3 year old imac dies... do I have any recourse?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DocV, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. DocV macrumors member

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    Dec 2, 2011
    #1
    According to the so called "geniuses" at the Apple store, my main board needs to be replaced,. Approx $800 and no garuntees how long it will holdup. My machine was the top of the line iMac when I bought it in 2008. It's only 3 years old and now this? I'm running OS 10.5.

    I called Apple support and they said I did everything they could have told me to try... but still no response. So hense the appointment at the Apple store.

    I'm in a big bind here. This machine has all my work and over 10 years of material. I'm completely broke and cant afford a new box and need to get my machine back on line. I'm open to all suggestions. You're help is desperately needed.

    Thanks.
     
  2. DocV, Dec 3, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011

    DocV thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 2, 2011
    #2
    Some more details- My machine has gradually been getting slower over the past year. I'd been getting the spinning beach ball-o-death more frequently. Safari would often hang and then shut down unexpectedly; which is not too unusual, but it began to happen more and more frequently.

    I usually leave my machine on all the time, and for the first year or so, I'd only need to reboot maybe once every few weeks; but increasingly, I'd have to reboot it more and more, to regaine performance, until it got to the point I was rebooting several times a day, depending on what I was doing. Usually it was Safari that cased most problems.

    A couple days ago, it started as usual. I'd been running several apps; Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Safar- with about 6 tabs open, and Firefox with about one or two tabs. Things were running kind of slow, which wasn't too surprising, considering all I had open. But then in photoshop I got a strange reaction when the workspace window [not the whole screen] dimmed by about 90%. I could still barely see everything but for a few random bright red and green pixels outlining the image I was working on. Then it returned to normal after about 30 seconds and I saved my work. [Thank God]

    Then I swiched to Safari and got the beach ball, so I switched back to the other open apps to wait for Safari to catch up. Then began a cascade effect as the other aps began to hang, until the entire system was hung up. The cursor still moved, but no repsonse to anything I clicked on. If I'd wait, about a minute later some things would repsond, but it just kept gettinng worse.

    I was prepairing to shut everything down to reboot when unexpectedly, the screen went dark, like I'd accidentally moved the mouse to a screen sleep corner, and then turn back on. It did this several times, ...off, then on, ...off then on. Then the screen went completely dark, forcinng me to reboot with everything left open.

    Upon restart, I got the chime and grey Apple screen with the spinning gear. The gear spun for about a min or so, I could hear the drive spinning away and the read head accessing, then I got a dark, "curtain" that slowly decended from the top of the screen, and a multi-lingual message popped up, telling me to restart my machine.

    Every time I restarted, I'd get the same. Grey Apple screen, spnning gear, hard drive working away, then decending curtain and kernal panic

    I tried safe boot; I tried holding the "c" key to boot from the install disk and got the same response every time. Grey apple screen with gear spinning for a couple mins then Kernel panic.

    I even tried holding the option key which brought up the screen to choose which boot drive to start from. I'd choose the DVD and hear it doing it's thing, but after several mins, kenel panic, though it did take a little longer than when I tried booting from the internal harddisk.

    I zapped the PRAM. I replaced the RAM. I replaced the battery on the mother board. I unplugged all periferals and turned off the local wifi... all with no results. Just the same startup with kernel panic before it ever reaches the log in screen.

    One time at startup, all I got was a black screen with continuous chimes, over and over and over, so I had to turn it off. When I turned it back on, it did it's normal boot to spinning gear, then panic before the login screen ever shows.

    After trying everything I mentioned above, I called Apple support and was told I'd already done everyting they would have suggested and that my next move was to take it in to the store.

    When I got to the store, it started doing the constant chiming with a black screen again. No matter how many times I treid, nothing but repeated chimes. I couldn't even get the grey Apple screen to show. The guy there took it in back, emerged 5 mins later and said it had to be sent back, most likely needing a new logic board.

    When I got it home, I was able to boot it again and do all I did before, but still gettinng the kernel panic before the login screen. I even tried booting from a copy of Disk Warrior someone gave me, but when I incerted it and held down the optioin key at start up to get the "choose a boot up drive" screen, only the hard drive would show up, not the Disk Warrior DVD. I put the Apple intall disk back in just to see if the DVD was still working, and it showed, just no Disk Warrior.

