System regularly "soft crashes" (2018 Mac Mini, Mojave)


macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011

Since about 1 week, I'm experiencing a lot of crashes with my 2018 MacMini.
I purchased the machine new about a month ago, and installed 2x 16gb ram modules myself. For the first 3-4 weeks, everything was running fine with no crashes. Mac OS Mojave (which is running from an external 1TB m2 SSD), the internal SSD has Catalina on it (which I want to delete as soon as the Mac runs smoothly. Don't want to run Catalina because of some software incompatibility).

To give you a few examples for the crashes I had:

1) Yesterday evening, I powered up, went straight to Safari and started watching Netflix. 10-15min later, the picture froze, the Mac powered off and rebooted (on its own). Another 10-15min later: the same thing happened again. At that time I thought it may be a problem with the ram, BUT...

2) Today, the machine did a number of "soft crashes": Power up, go to Safari (Spotify is running in the background), do some research and – boom – Safari quits, a few seconds later Spotify quits (system clock is still running), and another few seconds later the Finder quits --> restart.
This makes me think that it may NOT be the ram.

3) Sometimes the machine doesn't crash, but performance is very sluggish... beachballing most of the time, so I end up doing a restart anyway. Quite a lot of times, I can't move the mouse pointer with my Wacom tablet (it freezes), but trackpad is OK.

Sometimes I have 1-2 hours between crashes, sometimes they happen just a few minutes after a restart. In nearly all crash scenarios, I only ever had minor software running (system / browser / iTunes etc), no Photoshop. The first EVER crash I experienced was after installing DaVinci Resolve and using it for 1/2h or so. At the time I thought this crash may have been normal, because DaVinci needs an eGPU (which I don't have yet).

I tried resetting the PRAM, but that didn't help. Tried installing Memtest86+ onto an external HD, but it doesn't appear in the boot selector. Tried pressing "D" after restart to get to the diagnostic tool – no success.

I kept the original 2x8gb ram, so could bring the machine back to Apple. But I'd prefer to trouble-shoot myself. Apple may blame the external System-HD anyway (which I don't think is the cause, because it worked fine for the first 3 weeks).

I've owned many Macs ever since the mid-90s, but with this one, I really don't know where to start troubleshooting...
Any ideas?

Thanks a lot!!


macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
Can RAM suddenly go bad?
I'll test some other things first (as I'm not in the mood to disassemble the MacMini quite yet). One tiny thing I changed in my setup abput a week ago was: I replaced the original m2 enclosure's USB cable (which needed a "USB-to-USBC" adapter – which again seemed to cause WiFi issues).
So far so good – the MacMini hasn't crashed yet, 1 hour and counting... 😇


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
The problem is the RAM.
Take it out and put the factory RAM back in.
Leave it like that for one or two weeks.
Then come back and tell us how many crashes you're having with the factory RAM.
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