General iMac issues. Slow, screensaver crashes, power supplies, etc..

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by cduerr, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. cduerr macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2003
    Hi all,

    I purchased an iMac G4/700 not quite a year ago for my business for the purpose of platform testing Java applets. Needless to say, everything has been great -- it does exactly what I want it to do, which is to ensure applet compatability with the MRJ. The machine has 640MB RAM and is running 10.2.6.

    Intrigued and satisfied by the promised stability, and the promise of OS-X updates concerning performance issues, I decided to start using it for various other things, including e-mail (Entourage) monitoring my business (Netscape) and handling business related reports and finances (Excel) -- I also use CodeTek's VirtualDesktop because I can't stand the resolution limits of this LCD.

    Here are my questions :)

    1. Since I've had the Mac, sometimes when I try to recover it from sleep mode (sometimes even while the screensaver is active) it becomes non-responsive. Tapping a key, moving or clicking the mouse doesn't bring it back to life. The only option I have is to SSH into it and shut it down. Research on google only provided "verify and correct your file permissions" which I have done. Any ideas?

    2. Not more than 6 months after I bought this thing, the power supply died. After talking with an apple rep, I was informed the only way to have it fixed (it was still under warranty) was to bring it into an Apple store, wait 24 hours to have a power supply installed, and pick it up. For what has become a fairly business critical machine, that really sucked. Now, I have over a decade of experiencing in software engineeriing, and I've built more Linux/Windows boxes from pieces than I can count -- so how do I go about purchasing and replacing a simple power supply (which should cost no more than 30 bucks I'm guessing) on this thing when it dies again in 6 months? I'm not paying the additional $160 (or whatever) to re-extend a warranty. Any web sites that might provide some insight on this?

    OK, Last question:

    3. I'm not one to get into this PC vs. Mac thing, but one thing that does bother me about this fairly modern machine is how slow it is. By slow, I'm not referring to the rendering time of some whacked out zillion polygon flizabajt, but I mean general response time. For instance, text displays are slow. If I hold down the backspace button, I expect it to delete previous content quickly, when I use the arrow keys to scroll up in this display (I'm using Safari right now) I expect it to go quickly. I'd prefer to see the computer respond faster than I can type as well, but it seems just a little lagged. When I use scroll bars, I'd like to be able to go crazy with them (as I could on a Win32/Linux box) without any delayed response. When I start an application, I think it should open it quickly (like immediately almost with a 700MHz processor I'd think) especially if I've used it in the past recently. I know I'm mostly talking about display widgets and the like, but these things are extraordinarily important when using this (comparatively, VERY expensive) computer. Is there an update or something I'm missing? Is 640MB not enough RAM even when all my apps are closed? Is it the computer that is slow, or just OS-X, or just the vast majority of the applications?

    I've always assumed the reason this is often so slow is because of core OS/window manager (Aqua?) issues, and I've been hoping that new releases to OS-X in the near future will resolve such issues.

    Oh well! If anything I need this machine for testing (which it's doing very well with; that is stability is great provided I don't walk away and let it go to sleep) so I'm really most interested in getting that fixed, as well as knowing how to buy/install a power supply (and maybe other components as they die) for this.


  2. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    for question #3, i think it's understood that OS X is not the snappiest of all OSes. it's not the processor... even on dual 1.42, i've seen the "drag" with scroll bars and such. hopefully, it will be made better with Panther...

    for what it's worth, on windows, instead of apps taking a while to start, i remember some of the window renderings on the screen get unresponsive or mixed up between different apps. sure, the main window shows up fairly fast, but i don't think it's any faster to get the state where you can actually start using the app.

    [don't flame me on this. it's strictly my personal opinion.]

    you are not really bringing up PC vs. Mac thing... it's kind of a known fact. i'm glad you are enjoying your Mac otherwise, though!
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    Part of the problem is that you're using Netscape... It's just bad software anymore on the Mac. I used to love it, was a die-hard N user for many years, but it should just die quietly now. IE is much faster, Safari faster yet (tho slightly less compatable in it's current version). Entourage is another one that I'm not fond of, but it's usable. Go with just if it suits your needs...

