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Hopeless power mac G5 1.8 DP


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008

I have a basic question regarding this G5 which was a gift many months ago, and worked perfectly I am told (until it got through my door). I've got
pages of unsuccessful troubleshooting fixes, and so it's probably the motherboard. Question: can anyone but an Apple technician diagnose this?
Or is it just the last thing on the "replaced" list before they give up?

What does it do? It freezes (cursor and keyboard) in Safari or Firefox
in about twenty minutes. I can leave iTunes on for days, and four or 5 other programs, it's fine, but the minute you even think of going online, it freeezes up
and must be manually shut down with the power button. No mention of
crashes in the console logs. It's like time stops. 2 HD's, both with clean install
of 10.4.11. Finally bought new RAM (hoping the 2 gigs of old ram were the
problem). Still safari freeze, and iTunes sound-loop, if it was running.

I've spent about 6 months on this. I can re-create it simply by going online.
Is this really that much of a strain on the processors or the motherboard? Just going online to get my email?

I have checked--
both HD's
RAM order
all Plug Ins
PRAM battery
disk permissions
all fans (fans good)
RAM conntacts
ethernet cable
"fsck" in single user mode
"Rember" for memory test
"Cocktail" for systems test
Apple Hardware Test from original disk
temp inside unit(cool)
processor activity (always low)
disabled Java Script Timer and "Site Specific Hacks"
tried Proxy settings in SysPrefs
re-enabled Javascripts
graphics card
quartz-extreme enabled
safe mode (it WILL freeze up in safe mode)
left it on for 12 hours with itunes (itunes radio), garage band, imovie, and other heavy programs. It ran splendidly.
Tried installing Opera, I think (can't remember).. should I bother?

Everything works beautifully until you want to go online.

Was there ever a final fix or reason given by Apple for all the G5freeze-ups back in 2004-2007? Bad capacitors, motherboards.... firmware... all of it?
mine has a refurb sticker,
it was used by a film editor who has upgraded to an Intel unit. I haven't
ever told him that this doesn't work at all... he thinks it's a great computer....I've fixed a lot of Macs over the years, but this is a real mystery.

At least i would like to get it going to donate it to some poor kid.
I sure as hell don't want to look at it anymore.
Java or Flash... crashing an entire computer... seems kinda lame to me.

Well, just putting it out there...

thanks if you have heard any similar stories.. it would be a christmas present to me..


Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
Sod off
By process of elimination, it seems like the ethernet controller could be the problem? If you can get your hands on an Airport card, perhaps you could see if going through wifi solves the issue. Still, if that is the problem, I'm not sure it can be fixed. Just bypassed.


macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2010
I, too, would be interested in your results in bypassing the built-in ethernet. Try a wireless dongle, such as those sold by OWC; it will be much less trouble than trying to find an Airport card, especially if you don't have the airport antenna. I have this one myself and know it works on my G5. It's less than $30.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
i will try this

(i have an airport card in a g4 laptop which i think my fit)

Since I posted this, I almost thought I got it working and stable, but
it froze after 36 hours of continuous low-demand use. (by that I mean I left
itunes on, and Safari on, and overnight it would sleep, and come up in the morning, etc. But then it froze again while reading email,so this means that
it will freeze more and more; here we go again!

ITunes on-- all day and all night is fine, as is aDVD, set to repeat-play.

Target Disk mode never freezes (as I have seen with other actual defective
motherboards... the bouncing symbol stops bouncing usually, but not here!), so it all comes down to Safari or Firefox---
and some tiny FLASH or JAVA glitch which does not slowly overload the unit or cause
warnings or kernel panics... it just freezes everything.

OI am realizing that maybe Motherboards are quite unpredictable,in their
defects and outward symptoms.

So for now, it's reliable as a DVD player or an iTunes jukebox,or to
log online-- and download something (it won't freeze even in the middle
of a long download flash video or downloading a new program..)... but it will freeze if I dare compose an email. Perhaps it is haunted.

