G3 ibook Doesn't Like Larger RAM Sticks--Bum Motherboard, or something else?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Makosuke, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #1
    I'm attempting to bump the RAM in a friend's 600MHz G3 iBook to acceptable levels for OSX and have run into something of an annoying issue.

    I'm using junk-bin parts, but it should be able to take PC100 and anything up to 512MB.

    Except both of the larger sticks I've tried--one 128MB PC100 pulled from an iMac that worked last week, and one 256MB PC133--haven't been recognized.

    Interestingly, OS9 actually gives an error about "failed memory test" on startup (then boots without the stick showing up). OSX appears to just ignore it--the install discs I've tried stall partway through the boot process, which is a symptom I've seen when trying to install OSX with only 128MB. (I'd expect it to either boot properly or panic if it was ok or recognized and bad.)

    Oddly, I've tried two 32MB pulls from iMacs, and both work fine.

    I've tried the obvious (reset PMU, PRAM, NVRAM), and while it's possible that I just have two coincidentally bad sticks in my hand, it's seeming like it's got some odd motherboard issue where it hates anything large.

    Is there something obvious to try that I'm overlooking here?
     
  2. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #2
    Just in case anybody turns this up doing a search, the problem turned out to be "none of the above"... sort of.

    The sticks were actually fine, but even though they SHOULD have worked in the iMac (heck, one was even Micron "name-brand" stuff), it was being very picky. When I tried a different 256MB stick, it worked fine, and apparently the "bad" ones worked in somebody else's machine (though I tried them in a G3 PB, and it didn't like them either).
     
  3. Surely Guest

    Surely

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #3
    I feel for you guy...

    I'm having a RAM upgrade problem for an iBook G3 700 MHz as well.

    I wanted to upgrade the RAM to it's max (I'm giving the iBook as a gift to my sister), so I found a reputable seller on ebay who sold me a 512MB Micron PC133 stick, which should be fully compatible with the iBook.

    It arrived, so I swapped the functioning 256MB piece out, and put the 512 in. I boot up, and...... nothing. My System Profiler tells me that that slot is empty. So I shut down, put the 256 back in, and it reads it just fine.

    I went to the Apple Store and had an appointment at the Genius Bar, but their solution was that it was a defective piece of RAM. They didn't provide any insight, nor look up any info to see if this has been a problem in the past with other customers, and they didn't have any way of testing out the piece of RAM for me. I didn't expect much, but it seemed like I knew more about the problem than they did. No big deal, it's the only time that they haven't been able to help me out, or at least point me in the right direction, so they get a pass this time :) Just for the record, here's a great repair experience I just had there: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=395411

    I've ended up sending the RAM back to the seller, and they are going to either send me a new one or refund my money. I am now under the suspicion that there may be nothing wrong with the RAM, and the iBook is just picky. So, hopefully, they will decided on a refund because I'm thinking that even if they send me a new stick, it probably won't work either.

    I just don't get why it should matter who makes the RAM. Why should it matter if it's Micron or Samsung or whatever- as long as the specs match, it should work. Bah...

    I guess we'll see what happens once the new RAM arrives. Hopefully, this time it will work!
     
  4. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4
    Well, to be fair, all PC133 is not created equal--there are other features of apparently "identical" RAM, some relatively well known (CAS latency), some more obscure. So while it might be Micron PC133 chips, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're all identical.

    In fact, the 256MB stick that did work and the one that didn't were BOTH using Micron chips--the "bad" one was unlabeled on the other side, the good one was a pull from a Gateway (said the label). And of course much of the RAM that Apple itself uses is Micron. It's just that there's more to it than basic clock frequency, and Apple's machines (particularly older ones) are pickier than others.

    That's why I almost always go with either DMS or OWC--the sticks they sell for a particular Mac are pretty much guaranteed compatible (and I don't mean guaranteed as in "if it doesn't work, we'll replace it", I mean that I've never gotten one that DIDN'T work).

    This was an unusual case for me because I was using "junk drawer" RAM that was mostly pulls from Rev D iMacs, which are obviously somewhat less picky than newer iBooks (they've only got a 66MHz bus, which may be a factor).
     
  5. Surely Guest

    Surely

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    I know. There were other, more detailed specs that I didn't mention in my post that also matched up with the RAM requirements for the iBook. That info is what sold me on purchasing the RAM from that seller.

    I'm also aware of DMS and OWC, but I didn't think that I was taking a risk on a seller with 99.9% feedback and around 3000 sales, many of them being RAM sales. I still don't think that it was a risk, I have a feeling that they will remedy my situation. All I lost is time waiting for the replacement/refund.
    Another good seller is memoryamerica.com - I bought my 4 GB of RAM for my MacBook from them. It was a great price and they delivered to Canada in 2 business days.
    :cool:


    BTW, what is the 'cool part of CA'? I'm most likely moving to LA sometime in February- is that in the cool part? :)
     

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