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#1 2014-06-29 10:29:33

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 883
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About Done with the Power Mac G5.

I've had by far the most frustrating experience working with any Mac tonight.

As some would know, I bought a Power Mac G5 for repairs a couple of weeks ago. I had a replacement Logic Board and CPUs for it, so no worries - it should have been an easy fix. I swapped the internals of the donor machine into the new machine and success - it booted up. Cue a lot of cheering since I'd wanted a Power Mac G5 for quite some time, but had bad experiences with dead machines in the past (bad U3s, CPUs, etc).

A couple of days later, I noticed it had stopped registering the second processor, but it was still powering on (the Early 2005 boards require both CPUs to be present to power up). I reseated it to no avail. A couple of days later, it stopped powering up entirely. Since its behaviour would change with downward pressure, I reflowed the card as a last ditch attempt, but no dice.

Since I can't use the good 1.8GHz processors with this Logic Board due to an Apple restriction, I decided to repair the U3 on the old board and swap the Dual 1.8GHz CPUs back in.

As I started to dismantle the machine again, I noticed that a lot of the CPU standoffs were simply turning instead of backing out when I tried to unscrew them. Brilliant, the enclosure's damaged. I later discovered that the mounts on the case are press-fit into the aluminium without any bracing or welds, and these were now simply turning. I sealed them with a metal epoxy which seemed to hold them still.

So with the old Logic Board out and the new board prepped for installation, I swapped in the 1.8GHz (June 2004) board with its two processors, reassembled the system and powered it up.

Still nothing. The Logic Board had more than just a U3 issue, it seems. Before I owned it, the plastic pins that secured the U3 heatsink to the back of the board pulled through entirely and let the machine overheat, so who knows what kind of internal chip damage it may have.

Deciding to give up on having a dual processor system, I tested the Single 1.8GHz board and CPU in the donor system before I removed it in case it was something I was doing, and - believe it or not - that one's dead too. Same issue, no chime, no video.

Since the 2.0GHz board and the one good CPU was the closest combination to actually working, I swapped them back into the case. Now that board is showing some issues. The light on the front comes on as soon as the power cable is connected, and the Logic Board won't power on.

Not to mention that one of the press-fit standoffs on the good case came off completely while removing the CPU screw. It wasn't even tightened up that far, it just gave out with the number of times the machine had to be disassembled. The G5 has been apart about 9 times now, with the CPUs coming out about 30 times over the last couple of days. As we know, the Power Mac G5 isn't the easiest machine to dismantle either.

Argh.


So now I have the following dead and broken parts:


  • 1x Early 2005 Logic Board

  • 1x June 2004 Logic Board

  • 1x Power Mac G5 (Rev. A) Logic Board or 1.8GHz Processor (uncertain)

  • 1x 2.0GHz PowerPC 970FX Processor

  • 1x Power Mac G5 Enclosure


Frustrated doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling about this entire saga. Something that should have worked, with more than enough chances and spare parts to make it happen, and it still doesn't run because of issues with processors, logic boards, BGAs and even firmware.

I love this enclosure, hence why I wanted a Power Mac G5 in the first place. That said, I'm starting to think that an early model Mac Pro is the better machine for this case since they don't seem to be anywhere near as prone to failure. Even when I was servicing Apple computers full time for an AASP, the ratio of Power Mac G5s to Mac Pros coming in for service was something ridiculous, like 40:1.

So the Power Mac G5 has been downgraded to "Garbage" status in my book.

At this point in time, my Quad 2.5GHz Liquid Cooled G5 does still work. Incidentally, it's the only machine I have with the CPC945 "U4" northbridge, which was designed an engineered by IBM. The others all used the CPC925 "U3" northbridge, which was designed by Apple. I'm not sure whether this is a coincidence or whether the faults with the other boards is even in the northbridge or not, but I wouldn't be surprised since the U3 has known issues.


It's sometimes difficult to justify maintaining these machines since for some of them since you never receive enough enjoyment back out of them in contrast to the effort you put in making them work in the first place. That's not applicable for all machines, but it applies for quite a few - the Power Mac G5, iMac G3, iBook G3/G4 and PowerBook G4 12" all come to mind. If you step back far enough to the 68k or MOS based systems, where the electronics are all much simpler, it's easier to keep them running. A few capacitors had both my Macintosh 512 and Apple II+ running again, and I've had hours, days, even weeks of enjoyment out of those all from about 30 minutes of work.

