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Old 03-02-2012, 10:44 PM   #1
kyle.lee@cln.com
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Jaguar Why the Powermac G5 secrecy?

Of all the online forums that focus on all things Apple, I find this to be the best. In fact, better than Apple's support site. But I have to ask why so many know so much about every make and model of both Apple and Mac computers, yet the Power Mac G5 series remains a mystery. So many questions go unanswered. The usual suggestions such as zap the pram, boot into ope-n firmware, safe boot, logic board replacement, ram replacement, video card problem, etc. It is rediculous that no one, including myself, cannot solve the problem as to why so many of these machines are crippled and no one is able to provide insight to the problem(s). Was Apple so far ahead with this machine that it's above the seasoned Apple technician or self proclaimed Mac/apple expert? Perhaps they can't say. I have one that has had very part, minus the enclosure, replaced and it remains the same problematic machine it was from day one with no answers as to why. Is it too much to ask that someone in the know tell us that we are wasting our time trying to resurrect these machines? At least shed some light on why so many have failed to perform properly.

Last edited by kyle.lee@cln.com; 03-02-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:15 AM   #2
agentx
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Although not concise/up to date and figures are low compared to my experiences
http://www.macintouch.com/reliability/pmg5.html
http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/G...ant_leaks.html

It was IMHO they were trying to keep up with Intel shoe horning as much processor as possible in the towers and failing which led to them dropping PPC in the end anyway.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:32 AM   #3
benwiggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle.lee@cln.com
Is it too much to ask that someone in the know tell us that we are wasting our time trying to resurrect these machines?

I don't claim to have any special knowledge on the subject, however, regardless of how powerful these Macs were when they came out, they are at least seven-year old Macs, with a poor reliability record, that cannot run the last two OS versions.

Only you can answer the question of whether it's worth your while to try to get it running, based on what you intend to do with it and how much you value your time.

My advice would be to get a 2nd-hand Mac Pro - a 2008 model would do you very well. In fact, even a brand new MacMini will out-perform a G5.

Last edited by benwiggy; 03-03-2012 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:55 AM   #4
kyle.lee@cln.com
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That is true in fact, is it worth my time? But I have chosen to figure out what the defect is with this machine. Better yet, why online forums are so vague concerning the issue. Apple will not speak on the issue. Meanwhile, users of this equipment that are in possession of a working unit are parting them out. They are profiting on the desperation of others knowing there is no fix in sight. Such an awesome machine should not be shrouded in secrecy. Someone knows the problem yet they do not come forward.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:13 AM   #5
gsahli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle.lee@cln.com
Such an awesome machine should not be shrouded in secrecy. Someone knows the problem yet they do not come forward.

Conspiracy theory!
When does the movie come out?

PS - You're joking, right?
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:29 AM   #6
kyle.lee@cln.com
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not joking

I know it may sound rediculous or much like a joke. But to prove me wrong, find any one person that can tell you exactly why so many of these machines have failed. Oh, you'll get many different answers, theories and quick fixes. Rarely do the fixes work and if they do, temporarily at best.

It is interesting that so few people know anything definite concerning the failure of this Power Mac line.

Something is wrong across the board with this series of machines and no one, including me, knows the answer.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:27 AM   #7
benwiggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle.lee@cln.com
find any one person that can tell you exactly why so many of these machines have failed. Oh, you'll get many different answers.

How do you know that the answers you've got aren't correct?

I suspect that the cause is heat. The G5s were legendary for their heat output -- hence the old joke about the prospect of G5 laptops. If you're looking for something that causes failures, then heat is a good candidate.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:04 PM   #8
NovaScotian
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As the owner of a PM G5 currently gathering dust under my desk, I can say definitively that they (if mine was any example) were real power guzzlers, but cleaning it out periodically (easily done given the ease of disassembling it) prevented any overheating problems -- I never had any problem with it and I very rarely turned it off. It was nonetheless a great machine that served me well for nearly seven years until, gradually, apps I used could not be upgraded any more.

