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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Another Newbie question about RAM
    Ok, I got in my 1.25 G4 MDD tower today. I bought it "bare bones," and installed the hard disk, RAM, and OS X today.

    I booted up and everything seems to be working fine. However, I installed *four* 512 MB memory sticks for a total of 2 gigs. When I pull down the "About this Mac" menu, it says I only have 512MB of RAM. When I open up the system profiler, it only shows one of the memory sticks in the slot.

    Under the diagnostics tab, it tells me that I have 4 RAM slots. J21, J22, J23, and J20.

    Only J21 shows having a RAM stick. The others just say "failed." I tired moving the sticks around, thinking maybe three of them were bad. But again, only J21 seems to be showing up.

    Is there a trick to getting the computer to "see" all of the RAM I installed, or is something else wrong?

    I tried to do a search on here and couldn't quite find the answer I needed. So hopefully you guys can give a little insight to a total Apple "noob."

    Thanks for your patience!

  2. #2

    pnstps's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2007
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    Specs:
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    unless they aren't seated properly, might be bad RAM? Are they new sticks?

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Brand new sticks. If I move them around in the different slots, each one of them shows up, as long as it's in the J21 slot.
    Is this maybe a malfunction on the software?
    Do I maybe need to update the OS X and see what happens?

    It's just 10.4. Haven't run the update yet... Would that have anything to do with it?

  4. #4

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
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    Do a PRAM reset. Option, Command, P, R and hold them down at startup until it chimes a second time. Hopefully that will clear up your issue. Downloading to 10.4.10 might help but it's an older machine and should run fine with an older version of 10.4.
    Are the modules all the same speed? I believe that MDD used PC2700 RAM.

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  5. #5

    mac57's Avatar
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    If this were a PC, I would say that the BIOS configuration needs to be updated. Macs do have some form of boot firmware (I believe it is called EFI). Is it possible that this needs to be updated?

    Also, what was the maximum amount of memory a G4 would support?
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
    My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
    My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
    I was on the Mac-Forums honor roll for September 2007

  6. #6


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac57 View Post
    If this were a PC, I would say that the BIOS configuration needs to be updated. Macs do have some form of boot firmware (I believe it is called EFI). Is it possible that this needs to be updated?

    Also, what was the maximum amount of memory a G4 would support?
    It will take a maximum of 4-512MB sticks for a total of 2 gigs.

    I'm going to try some of the earlier suggestions to see if I can get it fixed.

    However, I don't have my Apple keyboard yet! I ordered one online that won't be here for a couple of days.
    I have a cheap, generic PC USB keyboard I'm using just to get programs loaded. I have to figure out what the equivalent Windows buttons are to the Apple, Command, etc!

  7. #7

    spiccy's Avatar
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    Specs:
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    IIRC,
    Ctrl = Ctrl
    Option/Alt = Alt
    Cmd = Windows button

    So that PRAM Reset would be Alt+Windows+P+R

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Oct 08, 2007
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    Well, holding the Windows button along with Windows+ alt+P+R isn't doing anything at startup..
    So I guess I'll have to wait until I get my Apple keyboard to see if it fixes the problem.

    At this point, I'm trying to figure out if it's more likely a problem with the computer or with the RAM I bought.

    I bought it from a dealer on eBay (yeah, yeah, I know.) He guanteed it 100% MAC compatible. It's actually PC3200, even thought the G4 calls for PC2700. However, everywhere I've read said that 184 pin PC3200 is perfectly backwards compatible to PC2700, and even PC 2100 is some cases.

    But... I've also read that Apple's can be picky about the RAM they use. So now I'm worried. Guess I just need to figure out a good "starting point" to determine the culprit.

    Doh!

  9. #9

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
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    Yea, I got a great deal (free) on a 1GB set of PC3200 RAM a few years back and my PC specified PC2100. It worked fine. Macs, I don't think it is the same way. I don't know enough about Macs to risk that sort of think. About brands, it shouldn't matter what brand of RAM you put in your Mac. Just don't use server RAM.
    As for the MDD capacity, yea, 2GB is the maximum.
    When you said the PRAM reset didn't work, do you mean it wouldn't restart or it did restart and nothing changed?

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  10. #10


    Member Since
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    Well, I'm getting a little nervous... I'm beginning to think that it's the computer and not the RAM.

    All four memory sticks works individually if they are run in the J21 memory slot.

    But the other three slots refuse to recognize that there's any RAM. So right now, I just have one stick of 512 in the slot that works.

    Surely there's a logical explanation, right? I mean, why would just *one slot* work?

    I'm so new to getting Apples running, I just keep thinking there's got to be some type of utility that would test the other RAM slots.

