Early 08 MacBook being finicky with RAM

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by apunkrockmonk, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #1
    Hey guys, I'm pretty experienced with Macs and RAM and everything and I've tried of everything I could think of which didn't help at all.

    I currently have an early 2008 MacBook (MacBook 4,1) that I bought about a month ago from a friend. It still had the stock 1GB of RAM (2x512MB) when I got it so I went over to newegg and ordered a GSkill 4GB (2x2GB) kit.

    Prior to pulling the trigger I read all of the negative reviews, found nothing mentioning compatibility problems with macs. Then I skimmed through the positives finding many success stories of this RAM with macs.

    When the RAM comes I put it into my MacBook and it won't boot. I then put one 2GB stick in with one 512MB stick. The machine boots this way and recognizes the 2.5GB of RAM but it won't boot with the full 4GB.

    According to MacTracker this machine will take 4GB according to Apple and will actually take up to 6GB in the real world.

    I tried resetting the PRAM as well as the SMC, neither made any kind of difference so I'm stumped. I'm under the impression that if the machine will boot with one of these sticks in it should boot with both.

    The only odd thing I did notice is that the machine will not boot with just a single 2GB stick in there and no 512MB stick. It shows the same symptoms as having the full 4GB in.

    Any advice as to why this RAM isn't working so I can return it and buy some RAM that will?
     
  2. logana macrumors 65816

    logana

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #2
    MacBooks 3,1 and 4,1 will NOT boot with only PC6400 ram sticks in them (what you bought)

    They will boot with at least one PC5300 stick in them - which is what you are doing when you boot with 2.5GB in them

    You will need to send the ram back and replace with genuine PC5300 ram but be very careful because some PC5300 ram is not true PC5300 ram (PNY in particular) and won't work either.....

    Try Crucial - just a thought.
     
  3. ibuyufo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    #3
    He's right. And I do say that from personal experience. Luckily I was able to use the ram with a Dell laptop and purchased a pair of kingston KTA-MB667K2/4G ram.
     
  4. M Quick macrumors 6502

    M Quick

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #4
    Hey,


    I noticed the same thing a week ago when i wanted to upgrade mine to 4GB too, as i had 2x2GB laying around that where PC6400, it was a no go. Why i don't know, because on PC's for example higher data rate memory ALWAYS boots up at proper speed, instead of not working.

    Looking at the technical aspects i find this strange on a mac imho, as the mac seems "dumbified" and cannot read out the SPD settings stored into the memory modules and use those as PC's can. That way a 800Mhz DDR2 can boot up at 533MHz, 667Mhz or whatever the current chipset is looking for. It's confusing why apple hasn't added such an important feature to their products as it's just a matter of reading the SPD in the memory module and automatically set the proper settings accordingly. As this is a standard among ALL memory modules, to store different clock and CAS latency settings into the SPD to be compatible with all motherboards out there, except apple hardware obviously, which seems to read the memory frequencies but not all of it..



    Anyhow, the fix is to either rewrite/flash the memory modules down to 667Mhz or just run one stick of the 800Mhz memory.

    Using one 667Mhz + 800Mhz will work (this is what i got atm 1GB 667Mhz + 2GB 800Mhz).

    Which in turn is also VERY confusing as the mac seems to read the clock speeds but only the main speed flashed for the ram from factory, and if it finds a 667Mhz ram module it will down clock the other 800Mhz memory to 667Mhz and run flawlessly, strange huh?


    So you can either run 3GB or return the memory modules and get 667Mhz modules so you can use the fully 4GB you wanted.


    My plans are to acquire one 4GB 667Mhz memory module to run with my 2GB 800Mhz memory module so i end up with 6GB of ram (which is also the highest amount of memory supported on the macbook 4.1 - yours for example).

    Hope that answers your questions on why it's not working and what to do.
     
  5. apunkrockmonk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #5
    Thank you everyone! I ended up getting new 667MHz RAM in the mail today and it booted up flawlessly with 4GB.

    I swear I've used faster speed RAM in older Macs and it's down-clocked fine but maybe I'm just imagining things.

    Sucks that there is no way to exchange with newegg. You have to return with a 15% restock fee and re-buy the correct item. Oh well.
     