    As for the power supply... iMacs, eMacs and iBooks are all consumer level machines that are not meant to be serviced by users. They relaxed this to let you access to some of the RAM slots in the iMac (and the eMac? dunno) but it's still very tight. You can find wholesalers, but keep in mind here, the iMac is very jam-packed and uses thermal paste which needs to be thoroughly cleaned and reapplied each time-- which many people don't think about. If you do this, it voids your warranty (if you have one). Kind of sucks, but it keeps Apple's manufacturing costs down a bit, since they don't have to make the innards so "user-friendly".

    also, pick up a copy of Panther when it hits, it should give you a little speed boost... The biggest problem with Apple hardware right now is raw speed, and they're behind, it's true. But as the OS evolves, it tends to run better on older equipment.

  4. cduerr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2003
    I was using Safari as I typed the first post :) It's in the message actually. I haven't played around with Safari much, but liked Netscape over IE because it saved usernames/passwords and filled in forms and the like quite easily. -- Needless to say, with every application closed except for Safari, the response of certain widgets, opening/closing apps is still comparatively slow. I'll wait for Panther.

    Really, really sucks. This will most likely be the one major thing that stops me from ever buying a Mac again, and repairing this one when it dies again. 6 months on a power supply is terrible, maybe I was just unlucky. If this keeps their costs down, shouldn't they pass it along to us? This apple was still far more expensive than a PC that is was nearly twice as fast when I bought this(including monitor, OS, etc..) ... hmm.

    Well -- What about the new G5 systems (although I hate the obvious bus speed trap that convinces me to spend $3000 for top of the line) -- when that power supply breaks, can I just go out and buy one and stick it in?
  5. tek macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2003
    you are just unlucky. most macs will go for 4/5/6/7 years without anything dieing in them.

    i'm not sure about the powermac g5. i think user-servicing voids the warranty(at least for iMac, eMac and the books). Same with a lot of PCs though.

    you said 24-hour service. compare that to PC manufacturers (not mentioning any names *cough* dell uk) who make you wait 28 days to have something fixed.

    And as for the price issue consider this: a mac user on average updates his computer 2x slower than the comparable PC user. 4-5 year old macs (300-400mhz+) are still pretty zippy and you can run OS9 and even OSX nicely on them). Try running XP nicely on a 5 year old PC(333mhz K6-3 or something).

    And also, macs dont natively run Windows XP... it certainly is an "xperience" to use it....

    think devils, think lava, think pitch forks, think satan, think windows XP. Now... think different ;)
  6. G3-Pwnz-G4 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2003
    well i know for a fact that all emacs/imacs (all versions) have, basically, crappy power supplies. my sister has gone through 2 rev d imacs. i personally own 2 blue and white's that i've had for 4 years as of this november, and the power supply is still goin strong. if i were you, i'd ditch the imac and pick up either a 1.2ghz g4 or 1.6ghz g5. either of those will have a much higher quality all-around. and, if somethin does die, it's relatively easy to replace/fix. cept on the g5. it's all wierded out there, but since the power supply get's it's own 2 personal fans, i doubt it'll fry anytime soon.
  7. cduerr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2003
    Thanks for the responses, everyone. :)

    I know it's still a little early, but I'm surprised there was no response on the sleep mode/screensaver crashing. Any ideas?

    And a re-cap:

    A. My proc. is good, OS-X is slow, I need to wait for Panther. Ok, I'll bite. I wonder what the MSRP on Panther will be.

    B. eMacs/iMacs have crappy power supplies. I'm screwed on replacing dead components so I need $169 for the 3 year APP if I want to continue using my iMac when it dies again. Okie dokie.

    C. My computer was not overpriced, because PC users replace their PC's more often than Mac users. Yet, I should ditch my iMac for a $1300-$2000 G4 because they're easy to work on, and stay clear of the better G5's because they're not easy to work on. Hmm.

    Heh, and here I was hoping everyone would chime in with "Oh thats easy to fix, just do this!" :)

    So, Apple, if you're listening --

    1. Get OS-X running a little smoother. Those of us who have used X and Windows through the years demand a lot out of a GUI and OS with respect to responsiveness.

    2. Make our macs easier to work on! I don't care if I have to spend extra money to buy Apple power supplies, and Apple motherboards, and Apple superdrives, I just want to have additional components on hand so that I may fix a problem as soon as it occurs.