Are Motherboards that unpredictable? I have seen my share of them with Macs, but they usually just eventually freeze or stop no matter what the application. I am still skeptical that this is a motherboard issue.

If not for Java or Flash, this perforated aluminum monster would run forever.

But, I will go over to iFixIT and see what it takes to rip the motherboard out.
Might as well.If Apple has recalled it, then I've bought or inherited it!

You know I have an old Volvo,
so between these two things (an old Volvo with endless electronic relays, and an old G5 PowerMac with mysterious problems).... I am certainly kept busy!

I will try the wireless card/circumvent ethernet connection next..



macrumors 6502a
May 8, 2011
Endwell, NY
Ha! I like the part about the Volvo, PowerPC Macs and Volvos are usually one in the same, and I love them both so much. Seems like I'm either working on my S70 or my PowerMac/Books every day!

Does your 1.8 have the dual ethernet ports? You could try #2 and see what happens. If it still freezes, throw another ethernet card in it. Some normal PCI cards are compatible if the chipset is recognized by OSX.


macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
You could also try sending the network connection through a firewire port.

Can you limit it to something specific? eg listening to music while online? or some combination that always causes it. Perhaps its the way in which 2 or more systems are interacting. It's possible that your motherboard is bad and so now you have the sound card and the video card (for example) both fighting for the same resource.


macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
G5s had some issues with the last compatible versions of Safari. I haven't seen this problem with firefox so much, but there was a bug that caused this behavior. Are you connecting via airport or ethernet?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
dual ethernet ports, no.. but still will try wireless

I do not have dual ethernet ports ...

but I still can try the Airport wireless card to circumvent the Ethernet.

I've had ATT ethernet and now TimeWarner cable internet so i have had both
kinds of connections. No diff.

As for reproducing the fault, it can just be while opening Yahoo mail
and reading or composing mail, or it can be this, along with itunes playing.
Minimum of 21 minutes, but each time restart, I think the freeze-up
time grows shorter. Next time online is about 5 minutes, after that it is
2 minutes, etc,before freeze/restart. Itunes can go by itself (even itunes radio) for days. But if there is a freeze in safari or firefox-- and iTunes is
playing, then itunes will go into a sound loop. (there are other forums mentioning this in Apple, none resolved)

Lately I have wanted to try to crash it, with iTunes on and Yahoo mail,
and other programs open. And it has gone twice as long without freezing
lately with the brand new RAM (only 512mb) and with flrefox instead of safari.
It's like it is almost fixed. 36 hours with a bunch of programs up.
Processors hardly loaded at all. 11 gigs out of 250g HD.

And then, some page (NYT,HuffPost, Yahoo, BoingBoing, Salon,etc)
makes it freeze. It have got 'Flashblock' in Firefox, and 'ClicktoFlash' in Safari
(to prevent Flash from automatically loading).
And it freezes, so you must hold down the start button again.

I can probably reproduce this in fifteen-twenty minutes anywhere.

(will an Apple Genius person give you twenty minutes?)

I can download programs and update stuff without any fear of a freeze-up.
I used firefox download helper to grab a 30minute (flash) video today, it worked fine, and I somehow knew it would... however daily reading of
the news and emails is what tips the scales..

I assumed motherboards and processors were a little tougher than this.

(apologies, this typed on a g4 laptop with bad spacer bar: i'm off to ebay
to bid on another one,...

also, apologies for this being so long. But you gotta put it out there, because someone may tell me to "junk it!" or... "just try this one thing.."



macrumors newbie
Dec 22, 2011
Do you have any firewire peripherals?

Do you have any firewire peripherals, a dodgy firewire lead can lead to very random systems crashes and you may need to reset the firewire bus as well by leaving the powermac disconnected from your mains for at least half an hour.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
No, not any firewire peripherials

I have only keyboard and mouse, so far, and occasional firewire
(which I use overnight to Target-Disk files in, from a smaller laptop).
I think it's going to be relatively stable,so I am using the huge HD
to back up stuff from the old laptop.