  6. Blueimac macrumors newbie

    Blueimac

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Location:
    Paris (not France) for now
    #6
    Patriot Signature PC2-6400 VS Crucial PC2-5300

    you have pretty much answered my questions, But my plan is slightly different and would like some input-

    I bought a used Apple MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.1 13" (White-08)
    Early 2008 - MB402LL/A ( suppose to be here tomorrow )

    After reading this post which confirms what I read on EveryMac about being able to upgrade the memory to 6GB, Would this work with one stick of Patriot Signature 4 GB PC2-6400 DDR2 PSD24G8002S ( the price is $30 less than the Crucial CT51264AC667 4GB DDR2 PC2-5300 ) and One stick of Crucial 2GB 256Mx64PC2-5300​ CT25664AC667 DDR2 ?

    I'm on a tight budget right now but if it would be better to use two of the same brands together instead of mixing them, I want the MacBook to run smoothly once upgrading. I used Patriot Signature in my last MacBook and it performed great.

    Thanks-
     
  7. logana macrumors 65816

    logana

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    Should work fine - the only thing to remember is that you must have at least one stick of PC5300 ram in the MacBook to boot.

    Your mix of PC5300 and PC6400 will be fine as long as the Patriot PC5300 ram really is PC5300....
     
  8. Blueimac macrumors newbie

    Blueimac

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Location:
    Paris (not France) for now
    #8
    thanks for the input and help ...

    how can i be sure if the Patriot memory is truly PC5300 ? i have a feeling I'll end up taking the cost of the crucial memory over saving a few dollars just to be on the safe side
     
  9. logana macrumors 65816

    logana

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #9
    Easy - just startup the MacBook with only the Patriot PC5300 stick in it - just leave the other slot empty.

    If it starts up it is PC5300 ! If it doesn't then it's not !!
     
  10. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas Metroplex
    #10
    When I had to exchange RAM from NewEgg, I just gave them a call. No restocking fee at all.
     
  11. apunkrockmonk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #11
    Yeah I'll be calling them tomorrow. Turns out I'm just outside the refund window now. Hopefully I can convince them to take back the RAM that didn't work for me so I didn't just waste $50 extra dollars.
     
  12. M Quick macrumors 6502

    M Quick

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #12
    I really don't understand your second sentence in your post, if you read the replies, you would know what/why..

    But, as said, if you use one stick of 667Mhz togheter with a faster ram, it's gonna down clock, just as you swear that you did before, so there you go.


    I understand newegg btw, it's nice of them to even refund the money because you bought the wrong items, it's not their fault that you didn't know it wouldn't work, i'm guessing the 15% covers shipping costs etc for them.
    Now if it was faulty that'd be something else if they still charged 15%..
     
  13. Blueimac macrumors newbie

    Blueimac

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Location:
    Paris (not France) for now
    #13
    Has anyone ever used this brand of memory ?

    Has anyone ever bought or used this brand of memory ?
    Rendition by Crucial 2GB 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Buffered/Registered- Unbuffered , ECC - No

    I was thinking about buying a stick for my Apple MacBook 13.3" MB402LL/A 2.1GHz Duo Core


     
  14. M Quick macrumors 6502

    M Quick

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #14

    Should work just fine, along as it's 667Mhz (PC2-5300), and the one you're listing is just that!
     
  15. apunkrockmonk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #15
    I think my second sentence in the post is pretty self explanatory. I remember older macs having no problem down-clocking faster memory. I was surprised that this newer one lost that ability.

    Also, it is not nice of newegg to have a return policy. It's expected.
     
  16. M Quick macrumors 6502

    M Quick

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #16

    And these macs doesn't have a problem to down clock faster memory either, if you run a 667mhz memory besides a 800mhz for example the 800mhz down clocks to 667..


    Sure, if you're returning something fully functional , what if you returned it only because you found cheaper somewhere else or something similar. Then everyone would order and if they aint happy, return it, that's why they got something like that.
     
  17. faresalandlos macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    #17
    hi,

    i have the same problem and i bought
    Certified for Apple Memory Module 4GB 667MHz DDR2 (PC2-5300) - 2x2GB SO-DIMMs MA940G/B by Arch Memory"

    but still it can't boot with one of them or 2 of them, it only work if i put the 1 Gb ram and then the 2 gb ram.
     
  18. sparkyms macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Location:
    Southampton UK
    #18
    What Mac have you got?
     
  19. faresalandlos macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    #19
  20. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #20
    Does the 3GB work with either of the new chips? You can't single out the bad chip so it works with one of the 2GB and not the other?

    Your machine actually maxes out at 6GB so 4GB should work fine.
     
  21. faresalandlos macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    #21
    yes both works, and this is really crazy! when it's even one of them the 2 Gb it doesn't boot!
     

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