So far about 24 hours over the span of about 4 days (6 hours a day) has been spent attempting to make this G5 work again, and I'm now officially further away from the goal of having a working unit than when I started thanks to component failures. It simply isn't worth it.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#2 2014-06-29 15:46:51

techknight
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 449

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

it is most likely the northbridge, or the BGA solder itself which requires proper machines to reflow. not just a heatgun/oven trick.

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#3 2014-06-29 19:36:31

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,099
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

I've always said that the air cooled DP 2.3 and the Quad are the only G5s worth owning. It's a shame, really. sad

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#4 2014-06-29 21:59:34

eyoungren
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From: Phoenix, AZ USA
Registered: 2014-06-25
Posts: 1
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

I think I have been quite fortunate overall with my G5. My boss bought it brand new in February 2005. It's a 1.8Ghz single processor G5. It's been on at work 24/7 until mid-2013. The only problem up to that point was a bad ram stick which was replaced under warranty. That caused HD corruption which required an OS reinstall. but that was around 2007 or so. It's been flawless and smooth running ever since.

I came into work one morning though and found it fried. I don't know if it was the logicboard or the chip, but my boss gave it to me and I swapped the entire thing out (heatsinks and all) for $60. Booted right back up. It was idle for a few months before I took it back to work so my coworker had no more excuses about her G4/450 being slow. My boss paid me back the $60 and once we get another MP, I get the G5 back free.

It's still running 24/7 and doing the job. The new logicboard/CPU/heatsink is actually OLDER than the one it replaced. I guess maybe it caused me some confusion because I hear of so many problems with that model and other G5 models yet this G5 has rarely ever given me problems.

Last edited by eyoungren (2014-06-29 22:02:17)


PowerPC Mac G4 Quicksilver • 1.6Ghz Dual Processor (Giga Designs), 1.5GB RAM, 3.5TB HDs.

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#5 2014-06-29 22:50:14

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 883
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

It's possible that these machines were already marked for salvage even before I came into possession of them. Who knows what their history may be. Some revisions are more reliable than others, especially as they started to work out the issues. In some cases the older units are somewhat better - I noticed that the Single 1.8GHz G5 I have here doesn't use the same split-pin style processor standoffs, which means they're not as prone to failure with repeated removal and installation of the processor.

I was able to power up the Quad 2.5GHz earlier tonight and am pleased to say that it's working perfectly. I've decided to reassemble the Single 1.8GHz machine into a complete box in case I find some spares for it. I think that it's the closest to being a working machine at this point and so I won't write it off while there's still a chance for it.

The other two will be parted out since it would be too costly to repair those units, but there's some good parts in there that could be used to rebuild other machines, and I'll be holding on to those in case someone comes looking for some stuff for their G5 (or another G5 comes my way that only needs a part or two to repair).


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#6 2015-04-28 21:23:35

TheWhiteFalcon
Member
Registered: 2015-04-27
Posts: 504

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

This is old, but yes, the U4 northbridge is considerably different from the U3, and is much more reliable.


    CPC925 — Designed by Apple and called the U3 or the U3H (which supports ECC memory). It is capable of supporting up to two PowerPC 970s or PowerPC 970FXs and has two 550 MHz unidirectional processor buses, a 400 MHz DDR memory controller, x8 AGP and a 400 MHz 16-bit HyperTransport tunnel. It fabricated on a 130 nm process. Additionally, there was an unreleased U3Lite northbridge in development for the PowerBook G5, which never made it to market.

    CPC945 — Designed by IBM and called U4 by Apple, it is capable of supporting two PowerPC 970MPs and has two 625 MHz unidirectional processor buses, two memory controllers that support up to 64 GB of 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM with ECC capability and has a x16 PCIe lane and an 800 MHz 16-bit HyperTransport tunnel. It is fabricated on a 90 nm process.

Cooler process, much better design, and the CPU's in the multicore G5's also ran cooler for the most part, lowering overall thermal stresses on the machine. I'd pick a multicore machine over a multiprocessor (even if I think the 2003 machines look the best inside) for a reliable daily computer.

That being said...these things are just weird all around. I have a friend who got a DC 2.3 with a bad PSU. Later, he found a DC 2.0, bought it, and put the PSU into the 2.3. Didn't boot right or run stably.

He put the 2.0DC processor on the 2.3 board and it ran fine (unlike earlier models, the board for the 2.0DC and 2.3DC are (in theory) identical). So he put the 2.3 back in and it went back to puking.

Then he put the 2.0's board in the 2.3 case with the 2.0PSU, and put the 2.3 processor on that board. Worked fine. There's no explanation as to why the 2.3 board didn't like the 2.3CPU anymore, but it didn't.

