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Old Mar 5, 2008, 10:11 PM   #1
nhcowboy1
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iMac G5 purchase opportunity - need your advice

I've come across a sale for an iMac G5 - 17" screen, 1.8 ghz processor, the later model with 512 ram, a 160 gb hd and combo rather than superdrive. The person who's selling it doesn't have the user name and password and is apparently unable to confirm that everything is running okay, although it powers up alright.

So, a couple of questions . .

(1) The lack of password is a non-issue if I boot it from a cd, right? Since it doesn't come with discs, could I use the OS X 10.3 disc that I have just to test it? Or will it require 10.4?

(2) Assuming it can read a start-up disc, is there an easy way to check that everything is in working order - other than looking at system profiler? Is there a utility in 10.3 that would help me check things out?

Okay, I'm rushing at the moment, and not really thinking this through, so if I'm missing something really obvious, please point it out to me. This is just seeming like to good a deal to pass up and I don't want to miss it. (The price is under $500.)

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 11:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by nhcowboy1 View Post
(1) The lack of password is a non-issue if I boot it from a cd, right?
yeah, with the 10.3 or 10.4 disc, you would be able to reset the password. don't know of any utility that would be of any help for a quick check.

you might want to ask about the repair history as the 1.6 and 1.8 systems had lots of logic board failure issues, an ongoing recall, and problems with failing power supplies... info HERE. best of luck.
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 11:45 PM   #3
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you might want to ask about the repair history as the 1.6 and 1.8 systems had lots of logic board failure issues, an ongoing recall, and problems with failing power supplies...
Wow, thanks for the info! That's a bit off-putting, isn't it? Makes the mac mini look like a much safer way to go . . .
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 12:17 AM   #4
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My iMac G5 (original model) ran hot during any intensive work such as iMovie effect renders. Even when running at idle, the fans were audible.

"Gray screen" kernel panics were regular enough to make me reluctant to recommend Macs to everyone, as I did when my MDD Power Mac was my primary system. Performance seemed on par with the Power Mac (Dual G4, 867 MHz).

Unfortunately, the iMac's logic board failed a few months ago, about one year after I had sold it to my sister-in-law. The failure occurred last November, two weeks after AppleCare expired.

My Intel iMac (original early 2006 model) has performed flawlessly, though it did develop a screen defect several weeks ago. I'd recommend saving up a bit more money and going with a more current model than the G5.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 05:41 AM   #5
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Well, I can't speak for in general, but I'm typing on the exact model you're looking at and I've had almost no problems with it in about 2.5 years of continuous (heavy) use. That said, the fans do have a tendency to somewhat kick up when the CPU is under load (only really noticeable if it's otherwise silent, though).
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 10:15 AM   #6
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Well, I can't speak for in general, but I'm typing on the exact model you're looking at and I've had almost no problems with it in about 2.5 years of continuous (heavy) use.
Zortrium - Thanks for speaking up! People are more likely to post when they've had problems than when they haven't, so I appreciate getting another perspective . . .

The computer in question is two hours from here, so given the potential for problems with a G5 with an unknown service record, my inclination is to pass on it. If it were right next door, I could run over and test it out - but this is just too far to do that. Given that it would need 2gb of Ram and a new OS, by the time all is said and done, I'd be paying over $600 for a machine with an unknown history (and no keyboard or mouse, come to think of it). I'm thinking it's not worth the risk.

I already have a monitor, so maybe I'd be better off just getting an intel mini . . .

Last edited by nhcowboy1; Mar 6, 2008 at 10:29 AM.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 10:23 AM   #7
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Check refurb prices before considering spending $600 on used.

Refurbished iMac 17-inch 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SuperDrive US$849 Core2Duo with Superdrive and 1 year warranty.

Refurbished iMac 20-inch 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Aluminum US$999 Core2Duo with Superdrive and 1 year warranty.

IMO you'd be cracked to spend $600 on the used 17" early model G5 with no DVDRW and no disks unless you had a pressing need to run Classic.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 10:26 AM   #8
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As mentioned, resetting the password via the original install disc is a very simple matter. But under the circumstances $500 seems a little steep, as you are effectively buying it "sight unseen". Offer him $300 and if he takes it, you've got a pretty sweet machine for the cost of a few tanks of gasoline.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 10:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by eRondeau View Post
As mentioned, resetting the password via the original install disc is a very simple matter. But under the circumstances $500 seems a little steep, as you are effectively buying it "sight unseen". Offer him $300 and if he takes it, you've got a pretty sweet machine for the cost of a few tanks of gasoline.
Or a boat anchor. You don't know.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 10:35 AM   #10
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Or a boat anchor. You don't know.
Exactly. But at what price point does the potential reward outweigh the risk? In this case, he already knows the display works just fine, and the thing is smart enough to boot-up, so presumably that would prove whether or not the speakers work too. So that's 90% of the battle right there. In my (limited) experience if a logic board is bad, it won't boot-up period. It's not like it waits patiently for your password and then fails. In my opinion assuming the risks involved in this purchase would equate to no more than $400 cash.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 10:37 AM   #11
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CanadaRAM . . . Location: On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
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eRondeau . . . Location: Canada's South Coast
You Canadians definitely have different opinions about things, don't you? And where is Canada's "south coast" anyway???

So what would you think about my just blowing this off and going with a less-expensive (and newer) mini? I unfortunately do not have $800+ to spend on a refurb right now.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 10:42 AM   #12
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And where is Canada's "south coast" anyway???
In my case Canada's South Coast is directly across Lake Erie from America's North Coast, aka Ohio. Same latitude as Northern California, same longitude as Key West.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 02:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 4JNA View Post
you might want to ask about the repair history as the 1.6 and 1.8 systems had lots of logic board failure issues, an ongoing recall, and problems with failing power supplies... info HERE. best of luck.
Yep. My 20 inch Rev A (1.8) G5 just died a spectactular death last night. I had both the power supply and logic board replaced under warranty as well as a hard drive. Certainly got my money out of my applecare. However, applecare was up this past September so I wasn't going to shell out ~860.00 for a new board. I was really, really sad though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zortrium View Post
Well, I can't speak for in general, but I'm typing on the exact model you're looking at and I've had almost no problems with it in about 2.5 years of continuous (heavy) use. That said, the fans do have a tendency to somewhat kick up when the CPU is under load (only really noticeable if it's otherwise silent, though).
I used mine under heavy use for 3 years 5 months. Honestly, no huge problems other than the known ones. I think it's unwise, however, to buy one at the end of it's life.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 03:40 PM   #14
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Yep. My 20 inch Rev A (1.8) G5 just died a spectactular death last night.
I'm so sorry.

And getting a mac mini is starting to look better and better . . . .

(Wondering what one says at a funeral service for a computer. I know what I'd say . . . and none of it would be language appropriate for a funeral!)
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 05:23 PM   #15
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My eMac fell under the same logic board problem as the iMac G5's did, with the capacitors blowing. I've had my eMac for 3 1/2 years with no problems. However, paying more than $400 for that machine is a little overpriced.

Before my iMac, I had an Intel Core Duo 1.66GHz Mac mini. Payed $479 brand new, and it was a great little machine. If you decide to go the way of the mini, make sure to upgrade the RAM. Mine only had 512MB and it was pretty slow for doing anything other than basic things. If you still want the form factor of the iMac, the Apple website has refurbished 17" Core 2 Duo iMac's for $850.
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