Intel iMac Help - Salvage or Sell?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 8, 2010
A few months ago my iMac started clicking on boot-up. I instantly thought HDD and I was right. I bought a new HD and that didnt work. I also bought a new SATA cable and that didnt work either. This leads me to believe it is the SATA connection on the logic board that is fried. Does anyone know if there is a way to fix this? Also, if its to costly to fix the connection, has anyone booted OSX from firewire/USB exclusively? I know I can just get a SATA drive dock and connect my HDD via firewire and boot it that way, but does it run ridiculously slow? Is it even worth it?

So I guess my main questions are:
  • Has anyone booted from USB/Firewire?
  • Is it worth it or does it run too slow to do anything of worth?
  • If so, should I just sell the iMac for parts?

Any help would be appreciated!


macrumors newbie
Apr 9, 2010
More testing needed

My advice is that you need to do more testing to find out what the problem is. The reason I say this is that I have jumped to conclusions in the past about the source of a problem in a computer, then tried to fix that problem unsuccessfully, only to find out later that the problem was something different.

You say that your new hard drive didn't fix the problem. I recommend that you try out both the old and new hard drives in another computer that is known to be working fine. If you don't have access to another Mac for this, you can use a PC, although you might have to reformat the hard drives to fully test them.

Also, you can boot your iMac from the install disk, and use the Apple Hardware Test included on the disk. That might give you more information. To boot into the Hardware Test, you hold down the Option key and restart with the disk in the drive. You then see a screen where you can choose which operating system to start from. The Hardware Test should be one option. That's how it works on my iMac G5 with a Tiger install disk, anyway. I don't think Apple usually changes basic things like that.

Another way to get some information is to boot in verbose mode. To do this, hold down the Apple + V keys and start the computer. This will show you a black screen with lines of white writing as the operating system loads. If the operating system does not load fully, then look at the last few lines of writing before it stalls. If your operating system does boot fully, then you can also see all this information in a log, using the Console application, which is found in the Applications -> Utilities folder. In Console, you can click the "All Messages" heading in the sidebar on the left to see everything that has been logged recently.

I hope this helps a little.


macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2010
Oklahoma City
Part it Out

I have parted out my old macs for years. The parts are worth far more than the whole. You might recover most of the original price you paid for the iMac. I have even bought Macs for the sole purpose of selling them as parts at a profit. Save yourself some headaches and get an upgrade, part it out who knows you might come out ahead. A replacement CD drive from Apple sells close to $300 just to give you an idea about the parts value.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 8, 2010
Sorry, I guess I wasnt completely clear.

bandolino, I did quite a bit of testing and did all the usual things that Hellhammer had in the link. My next step I think is to test both drives like you said... I dont have an extra computer to test them in since all I have is a laptop other than the iMac. I should be able to test them via a firewire SATA dock though and just booting from the firewire correct?

Because of the age of this computer, I am considering just selling it for parts or parting it out, especially if both the hard drives seem ok. Then I would have to assume its something a bit more serious.

hamlinspahn, which parts do you think are the most valuable? Its a 1.86 Intel iMac. Is it worth it to sell the parts individually? What parts can I actually sell?

Thanks for your help guys.


Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
hamlinspahn, which parts do you think are the most valuable? Its a 1.86 Intel iMac. Is it worth it to sell the parts individually? What parts can I actually sell?
Screen and case. Logic board is probably broken as you can't get the new HD to work so selling it is up to you


macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
Northeastern Ohio
You can use both a USB or Firewire connection to boot off of your HDD in an external enclosure. As long as you are not doing anything intensive and have enough memory installed(so you are not paging out), I doubt you will notice any difference.

I ran my Mini off a USB HDD for a few days while I waited for my new drive to come in the mail. The performance didn't seem that bad.


macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2007
Santa Clara, CA
I never had that but I had Apple Care.. They changed out so much on my 24" they just decided to upgrade me to a 27" and I paid for the extra upgrades.

I would have gone that route. If you didn't get Apple Care or have already voided all the warranty, I'd work on fixing it. If it's not your main computer. If you need one buy one and work on that as a hobby.


macrumors member
If you can boot from the DVD and/or a USB/firewire HDD then it may be the logic board but don't dismiss the power supply...

You may want to consider trying to boot your HDD with the SATA cable only connected and get the power from another source... It could be that the drive is not getting correct power. Noisy/low voltage...

If it boots this way then you have a power issue, try re seating all power related connectors as a bad connection can cause voltage drops and introduce noise to the PSU rails as the system power fluctuates.\
Then do the reverse, use the iMac power supply and connect the drive to a USB/Firewaire adapter and boot that way.

If it boots that way then it suggests power is OK and your SATA interface is duff. You may want to clean the SATA connector and also check that it does not have a loose solder joint on the board or if you are keen a cracked track...