It has not frozen in 3 days (since I dumped Safari for Firefox and replaced
the RAM with new RAM)... I know it will freeze eventually, but not so far.

I'm not on wireless yet; still using Ethernet connection. Wireless card is next.

I ran iTunes all evening the other night, and then went online to Tumblr, and found a
GIF-only site, and I left that on, and then I went out.
I set my energy saver prefs to NEVER SLEEP and the display to stay on.
GIFS all night long! I know--it was cruel.
I figured I would either see the computer still going strong when I got home
six hours later, OR my house would have burned to the ground, around a melted G5 puddle.

But neither happened-- it was simply beachballing.

That's an improvement, in my book!

Also, it has been good for two more days since.. But I will use it hard,
go 'four-wheeling' with it, maybe see if I can get a Java or Flash "freeze."..

then it will be 'TenFourFox' and wireless card (no ethernet wire).
Or god-forbid, "Opera".......

After that, who knows.
I'd like for it to be at least as tough as my old Pismo.

thanks for the ideas-

(You know,I think I would rather drive an old Volvo into Space than an
old G5 PowerMac)



macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
Could it be the ethernet card?

Over the last few days I have put in the Airport card, and disconnected
the ethernet. The G5 ran briefly and then froze. I restarted, and then
ran it all day (iTunes and Firefox), and it was fine. Almost like it was
finally fixed.

Then, the kernel panics
began. I restarted after each one, but I don't know which console log
to look at, and how to read them. I did iPhoto work and iTunes work,
and it was fine (no Firefox). I downloaded a 30 minute vimeo from firefox
and had an immediate kernel panic, shut it down, and re-downloaded again
just fine. Can play the show (offline) ok without problem.

So it will always be a puzzle; I've done everything I can here.
First, freeze-ups all the time, and then after each attempted fix...success, and then kernel panics. I'm all out of ideas. This is like a nice
car which runs well, but stalls without warning.

So I'm treating this like a very large backup HD... as long as it's nowhere
near an ethernet connection, it seems to function normally.

Is it worth it to speculate on buying a new ethernet card? Most of the problems I have seem related to bad RAM or the notorious bad motherboard
capacitors on these G5's. I have not read any advice over the months
which suggested replacing the ethernet card.

Maybe I should have replaced it early on?



macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2006
I keep reading that you use iTunes Radio with no faults. iTunes radio = internet radio = ethernet access.

Don't you think that's a bit strange?

Also, is there a chance that your copy of Tiger has a scratch or something on the disk, corrupting the install? If you have another PPC machine, try booting off its drive with FireWire. This will give some insight into whether its hardware related or software related. Make sure its a fully functional installation first! (Preferably not from the same disk!)

Fire Angel

macrumors newbie
Jan 2, 2012
London, England.
Could this be corrupted Flash software or the wrong version? As Flash is deep in many of the sites you're talking about if your copy is corrupt it could cause all sorts of problems.

Try this: Uninstall Flash. Download the 10.1 version again, if possible on another computer. Download any browsers you're using again too, just to be sure. Before you re-install Flash, try running the machine without it for a while to see if it stops crashing. Re-install Flash and see if the crashes start up again. If none of that fixes it, I'm out of ideas, for now at least.


Oh, I agree with the above post that the Apple Service Diagnostic should be run. It finds most faults. Remember you have to unplug everything that isn't needed to boot up, leaving just power, monitor, mouse and keyboard connected to the Mac. All other connectors should be unplugged at the Mac end.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
Apple Service Diagnostics

Hate to ask, but what is Apple Service Diagnostics?
Is it in Open Firmware or in the Terminal?Or do I have to buy it?
It's not the Apple Hardware Test which comes on
the Tiger install disk, is it? Also should I probably
buy Disk Warrior?