    Not sure what more I can tell you. So what are my options? I *really* need to save my machine. I'm a student and do freelance projects and need my machine for school and work. I'm dead in the water here. HELP!
     
  3. jvmxtra macrumors 65816

    jvmxtra

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #3
    go to apple store.. ask them what your options are..
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #4
    Sounds like your choices are... get it fixed and pay the cost, or get a new computer

    What seems to be wrong with it?
     
  5. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #5
    Luck of the draw. Macs are extremely well designed and built. I've got a 2006 iMac works like a charm.

    The 24" is kind of rare now, I'd fix it and get another three years out of it.
     
  6. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    Sep 30, 2008
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    Dallas Metroplex
    #6
    Recourse? Probably not unless you can prove that it's a known issue.

    Otherwise, try to fix it or sell it for parts. Macs like other computers are made up of thousands of components and anyone of those component can fail. It's the luck of the draw.
     
  7. Sonhascome macrumors 6502

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    Maryland
    #7
    if you tell us what it's doing we might be able to give you some advice to see if there is anything you can do
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #8
    I removed the hard drive and e-Wasted my last iMac.
     
  9. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    Oct 5, 2003
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    Dark Castle
    #9
    Make appointment at Genius Bar. Ask for Depot Repair flat fee, and you will get a good working Mac. They will fix it. Be polite, and ask for the Manager if needed. Be nice. Praise the Mac. Praise Apple. They will make the magic come back for your iMac.
     
  10. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #10
    Hopefully you have a good backup... that way your 10 years of data can be restored once you can afford to get another computer. If not, that has to be your #1 priority.

    /Jim
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    Edit: a cmos battery or whatever it uses on the logic board would not cause this kind of problem either. Typically if you have a bad battery there, the system can't retain changes when it's turned off, but other than that it has very little effect. Really you need to understand computers better before you go replacing a dozen different parts.

    You seem to be doing quite a lot without understanding what it actually does. Before dropping money on new ram, you would want to run memtest. Typically ram will not cause it to become that unbootable. It's more just that if you have bad ram, you'll experience frequent issues and possibly end up with data corruption in the longer term.

    You said you have ten years of data stored there. You must have some kind of backup. Hard drives just are not reliable. Many people on here claim that SSDs are more reliable due to lack of moving parts, but that's also a total myth as they have other things that fail over time.

    Disk Warrior would only help if it was a hard drive problem. It can rebuild corrupt directories, which are a problem with Macs due to the outdated HFS+ file system. They should have licensed that technology from Alsoft years ago as a bandaid fix. That doesn't match your symptoms (note it won't boot from the dvd). If it was ram it would probably be one stick and you'd still make it to single user mode for memtest if you tried. It sounds like the logic board. If you're really without a backup on that hard drive, remove it before you send the thing in. Place it in an enclosure, another computer with a spare bay, or an anti static bag. I would not personally wish to send it in without a backup of that data.

    You don't have a true method of recourse in terms of having this taken care of without paying. This is something I really dislike with all in one designs (like the imac). There are just too many ways to brick the machine, and they all result in the entire thing going in for service for however long and large repair fees. Macs do break like any other computer. They just don't have some of the truly idiotic issues like Dells and their underpowered power supplies (this being on their consumer lines). If there isn't a known issue with this, and it is out of warranty, you're on your own just like with any other manufacturer.

    They've had quite a few known problems in the past five years or so with one generation or another. They are far from bullet proof in reliability, and they aren't so much lower in failure rates if compared against other oem offerings in a comparable price range. Apple has actually had a ridiculous repair rate on a few models here and there (several of the G5s, early macbook pros, mac pro gpus, and a few other things).

    The thing is they have a high minimum sale on any given computer, so you should expect good build quality. The past few years their designs tend to be optimized more toward aesthetics and minimal footprint than reliability or functionality. This is a design choice. They do what they feel will sell more computers.

    Can you explain that? I've never heard of it. I'm just asking in case I need it one day.
     
  12. DocV thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    #12
    I may not be a Guru, but I've been using macs for 20 years and I can say with confidence, I do know a little something about computers. I certainly knew enough to rule out everything the Apple Support people could offer, before I even called them.

