Weird behavior on my 2011, where to start troubleshooting?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dvdchance, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. dvdchance macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #1
    OK so I'm having real weird behaviour on my 2011 base Mini.

    I have it booting from a 128GB PNY SSD drive running in a Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter. It has worked just awesome for almost a year.

    Just within the last few days I've been having all sorts of issues to the point that now it doesn't even startup if I select that drive as startup. What has been happening is it started with tons of Safari errors where the pages would just keep reloading until finally it would never reload. I was also getting kernel panics, and it would not even shut down properly without pressing the power button. Thinking I had a corrupted OS X I reverted to a Time Machine backup from a few weeks ago when I had no problems at all. Didn't help things at all same issues.

    I tried to install the latest OS X update but it shuts down and restarts when it installs.

    If I boot from Yosemite on the internal HDD the machine seems to run better but I'm still having problems. Such as Plex server not starting.

    Where should I start troubleshooting? SSD? Other issues? I reset SMC and NVRAM.
     
  2. Kaida macrumors regular

    Kaida

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    #2
    I would try to reseat the rams, run the rams 1 at a time on different slots and also try different rams on it.
    If its still having problem, I would use a new hdd or fresh install OS X.
     
  3. Relentless Power macrumors P6

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #3
    Sounds like a hardware issue with the SSD. I saw something similar on another thread where the SSD failed due to this and was the root of the issue.
     
  4. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #4
    Awesome thanks for the reply. It got me to once again investigate the RAM sticks. I had gone and reseated them and even swapped positions of the 2 8gb sticks but problems continued.

    I had to run them one at a time to find the bad one. Now all is well again.

    Now I'm wondering can I RMA the one stick that is giving me problems? The 2011 Mini is listed as having a 8gb memory limit so I guess I was pushing things using 16 but all was well for quite a while. Heres what I was using: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LTBJK2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I bought it Aug 2015 so not that long ago.

    Anyone have any experience with Crucial? Will they let me return only 1 of the 2 sticks in the kit or will I have to return them both?

    Thanks again for the help...David
     
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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  6. Kaida macrumors regular

    Kaida

    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
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    Singapore
    #6
    Mac mini 2011 has no problem using 2x8gb 1600mhz ram or even 2x8gb 1866mhz ram.

    The Mac mini 2012 was the one that got lock at 1600mhz.

    Did you troubleshoot it down to the point you are very sure it was a ram problem? From what I read, paired rams need to be send in in pairs for Crucial.
     
  7. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #7
    Well my troubleshooting so far is I removed one stick of the RAM and the Mini has been running solid for 35 hours straight. Serving Plex to several devices in my house, doing some backups that were skipped, etc. Before it would restart every 15 20 minutes and I couldn't even keep a browser page open.

    Not very through I suppose. Perhaps I should swap the sticks and see if the errors return? But it's running so good now I don't want to jinx anything. Oh and with both sticks in it did freeze twice running the Mac men test too.
     
  8. Kaida macrumors regular

    Kaida

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    #8
    Yes, try running the good ram on the other slot too. There are only a few combinations you can use to find out if the ram or the slot is having problem. And since it freezes on the Mac mem test, it will makes it much easier without having to run 35 hours.

    Ram A - Slot 1 (assuming this is the good config with 1 ram on a good slot)
    Ram A - Slot 2 (if Ram A is bad here, it could means that your slot 2 on the motherboard is faulty)
    Ram B - Slot 1 (rinse and repeat to further confirm it with Ram B)
    Ram B - Slot 2
     
  9. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #9

    OK I guess I knew this wouldn't be so easy.

    Just doing a boot up, opening plenty of Safari windows and transcoding a video, all ram sticks work in all combinations. And they are working fine together as well.

    So where does this leave me at now? Should I just keep using it as normal with both sticks in and see what happens? Perhaps it wasn't the RAM at all but something else?
    --- Post Merged, Jul 24, 2016 ---
    I guess I spoke too soon. With both RAM sticks in I started getting errors again. First in Safari then it just restarted.

    Heres part of one of the Safari errors :

    System Integrity Protection: enabled
    Crashed Thread: 0 Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread
    Exception Type: EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGSEGV)
    Exception Codes: KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at 0x0000000080000008
    Exception Note: EXC_CORPSE_NOTIFY
    VM Regions Near 0x80000008:

    Don't know if this helps anything.
     
  10. Kaida macrumors regular

    Kaida

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    #10
    Just do the ram test 1 by 1 on each slot first. Another reader also suggested ssd could be faulty, test it with another hdd/ssd too.
     
  11. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    New York City, NY
    #11
    How long had the 128GB SSD been in use? How full is it? As far as I know, TRIM can not be enabled on external drives. This could have adverse effects to the SSD. If it has built in garbage collection, you can try leaving it powered but idle to see if the built in garbage collection can help it.
     