So he's got a 2.0DC that needs a PSU still, and a 2.3DC he uses for some server duties.

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#7 2015-04-29 14:08:26

Schmoburger
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From: Australia
Registered: 2015-04-21
Posts: 281
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

I had similar issues with my first G5, a 7,3 2.0DP... intermittent booting, dropping a processor and still booting off one, freezing up randomly, going through stages of KP's etc. It was very sporadic and inconsistent... sometimes I'd get it to run for hours on end, other times I couldnt get it past the POST. Resetting the RAM or meddling with the RAM would occasionally get it working again temporarily but just when I thought I was onto a winner it would go bad again.

Eventually I had enough and pretty much wrote it off as a lost cause and possibly a rebuilder for one day down the track, and bought myself an 11,2 (late-2005 revision) 2.0 dual-core to replace it with and I have to say it is in every way a better machine than the old dual-processor one it replaced... havent had any major issue with it, it is 100% stable, and seems to run a whole lot cooler and is also noticably faster than the DP model. From what I've deduced the late dual-cores are the pick of the crop to have, as the only endemic problems I've really heard of are PSU failures, which for what its worth are to be expected on anything made from about the MDD and onwards.

The big problem is they simply don't make caps, transformers etc of the same quality they used to... or at least not for "expendable" consumer electronics, and the power demands of computers have grown considerably since the days of the blue G3 where 200W was more than adequate to power everything. That and the mandatory introduction of crummy leadless or low-lead solder in consumer electronics around the mid-2000's means nothing electronic stands up to time as it once did... simple repeated cycles of thermal expansion are enough to crack brittle lead-free soldered joints, which in themselves arent as good at conducting in the first place, so an otherwise perfect board can be rendered garbage simply by being riddled with voided or cracked solder joints. As the early G5 was approaching nuclear meltdown temps at even moderate duty cycles, the degree of thermal expansion was basically guaranteed to cause problems. Add some substandard parts such as the U3, and you basically have a $4000 doorstop that will render a video or two.

But yeh, I guess it can be reasonably assumed that the late Quad G5's are also fairly reliable electronically, as they are based on similar architechture to the single chip multicore model. The primary issue with the Quads lay in the liquid-cooling unit... specifically the early Delphi unit which suffered quie a few leaks and pump failures. I guess that's what you can expect when your computer uses parts made by General Motors. The later units are meant to be far more reliable, but even so, as with any fluid system, leaks can occur and routine inspection is a must, and the occasional bit of maintenance couldnt hurt... ie new hoses, clamps and coolant every couple of years.


Stay hungry... Stay foolish.
G5 2.0DC, Yikes G4/500 Sonnet-Enhanced, B+W G3/450, 9600/200MP, 7600/200, iMacs DVSE Graphite and 600 Snow, 7220/200, WGS 7350/180, 6360/160, 5500/250 DE, Pismo, 2x Lombards, 6100/66DOS, 2x CC's, 3x Pluses, 512K, SE/30, SE Superdrive, 2x Classics, IIvx, IIci, IIsi, 3x LC520, 4x LC575, 5x P580, LC, LCIII, //gs LE, 2x ROM 02 //gs', IIe... and I'm outta characters!

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#8 2015-04-29 15:35:37

ClassicHasClass
Member
From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,099
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

Actually, with the Quads it's the Cooligy (v2) with the poorer track record. The Delphis prior to the Quad had lots of problems, but by the advent of the Quad they had been mostly solved (v1). I think that's what you meant, but I couldn't tell from your reply.

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#9 2015-04-29 15:50:36

TheWhiteFalcon
Member
Registered: 2015-04-27
Posts: 504

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

Either way, G5 owners just need to have a shelf of spare parts.

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#10 2015-04-29 16:37:56

Schmoburger
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2015-04-21
Posts: 281
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

ClassicHasClass wrote:

Actually, with the Quads it's the Cooligy (v2) with the poorer track record. The Delphis prior to the Quad had lots of problems, but by the advent of the Quad they had been mostly solved (v1). I think that's what you meant, but I couldn't tell from your reply.

Yep, my bad man... that's exactly where I was going but got lost in translation somewhere between my head and the keyboard. Incidentally between my head and the keyboard is James B. Beams finest... conincidence? I'll let y'all decide hahaha

But yes... I am on the lookout for a complete spare runner of the same model as mine just in case. Maybe even two... One as a backup machine to pull out and use as needed and one just as a salvage box between the two. Seriously. lol

I must admit that is one thing I really do miss about using the B+W G3 and the Yikes as dailies... whilst they are temperamental when powered down and unplugged sometimes, and often require a billion CUDA resets etc to work again after so much as changing RAM, the hardware lasts forever (if you ignore the early ATA controller issues of the Rev.1 board and the slightly poxy onboard firewire ports). I've never even  replaced a PSU in either machine, with the only hardware failure being a single stock Rage128 card that went artifacty on me (although this is still semi-functional and in my 9600 as I type this).