    As for the battery, though I didn't mention it, I'd been having out of sync clock issues when waking from sleep, for some time. I didn't think much of it at the time, because it always corrected itself once it connected to the internet, so right or wrong, I ignored it. That said, I've had enough experience, with Macs and PC's alike to know that the on-board batteries usually only last about 3 years, and when they do star to go, they can cause all sorts of problems. So I was merely ruling it out.

    Same thing with the RAM which, for the record, I wasn't randomly swapping all sorts of parts. I simply reinstalled the original stock chips that came with the computer, again... to rule it out. I'd covered all the obvious, so I was reaching for straws before I took it in. In fact, the fist thing the Apple employee did was swap out the RAM. So all in all, neither Apple support nor the *ahem* "Genius" were able to do anything I hadn't already done... so I must know something. But that's neither here nor there. In short, I'm at my wit's end and desperate for any help. And for the record, yes, I do have an external back up. While I didn't clarify the comment about ten years of work, I was referring to the fact that, even though I cant afford a new mac, for the same price as it would cost to fix my Mac, I could buy a new PC, but then I couldn't get my data...

    You'll have to bare with me, it's be a stressful few days and I'm a little worked up, so I hope you'll understand if some of my thought process is somewhat jumbled.

    I obvously don't have all the answers, that is why I'm here.

    McGiord-I too would be intrested in hearing more about the flat rate fix approch.

    Regards

    DocV
     
  13. McGiord, Dec 3, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011

    McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #13
    The Depot Repair is a fixed fee that one external Apple Certified Repair shop charges the Apple Genius Bar for repairing the Mac. It costs around 300 to 400 USD for a MBP, and they will fix everything that needs to be fixed in order to make the Mac work without any issue. That is not always offered, nor advertised, so play that card with kindness: be kind to the Genius and their manager.
    They will send the Mac to the external "depot" shop and it will be repaired.
    I believe that for them it is something equivalent to the repair done to a Mac when the customer has Apple Care, so its cost is very similar. Maybe for the iMac it's less.
     
  14. DocV thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 2, 2011
    #14
    Wow... that's great to know. Is it something I can ask for by name... after some toosh kissing and poor old me's of course... Or do I have to just play the game and hope and pray that they offer it?
     
  15. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #15
    That makes more sense now. I didn't mean to come off as unsympathetic. It really sucks having a computer die before you're ready to purchase a new one :(. Maybe it's that I've owned a lot of it, but I swear I've seen a lot more Apple stuff break than PC stuff in recent years. Airports, logic boards, fried gpus, displays, etc. The older cinema displays had parts fail that I've never seen fail in other displays.

    Getting your data simply requires either access to a mac, or I think there are a PC programs for reading HFS+ files although you would want to migrate them to a different drive if you go that route. Do you know anyone else with a mac? If you go the PC route, you may be back to a longer warranty. DIY would also be cheaper if you could obtain the correct part. It "sounds" like the logic board. The power supply could also cause weird issues, but power supplies aren't a really common issue on macs. Assuming it's the logic board your only really cheap option is to buy a salvaged part, but replacement parts for Macs in general tend to be expensive.

    The battery makes sense now that you mentioned the clock issues.
     
  16. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #16
    I became aware of this, when I brought my out of warranty MBP to the Genius Bar, the Genius offered it. See what they tell you, and depending on the cost then ask: what about the depot repair? And be honest, tell the Genius that a friend told you that his Mac was repaired for a flat fee, when it was sent from the Genius Bar to a depot repair shop. If he or she doesn't' know, they will ask their manager or fellow Geniuses and will make the magic happen.
     
  17. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

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    Florida, U.S.A.
    #17
    If the Geniuses said your Main board is defective, I don't see any reason why you couldn't get your data back. In worse case scenario, have them remove the H.D., place it on a external enclosure and access it from another computer.

    Three years is not that old for an iMac, just weight if it makes sense to fix it for what it is, or just get a new one. And if you buy a new one, don't forget AppleCare.

    Also, always make sure you have your computers connected to a UPS and the load is under 40%.
     
  18. ancelrick macrumors member

    ancelrick

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    Oct 3, 2011
    #18

    there is no depot service for iMacs. sorry this is bad information.


    I would however ask that they actually DISCONNECT the internal HD and retest.

