order new memory.
     
  5. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #5
    Yes ^^ I would grab some modules that you know work, I'm pretty sure you have sub-standard RAM installed.
     
  6. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Thanks, folks.
    I have no doubt it's a "RAM issue."
    Please re-read the thread-- it's not a startup issue (that would be wonderfully easy to figure out by comparison to something that may take over a week to strike.)
     
  7. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    FYI-- 3 days since last freeze; leaning towards PRAM zap as the solution . . .
     
  8. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Woke up to beep beep beep, p/ ~6 days of uptime.

    I pulled the stock RAM and put the new RAM in those slots (running on 8 GB now.) We'll see. For whatever it's worth, I'm getting much better at getting the mac disconnected and reconnected in its hard to access spot.
     
  9. bratpac macrumors newbie

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    Feb 12, 2012
    #9
    I had the same problem, I have a 2010/2011 iMac i3 dual core. I added 8 gigs of crucial ram, The machine ran great for a while. When lion came out I upgraded to lion and thats when my problem began. Randomly my machine would emit 3 load beeps and freeze requiring a hard reset. This would happen with the machine being used and would even happen in the middle of the night when the machine was in sleep mode. I took it to the apple store, they kept it for a 72 hour test...the ram passed... they said Lion uses RAM differently then Snow Leopard so they did an erase and new install of lion...Next few days, same problem! Took it back to apple they they looked at it again and said could be my crucial ram so they removed it. Next few days, same 3 beeps...Took it back to apple and they said they would replace their 4 gigs of supplied RAM even though it tested good (Lion is finicky with RAM). Took it home, let it run for a week, no issues, added my crucial RAM back into the iMac, Let that run and finally issue is GONE! 3 weeks no beeps...no freeze. Turned out to be the 4 gigs of apple RAM!! Hope this helps!
     
  10. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Thanks, bratpac. This is by far the most useful bit of advice I've received (the way this forum is split can be a disadvantage-- cut off from eyes that might have dealt with the same thing on a mini or MBP.)

    I have not yet upgraded to Lion, so I'm wondering if there's a chance one of Apple's updates changed the way the system looks at RAM to make it more finicky. I bought this iMac in April I think, and added the 8 GB (from OWC) in December, so 8 months of trouble-free use out of the stock RAM.
     
  11. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Still with 8 GB in bottom slots, top slots empty, ~7 days uptime with no beep-freezes.
    8GB RAM is not enough unfortunately . . .
    Not sure how much longer to wait, but the next step is to put the stock RAM back in the top slots and see what happens.
    At this point the problem is narrowed down to the stock RAM going bad coincidentally shortly after adding aftermarket RAM, or something wrong with the top slots. If it's the latter there's going to be virtually no way to get help from Apple. And maybe not if it's the former either.
     
  12. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    ~10 days of uptime now with the stock RAM sitting on the coffee table.
    It's a giant PITA to drag the mac to the Apple Store-- especially after I've done all of the steps myself already. Think there's a chance I can make a genius appointment, show up with RAM in hand and have them swap it for 'new' ones? I've done similar with a dead hard drive before . . .
     
  13. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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  14. Chorny thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    Been there, done that long ago in this process-- let it run for days-- tests fine.
     
  15. Failurbydesign macrumors regular

    Failurbydesign

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  16. johng2222 macrumors newbie

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    Dec 15, 2005
    #16
    You can boot and run without problems and ram can be Ok... But it isn't...

    My imac mid 2010 worked fine with "new" memory for 6 months, then started hanging in mid-session - meaning it froze and beeped loudly hours or days after it booted OK. Put old memory back in and noticed it ran more smoothly with less memory than more. Put the "new" memory back in and ran memtest, etc. for days and days; no problems reported. But, the system still froze after I'd been working for a while - at odd times. So, took the "new" memory back to the store, and, while there, upgraded to (more expensive) Crucial brand memory - just to be on the "safer" side. Put the replacement memory in and my imac has never run better - not even when new. So far, my imac is quieter, cooler, and smoother now than since the day I bought it. Thought I'd post this on this old thread because Apple Care had told me to bring the machine to them for three days of testing - per other posts I'd seen on the net. But, that would have been a complete waste of time - since they'd wind up (with the old memory) telling me "no problem," or, (with the "new" memory,) "it's a non-apple part problem." Meanwhile, bad memory can mean bad writes to your hard drive; mine seems fine, but I generally pay close attention to problems and fix them asap, or, sooner. If you wait until you have additional problems, you may spend a lot more time and money getting things finally done - and you may wind up back at "square one" or worse if you trash your drive and it's contents.
     
  17. DoubleVision19 macrumors member

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    Aug 14, 2010
    #17
    Sounds like an "intermittent" RAM issue...I'd run a MEMTEST on all of them one by one to pinpoint the faulty stick.
     

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