VERY annoying Panther crash

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Acid Pooh, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. Acid Pooh

    Acid Pooh Guest

    Hi everybody,

    I'm running 10.3.4 on a G4 PowerBook 12in and I've run into a very
    annoying crash lately. It's probably happened five times in the last
    few weeks. Anyhoo, while running a fairly heavy load (Safari, Mail, a
    BitTorrent client with maybe 35 open ports, iTunes or maybe a game
    like WarCraft III), the audio begins cycle from on to off and back,
    the mouse intermittently quits working, and none of the UI elements
    work. So I'm pretty much locked out of the system.

    Frankly, I haven't tried anything to stop this. Well, I tried
    DiscWarrior, but it didn't help. I haven't figured out a way to
    reproduce the problem, so that makes trouble shooting very difficult.

    The System log doesn't show anything unusual, which leads me to
    believe that this is a memory issue. (As in, I don't have enough of
    it, and in fact don't even have enough for the beachball to be
    rendered.) But I've been running similar loads all summer with no
    problem until recently. And this is a fairly fresh Panther install...

    Any ideas?
    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Jul 13, 2004
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  2. Acid Pooh

    Jason Guest

    If you have not already maxed out the amount of RAM that your mac is
    capable of handling--I advise you to do it. It appears to me that this is
    a memory issue. When your mac starts running out of memory--it starts
    having problems. Of course, I am only guessing and you should pay close
    attention to any poster that says that he or she has had the identical
    problem and what the solution was. If you don't get such a post--follow my
    advice before you do anything else.
    Jason, Jul 13, 2004
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  3. Run top and/or vm_stat in terminal. See if there are alotta
    page-outs, any free cpu time left, free pages, etc. See how
    many swap files are in use (Cmd-F swap, visibility=all).
    George Williams, Jul 13, 2004
  4. Acid Pooh

    cowpoke Guest

    Same kinda thing has been happening to me -- I get a similar crash
    (screen freezes, no mouse cursor, then occasional semi-functionality
    for a few moments, then freeze again). Typically, I'm usually running
    things like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Safari, iTunes, Thoth,
    and a few other minor apps.

    I'm running Panther 10.3.4 on a MDD dual 876 G4 with dual monitors and
    1.25 Gig of RAM, 2 internal HD's and one ext firewire HD. I think that
    there's a possibility of dual-monitors having something to do with
    instability, from some hearsay of dual-monitor problems.

    But I have recently tested the apps running WITHOUT running iTunes, and
    I haven't had a crash yet, and it's been days! I have even replaced
    using iTunes for music with running Audion 3.0, and still no crashes!!

    Most of my iTunes music is not on my startup HD, but the iTunes
    database folder is in my ~home/music/iTunes/ folder. I've just moved
    that folder to my 2nd HD, and have redirected the iTunes prefs to that
    one, and deleted the ~home/.... folder one.

    I'll let you know if I have any crashes going on with this setup.

    Have you tried troubleshooting without iTunes running? Please let me
    know if you have any similar experiences.

    cowpoke, Jul 13, 2004
  5. Acid Pooh

    Mats Weber Guest

    In what application ?
    Mats Weber, Jul 13, 2004
  6. Acid Pooh

    Acid Pooh Guest

    I tried this last night, with a slightly lower load than I described
    in my message and got about 3000 pageouts in the first hour of
    operation, with about 1000 every hour after that. Plenty of free
    cycles. I didn't get the crash during this "experiment." I'll try
    pushing it harder tonight.

    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Jul 13, 2004
  7. Acid Pooh

    Acid Pooh Guest

    I'm currently running with 512 mb and just bought a new SODIMM to
    bring me up to to 768. Unfortunately, the gigabyte chips are about
    $300 out of my price range. But I've been planning to do this upgrade
    for about as long as I've had my powerbook (7 months now) and I've
    never had this problem before.

    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Jul 13, 2004
  8. Acid Pooh

    Acid Pooh Guest

    I'm currently running with 512 mb and just bought a new SODIMM to
    bring me up to to 768. Unfortunately, the gigabyte chips are about
    $300 out of my price range. But I've been planning to do this upgrade
    for about as long as I've had my powerbook (7 months now) and I've
    never had this problem before.

    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Jul 13, 2004
  9. Acid Pooh

    Acid Pooh Guest

    It turns out that this was a memory issue, only not as benign as not
    having enough. A few days ago, I rebooted and got a kernel panic
    about half way through the start up sequence. I rebooted again and
    got three beeps and a blank screen. I pulled out the the accessible
    SODIMM and still got the blank screen. Looks like my logic board is
    toast. :-(

    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Jul 15, 2004
  10. Sorry to hear of it. Were there lightning storms or other static
    discharges involved?
    George Williams, Jul 15, 2004
  11. Acid Pooh

    Acid Pooh Guest

    As far as I know, no. At first, I had those weird "crashes" (not even
    the right term, since I think my processes kept running) if I let all
    my ram get populated. Then it got a lot slower and my virtual memory
    stats shot way up, even immediately after a prophylactic reboot.
    Basically, standard windows behavior. :)

    Anyway, I think those crashes were just an indication that I had
    malfunctioning ram, perhaps caused by a thermal issue. (I used to run
    it full tilt on my bed covers. I'll keep it on a hard surface from
    now on. And I'm not a pervert, really.)