  12. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #12
    Nobody's mentioned this yet so I'll just throw it out there.
    Maybe try running Apple's Hardware test.
    And something else that can help isolate software related issues is "EtraCheck'
     
  13. Kaida macrumors regular

    Kaida

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    #13
    I assumed that the Mac mem test he was referring to is the apple hardware test.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    Connect the SSD via USB3 and try booting and running that way for 2 days.

    Any better?
     
  15. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #15
    Thanks for all the helpful replies..they are way appreciated.

    Yes the hardware test was indeed the Apple Hardware test. I haven't tried it using the sticks one at a time but when I had both of them installed it froze up twice.

    I don't think the SSD is the issue because with both sticks installed even booting into Yosemite from the internal 500gb HD would be an avalanche of errors. It was easy to remove the SSD since it is external connected via Thunderbolt adapter.

    I think what I'm gonna do is just run it with 1 stick installed. It's been another 25 hours straight no issues at all. Most of what I do is web browsing, light MS Word and Excel use in addition to it being my Plex server so the extra 8GB RAM isn't really that noticable. Though not know what the problem is does kinda bug me.
     
  16. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #16
    That you removed the one stick and the problem went away is very telling. The suggestion from Kaida on running the memory in Slot 1 vs Slot 2 is also a good idea, just to make sure that Slot 2 hasn't gotten fried on you.
    You usually want matched memory - so ask the memory manufacturer if you provide your credit card info if they won't pre-ship you a replacement set, then you ship the set with the bad DIMM back to them. (they won't charge your credit card unless you don't return the other memory within X number of days). Most companies offer this service as part of warranty exchanges.

    Better move quick - if that memory only had a year warranty it's almost up! :)
     
  17. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #17
    Thanks for responding, it's very appreciated.

    The thing is I'm not sure really if it is the memory.

    Right now I have the other stick in the other slot then I did before, and it's running fine. 3 days and 21 hours fine. So that seems to eliminate the problem being the slot or the individual sticks. Since running either stick single in either slot is good.

    It is only when I run both sticks together that problems start up within 15 - 20 minutes or so.
     
  18. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #18
    Hmm. So, it sounds like something's getting corrupted by having a full 16GB of memory? That's certainly an interesting one.
    I think that points to an issue with addressing the memory. That could be either a short in the system board or possibly corrupt OS files?
    But, I thought you tried booting from two different partitions and the problem with all memory is showing up in either scenario?
    If that's the case, you may be looking at a short in your system board. Did you perchance have it open recently - right before the problem appeared - maybe some dust got moved around? Dust can actually make a really good conductor.

    If you're familiar with taking the mini apart, at this point it might not be a bad idea to remove the system board and give it a good blowing off with a can of air. If you're not, then it might be good to find a local Mac repair shop to do this for you.
     
  19. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #19
    Hmmm dust sounds possible I guess.

    Until the problems started I hadn't had it open probably since last Aug when I installed this memory. Pretty much been sitting gracefully atop my printer all that time. Reseating the RAM was the first thing I tried.

    And you're correct with both sticks installed it was giving errors booting from the SSD using El Capitan or the HDD using Yosemite. I restored from Time Machine backups twice onto the SSD no change. Did an internet recovery of Yosemite onto the HDD and that didn't help either.

    When I finally removed one of the sticks I was able to restore just fine onto the SSD.

    Honestly what I'm going to do is just use it as is now with just the 1 stick installed. For my usage the other 8GB really hasn't been missed.

    If problems start up again then I will troubleshoot further. With my 50 year old eyes those small screws and connectors in there are just to much of a hassle to deal with.
     
  20. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    #20
    Heh, sounds like a plan. My eyes are only two years "newer", so I hear you! :)
     
  21. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #21
    I had a problem with some memory and my mac mini. I had initially bought 16gb of Mushkin memory that was speced for Mac. it ran fine except every so often it would glitch. it passed the apple memory test without any issue.

    I was told that really the only reliable way to test memory is to do it one stick at a time. As many computers interleave the memory some of the tests can't reliably test for errors as interleaving can mask a problem. I went and grabbed memtest86 ( http://www.memtest86.com/ ) and made a bootable usb stick. Put in a single stick at a time and let it run the 4 test cycle. if there is a flaky chip inside, this will get it to reliably fail. I took a photo of the error report and sent it along with the pair of chips (Mushkin required both as they are sold as a pair) and they replaced them no questions asked. took a bit for them to ship the new ones back but you live with what you get.

    The test takes about 5-6 hours to run the 4 cycles so I did a stick overnight
     
  22. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #22
    That's interesting. What type of glitches were you getting??

    So it turned out only one of the sticks was bad or they both were??
     

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