    I would also test with known good RAM.

    Unless they have have reduced to a minimal system (they know what that means) they can't conclude MLB failure with absolute certainty. If all of their troubleshooting was done in front of you at the genius bar they did not do this.

    It may still end up as a bad MLB.
     
  19. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #19
    You mean that they only do the depot repair for the MacBooks?
     
  20. ancelrick macrumors member

    ancelrick

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    #20
    Portables.

    Macbooks, Airs and Macbook Pros.
     
  21. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502

    MatthewAMEL

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #21
    iMacs and Mac Pros are typically repaired in the store.

    Portables are sent out.

    I'll 2nd the opinion that there is NO WAY the Genius did the required diagnostics to determine if you have a bad logic board in 5 minutes.

    Typically, you are required to leave it over night for a full diagnosis.

    BTW- I've never had a iMac since my G5 (ALS) last more than 18 months without some component failure.
     
  22. DocV thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 2, 2011
    #22
    To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how much I trust the Genius at the bar really did much. The only thing he did infront of me was plug in a power cord, keyboard and mouse. In fact, I watched as it took *several* tries to plug in the friggin USB plug from the mouse, to the keyboard. He had to turn it over sevveral times until he got it right. ... I'm just saying, for someone with the title of "Genius" he wasn't exactly instilling confidence. I'd hope he wold break out some special diagnostics drive, or devise, pull some fault codes etc., but the truth is, he did no more than I did before I got there. He just said, "If I cant get it to boot, it's most likely the logic board. ...I'll have to send it back."

    But what really has me sceptical, is I took it to a local thrid party Apple repair facility a couple miles away from the Apple store, and when they plugged it in, no more repated chime, but still got kernel panic after a few mins. And as I already stated, when I got home, I was able to do the same... So why was it only at the Apple store that it gave the "continual chime"? It almost seemed to me like they'd rather just hurd me out the door and collect a lot of money, than spend any real time and effort trying to diagnose the problem. And of course they were quick to suggest buying a *new* Mac. In fact, once I started asking about a new Mac, they got much more freindly. ...Again, I'm just sahying.

    Customer service sure aint what it used to be.
     
  23. DocV, Dec 3, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011

    DocV thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    Funny you mention that, my internal HD failed at about 18 months too.

    What really get's me, is I made a conscience choice to spend WAY more for a Mac, because I was so impressed with th quality and crafstmanship. Photograpy is part of what I do, and I was amazed that I could see detail and colors I'd never seen before in my photos. All that is what finnally brought me back to Apple after being away for 15 years, thanks to the whole Power PC fiasco and all the INIT issues of the old OS. That and I could set it up as a dual boot machine. But I'd expected that quality would also carry over to reliabllity. Imagine if you bought a BMW or Mercedes, and it turned out to be a total POS after only 3 years. Yet it's acceptable when it's Apple?... Maybe other people can affrord a couple grand every few years for a new machine, but in these times, I'm not one of them. I'll pay more up front if I know I'm going to get long term quality and life out of my invenstment. but so far that has not been the case with my imac 24 and I'm hesitent to spend a signifcant amount of money on a repair that may only get me another year of use. Or buy a brand new one for that matter, if I can only expect it to work for 3 years. If that's the case, it makes more sense to go back to PC... but after having my mac,, I no longer even boot to PC. I like my mac and want to keep it. Clearly I still need to think this through. I just hope I can find a solution I can live with.
     
  24. ancelrick macrumors member

    ancelrick

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    #24
    not that it matters to you but Apple did not make that hard drive. It's the same seagate, hitachi or western digital hard drive that you would get in a PC.

    6 months or 6 years , They all fail eventually.
     
  25. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502

    MatthewAMEL

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    Orlando, FL
    #25
    I agree with you. HDDs will eventually fail. I think there are factors that can contribute to accelerating that failure.

    I have no hard data to support my claim, but I believe the iMac has a temperature problem.

    I've had GPU failures, bulging capacitors, power supplies, logic boards and 4 HDDs (2 Seagates, 1 WD and 1 Hitachi) fail.

    My Late 2009 iMac just experienced a HDD failure and I had to go through the joy of the custom HDD Fan Speed sensor.

    On the flip side, ALL of my Apple portables still run, including my G4 iBook.
     

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