Kernel panics and random crashing. RAM swap helps but does not fix.
I've started experiencing random crashes (maybe they're kernel panics. I've gotten the "your mac was restarted because..." screen once) recently that may have to do with the memory or the logic board. I could use some help finding the root of the problem.
Here are the symptoms I've been experiencing:
- Computer randomly freezes (mouse and keyboard input stops working), then the screen goes black, computer restarts.
- Same symptoms as above, but while the screen is frozen I hear 3 system beeps before screen goes black. System doesn't restart. When I press the power button, I get the kernel panic beeps until I power down (by holding the power button). After waiting maybe an hour, the computer boots normally.
- I tried doing a system restore from a TimeMachine backup. After restarting with command-R, I was unable to unlock my hard drive. I couldn't enter any text into the password field (I think the keyboard was still responsive. The caps lock light would turn on/off when pressing the button). I had the same issue when trying to do a fresh OSX reinstall. I didn't get either to work.
What I've tried so far:
- I've tried to enter the Apple Hardware Test dialog by restarting and holding "D". This brings up a spinning globe icon for a few seconds, then gives me a cryptic error code: apple.com/support -3403D. Perhaps this suggests a GPU error, or something related to this: Logic Board Failure due to Nvidia Graphics processor GT330M ?
- I tried swapping from my 2x4GB Crucial RAM setup to the original Apple 2x2GB setup. Still crashes.
- After wondering if one of my RAM (4GB Crucial) sticks or slots was bad I tried isolating which it may be by testing each stick/slot individually: Stick A in lower slot (upper slot empty). Stick A in upper slot (lower slot empty) . Stick B in lower slot (upper slot empty). Stick B in upper slot (lower slot empty). All 1-stick configurations seem to work better than having 2 sticks installed. With 1 stick, I can get an hour or more of normal computer use before I get a crash . With 2 sticks, it typically crashes within 10 minutes of restart. It seems that this might suggest that neither my RAM nor the slots are bad. Instead maybe it's a logic board issue?
- I took the computer to the Genius Bar where they ran a Video System Test (which it passed), as well as a hard drive test (pass again). They thought it was probably a RAM issue.
Does anybody have any thoughts on this? Maybe a logic board replacement will fix the issue?
Is this a good question?