The ease of modifying them was an advantage to me too -- I added a fast SeriTek 2SE2 3G PCIE to SATA card so I could run a 10,000 RPM drive in it that significantly speeded things up, but I've stolen its other large drive. On the downside, the PM G5 had a lousy bluetooth radio -- I bought a Magic Mouse for it and it was forever dropping out. The same mouse never drops out on my laptop or iMac.

Other than that, I sprang for an iMac to replace it because I wanted to be able to upgrade my operating system to take advantage of advances in some of the software I used. Aside from its power consumption, I'm sure it would make a great server.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:59 AM   #9
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Hey overall i am not knocking it but speaking from my experience with the 200'ish Power Mac G5 Duals i supported over the years.

Got to say had nothing but trouble with them ie. lots of lock ups. Of course they were bought in batches (a one off purchase is very different IMO). One batch of 50 nearly every one ended up back with Apple and some more than once. Another site was not so bad but we did see leaking coolant around the 3-4 year mark and loads (40%) of power supply failures. As far as i am concerned it was heat/power issues but by then Apple had their sights set on Intel processor as they knew there was no roadmap...they should have moved sooner rather than flogging a dead horse and desperately trying to deal with Hot running processors pushed to the max during the Ghz marketing wars.

It is old tech and unless you need to run PPC programs or OS 9 then do not bother spending any time or money on this machine. A few weeks ago the last G5 Dual i supported failed and have one more single G5 Server left on 10.4...yawn. Cannot wait to say goodbye full stop to this and move on. 99% of my install base is Snow/Lion with Intel now and really cannot be bothered with the whole PPC thing anymore ;-)
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:33 AM   #10
trevor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle.lee@cln.com
I know it may sound rediculous or much like a joke. But to prove me wrong, find any one person that can tell you exactly why so many of these machines have failed. Oh, you'll get many different answers, theories and quick fixes. Rarely do the fixes work and if they do, temporarily at best.

My PowerMac G5 2.0 GHz dual (the last era with PCIe slots) has been 100% reliable for me, and is still my main desktop computer.

The PowerMac G5 models that use liquid cooling have had a great deal of failures due to leaking coolant. Check inside your PowerMac G5 for coolant if you have a liquid-cooled model. I'd really steer everyone away from ever purchasing one of the liquid-cooled PowerMac G5s--the cooling system is probably going to fail soon, even if it hasn't yet.

The PowerMac G5 1.8 GHz single processor model had many serious reliability problems until Apple released a firmware update that fixed the issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle.lee@cln.com
It is interesting that so few people know anything definite concerning the failure of this Power Mac line.

Something is wrong across the board with this series of machines and no one, including me, knows the answer.

I disagree.

Trevor
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:25 PM   #11
DeltaMac
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I also disagree.
I have not supported large numbers of PM G5s, and most of my experience has been with an Apple specialist shop. Some have failed for problems that are not significantly different than problems on other computers. The worst are the cooling system failures, which might be leaks causing failures in the rest of the system - or pump failures, causing overheating, or collateral damage because the coolant then goes everywhere inside the tower.
There's not really a single answer where one can point for possible failures on the PowerMac G5. IMHO, the only real "single" issue is the liquid cooling system - but not all G5s have that.
And, the power supplies are not particularly reliable, especially in the long term.
I have seen heat issues, and also other corrosion issues, not necessarily connected to liquid coolant leaks. I think Apple from the beginning could tell that heat could be a major factor. Look at the size of the processor heat sinks!
Apple used to repair some of these systems for certain issues, warranty or not, but now - on a computer that's at least 7 years old - those finally get put out to pasture.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:14 AM   #12
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I bought a Power Mac G5/2.0GHz Dual Processor recently, solely for the task of copying and burning some DVD projects.

I knew that it was a few years old, but was surprised at just how much modern software requires an Intel processor as part of the system requirements.

In regard to speed, I did try converting an AVI file to MP4 for my AppleTV. Something that takes less than half an hour on my 2009 Mac Pro took all night on the G5.

Back in its day, the G5 series was awesome. But, its day was quite some time ago...
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