Powerbook kernel panic and subsequent volume disappearance

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
Ok, so my roommate's Powerbook 17" (first rev) was sitting happily with it's screensaver in his room for a long time while he was out.

I noticed it had what appeared to be a kernel panic - I decided not to touch it.

(white text on black spilling all over his screen)

It had a bunch of memory things like x00Eb00d0 and such

looked like a memory address error or something like that.

and something about the cpu and kernel

But when he came back and rebooted - blinking question mark.

Can't find any volumes.

Apple disk util, hardware test, firewire disk mode, Diskwarrior @ the Apple Store and nothing found the volumes.

His harddrive is there and shows up - just unpartitioned. No volumes.

So yeah, he's reinstalling, etc.

(it's not worth the money or the time to send to data recovery.)

I've read about these types of crashes and no-bootup from bad RAM before - but never volume loss from such an error.

He does have MacWarehouse 'bonus' RAM - some crap KTI 512MB unit and we've taken that out for the time being.

There's not any way I can think of to reproduce this since he's had it for 6 months or so and only had this happen once - but I want to know how likely it is that it was bad RAM that somehow led to nasty stuff being written on his disk that would f*ck up the volumes.

Or if not - any ideas as to what would cause this?
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