2014 Mac Mini Crashing, help diagnose?

oksnr

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 23, 2015
23
1
Hey guys, wanted to see if you could assist me.

I have a 2014 Mac Mini I purchased from Craigslist (I know). 1.4GHz, 500GB Hard drive, 4GB RAM. It seemed to work fine but has done nothing but crash since I got it.

Short story: Fired it up, looked good so I immediately took it apart and put a Samsung 850 Pro SSD in it. From there I loaded up all my normal apps and begin to use the machine. Then the crashing started.

I gave up on the SSD and blamed it. Put the original hard drive back in but still does the same thing with any type of load or real use. I can do minimal browsing and tasks but it will eventually crash. See photo below:



The image goes crazy, sometimes a small pop as it crashes.

Then on restart it take several tries and I usually have to reset PRAM to event get to boot back up.



I am running Sierra on it and have also tried running off a 3rd hard drive that is attached via USB. Same results, I can get it started up and start to use it but it eventually crashes like the above photos.

I have $300 into this Mac should I try to sell for parts/repair and take my loss or is there any hope?

Thanks for any suggestions.

P.S. Could it be possible I damaged something when taking it apart to install the SSD? I felt very good about the installation, nothing out of the ordinary. I used all the correct tools, etc.
[doublepost=1492296802][/doublepost]UPDATE

It appears the Mac Mini is completely dead now. I plug it in and try to start up. Nothing happens. The front light blinks about 3 seconds apart and I can hear a very faint sound (almost like a faint beep, but not really a beep). The sound is synchronized with the light on the front.

Could the previous systems of crashing/freezing be related to the power supply?
 

Richard8655

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,076
440
Chicago
Sounds pretty severe. I would take it to your local Genius Bar at an Apple Store and have them take a look. They should be able to diagnose if it's hardware or software and give a repair estimate. But I would not give up for parts resale yet. It may be easily repairable.
 
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jpietrzak8

macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2010
1,053
6,082
Dayton, Ohio
The image goes crazy, sometimes a small pop as it crashes.
The integrated GPU in the Mini shares RAM with the CPU. Images like this show that something other than the GPU is writing to the GPU's region in RAM, which generally means that the memory management is not working. :) That could be software or hardware related, but it's generally not good. :)

I can sometimes hear a small pop on the speakers if I do something like unplug the machine; this is probably due to audio hardware not shutting down properly.

I am running Sierra on it and have also tried running off a 3rd hard drive that is attached via USB. Same results, I can get it started up and start to use it but it eventually crashes like the above photos.
Odds are that this problem is not related to long-term storage. So, harder to detect and fix. :(

P.S. Could it be possible I damaged something when taking it apart to install the SSD? I felt very good about the installation, nothing out of the ordinary. I used all the correct tools, etc.
The 2014 is extremely unfriendly towards user modifications; it is remarkably easy to damage components while working on it. But yeah, with a progressive error like this one, you'd have to have tested the device pretty extensively before the addition of the SSD to know for certain whether that was the cause or not.

Could the previous systems of crashing/freezing be related to the power supply?
I doubt it. Power supply problems are usually pretty obvious -- the machine either works or it doesn't. :) Errors that allow the machine to work for a while and then start failing are usually more subtle.

Still, the fact that the machine has gotten progressively worse would seem to indicate that whatever the error is, continuing to use the device is making it worse. I agree with @Richard8655, the best option at this point would probably be to go to an Apple Store and see what they think.
 
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Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,741
3,689
San Jose, CA
I once had similar "graphics" due to faulty memory. If you can get the machine to boot at all, you could run Apple Diagnostics (start while holding the D key), which includes a memory test. If you can't even get that far, try an SMC reset (unplug the power cable for 30 seconds) and PRAM reset (start while holding option+command+P+R), and then the diagnostics.
 

oksnr

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 23, 2015
23
1
The integrated GPU in the Mini shares RAM with the CPU. Images like this show that something other than the GPU is writing to the GPU's region in RAM, which generally means that the memory management is not working. :) That could be software or hardware related, but it's generally not good. :)

I can sometimes hear a small pop on the speakers if I do something like unplug the machine; this is probably due to audio hardware not shutting down properly.

Odds are that this problem is not related to long-term storage. So, harder to detect and fix. :(

The 2014 is extremely unfriendly towards user modifications; it is remarkably easy to damage components while working on it. But yeah, with a progressive error like this one, you'd have to have tested the device pretty extensively before the addition of the SSD to know for certain whether that was the cause or not.

I doubt it. Power supply problems are usually pretty obvious -- the machine either works or it doesn't. :) Errors that allow the machine to work for a while and then start failing are usually more subtle.

Still, the fact that the machine has gotten progressively worse would seem to indicate that whatever the error is, continuing to use the device is making it worse. I agree with @Richard8655, the best option at this point would probably be to go to an Apple Store and see what they think.
Thank you for all the information. I think my next move will be to see what Apple has to say. I just have doubts that the fix will warrant the cost involved.
 
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oksnr

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 23, 2015
23
1
I'm sorry, youre right. I failed to see that the model is 2014. You definitely have bad ram, unfortunately. Stupid apple and their BS....
Yea, it sucks. I've always had great luck buying from craigslist but that luck ran out on this.

I do have a apple genius bar appointment tomorrow just to make sure there isn't anything economical I can do. But I don't want to put anymore money into it as I'd almost be at the price of a new one (I have $300 in it now).
 

ryguy92000

macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2014
111
19
Salt Lake City, UT
Yea, it sucks. I've always had great luck buying from craigslist but that luck ran out on this.

I do have a apple genius bar appointment tomorrow just to make sure there isn't anything economical I can do. But I don't want to put anymore money into it as I'd almost be at the price of a new one (I have $300 in it now).
they will always tell you that you need a new logic board. some microsoldering repair shops can fix this issue. It can SOMETIMES be remedied by a reflow of the chips, but the shop MUST specialize in working on apple boards as the lesser grade shops will destroy your investment. Good luck!
 

oksnr

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 23, 2015
23
1
they will always tell you that you need a new logic board. some microsoldering repair shops can fix this issue. It can SOMETIMES be remedied by a reflow of the chips, but the shop MUST specialize in working on apple boards as the lesser grade shops will destroy your investment. Good luck!
I know, I'm hesitant to even go to the appointment because that's what they will say, and it will be like $300.

There is an Apple authorized repair shop near me but it's $40 to even look at it, etc. Not wanting to sink more money into this machine.

Thanks for the info.