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Ask Max: Kernal Panic and Ram Problems

Asked on 11/21/2011:

In the last month, for some unexplained reason, my one year old 21.5-inch iMac will get a RAM warning (three beeps, pause, three beeps). Then, sometimes it is a kernel panic. This happens about three or more times a week. I took it in to Apple and they said they could not duplicate the problem I was having and handed it back to me. The iMac is under warranty till 2014.

So what next?

Best regards,



You are correct in that it's indicating a RAM error. Three beeps, pause, etc. Now, often a RAM issue can be resolved by re-seating the RAM. This is because it may have been nudged around during shipping. To re-seat: remove and then re-insert the RAM.

I would also check that the environmental conditions in the location where it's reporting the error have adequate airflow to keep the machine cool and ideally, not in prolonged direct sunlight. In cases were a RAM card has failed, it usually is a permanent failure. This scenario however, suggests that perhaps the card is not completely seated.

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