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Adding RAM causes problems for iBook owners

updated 03:45 pm EDT, Mon October 10, 2005

iBook RAM problems

Several owners of new iBooks complain that installing extra ram causes problems with Airport. have reported the issue for over a month without a response from Apple. Users also report system lag after installing RAM. Although the majority of affected users report problems with Airport, a small number say their wireless networking continues to function, display overall system slowness. One user writes, "I've got a new ibook 12" (refurbished, by the way) with recent airport problems. It shipped with 512mb ram and was just fine. Immediately after new 1gb stick of Crucial memory airport has become buggy. I can only get airport to go down when using a super high bandwidth networking task - running torrents seems to make airport quit within minutes."

Another user writes, "After spending time on the phone with AppleCare, to no avail, I took it into my local Apple Store. As soon as the guy fired up the iBook, he said there was a problem because (1) the signal was not 100% (which it should be in the store) and (2) my iBook could not see all of the available networks (the mall has about 5 or 6 available). They sent it off on Friday and it was back in the store on Tuesday. I picked it up Wednesday and found that the 'cure' was to 'reconnect antenna to airport'. I am not convinced it was that simple, but that is what the ticket said - perhaps the entire antenna was replaced, perhaps it was the card."

by MacNN Staff



  1. AlenShapiro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Seen this before

    I have not experienced this problem myself but I recall a similar issue that was "fixed" by Apple some time ago. Something to do with the number of address lines present in an Airport card. As the system memory map was relocated (as more applications were loaded or more data was mapped into real memory) some threshold was reached and the Airport card would stop responding. Only a reboot would bring it back. Sounded like the Airport driver could not take relocation to high memory but this did not make much sense if the problems was caused by physical address lines on the card (which don't relocate).

    Anyway, perhaps Apple forgot to roll the legacy patch into Tiger?

  1. MacWizard x

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This concerns me...

    I am about to purchase a 1G stick of RAM for my 12" iBook - now I may wait until the problem is solved.

  1. Kenneth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No problem here

    My 2-mons old iBook G4 (12.1-inch, 1.33Ghz) recently received a 512MB RAM add-on from Crucial. I didn't experienced any problem with AirPort.

  1. Dorrigo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No problem

    I recently added 512mb to my new 1.33mhz iBook. No change in Airport performance - all fine.

  1. EricSM

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re-attaching airport card

    This may or may not help... but I have been working on Macs since 1989 full time and, believe it or not, I had a problem with some iBooks connecting to Airport a while back and it turned out I just wasn't getting the antenna fully inserted into the Airport card... you really have to push that sucker all the way in there hard. Once you get it all the way in, it works fine. These were not current generation iBooks, so this may not be the problem people are currently experiencing.

  1. gametime10

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I have this problem after adding a 1GB stick to my 1.33ghz 12" iBook. More discussion here:

  1. doc e

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Only 1g upgrades?

    Interesting but it appears only those upgrading with a 1g memory stick are having the problem; those saying they added 512m are fine.

    Yes, the antenna wire DOES have to be pushed in fairly hard (until you feel it snap into place) on the Airport card or it will not perform well.

  1. fxg97873

    Joined: Dec 1969


    apple memory

    "running torrents seems to make airport quit within minutes."

    We wouldn't want to get in the way of his illegal downloads...

    I wonder if the problem is also the case with memory that is added by Apple or just third party memory?

  1. ArthurAscii

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Only 1.5GB, Not just BT

    Some good discussion over at Ars Technica:

    The consensus is that the problem only affects new iBooks with maxed-out RAM. It can also be caused by any Airport activity.

  1. Burbank

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I have this issue...

    I have been experiencing this issue since purchasing my Mid-2005 iBook G4 in early September. (100 GB Hard Drive, 1.5 GB RAM). We have to be careful not to confuse this issue with other problems.

    Airport connectivity stops completely without explanation after minutes, hours or days. Also, trackpad movement becomes choppy and kernel_task process starts consuming large amount of CPU, pinning CPU usage at 100%. (Mid-2005 iBooks only.) Also, it looks like it only happens when: 1. plugged into wall (problem doesn't happen running on batt. power) 2. heavy airport usage (via internet downloads or moving files on a network) 3. having 1.5 gb ram installed. (1 gb doesn't seem to be a problem)

    When the problem occurs, the airport signal indicator in the menu bar turns all gray and clicking on it reveals that there are no airport signals in range. Again, the trackpad behavior becomes choppy and the kernel_task process runs away with the CPU. Simply restarting the iBook restores normal functionality.

    This issue has been driving me nuts. I have called AppleCare twice now and they say they haven't heard of the problem.

    Dave Burbank

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