Brand new 17'' PB = loads of trouble! Help!

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by ioh, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. ioh macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2004
    Hello guys,

    I've been experiencing some menacing problems with my brand new Powerbook and since I'm 1.a Mac newbie and 2.running out of ideas I finally decided to post here. Here's the story:

    I bought a brand spanking new Powerbook 17'' G4 1.33 with 512 ram, 80gb hdd, and an extra 512 mb a couple of months ago. Ever since I've had it it acts like a crappy windows machine - crashes quite often for no apparent reason even though I keep everything in shape and don't really have anything else running but photoshop, illustrator, flash, icq and itunes running.
    Still, the thing freezes, kernel panicks and whatnot. At first, cause I'm coming from a Windows background I was ready to accept the occasional crashing as "normal" and was quite surprised to hear from many mac owners that their machines have never crashed before. By that time I was already thinking "wtf, how does it happen that for some people the mac works flawlessly and for me it crashes every so often".

    So I do whatever comes to my mind - reinstall (luckily when I got it I made two partitions, so reinstalling isn't exactly a big deal), update - still no solution. Clean install, nothing else put on. Crashes. So hey, I sit down and read - it must be bad ram. I get all enthusiastic that removing that pesky 512 kingston chip should solve it (btw, when I opened it I noticed that my other chip was produced by a company called..hycent or something like that? should it say "apple" on it?). Anyway, I open it, touch the metal case and all that crap, remove the Kingston RAM and gasp. It works....

    ..for about two days. Then it started dying all over again. Programs just CRASH out of the blue, giving me a wonderful

    Exception: EXC_BAD_ACCESS (0x0001)
    Codes: KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE (0x0002) at 0x00000006

    So I'm thinking "dude, it must be the other ram chip that's working". So I swap them, put in the Kingston. Even bloody worse, the Kingston kernel panicks every second, I can't do a proper disk permissions repair and it's a general nightmare. I suppose that's going to go and get replaced. But, that still doesn't solve anything - the PB doesn't miraculously stop crashing as it seems to do with everyone else when i remove the extra ram:(

    Eventually, what I've done right now is - done a format on the system drive, freshly reinstalled OS X, put only the chip that was sorta working - hyntek, hundra or whatever it was. Bang - crashed the first time I started it. And by crashed I mean it just FROZE. I couldn't do anything but push the button to stop the mac. I was running software update to 10.3.7 and tried to do a repair disk permissions to see if anything's faulty. I restarted, did a repair disk permissions from the installation cd and now it seems to be working (I know it's irrelevant, but anyway, I'm trying to give as accurate info as possible).

    So now I'm having a clean reinstall, no updates, just ol' panther, icq 3.4 installed and nothing else. Let's see how long it lasts. Could the kernel panicks occur cause I use programs that I have installed previously on my other partition and haven't reinstalled after doing a clean reinstall on OS X? Could they be messing up something with the application support or whatnot?

    I'm seriously running out of ideas guys, this seems to be a completely random thing and I'm quite frankly, very frightened by the perspective of a bad MB or something like that (no apple support anywhere around me).

    So to anyone who bothered reading all this and wanting to give some advice - cheers. I rely on this PB for all my work and without it being stable I'm screwed.
  2. mzlin macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Sounds like the motherboard

    It's not the software.

    It's not the RAM (at least not the Hynix one that worked better). By the way I know bad RAM can cause kernel panics but I have dealt with many many RAM chips, from generics to brand name and from old to new, and not one has ever given me a problem.

    It's possibly the hard drive, but seems unlikely. I've had several hard drives go bad on me, and they do so by making clicks or grinding noises and spinning for a long time, not by giving kernel panics, although theoretically it's possible.

    It really sounds like the motherboard. If it's new and covered under warranty, you should bite the bullet and send it in. Certainly you don't want to be dealing with a defective machine every week while your data gets lost or corrupted.

    But first make sure taking out all cards and peripherals doesn't fix things ... that includes taking out the Airport card. I've had a loose Airport card keep a machine from booting, so maybe you should eliminate that as a possibility first.

