Disappearing RAM

Back when I gave the Snow Leopard development build a test run, I noticed something weird that I chocked up to running beta software.

My G5’s RAM was wrong, listing as 6GB when it is actually 10GB.

I didn’t think much of it and went on working on other projects.

Booting back into Leopard, I wasn’t happy to see the RAM size remained incorrect. On top of it, I ordered a cheap 2x2GB set of sticks to further boost my G5. It was time to figure out what was going on, keeping in mind that I had not messed with my RAM at all. The only thing I had done was replace the thermal paste on the CPU.

Here’s my troubleshooting process:

1 – Open up the G5 and reseat the RAM. No fix on the first go.

2 – Reset the NVRAM. No fix either.

3 – Use a tiny bit of thermal surface cleaning solution that I use on CPUs when I put fresh thermal paste on to gently clean the edges of the sticks. Again, no fix.

4 – Spray a little canned air at the empty RAM slots. Again, no fix.

4 – In frustration, I reseated the RAM with a little more firmness. All is well. For now.

My Power Mac is showing 12GB of RAM now (which is what I have in it). Another 4GB is on the way, so I will max this ancient machine out shortly. The answer is… there is no answer. Maybe this G5 is old and near death. We’ll see.

— Nathan

2 thoughts on “Disappearing RAM”

  1. Swapping sticks can also sometimes help. I also will have problems if power is down for a long time (enough for t he machine to cool down) as mine is normally on and the thermal change is enough to muck with the connections. We had a “planned” (but I didn’t get the notification) 6-hr outage one night and recovery from that was a nightmare.

    • Good to know. I think you are right that these quirks are more prevalent with older machines and may get more pronounced as the hardware ages.

      I picked up an iMac G4 from my parent’s house (look for a post this week), and I’ve yet to replace the battery which is highly recommended for all the weird quirks that a non-working battery produces.


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