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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

mini - Bad hard drive or memory, neither?


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matchstick

 
Member Since: May 15, 2008
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Hey all,
I have a 1.42 PPC mac mini with 512 RAM. My friend gave it to me because he said it wouldn't start up for him and he had sent it back to apple a few times and finally gave up and got an imac or something. So he gave me this. I reset the PRAM and it started up, but it was really slow. I realized it only had 256mb RAM. I got a 512 stick erased and re-installed the original software and it's still swamped. It has trouble starting up. It starts up but anytime I try to go look at a folder, open a new finder window, open system preferences, or anything I get the rainbow pinwheel. I have an eMac, and an old iMac so I'm not really without a computer but I'd like to solve this problem. I booted up from the disc and ran disk utility and it had a count problem with the index.dfb file? Not sure what that is. Did a repair on the drive and it didn't really change much. Any suggestions? I've tried to read other peoples similar problems but I just can't solve it. thanks - david
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Chilbear

 
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First off what OS at you loading?

My first guess is it is starved for Ram - 512 gets it to start and hardly anything else. Tell us more about the machine and we can help.
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AlyciaAnimation

 
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Quote:
512 gets it to start and hardly anything else.
I'm gonna have to disagree with this. I guess it all depends on the OS, but I have and old iBook with only 320MB of RAM and it runs Tiger pretty good. It's not the greatest, but it's not as bad as I would have though.

Do you still have the original discs it came with? One of them should have a hardware test on it. Wouldn't hurt to run it to rule out the possibility of being the hd or memory.
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dtravis7

 
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Agreed with AlyciaAnimation. When I got my first G4 Mini with 256 Megs RAM, if I opened a few things at the same time, itunes would skip as it was swapping, but going to 512 Megs fixed it and the machine was quite smooth. This was with Panther and later Tiger. I did go to 1GB as I am a power user and need all the RAM I can use.

What version of OSX is on that machine? It could very well be the Hard Drive slowly dying. Seen that on a 1.5Ghz Mini that I own. Like was already suggested, if you have the Media that came with the Mini, run the Apple Hardware Test. On my G4 Mini you hold down the Option Key after the startup sound. Let it run and see if you have a choice of 2 icons. One should be the AHT. Run the extended test and see if it finds any issues with the hard drive.
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matchstick

 
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Hey thanks a lot for the replies. I was afraid I wouldn't get any.

I'm running 10.4 installed off of the original discs. I'll give the hardware test a shot tonight and let you know what I find out. I really think 512 should be enough to run it. 256 is silly, I don't see why they put that in as stock, seeing as they recommend 384 as the least to run tiger. I ran my old iBook off of 384mb and I ran tiger fine so I feel like 512 should cut it but I'm getting rainbow pinwheels for EVERYTHING. There is no normal operation, so I'll go forth with the hardware test and let you know what it says. thanks - david
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dtravis7

 
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The first run of G4 Minis came with 256Megs RAM and I agree, even with Panther 10.3 it was really not enough. 512Megs with a fresh install of Tiger should not be that bad. If you run a lot of things at the same time, you may get a pause every now and then, but yours sounds a lot worse then it should be.

Let us know what happens.
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matchstick

 
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So I ran the extended hardware test and everything passed. I'm stumped. Dying hard drive is the only theory I have going here. Thoughts?
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Open the Disk Utility in Applications/Utilities. Click on the main hard drive and check at the bottom under S.M.A.R.T Status. See if it says pass or fail.

Also try to repair the drive and see if it comes up with any errors.
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matchstick

 
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I'm using the Mini now. I reset the PRAM and the NVRAM and everything seems to be smoother. We'll see if it lasts though.
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matchstick

 
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Nope. I installed all the updates and when I went to restart , it wouldn't restart correctly. It got stuck at the grey screen for a long time. Then it restarted itself and tried to start up and got stuck at the blue start up bar. It slowly made it's way each time I restarted it through the process. I reset the PMU and tried a different power cord I have for it and it started up but not really. It just had part of the aqua background in the lower left corner like the background had been drug off the screen. It's on now but it's still not in normal operating mode.
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Pop in the original system install disc and see if the machine will boot from there. If successful go to Utilities and run Repair Disk from there and let us know how that goes. dtravis7 suggestion of checking S.M.A.R.T. verified was spot on.
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matchstick

 
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yeah I've run hard drive repair, and checked S.M.A.R.T. and it passed and is verified. In my first post I said I ran hard drive repairs and it fixed something and I've run it since and nothing came up. I booted up the mini in single user mode but it still had weird lag. I got it to restart after that and the restart took about 6 minutes. It's on now and working but I had a 1 minute pinwheel when I opened a finder window and went to applications. I'm not sure. Maybe I'll just find a different hard drive and try it out.
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There is a difference. Run Repair Disk from the install DVD whilst booted from it. It is not possible to repair a disk whilst you are running the O.S. from it.
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