I recently ran into a problem with a used mac mini I had purchased from a friend of mine. He gave it to me fresh with Mountain Lion running on the machine, so the first thing I did was upgrade it to Mavericks. Life was great until I started to put the system under a load and started using it. Files I was downloading randomly began to get corrupted here and there. At first I thought the computer was overheating causing the corruption since it seemed to take some time for it to happen. Then I thought well maybe there was an issue with Mountain Lion and it just followed me into Mavericks, so I wiped it and started over. Not too long after doing so I ran into the same issues. Then it hit me it could be the ram. I took one stick out and it ran great for a few minutes. I thought well this stick is ok and there isn’t any problems here until my computer panic’d. No major deal it does that every once in a blue moon. I restarted the machine onto to find out it had some hard drive issues and needed a repair run on the disk. I booted the machine into recovery mode only to find out even disk utility couldn’t repair the disk and I had to yet again re-install OSX another time. I shut the machine down swapped ram with the one stick that I took out and got the job done this time everything went beautifully with no problems. I was still curious as to if the ram was really bad or if it wasn’t just plugged in all the way. Then after thinking about it I decided I wanted to know for sure so I set out to find myself a RAM tester for mac and found one.
MemTest for Mac is a free tool that does exactly what it says.
Download MemTest NOW [direct download link]
The file above is a zip file with an installer package. The software installed memtest in /usr/bin.
Test Your Mac
So what do you need to do? The process is simple. Open a Terminal window and type the following:
If you want to give it a very thorough test then you can specify the number of times you would like to run the test by typing the following:
memtest all 2
The test by itself will take anywhere from 15+ minutes to complete. If the program crashes, or you see it erring out and failing tests it’s a good sign that you have a bad memory modules in there.
Good luck running your tests and verifying if you have a bad ram module and figuring out which one is the problem.