    'cid 'ooh

    (No, really. I'm not)
    Acid Pooh, Jul 19, 2004
  12. That could well be the case. If the RAM were to get above 85 or
    90 C, then it (and other components on the board) become "derated"
    and non-functional, although this may be reversible when cooled.
    George Williams, Jul 19, 2004
  13. Acid Pooh

    Jim Nason Guest

    All that running and only 512 MB RAM? In my datacenter I don't
    consider running less than 1 GByte per processor. At home, I have 512
    MB on my single Pentium III, and on my Mac G4 Dual 1.42 I have 2
    GBytes. In my datacenter I have 10 GBytes on my Sun 8way , 4 GBytes
    on the 4Way, 2 Gbytes on the 2 ways. .... You can choke a computer
    real fast with too little RAM. Cough up the bucks and buy enough RAM
    or run fewer apps.... its nice you are testing the limits but don't
    complain when it fails.

    Jim Nason, Jul 21, 2004
  14. <2004072021465516807%>,

    All "that?" I'm not sure about BitTorrent since I've never used it, but
    Safari, Mail, iTunes and a game should be able to run fine with "only"
    512MB. Unless BitTorrent is a huge memory consumer or there's a leak
    somewhere the OP shouldn't be testing the limits of that box under
    normal circumstances.

    I'm guessing that one of two things happened shortly before this started
    a) One of or more the programs that run routinely was upgraded or
    installed for the first time and memory consumption has increased
    (possibly more than intended).
    b) The free disk space got very low on relatively short notice and has
    remained low. This could be a result of something like copying a lot of
    new data to the disk, or running one of those background undelete
    assistance programs that works by caching your trash contents instead of
    deleting them.
    Gregory Weston, Jul 21, 2004
  15. Acid Pooh

    Martin Crisp Guest

    On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 11:46:55 +1000, Jim Nason wrote
    (in article

    [snip what sounds like a hardware issue to me, but is a week old in
    any case]
    It doesn't look like that scary a list, and in any case the list
    means SFA, the numbers that you need to worry about are accessible
    from the commandline.

    Do they look like this (top -uws15 5):
    Processes: 61 total, 4 running, 57 sleeping... 174 threads
    Load Avg: 2.18, 2.81, 2.62 CPU usage: 89.3% user, 10.7% sys,
    0.0% idle
    SharedLibs: num = 120, resident = 21.4M code, 2.30M data, 7.04M
    MemRegions: num = 12445, resident = 150M + 6.93M private, 106M
    PhysMem: 53.7M wired, 216M active, 107M inactive, 377M used,
    6.07M free
    VM: 5.12G + 81.9M 3029290(17) pageins, 2417039(0) pageouts

    That was my machine a few minutes ago. Deliberately trying to drive
    it hard with iTunes reniced to 15 and POV-Ray rendering its
    benchmark scene at renice -20, and a reasonable number of other
    open (but idle) apps. Though I'd woken all of them not long before.
    Yes, my system became less responsive [big surprise], but the
    frontmost app was always responsive (with POV-Ray pulling upwards
    of 65% of CPU), and the only time I lost audio was when I switched
    application contexts (and that was simply iTunes not managing to
    get past povray & system level stuff), even scaling PDFs in the
    background and ftping them didn't make any noticeable difference.

    Well, expose certainly caused a system hiccup for all of 5 seconds.

    I'm on a G4 400, 384MB

    My iTunes music is on a separate physical disk to my System & Apps.
    I do have /bags/ of disk space between my 20GB (boot, OS X Apps,
    DevTools) and 80GB (split into Users 40GB and Shared)

    Yes, you can. But if the system is any good it still keeps going,
    just some processes get squeezed. By the way, I just noticed that
    my idle is still stuck on 0.0%.

    Oh, I thought I'd told POV-Ray to /stop/ rendering its benchmark.

    I'd call that not too bad. <looks at top again> POV-Ray is getting
    about 60% of CPU, iTunes about 11, Hogwasher (frontmost) is getting
    _IF_ it fails. Gee, I wonder if my machine can handle the load on
    the dial-in to send this...

    Have Fun
    Martin Crisp, Jul 21, 2004
  16. Acid Pooh

    sn00ge Guest

    It seems Bittorrent is a bit of a RAM hog. I have a single-processor
    G4 with 1.25GB RAM. Typically I have two accounts logged in, with one
    account running only Mozilla (and the Finder) and the other running
    Eudora, Mozilla, BBEdit, iTunes, x11, xmms, MacSOUP, [email protected],
    Band in a Box, vlc, and maybe a few other small apps. In this "state",
    MenuMeters shows about 300 MB RAM used. However if I crank up Azureus
    and start a Bittorrent session, the memory usage will climb to about
    650-700 MB.
    sn00ge, Jul 21, 2004
  17. Acid Pooh

    Acid Pooh Guest

    BitTorrent can be a hog. Especially with 35 "connections," which I
    think actually corresponds to 70 "network streams" (one incoming and
    another outgoing).
    Unfortunately, neither of those things happened. The PowerBook is in
    the shop right now. Apparently, the built-in has been slowly
    breaking. Shortly after posting my original messages, I had a kernel
    panic on reboot, and three beeps after rebooting since.

    I _do_ realize I was driving it pretty hard. But I always have,
    without a bit of trouble, until I had a hardware failure.

    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Jul 21, 2004
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