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Old May 13, 2005, 02:27 PM   #1
Nugget
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New PowerMac arrived DOA

I'd been hobbling along for several weeks with my dying PowerBook when Apple finally announced new PowerMacs. I think I had one ordered within an hour or so of the online store going live with the new models. . .

Between the new PowerMacs, the Tiger release launch, and new iMacs being pushed out into Apple-land, Apple was completely overwhelmed with order processing. Consequently, I didn't receive the machine until this Wednesday. It was particularly torturous because I got the Cinema Display almost immediately and had to stare at the display for a few weeks with nothing I could plug it into. That torture was probably second only to the grief and annoyance I caused everyone in my life with my continual prattling on about the order and it's precise stage in the shipping process. To my friends: I apologize for that.

Everyone here on the MacRumors forums helped me cope with my insanity, or at least allowed me to pretend that it was perfectly reasonable behavior. To everyone here: Thanks for enabling my craziness.

In any event, the box arrived Wednesday afternoon. I took the mandatory pictures and plugged everything up.

Sad Mac.

To my monumental dismay, the machine wouldn't boot. I'd get as far as a grey screen with the apple logo and then nothing.

I did all the usual sorts of things that a geek would do. I wiggled all the cards, I reseated the RAM, I plugged straight into the wall and bypassed the UPS. I reset the nvram prom or whatever. No joy. I was able to get to an openfirmware prompt, but that's about all I know to do with openfirmware so it didn't get me anywhere. I was also curious to note that option booting did successfully get me to a drive selector, but presented no mouse cursor and was unresponsive.

Finally I broke down and called AppleCare support. Her first thought was to try to boot off my installer media. This is when we discovered that there was no way for me to eject the DVD drive tray to insert the installer disc. She threw up her hands and said we'd just have to "DOA" the box. She transferred me to sales. (egad).

I'd waited two weeks to receive this box, the pipeline was crammed and Apple's inventory is in awful shape due to demand. Waiting another two weeks for a replacement machine just wasn't reasonable, in my opinion. The sales guy explained that all they could do was prioritize my order, but that they could make no guarantees about ship time. I lost my temper. I said a bad word or two. I apologized. I cooled off and told him to hold off on the DOA replacement order and I'd call back when I'd decided what I wanted to do.

I mean, hell, if the box was DOA I figured I had nothing to lose with some more aggressive diagnostics before I gave up. If I couldn't make any progress, I figured I could just call "the complaint department" and do the DOA screwover.

Following the lead from the first technician I decided to pursue the "boot off install disc" route. I scoured the house looking for a paperclip and with it I convinced the SuperDrive to open its jaw. This is when I noticed that the drive tray didn't do that bit of magic where it closed back up when I nudged the tray in a bit. Odd. I thought that perhaps the superdrive wasn't getting power or was fried. I unplugged it.

Much to my surprise, the PowerMac booted with the SuperDrive unplugged! Apparently the lockup was at the point in the open firmware boot process where it's supposed to allow you to hit "eject" to open the drive tray. Success (sort of) was encouraging. I grabbed a spare CD-ROM and plugged it in the place of the SuperDrive. The machine still booted!

I called AppleCare back up and explained my diagnosis. They agreed to ship me out a replacement SuperDrive. I actually started using the computer. What I neglected to notice was that the PowerMac never actually saw the CD-Rom drive that was plugged in. This morning the replacement SuperDrive arrived, and I plugged it in. No joy. The machine hangs even with the new drive.

So today I called AppleCare and just lodged a normal tech support call to come out and fix what is probably the midplane board of the computer that contains the ATA channel which drives the drive (so to speak). Since the machine is 95% functional with an external dvd drive I didn't want to incur the delay of DOA'ing the box, and since I have AppleCare they will even do the repair onsite. Tentative schedule date is Tuesday or Wednesday next week. I was quite impressed by the response to the phone call today. Apple's attitude was plainly just to find whatever solution was best for my needs. We discussed DOA'ing this box but allowing me to keep using it until the replacement arrived and a few other alternatives before we agreed that an on-site repair made the most sense.

