iMac Sporadic Crashing

Posted on 2010-11-11
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I have an iMac that seems to panic at random and just turn off. I've reinstalled the OS. Took it to the shop and they've replaced the following:

661-4670  Power Supply, 180W
661-4673  Card, Video, ATI Radeon HD 2400XT
922-8188  Cable, DC, Power Supply/SATA/Inverter

I'm still getting random crashing. I've ran a file system check (fsck -fy) twice. Would you guys know of anything else I should try?
Question by:dammitpogi
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 34111045
If the crashes are particularly random, I would look at replacing the memory first when it comes to hardware. Also, make sure that you have at least 2 GB of memory if not 4 for that computer. The next piece of metal to look at replacing would be the hard drive, particularly if it is making any strange sounds. I'm not sure why a the video card and power supply would be replaced for intermittent crashing unless there were some other symptoms that were eliminated. It would be interesting to see the work order on this one.

It it is a software problem, there are many steps to take to isolate the problem. These steps are well documented, so I won't try a brain dump here.

How much memory do you have and which OS are you running. Any special software that you are running?
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 34111076
Step 1- Make sure you have a good backup, intermittent lock-ups may indicate imminent, catastrophic drive failure

Author Comment

ID: 34111092
I'm running OS X 10.6.4 /w 2 GB 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM. I have stress tested the memory for a good 3 hours the other day, made about 7 passes without any quantifiable abnormalities. I believe I ruled out a software issue by reinstalling the OS.

Not sure if I am allowed to upload pdf's, but here is a scan of the work order. Not really much information there. He didn't give me any info when he gave it back. Only told me that it was ready to be picked up. I have copies of the kernel crashes, if you'd like to take a look. So far I've only saved three however.
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

mccrick earned 500 total points
ID: 34111102
Iv'e scanned this page, and I think it's pretty consistent with what I would do as a Mac pro to solve your problem.

Author Comment

ID: 34111103
Losing the drive is not a problem. This computer is used as a remote terminal with a few local tasks. Word processing, internet, email, calendars, and such.

Author Comment

ID: 34111109
That was actually one of the first pages I read and tried before reinstalling the OS. One of the first searched in goole too. Thank you. (:
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

mccrick earned 500 total points
ID: 34111301
The link I sent earlier relates to fixing software issues without wiping out your hard drive. If this is just a terminal then this problem gets really easy to fix.

Zero out the drive (did you do that already?) and put 10.5 on there. If it still crashes, you are left with memory, hard drive, or logic board. I presume that it fails away from the network. It would be a little silly to have the thing physically gutted only to find out that it was some noise on you network.

The work order was extremely helpful. What it says is that the computer is under warranty and the tech at Apple ran a test a swapped out some parts, but avoided the expense of a new logic board. If you do the above and still get crashing, then Apple will be forced to replace the correct component.
LVL 53

Expert Comment

ID: 34112928
Download and install the freeware SmartReporter:

It checks your drive hourly for hardware problems.

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