    Is there any type of hardware utility that does this?

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    And by the way, I did try using the internal reset button, and no dice there either...

  12. #12

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
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    You really can't say unless you were using PC2700 RAM if the DIMMs (slots) are bad or not. Maybe it's just a fluke the one works with PC3200 RAM....
    It is odd that only one DIMM works. Why was this a barebones kit?!

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  13. #13


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryphotoguy View Post
    You really can't say unless you were using PC2700 RAM if the DIMMs (slots) are bad or not. Maybe it's just a fluke the one works with PC3200 RAM....
    It is odd that only one DIMM works. Why was this a barebones kit?!
    Well... The seller was selling a few G4 towers on eBay as Barebones. They were without hard drive, keyboard/mouse, RAM, or operating system.

    I didn't mind for the price (won the aucton for $223.) I figured that way I could put my own hardware in and get it set up exactly like I wanted.

    So I ordered a nice 120 gig Western Digital Hard Drive for the internal, and a Seagate Barracudda 160 for my external drive (I work in the music business, so the main function of the computer is recording.)

    Then I found a dealer with OS X for G4 towers that was really affordable, along with a RAM dealer. For roughly $450, I should have had a "decked out" G4 (excluding the price of the external firewire drive.).

    Unfortunately, everything works great except for the RAM issue. And when I tried recording today (Pro Tools), I could tell that I was suffering from the 512 of RAM. Computer was a bit sluggish on playback and recording. Digidesign says you have to have a minimum of 768 to run the newest version of Pro Tools 7.3 properly. That's why I ordered 2 gigs!

    So my next step is to try and figure out:

    a) if this problem is fixable with the hardware/software I have now
    b) if it's the DIMM slots on the machine
    c) if it's the RAM modules.

    But I have to do this quick to make sure I stay within the return limits of the sellers. I'm just not sure where to start!

    Since it's a used unit, is there any chance I'd get technical support suggestions from Apple? It's obviously not elligible for Apple Care, but I'm curious how willing Apple's tech support is to offering suggestions.

    Anyone have an opinion on what my first step should be?

    Thanks!

  14. #14

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
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    Exchange it for a like model if you can or get your money back.
    If you want to give it a few more days of testing, can you exchange the RAM for PC2700? I would think you could always drop in a 1GB PC2700 module in the slot if needed to run Pro Tools.
    I doubt you'd get anywhere with Apple. I think the first thing they ask for is the serial.
    Really, the fastest way to see if you can fix the problem is buy a module of PC2700 RAM and test each slot individually.

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  15. #15


    Member Since
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    Well, my fingers are crossed.
    The seller (who's one of those bul dealers on eBay) emailed me today and said he couldn't guarantee compatibility for Apple computers, even though he has the PC2700 modules for the same price. So he sent me the RMA form and will refund my payment when I send the memory back.

    They may not be a popular choice here, but I have bought a lot of stuff from Tiger Direct through my "Windows Years."

    They have good prices on memory, and have an online memory configurator with all the Mac models.

    So I picked my model, and ordered 2 gigs of Kingston Ram. They have always been good about backing up their products, even though their "refund system" on a lot of items is a bit quirky.

    The total with shipping for the memory I bought was about $120, so not a bad deal. I only paid $100 on eBay.. But if the memory from Tiger Direct works, I will certainly wish I would have just spent the extra $20 in the first place.

    But I say I'm crossing my fingers because... What if I get the new memory and the computer still only recognizes one of the modules?
    Then I'll have to go through the process of getting a refund on the G4, shipping it back, etc. Arrrgghhh...

    Unfortunately, I don't have unlimited income, and we are entering the slow part of the year in the music industry. If I could have afforded it, I wouldn't have bothered with a used G4 anyway.

    But this is the hand I'm dealt for now, so hopefully it will work out.

    Luckily, the seller who sold me the G4 on eBay has been very understanding, and offered a partial refund for repair if the new memory still doesn't work. Man, what a headache...

    So, if you were me, if you got the new memory and the computer still didn't recognize it, what would you do? Would it be worth having it repaired and taking the partial refund from the seller?

    Or would you just send it back and start over?

    I ask because I bought the computer in parts. So if I have to send it back, it's going to be hard to find another tower that's stripped I'm afraid. Then I'd have all this extra stuff like hard drives, memory, keyboard & mouse, etc and have to part it all out to try and get some money back.

    I'm really at a loss here, because I like the computer and really want it to work. Like I said, it runs wonderfully with just 512MB of RAM, but I know I'm going to need the extra horsepower to run my applications..

    Doh...

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