Bad RAM or something else?
May 4, 2011 11:13 AM   Subscribe

I recently bought a new Macbook Pro (2.3 i5) and almost immediately put 8GB 1333Mhz DDR3 RAM in it. Almost immediately, I got a kernel panic, and then Chrome would crash every once in a while. I have also had occasional crashes of Pages, MailPlane, and BusyCal, but no more panics. It has been about a week or so since I installed the RAM. Do you think I have a bad memory stick, or is this occasional crashiness related to something else?

Thanks for your help.
posted by 4ster to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I forgot to mention that the memory is from Crucial.
posted by 4ster at 11:15 AM on May 4, 2011

Step 1: If you remove the memory, do the problems go away?
posted by chazlarson at 11:19 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I had to guess, it is the memory. But like chazlarson said, take the new memory out and see if the problem persists.

You could also run the Apple Hardware Test
posted by birdherder at 11:28 AM on May 4, 2011

There are basically three categories of potential causes: a software problem (something you've installed), a problem with the RAM, or a hardware problem with some other part of the machine.

I'd start by running the Apple Hardware Test (instructions) to see if any errors pop up. If that passes, rule out the memory as a cause. I would swap the Apple RAM back in and see if the problems go away. You could also try running a more extensive memory test to see if that turns up any issues.

Once you've established that it's not the Crucial RAM's fault, you will need to determine whether it's a hardware defect or a software incompatibility. Have you installed anything unusual or something that works with the OS on a lower level (haxies, special drivers, etc...)?

As for the crashes themselves, there might be useful information in the system logs. Open the Console (/Applications/Utilities/ and scan through the console output to see if anything jumps out as problematic. Then check the crash logs (under "User Diagnostic Reports" and "System Diagnostic Reports") to see where the applications are crashing. You can paste a dump of the info into and I or someone here can take a look too.
posted by zachlipton at 11:36 AM on May 4, 2011

I had problems with my mbp (6,2). After running AHT many...many times and getting a clean bill of health on the memory. I slammed the original memory back in and took it for servicing. New logic board....I went from random KP's on the order of 4-5 a week to none in 3 months.

As far as these things go, I've only experience kernel panics on macos when there is a problem with memory, graphics or the logic problem was related not to memory but to the graphics card and the mode switching it does.

You can look at the console to determine what kernel modules are loaded and in the guess is you'll find NVsomethingsomething right there at the top of every kp.
posted by iamabot at 12:06 PM on May 4, 2011

Take it to the Apple store. Apple should take care of you.
posted by Murray M at 12:21 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tip from a hardware tech: testing can't rule OUT something. If a hardware test fails, you can pretty well bet the hardware is bad. But a passing test does not necessarily mean the hardware is good.

I'd put the old memory back in and see what you see. Is that one stick of ram, or two? If it is one, is an 8gb dimm within the specs? Sometimes a machine will have a max ram of 8gb, for example, but it can only be 2 @ 4gb dimms.

(Will x86 Macs boot off of bootable CDs made for regular PCs? Try memtest 86+ if you can. I have had this find errors that manufacturer testers do not find.)
posted by gjc at 4:23 PM on May 4, 2011

If it worked with the factory RAM, then take out the Crucial RAM and put in the factory RAM. If the problems reoccur, then take the laptop to your Apple Store. Otherwise, talk to Crucial about a RMA.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:05 PM on May 4, 2011

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