  8. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I'm using an iBook 700 (which is a G3) and have none of the problems you experience.

    I don't intend that as a personal affront or suggest that you should shut up and sit down.

    Frankly, I've never been happy with G4 processors. For the most part, I've had much better luck with the G3s... clock for clock the G3 will often seem faster.

    Apple needs a prosumer line that's rather a bit like the iMac or eMac in terms of hardware, but in a form factor that is a lot easier for the end user to upgrade and repair. Your experience is a perfect example of this.

    If you get sick of your iMac but still want to buy another Mac, I recommend getting the current Power Mac G4 offering (didn't I just say I don't like the G4? Cripes...). It should be speedier and easier to repair/upgrade. It's your call as to whether you do it or not. Your experience certainly warrants going back to using Windows.
  9. vollspacken macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2002
    Boogie-Down Berlintown
    people who used Windows for years have all the right to demand a lot of the GUI and OS, but not because Windows is so good, but because it's such an incredible piece of poo... everytime I have to use one of my friends PC (most of them hardcore gamers) or my dad's 2,5Ghz P4, I go insane due to the impracticality and the annoying gimmics of the GUI, and the way it behaves (don't get me wrong, I'm not a mac zealot, I own an IBM thinkpad with a slimmed down XP pro myself)...

    I don't know about your problems, but osX runs as smoothly as os9 on my 1Ghz tiBook (maybe you use a version older than 10.2?), and way more responsive than most of the PCs I've seen. the mac platform was lacking raw speed until the G5, everyone knows that, but you should be perfectly fine with your iMac for the things you do, since you are not doing heavy Photoshop, FCP or Maya, do you?

  10. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    I don't know why your computer would become unresponsive after going to sleep, but until you find out what the problem is, just set your sleep preference to "never sleep". At least it will keep your computer from needing to be shut down. OSX runs quite well on my 1Ghz TiBook. Perhaps you should look at one of the tower models, although I would wait until the Rev.B G5's come out to see what issues need to be dealt with.
  11. bobindashadows macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2002
    I know what you mean about speedinesss.. Im' on an 867 G4 (single) and it's kinda slow when you play with the scroll bars in Safari. Anything else is nice... not Safari though, scroll bars suck in Safari. Maybe they're working on it.

    Do you have the key repeat rate up? I delete plenty fast, and I press up and hold it goes really, really far up.

    Oh, and you don't have to SSH. There's a button on the base for restarting it. Should have a little arrow on it.
  12. G3-Pwnz-G4 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2003
    ok, well lemme just say this:

    1. emac was not built for business applications.

    2. the g5's will definatly be hard to work on, as far as the power supply goes. i should have been more clear. the only hidden thing when you take off the siding of teh g5 is the power supply. everything else is laid out in clear view. changing hard drives/ram/gfx card/etc is extremely easy. and, like i mentioned, everything get's at least 2 fans. so it stays nice and cool. and i seriously doubt apple would risk it's already low reputation amongst the ignorant masses by putting a crappy power supply in their newest model.

    3. i like g3's better than g4's...just because i find my blue and white g3 the easiest to maintain, hardware wise. a braindead monkey could install ram into a blue and white.
  13. plinkoman macrumors 65816


    Jul 2, 2003
    New York
    man, don't worry about the power supply, you just got unlucky, i have had the excact same mac for about a year and a half and have never had such problems. most power supplys last for many many years, i still have an 8088 laying around somewhere, a good 14 years old, it's power supply still works just fine. you just had a little bad luck.
  14. G3-Pwnz-G4 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2003
    well actually that's not really true. the emac/imacs are very compacted, and as such don't have the best cooling effeciency level. if you leave it on 24/7, the power supply will just go kaput after awhile, just from overheating. i mean, these are meant for like students, and apple figures that they are in school at least 7 hours a day, and therefore they won't be on.

    for a business application, i would DEFINATLY get a g4 or g5 tower.
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Well telling him that its bad luck is nice and everything, but I don't think some of you are actually helping him. :p

    I suggest you go to the Apple Message Board, sign up, click on "Discussions" at the top and enter their message board, and ask them about your "sleep" problem. They can usually answer anything you throw at them. If you have trouble getting someone to help you, post in the iBook forum. I find them to be more helpful when it comes to technical stuff......that's what they're there for.

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