We are investigating claims that Apple PowerBooks have defective lower memory (RAM) slots. It appears that even if the problem is fixed, it will recur, since it may be a combination of hardware and software issues. Many allegations seem to be associated with an upgrade of the Apple OSX operating system that results in physical damage to system hardware making the second memory slot unreadable.
We have been made aware of numerous allegations on the part of Apple PowerBook G4 users that they are encountering a fault with the lower memory slot in the 15" PowerBook G4 series. At this time it appears that Apple may acknowledge the defect, we suspect it is probably as a "known issue" in all of their 15" G4 PowerBook Models. However, if the system is out of warranty, Apple refuses to repair it - even if a recent OSX upgrade delivered to the user by Apple may have caused the damage.
Many users apparently believe that the 10.3.9 OSX upgrade or in some cases the 10.4.0 and 10.4.1 OSX upgrades actually damages the motherboard firmware controller or chipset, since it appears that Apple is replacing the motherboards in warrantied machines. This causes a dilemma say some users, because once repaired, some users claim that when they run the 10.3.9 OSX upgrade or in some cases the 10.4.0 and 10.4.1 OSX upgrades again through Apple's automated update system, the problem recurs. A few users claim that the problem recurred immediately upon the return of the system from the repair facility.
In many cases, users are discovering the problem for the first time when they add additional memory CL 2.5, DDR2700 Ram (Apple Specification for PowerBook Memory) to the second available memory slot in these G4 PowerBooks that it appears as though the system is not recognizing the additional memory. For example, one user had 1 gigabyte of memory in the first slot and added a 256-megabyte RAM stick to the second slot and the system still showed 1 gig of memory. When they switched the RAM sticks, the unit only registered the alternate 256-megabyte stick. This clearly points to a slot defect, or other hardware defect, not a problem with the DDR memory sticks themselves.
In other cases, users with both slots already populated with RAM discovered that after they ran the upgrade certain high performance applications like Final Cut Pro failed to initialize, and displayed a low memory warning. Or they notice that the system properties did not recognize the originally noted amount of RAM on boot up.
It is apparent there is a product defect issue with the Apple PowerBook G4 that may remain irresolvable by Apple or could recur after what seems to be a successful repair when a critical operating system update is installed.
A product defect of this nature could well be discovered after the warranty has run out, simply because the user never tried to increase the RAM to a higher level as indicated in the product specifications. Many users feel a product defect of this importance should be addressed whether or not they are out of warranty. Others state that they suspect Apple may have been aware of this issue even when the systems were still being promoted or sold, although there is no proof to support such an allegation at this time.
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My computer has suffered to poor performance by the result and loss of the lower memory slot. Some programs, Safari - iPhoto - Final Cut Express 2, do not work as smoothly as they did previously. Programs intermittently crash, and running multiple programs slows down the performance of my computer.
Posted by Louisiana
I purchased an additional 1GB of RAM to speed up my computer, well over $100 and it isn't even recognized by my Mac. Confirmed by switching RAM sticks in the RAM slots, shows that a laptop RAM slot hardware is to blame.
Posted by New York
The defective lower RAM slot prevented the PowerBook from utilizing a maximum amount of 2GB of RAM, which it was capable of initially. Now I'm limited to only running one or two memory/processor-intensive graphic programs.
Posted by Colorado
I am a developer and a CIO and my productivity has slowed greatly. My machine is much slower now and I have experienced damages in production loss. The issue occurred 6 months ago and in that time I estimate I have lost several hundred hours of productivity.
Posted by Texas
6 months ago I noticed that the computer did not recognize the 512MB ram chip I had in the lower memory slot. After running the hardware diagnostic and swapping different RAM into the slot I determined that the memory slot had failed. I recently spoke to an apple repair technician at an apple store, that told me the problem was not covered under the repair extension program and I would have to pay $310 for the repair even though it is caused by a known manufacturing defect.
Posted by Massachusetts
Just upgraded from 10.3.9 to 10.5.1. Reason was purchase of new ipod that didn't work with 10.3.9. Upon cold boot of the machine for the first time, machine wouldn't start up. Got three beeps indicating no memory found. When moved memory to upper slot, worked OK. This means that I cannot add more RAM in the lower slot, effectively lessening the useful life of the machine.
Posted by Pennsylvania
Computer is not in range of serial numbers that Apple admits has a problem. Can't upgrade to 2 GB of memory. Slows applications such as Final Cut Pro that is memory intensive. I am not sure that it will work.
Posted by Massachusetts
I initially bought my 1.5GHz Powerbook G4 with 2x 256MB sticks of RAM. While they initially both worked fine, in October of 2005 I realized that only one of them was being recognized. Upon switching the RAM sticks, the RAM in the upper slot was recognized, but the stick in the lower slot continued to go unrecognized, showing it was an issue with the memory slot, not the memory itself.
Posted by Virginia
Over 30 days of lost use because computer has been in the shop for at least that long.
Currently computer has been down for 3 weeks (in addition to the 30 days above) because Apple won't own up to the clear hardware failure that is a flaw in the machine and should be covered regardless of warranty coverage--this machine is a lemon.
THIS MACHINE IS A LEMON.
I paid over $2,000 for this machine thinking I'd get a solid computing platform with fewer problems than a Windows machine.
Posted by California
Have had to repair and reinstall hard drive numerous times. At least three times computer has crashed while I was on-site working out of state; these were appointments set at least 3 months in advance; these appointments were rescheduled at my expense (including travel, room and board). Currently I am at a $2,000 workshop to learn a software program. My computer is again dysfunctional at the moment. I won't be going home for another two weeks. Unfortunately, I have to attend a research conference, in which I needed to have a functional lap top.
Posted by Illinois
Titanium PowerBook G4 800 which I have owned since Nov 2002 developed memory slot problems after hard drive replacement by an authorized Apple reseller and repair facility in December 2006. The machine started freezing and having kernel panics. April visit to the reseller found a bad upper memory slot, though the reseating of the memory eased the problem for a few months. Now, the reseller found logic board problems with both slots and perhaps with the memory controller. The machine has now failed completely, fortunately I was able to make a full backup before it did. I chose to buy a new machine rather than have the logic board replaced, which would have cost nearly $1K. Computer down time, time to migrate to and learn to use the new machine, are my main losses, as well as the cost of diagnostics and repairs.
Posted by British Columbia
The following day after the update, my computer ran as usual until I shut it down at the end of the day. When I got home from the office I attempted to reboot my PowerBook and I encountered, what I am now learning is a known alarm when there is a RAM problem - three beeps followed by a flashing powerlight. When I took it into the repair shop they said the lower RAM slot on the logic board was damaged.
Posted by Florida
I have 2 Apple 15" 1.5mhz Aluminum Powerbooks. Both have the "lower slot" RAM failure defect. This was only discovered yesterday after investigating why the laptops only showed half the RAM they actually have installed. I had this verified at an Apple store. Apple refuses to include them in the repair program since they are earlier serial numbers. They will repair the one laptop that has extended warranty, but will not include it in the repair program. The repair program offers an extended warranty for the repair that will not be offered to me in any case. The Apple tech insists my problem is not the same problem as those in the repair program in spite of the fact that it is the same model and type, and exhibits exactly the same failure symptoms. I am repairing the warranty machine (what choice do I have) but am not doing so to the other machine.
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