I'm happy with Apple that their support has been so accommodating, but I'm pretty pissed that such an obvious error made it past their pre-shipping testing. They bent over backwards to set things right, though, which is all I guess I can ask for.

For now, the machine is unbelievably fast and I've already fallen in love with the giant cinema display. I just can't burn or watch DVDs.

PowerMac G5 Dual 2.7GHz, 3GB Ram, 400GB Drive, GeForce 6800 Ultra, Bluetooth, 30" Apple Cinema Display... This thing is so fast I get tomorrow's email today.
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Old May 13, 2005, 02:36 PM   #2
James Philp
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If I had been in your situation I would have taken the DOA call and asked for something for all your troubles. I would definitely not opened the box for fear the apple tech say it was now my fault!
You never know what they may have thrown in; free applecare, bluetooth mouse&keyboard etc.
I got a pair of apple in-ear headphones for free cos the courier shipped my shuffle to the wrong person and they had to send me another one out!
Glad it's somewhat sorted, I'm sure this problem is somewhat rare!
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Old May 13, 2005, 02:38 PM   #3
Nugget
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I doubt there's any swag Apple could send me that would be worth going another 10-14 days without the computer. I'm up and (mostly) running now and I'll be totally whole by next Wednesday.
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Old May 18, 2005, 11:04 AM   #4
Nugget
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Well, Apple sent a technician out to my house yesterday to replace the mainboard in my new PowerMac. I got to take plenty of "geek porn" pics of the machine in various states of disassembly.

With the new mainboard the machine can now boot with the superdrive connected and the machine is back up and running. Total downtime was about two hours, including the 40 minutes it took to run a thermal calibration on the two CPUs.

So I've got an internal superdrive now, which is great. I can burn discs and watch DVDs now.

It did, however, induce the legendary PowerMac G5 video squeal noise. When I run World of Warcraft in full screen the machine now emits a high-pitched warbling squeal. (same as here). Using the CHUD tools and turning "nap" off remedies the problem, but it's a real annoyance.

I doubt I'll pursue the noise issue with Apple. I'm just too weary of having computer problems to endure another repair cycle and it sounds like there's no known solution anyway.

Last edited by Nugget; May 18, 2005 at 11:29 AM.
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Old May 19, 2005, 05:21 PM   #5
wheezy
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My parents are building an amazing home, and lately it's just been problems, and everyone has become grumpy. Then, we had to sit back, and stop looking at the negative and say, we have an incredible, custom, 6200SF dream home, why on earth are we complaining!

Your machine is absolutely incredible, and then add a 30" screen...oh my oh my. I'm glad you got your DOA fixed successfully, and everything is great. Now it's time to sit back and enjoy the awe that you have bought. Good job! That sucks you still got a funny noise, but ... ya know, overall, I think you'll be okay. Thanks for making me incredibly JEALOUS.
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Old May 19, 2005, 08:15 PM   #6
DickArmAndHarT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Philp
If I had been in your situation I would have taken the DOA call and asked for something for all your troubles. I would definitely not opened the box for fear the apple tech say it was now my fault!
You never know what they may have thrown in; free applecare, bluetooth mouse&keyboard etc.
I got a pair of apple in-ear headphones for free cos the courier shipped my shuffle to the wrong person and they had to send me another one out!
Glad it's somewhat sorted, I'm sure this problem is somewhat rare!

Did u ask for the in-ear head phones or were they just included in the box?
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Old May 19, 2005, 08:27 PM   #7
cooknwitha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nugget
Well, Apple sent a technician out to my house yesterday to replace the mainboard in my new PowerMac. I got to take plenty of "geek porn" pics of the machine in various states of disassembly.
You're right, that screen looks amazing. Any product can look nice in promo shots but it's when users take their own that I believe them.

I want one! But lacking the money for all the extras. One day I will..... one day.
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Old May 20, 2005, 02:24 PM   #8
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That screenshot... is just... incredible... If only I could afford that monitor
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