freezing powerbook and disappearing ram :(

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Nutella, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Nutella macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2003
    hi everyone, i've had my new powerbook g4 for about a month, and it started acting up yesterday. everything was really slow, it would "freeze" - i couldn't click on anything, i lost my mouse, and the icons on the upper right (battery, modem, etc) disappeared.

    i called applecare, and they had me run a disk utility (with everything disconnected - second monitor, mouse). some problems showed up (sorry, i can't remember what) but when we ran it again it seemed fixed. but... same issues happened today when i used my computer.

    so, i decided to run the hardware test. airport okay, logic board okay, mass storage okay, memory.... ERROR CODE 2MEM/1/4: DIMM1/J31
    i have no idea what that means, but lo and behold, when i go to "about this mac" memory shows up as 384mb instead of 512. i called applecare again but was told i should bring it in to the apple store.

    i was wondering if any of you experts could tell me what's likely to be wrong? is it a case of bad or loose ram (i've never opened up the memory, never dropped it, etc)? is it easily fixable? will the apple store be able to fix it on the spot? i'm just concerned because the apple store is pretty far away, and i can't afford to leave my pb there because i desperately need it this week for some work i'm doing. i'm typing on it right now, but i know it's gonna crash again soon...

    thanks for any insight and ideas! :)
  2. alexprice macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2005
    Its a just a faulty stick of ram, its not that common and its changed by removing a small cover on the bottom, a quick fix.

    You need to take it to an Authorised Service Provider.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    If you need to use the machine right away, you can remove the offending RAM chip and run with just the stock 256. Open only one program at a time. Turn off as many OS options as you can. Performance will suck but you shouldn't crash as often.

    Did you buy the extra RAM from Apple along with the machine? (I guess you did, if it was the 512 Mb latest version powerbook). So it's definitely a warranty issue.

    Warranty info. Warranty target=

    It looks like you are responsible to get the machine to the nearest Apple Aurhorized Repair Centre. BACK UP YOUR DATA before sending it in.
    If you are less than 30 days from invoice, you MAY be able to talk Apple into a DOA replacement. However you would definitely lose all your data.

    Your alternative plan is to buy a 512 or 1 Gb third party RAM module and install it yourself. You won't get any satisfaction out of Apple warranty, however if you were planning to upgrade the machine anyway, you would have had to discard the 256 Mb Apple SODIMM. That SODIMM is worth about US$31, so you may determine that it is not worth the time and gas to drive it in & pick it up, and the wait for the machine to be repaired to get the RAM replaced for free. Now theoretically the apple repair shop COULD test it and replace the RAM module under warranty on the spot, BUT it seldom happens that way.

    Now, I should mention that there is a tiny chance that it is a logic board defect, in which case nothing short of the Apple warranty service will do. If you DO put in 3rd party RAM, keep the dud Apple module safe, and if you have any future problems, put the Apple module back in and send it in for warranty. Did I mention BACK UP your data?? Do that now, regardless.
  4. Nutella thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2003
    thanks for the very helpful responses!

    i'm kinda afraid to use just 256 because i'm using photoshop cs, printing, etc, but i'm in luck, it turns out i had ordered a 3rd party 1gb ram anyway, and it's supposed to arrive via ups hopefully today.

    so what i think i'll do is take a drive down to the apple store tomorrow, have them run diagnostics, and see if they can fix it on the spot. if they can't, i'll just go home with my pb and install my new 1 gb and hope i'm running smoothly at least temporarily. i don't want to install the 1gb until they open my pb first - i don't want them to see screwdriver marks on my case and blame me for messing something up! if it's another problem i'll definitely return after next week to have them take care of it.

    and yes, i'll back up my data :D good advice!
  5. Kevin Nelson macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2004
    This is all good information, but I would start first with making sure that you ensure the memory module is seated properly as sometimes a good jarring of the powerbook can dislodge things. Make sure the RAM is snug and comfy, if it is not, I would reseat it and then see how things go. I would think a bad ram module would have made things skittish from the get go and not have come about so suddenly. This is similar to getting sudden and frequent kernal crashes being related to the airport card module coming loose.
    I would start there, then go without the module and see if that makes a difference. If pulling the ram makes a difference, then apple should be able to send you a new unit as this is a user installable option. At this point you could also just upgrade your ram as the other post suggested.
    If neither of these options make a difference, then contact apple care or go to the genius bar and get them involved.

    Hope that helps!

  6. Nutella thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2003
    thanks, it did occur to me that the module is just loose or something, although i'm positive i haven't jarred the unit or even moved it since i bought it, but also i don't know if that error message would happen if that were the case. i think in an abundance of caution i'll head down to the apple store and have them check it out.

    there's a bloomingdales in the same shopping center as the apple store, so just to make the drive worthwhile, i should visit there as well, wouldn't you say? ;)
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    FWIW, I had factory-installed RAM "go bad" after I'd been using a new PowerBook for a month or so without any problems. It's a mystery, but it certainly does happen -- for some reason, mainly in PowerBooks. Apple RMA'd the faulty RAM but I never bothered to return it for an exchange. Bought an upgrade instead. I'll bet if I stuck that RAM in another Mac, that it would work just fine...

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