January 14, 2006

15" Aluminum PowerBook hard freezes

So I've had a 1.67 Ghz PowerPC 15" Aluminum PowerBook for about two months now, and am really enjoying it. I'll have some stuff to stay later about porting Java applications to Mac OSX and some problems I've had with that, but for the most part things have been working very well.

When I ordered my machine, I upgraded the RAM to 2 Gigabytes. That is really nice. The problem is that my machine will randomly (really randomly) hard freeze: the mouse won't move, and sound that was playing will loop for the length of the sound buffer, no movement at all on the screen, etc. The only thing that you can do is hold down the power button for about five second to force the machine to shut off. That is a real bummer. Worse, it seems to happen more when I'm doing work: programming large apps on Eclipse. I suspect that it has something to do with the memory, but I wasn't able to find any errors with the RAM running memtest and I tried many combinations of RAM sticks in different RAM slots. I was able to freeze things in any combination of RAM sticks (1 gig + stock 512mb, 2 gig, and even 1 gig alone) but I couldn't freeze it with just the 512mb stick. So something about the 1gig sticks is bad.

I took the machine down to the Apple store at the Willow Bend mall in Plano, but they were unable to find any problems. It looks like I might have to send the machine back to Apple to get this checked out. I'll have to think about when the best time to do that would be though.


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