-iTunes Radio...yes,it works all day,unless there is a freeze, and it
goes into a sound loop while the screen freezes. I have occasionally had
internet service down in past years (on other computers), while still
being able to access iTunes radio. I know, it doesn't make much sense
(but this was in Mexico..). Once, in a new place before internet
service hookup, I used a neighbor's wireless network to listen to it. I could not get
internet, because I did not have his password.
I know, it doesn't make sense.
But maybe iTunes radio does not equal ethernet completely. Who knows.

-scratched Tiger install disk?

Well, when this unit was shipped to me from across the country, it was supposed to be in great working order (from family), and a clean version of
Tiger was installed (which sucks because no iLife, no iphoto, just the strict basics) and it was freezing and crashing all the time,so I used Carbon CopyCloner to clone a good working system from my existing Mac Mini G4
which had all the programs I use. Still, freezes and kernel panics happened.
So I installed a clean version from my own Tiger install disk, so i can say that
two different Tiger install disks have been used so far.
And the days it takes to update 10.4 to 10.4.11 and the service updates, and scrounging for
replacements for Word forMac and iPhotos... yuck!

So I just went back to another CCC clone, this time of my trusty laptop,
which had been the most successful so far...until the other day.
A G4 should be able to clone to a G5 without issue. I have been around the block with Bombich and CCC (they answer personally when you have a problem with cloning or backup) Before you say that this is the problem...
remember many people regularly backup or clone with CCC and swear by it.
It's my laptop, and it's my G5, I have the store-bought Tiger disk, it isn't
working very well, so who's to say I can't clone the updated 10.4.11 to my "new" computer.

(oops, sorry, I forgot this isn't Apple Support Forums.. they get very sanctimonious when you mention "CCC" or "Super Duper"...)

-which brings me to Corrupted Flash... well, when I installed the clean Tiger
disk, of course, there isn't Flash, and online it's hard to find any version which isn''t for 10.5 Snow Leopard or Lion... but I have found the Adobe page
where I can get the very last version available for 10.4.11 (I think it had to be Macromedia Shockwave which then gets slightly updated a few times).
I believe it's 10.1, even though many flash-heavy sites have some video blocked,
saying "You need Flash 10" which, duh, I have (because I look it up).
Therein may lay the problem. I wish hackers would develop an alternative
for Flash and let all of us off the hook.
Isn't Flash the Worst Free Thing Ever? (other than,say... herpes?)

An update--
Yesterday I ran the G5 all day, trying to crash it or freeze it. I couldn't.

I had googled "G5 Crashes" and "G5 Freezes" once more (i do this every 3 months) and I got the following new tips:

re-seat the video card
re-seat the ethernet card
re-seat the RAM,again
re-seat the connector to the Power Supply (MANY of the Oct2007 units were
recalled due to bad power supply)
re-seat some other connector going to the power switch
.... and in Energy Saver (SysPrefs), select "Reduced Performance" which
slows it down... but who cares at this point..
One of these things fixes to have kept the G5 running all day with 3 windows open (a GIFS page, a Flash-heavy page, and iTunes).

so far, so good...

(also prevalent in the G5 recalls back then were the Logic Board,
both processors, and a faulty Temp Sensor which would sense an
overload or something when in fact there was none. Many G5 owners had
all these things replaced, including the Power Supply, and some had these things replaced three times,until Apple said "no more!" or Apple gave them
new units. FYI)

Apple has since completely given up on these G5 PowerMacs, and any
out-of-warranty servicing; also it seems they will routinely replace
ALL of the things I just listed, which is basically a whole new computer.
At your cost, of course. I realize it's now a very old unit, and I can't blame them. But that old Volvo still runs...

I will not write today that the G5 is fixed, of course, but the Energy Saver
setting, plus possible poor handling during shipping across the country
by UPS are two things that stand out, so far.