    Good luck.
  3. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    This does not sound like the Mac Experience, something is indeed faulty. I say take it into an Apple Store if there is one near you, Try Calling Apple Telephone Support, and see if you can return it for repairs.

    Hope all works well. :)
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Yeah, they'll take it in for you to check for problems. Not a normal experience at all. I have had 1 kernel panic since I got my machine 1.5 years ago, but many people never get one.
  5. ioh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2004

    Thanks guys, I was afraid that this is the only possible solution. Woe is me as there is no apple store around me or any place where I can get the thing serviced, but I suppose I'll have to go somewhere else and get it fixed. Hope I'll live the MAC experience one day. :)
  6. MoeMan macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2004
    Processor Settings

    I had the same problem as you as well as the same powerbook model. At first I thought it was bad RAM, so I replaced the module. However this did not work. I did find a fix for my problem though.

    1.) Go to System Preferences
    2.) Choose Energy Saver
    3.) Set Processor Performance to "Highest"

    I had my processor performance set to automatic. When the processor switched speeds in automatic, my powerbook would crash. However, once it was set to Highest, no crashes would occur.

    I did hardware tests, but nothing failed. So I am not sure what causes the problem, but the processor settings fixed mine.

    Good Luck.
  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Just call up Apple and explain the problem. If they can't fix it over the phone, they'll send you a box for your PB. Usual turnaround is ~1 week, give or take ...
  8. betsbillabong macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2004
    I agree. And you shouldn't have to set your performance to "highest" in order to have things work. I've had my machine a month and no problems whatsoever. This is a brand new, expensive computer. It should work perfectly.

    Apple is pretty fast on their repairs, in my experience. They will send you a box for free overnight shipping, fix it, and mail it back to you. Sometimes it only takes three days. Honestly, this is often quicker than trying this, that or the other thing to fix the box. It sounds like you got a lemon and I'd try to get a replacement if possible.

    I also highly recommend AppleCare on a powerbook.
  9. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    Yes definitely call Apple Care as others have said. Apple is very fast with resolving these things. There is no need to take it anywhere--they will send you a box.

    Good luck and please let us know how things turn out.
  10. betsbillabong macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2004
  11. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    You could also try a PMU reset - it's not very hard to do for PowerBooks. Here's a link to the relevant Apple Knowledge Base article.
  12. superfunkomatic macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2003
    calgary, ab canada
    if you continue to get the error, or the wierd grey screen with an error like you mentioned it's likely the motherboard. had the same issue with a g4 quicksilver desktop computer - turns out in our case it was a missed glob of solder on the motherboard. sent it to an apple authorized dealer, under applecare, they fixed it free of charge.

    edit: doh! forgot to mention they actually replaced the motherboard.
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    ioh: Curious - where did you buy your Powerbook?
    The Hynix RAM being stock runs counter to the conventional wisdom that Apple uses Samsung RAM in Powerbooks. 512 Mb is the stock configuration for the 17" 1.33.
  14. ioh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2004
    Thanks for all the replies guys - seems like what I'm doing is I'll wait until I move to Germany(I wish I was in the States right now, seems like an easy thing over there to just send it over to them and get it fixed) in a week, buy AppleCare (seems I'll have use of it) and send the thing to get it fixed to one of their resellers over there. Funnily enough it hasn't crashed ever since I wrote this post (I went to check whether the processor performance is set to highest, but I think cause I had my energy settings optimized for maximum performance it was already set to Highest - thanks for that advice though). Then again, I haven't really used it except for browsing, cause I'm too scared it'll die on me and screw up some more work.

    CanadaRAM - yup it's 1.33 - I bought it from Jigsaw (, who are actually quite decent folks, been really kind with every request Iv'e had. I got a 1Ghz iBook with 768 RAM from them at the same time for a friend and his hasn't died or anything of the sort ever since he's been using it - suppose it's just bad luck and I got a black sheep:) I got it from them, cause Apple said "uhoh you need to wait 2 weeks for this machine" and Jigsaw said "no problem, you'll have your machine by tomorrow" - indeed I got it, talk about being prompt.

    Thanks to all of you guys, been really helpful, I'll keep you updated.

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