Stay hungry... Stay foolish.
G5 2.0DC, Yikes G4/500 Sonnet-Enhanced, B+W G3/450, 9600/200MP, 7600/200, iMacs DVSE Graphite and 600 Snow, 7220/200, WGS 7350/180, 6360/160, 5500/250 DE, Pismo, 2x Lombards, 6100/66DOS, 2x CC's, 3x Pluses, 512K, SE/30, SE Superdrive, 2x Classics, IIvx, IIci, IIsi, 3x LC520, 4x LC575, 5x P580, LC, LCIII, //gs LE, 2x ROM 02 //gs', IIe... and I'm outta characters!

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#11 2015-04-30 04:27:07

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 883
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

The Quad 2.5GHz (CPC945) machine has definitely been the most reliable. Mine still occasionally performs some CPU intensive operations, like importing and encoding the contents of a DVD. For reference mine has the Cooligy / Delphi Twin Pump LCS:

G5_Dual_LCU.jpg

No leaks from the system, overall it seems to be very well sealed around the hose fittings, but the machine is checked for leaks before every power on and the CPU cards are inspected periodically for coolant leakage around the water block seals.

I still have most of the spare parts from the Air Cooleds, but all three machines are dead and in the process of dismantling. One enclosure is in good shape and the power supply works beautifully, so that machine may be a candidate for a rebuild down the track.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#12 2015-04-30 15:40:29

ClassicHasClass
Member
From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,099
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

TheWhiteFalcon wrote:

Either way, G5 owners just need to have a shelf of spare parts.

I've got several certified refurbished processor/heat sink assemblies in storage.

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#13 2015-04-30 23:11:29

cc333
Member
From: North S.F. Bay Area, CA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Posts: 571

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

I have heard about how marvelous the Quad G5 is, so I managed to get one from Hap last year (or the year before?), and I have yet to use the cruddy thing because the LCS is faulty, and the CPUs overheat and halt before it can boot up (I managed to get to the desktop *once*, and doing anything whatsoever (even something as menial as opening a window, I think) caused the temperatures to go up into the 90's) was impossible).

Anyway, I'd LOVE to get a new LCS for it somehow. I realize I could just fix the one I have, but I can't find any information on the particular unit I have (it looks like some weird single pump variant that was installed in very late model Quads). It stands to reason that any Quad LCS will work, regardless of which variant it is, but I can't seem to find any (there was one on eBay a few weeks ago for $10, and I missed it by 15 bloody minutes!)

So, sorry for hijacking the thread, but you seem to be something of an expert in regard to Quad G5 LCS-es, so I thought I'd ask.

c


Main Macs: Early '09 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 13"
Secondary Macs: Early '08 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 15"
Playthings: Mac SE/30, 3.0 GHz Mavericks-based HackServe, Many others....
Desired: Lisa, Kanga PowerBook G3, Apple IIc, Apple II, Spare parts, etc.

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#14 2015-05-01 04:21:12

ClassicHasClass
Member
From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,099
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

I have a post on that very subject, plus the part number you want to look for. The v1 and v2 are interchangeable. Fixing the LCS is possible, but not an easy job, so I don't recommend it unless you're good with tubing, radiators and patience.

http://tenfourfox.blogspot.com/2014/04/ … 5-cpu.html

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#15 2015-06-01 03:35:27

TheWhiteFalcon
Member
Registered: 2015-04-27
Posts: 504

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

No idea if this is true, but I noticed someone commented over on Anandtech's Xeon E7 review that the U4 chipset actually cost more than a 2.5GHz 970MP did. It's such a random claim to make that I'm tempted to believe it, but that puts the chipset cost north of $250 per unit, which is bonkers.

I'd love to see some component breakdown costs for these beasts. Too bad most of it was custom and hard to price.

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#16 2016-04-22 13:41:06

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 883
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

Opening another chapter in this Power Mac G5 story.

While looking through scrap and recycling machines I came across two Power Mac G5s. These machines are for salvage, not working for one reason or another. This morning I had the chance to take them out for more extensive testing. One machine exhibited the common U3 memory controller failure. The second machine contained the notorious Delphi Single-Pump LCS. It seemed free of leaks, and the machine did power on and run, however it would freeze after a few minutes and require a hard reset.