Next step is to return to "Ethernet" and give my laptop its Airport card back.

So, yay! it works, so far..



macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
Problem Fixed (maybe?)

Thank you for the Apple Hardware Test info. I'll try to find a copy of it.

I have been unable to get the G5 to crash or freeze for a few days now.
It just runs, and sometimes slows down in Firefox, but it just works.... enough to be almost boring.
(I think I say this because I am attracted to things that
don't work, so I can fix them, then when they work.. I move on to the next thing.).

What I did last was: wiggle (or re-seat) the new RAM (toss the old RAM)
wiggle the power supply connector plug inside
wiggle the ethernet card, or maybe it was video
it was dark and I forget-

and go to SysPrefs and select Energy Saver and look
for "Performance" under Options perhaps, and
select Low or Less, or Diminished Performance (?)
instead of 'Highest.'

It's a bit slower to process and load pages under Firefox (I dumped Safari)
but even seeing it pause and such.... I see a potential freeze or crash not

So, until further notice, the things I mentioned above (plus that whole long
list in my first post), may help a G5 owner who is having freezes/crashes.

I realize I inherited a heavily-used machine which was "working great"
until it reached my door, sort of like a used car... and then it falls apart.
So my processors may well be past their prime, or the capacitors in the
motherboard may be 'almost-burnt' instead of 'burnt' but works enough to
move it to my desk tomorrow and replace the Mac Mini.

I feel like one of those 1958 Chevy owners in Havana, keeping the car on the
road the best they can..




macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
Weeeellllll, maybe I spoke too soon.......

WORKED FOR WEEKS, just like the 85 Volvo (a different story..)
First, a friend sat down to it, and the whole screen froze. So we restarted.
He has that way with Macs.

Then the G5 (in OS TIGER) had a kernel panic .. running just Firefox and itunes .... (Flashblock was enabled)..
anyway, it was the creeping grey screen
full of white print, telling us how far it was going back, into the panic, to see what file, blah blah, blah--

(I am SO BORED with this damned Super G5 telling me its sob story! JUST STOP ALREADY OR CATCH ON FIRE PLEASE???)

and then it stopped, and "finished", and then nothing, just all white type on a grey screen, like Terminal in reverse.. frozen... and telling me nothing!
"...Could not find origin... " oh, whatever-

so I decided to pull out a thumb drive just to get a response from the dead computer (I know, I'm cruel), and then I got the
gray screen box, in six languages telling me to restart my computer...

I Fixed Disk Permissions, nothing wrong of course, (disks perfect!)
and left it on for 20 minutes, and it kernel-panic'd again, so i force-quit.

AND it took my other thumb-drive 'pics' and corrupted them within the
thumb drive...
when I puled them and inserted them into my laptop, the pictures were half-pictures. (these were trusted thumb drives).

Next day-- unplugged ethernet cable (again) and ran only iTunes. So far so good.


itunes and computer operations (Word, etc) so far ok......

safari, Firefox, any internet... CRASH! (freeze or all out kernel panic)

-lose work
- lose internet history
-lose half of a thumb drive full of pictures from a camera

So far I can rely on it in Target Disk Mode, so it is still useful as a big HD
(if that has not been corrupted by the operating system or the Hardware)

sorry this went on so long.

I had faith in it, or I had faith in me, or something, I don't know.



macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
I'm a rolling stone.
At first I thought you had a bad ethernet card but after reading all the posts it's more likely you have bad capacitors since after setting the processor to low it happened less.

For a guy with an electronic background like Me it wouldn't be too hard to get new capacitors inside and not too expensive.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2008
Is it...

Is it worth my while to go to iFixIt and read one of their guides to
removing the processors, power box and motherboard, to inspect it all?

Is it easier or harder than disassembly of an iBook G-3 or G-4 ?
(I've done about
four of those)..

I'll keep in touch, if you are offering to solder a newly-discovered bad capacitor.

los angeles
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