Smoking Memory Riser - Help!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TheWedge, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. TheWedge macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2007
    Hi everyone, one of my two memory risers in my Mac Pro began to smoke when I powered up - smoke is coming from the 3 square metal plates that are near each other on the riser. I have a few quick questions, pictures, then more info..

    1) Will the one-year Apple warranty cover this since I had Crucial memory in the riser?

    2) Will the Crucial warranty cover this although it was the riser and not the Ram itself?

    3) Can I use my Mac Pro with only one Riser inserted while I figure this out (or with the bad riser empty for the time being)?

    Some details of the issue are:

    The Mac Pro was a refurb I purchased from Apple last spring. It came with 4 512mb RAM. A month or so later I purchased 2 1gb, which I placed in Riser A with the 4x512mb now all in Riser B (the issue was in the riser with the 2 1gb)

    Things seemed to work fine until recently (though I didn't monitor temprature as closely as I should've). The biggest recent change was my installing BootCamp a couple of weeks ago for the purpose of playing a game that wouldn't run on my version of Parallels.

    Your help comments and suggestions will go a long way. And thank you to those of you who do contribute here! This is my first Apple product, and this forum was a key contributor in my confidence to make the swith and to do so with the hefty investment of a Mac Pro (guaranteeing the switch was long term for me!) I love my Mac Pro, and hope this issue is just a small bump in a long road of happy ownership, so please help if you can!

    Attached Files:

  2. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    Get on the phone to both apple and Cruical.

    However if it where me i'd tell apple that it was their ram in that slot and get them to advise.
  3. WildPalms macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2006
    Honolulu, HI
    I'm wondering if it isnt just gunk/residue on the heat spreader with a low vapor temp.
  4. jolton macrumors member

    Mar 9, 2006
    I would bring it to an Apple store and let a genius look at it. Make sure you leave only the Apple memory in there when you go. Tell them what happened and let them run the machine for a while to test it out (at least an hour or two). Go get dinner or lunch or something, shop around, etc. Then go back to the store.

    It'll either be fine and there will be no issues, or they'll maybe replace the riser(s) for the memory if it starts smoking again.
  5. MacsAttack macrumors 6502a

    Jul 2, 2006
    Now you've let all the smoke out you know it is not going to work anymore...;)
  6. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    This man speaks the truth, electronics run on the magic smoke, once its gone, you're out of luck.

    In all seriousness though, I wouldn't put that thing back in the Mac Pro and power it on. If it let smoke out I wouldn't risk it taking out anything else, like the motherboard.
  7. TheWedge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2007
    Thank you for the responses. I decided I would try a call to Apple as my first option. In hindsight, their slowness has made me wish I would've made the 50 minute drive to the Apple Store and lugged the Mac Pro through the mall.

    My call was around noon on Tuesday (it's now Thursday), and due to the word "smoke" it was an automatic escalation to an engineer, who has yet to get back to the tech who may call me back someday (I called him back yesterday for an update, but there was none).

    I'll post the response to the issue when it happens, it'll be interesting to see if the root of the problem is in the riser, the memory, or elsewhere.
  8. Transeau macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2005
    Alta Loma, CA
    The issue here is that the crucial memory doesn't support reading the temp of the FB-DIMMs. Not many 3rd Party FB-DIMMs do support this. The EFI will monitor the thermal conditions of the FB-DIMMs and the current supply to them. When it detects a DIMM is failing, it's supposed to move the data out of the DIMM, relocate it and power off the DIMM, reporting the error to the OS.

    My concern would be that the EFI allowed the riser to overheat to start with. That would lead me to think it's a failure of the riser, failing to report an over-current / overheat condition.

    The other issue is if the 3rd party dimms were rated to be used in a Mac Pro. SHouldn't matter that much, but you never know.

    If it was a failure of the DIMM, a dead short or something, then it's going to come down to the warranty agreement. The odds are that it expressly excludes damage to the equipment it's installed into.

    Bottom line, an engineer will be able to tell what the cause was. Weather otr not Apple puts an engineer on the case is how much they feel that this is a legal risk to them.
  9. TheWedge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2007
    Thanks for the info Transeau

    Apple is providing me with a new machine (see the Apple Customer Service thread for the long story). But now I'm nervous to put the Crucial RAM into it.

    Your explanation furthers my belief that the riser was the problem, but there's definitely some uncertainty...and if I have the same problem twice, I can see Apple questioning me a bit more, and not being happy with the third party memory...

    Has anyone else encountered similar problems? From the searches I've done, Crucial memory seems solid based on the experience of others, and it was my understanding that the memory I purchased was rated for Mac Pro.

    Crucial problems anyone?
  10. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    Glad to see it got worked out for you. I've had Crucial memory in my Mac Pro since the day I got it (April '07). I never even booted it before I stuck the extra RAM in it. Crucial guarantees their stuff forever, so if it doesn't work just call them up and get new sticks. Heck, they might even replace them because the memory riser went up in smoke.
  11. Transeau macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2005
    Alta Loma, CA
    I actually run 8GB (8x1GB) or Dell memory... I've never had any issues with it, other than the system not being able to read the thermal monitors on them.

    I would personally contact the manufacture and have them replace it. It should have a lifetime warranty.

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