Its seedy history soon became apparent. Liquid coolant from behind the CPU blocks, corrosion everywhere on the processor cards and missing surface mount capacitors, which I later found in the base of the enclosure.

So I removed the processors, logic board, power supply and fittings from the leaking machine and set them aside. The Logic Board still worked without a doubt, but the rest was in poor condition, either rusted, corroded or damaged in other forms. The Air Cooled 2.0GHz with the U3 malfunction was otherwise almost immaculate, with the exception of a failed board. So out came every component in that machine as well. Every component was disassembled and blasted with compressed air, including the inside of the power supply. The inside of the case was sprayed with detergent and buffed clean. The PCI midwall was starting to rust from coolant splashed around inside the machine, and so this along with several cables were transferred across from the malfunctioning board to the functioning one.

Then it went back together. The Logic Board from the 2.5GHz LCS went into the almost immaculate 2.0GHz enclosure, along with the Dual 2.0GHz Air Cooled processors and the better condition power supply. All the screws, fittings and plastic clips were inspected for cracks or damage, and the better component from the two machines was cleaned and then installed.

The reconstruction started at 10:30 AM and completed at 2:30 PM. The completed machine started without a hitch on the first try.


G5_EXT_S.jpg


The reason the exterior is "almost" immaculate is because of a small dent in the front fascia. I should be able to straighten this out, and then it will be immaculate.

I have to mention how incredibly clean this machine is inside. You would almost think it rolled off the assembly line yesterday.


G5_INT_S.jpg


As we are aware, unlike newer Macs where the thermal profile is hard coded into the SMC at the factory, the G5 generates it from a thermal calibration run in Apple Service Diagnostic 2.5.8 or 2.6.3. The thermal profile is custom calibrated to each individual machine. Currently this machine only has a base tune, it runs at full power but the fans will always move as much air as possible at the expense of additional noise and power consumption.

This machine makes some serious boost.



From a machine I had come to loathe, this was perhaps my best machine build to date. It came together without a hitch, nothing broke, it's clean, it works, it runs cool, and I didn't have to take it apart a second, third, fourth or fifth time.

This one's a keeper.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#17 2016-04-22 16:09:03

cc333
Member
From: North S.F. Bay Area, CA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Posts: 571

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

Good for you!

I really enjoy reading success stories like this.

One bit didn't know about is that the logic boards and CPUs are cross compatible. Are they the same generation of G5, then?

{rant}
That being said, I have a Quad G5 I've been banging my head against upon occasion, so reading stuff like this helps me feel more hopeful that I will eventually get the ******* thing to work! mad
{/rant}

Keep up the good work!

c

Last edited by cc333 (2016-04-22 16:09:23)


Main Macs: Early '09 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 13"
Secondary Macs: Early '08 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 15"
Playthings: Mac SE/30, 3.0 GHz Mavericks-based HackServe, Many others....
Desired: Lisa, Kanga PowerBook G3, Apple IIc, Apple II, Spare parts, etc.

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#18 2016-04-22 20:57:57

ClassicHasClass
Member
From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,099
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

Nice work! Excellent restoration.

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#19 2016-04-23 11:35:18

volvo242gt
Member
From: Duvall, WA
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 406
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

Nice job...  So, probably an SSD, running 10.4.11 should go into it?

-J


modern: Mac Pro 2.8GHz 8-core 6GB/500G/DVD-RW, A1150 MBP 2GHz CD, 2GB/80G/DVD-RW
Pre-Mac: ][+, //e
other: iPhone 6s 128GB Space Gray

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#20 2016-04-23 11:49:26

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 883
Website

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

Probably a spinner. I have boxes of them.

SSDs are coming down in price but I have other machines in active service that would make better use of those first.


cc333 wrote:

One bit didn't know about is that the logic boards and CPUs are cross compatible. Are they the same generation of G5, then?

They're different between models, but both this machine and the spares machine are Power Mac G5 (June 2004) revisions so the components swapped in and out without issue.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#21 2016-06-20 00:52:39

torvan
Member
Registered: 2015-02-11
Posts: 2

Re: About Done with the Power Mac G5.

In my case, I just finished dropping off to the electronics recycling guys the motherboard, ram, and power supply after a power surge fried both. Took the two 1.8 Ghz processors and heatsinks off, and they are now bookends for my OS 9 and X books. Put the optical drive into my QS2002.

The case--it is in near perfect condition sitting in the "Tech Closet" waiting for the day I use it for another project.

I understand your pain there, iMic.

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