Is Apple too design focused -- sleek sexy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by HW-Hack, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. HW-Hack macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #1
    As an former HW + Systems Designer for Intel --- I cannot knowingly own a product that is defective by design. That product is my wonderful G5 iMac iSight --- which after 18 months had a total hard drive implosion. By that I mean the HD is DOA either total hardware or mechanical failure ... this is not an OS X issue.

    After the crash (where I lost everything - music - photos - etc) I tried 3 different bootable repair CDROMs ---- none of them can even see a HD and the Apple HW tests fail on the mass media every time. She's dead Jim.

    So having a HW design background I cracked it open (despite the warning of no user serviceable parts in side) .... now having done quite a bit of leading R+D design on small-form-factor PCs I knew Apple had to be pushing the thermal curve a bit. But I was totally shocked from what I saw - but 2 things really stuck out:
    - The HD was placed near the upper part of the chassis and right above the G5 and the main-board (heat rises)
    - The other was the very minimal venting at the top of the case - yes there's that nice vent looking strip on the upper part of the case - but its mostly blocked --- I'm guessing for EMI radiation issues

    So its really no wonder a electro-mechanical device crapped out. And googling a bit shows other folks having HD issues on G5 iMacs -- but in general I'm sure the losses/failures (pre-warranty) are acceptable for Apple. But for $225 for parts and labor they are not acceptable to me.

    Ultimately the current series of iMacs are a great visual and functional design. But they need to have a 60mm or 70mm fan near the top rear of the case exhausting out hot air. Spinning at a low - moderate speed they would be inaudible. There are 2 important rules in confined system design
    - Get cool (room temperature) air to the CPU/core area ASAP
    - Either have an aero-dynamic flow-thru design to exhaust hot air or have an exhaust fan.

    We consistently designed proto-types with acoustics below 25dB. Many that were only a tad bigger than the mini.

    Apple is making some change in their latest iMac -- rub your hand across the back and you'll feel a bit of a bulge (more space is good) -- but the unit I touched was also pretty warm. Needs a fan

    When I get the iMac back I'll clean it up and sell it ASAP for the back to school crowd - maybe the new owner will have better luck.

    As for me --- I'm looking at couple of 1GHz dual G4 PowerPC's on craigslist I'll buy the latest model I can find (most are in the $300 range) - goose it to 2GB - AGP video card - and a couple of 100GB drives ---- add some new quiet fans. Life will be fine again ----- maybe someday Apple will build a product balanced between style and reliability. After all I miss my OS X -- and 10.3 or 10.4 is all I need to get my work done
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    It can't be a DOA drive if it lasted eighteen months.

    I have a G5 iMac and I know what sort of temperatures these things can get to. Touch wood, I haven't had a hard drive failure yet and my machine is an older model than yours. Personally I don't think heat is the issue so much as Apple's implementation of the SATA controller when they first moved over from ATA. All Macs seem to have been slightly more likely to have their drive crap out on them since then, but I still wouldn't say it's to any huge degree.

    perhaps you could turn this thread into a poll so we could see how many other iMac G5 users have suffered a similar fate.
     
  3. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #3
    That's the thing I like about Apple. They are always pushing the tech envelope as far as styling goes. That just something that all the PC manufacturers are just now understanding.
     
  4. greg555 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    That was my thought (too focused on sleek/sexy) when I first saw and read about the mac mini. If they had made it only a tiny bit bigger they could have used bigger and faster hard drives in it.

    It still would have looked small and cool but been a better computer.

    Greg
     
  5. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #5
    A hard drive should definitely last more than eighteen months! Then again, the quality of HDDs have been degrading. I have seen hard drives run for 10 years non-stop.
     
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #6
    As a former systems professional(?), perhaps you should be taking backups?

    And to answer the originally posed question - well duh.

    This concludes my snarky comment of the day. Thank you for watching.
     
  7. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #7
    Apple's design is one of the things that helps set Mac's apart from PC's. I agree that sometimes form impacts on function, but I think that Apple needs to keep on pushing new designs and keep innovating if it is to maintain its edge.

    As for heat build-up around the hard drive, heat will kill a drive faster, yes, if it had problems to begin with. Google's reseach, for which I have no reference I regret, seemed to indicate that faultless drives didn't benefit from being kept cool. Obviously stupid amounts of heat will kill a drive, but I don't believe the iMac's are getting that hot. It's completely possible that some rubbish HDDs have been used along the way, though.
     
  8. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Adelaide, Australia
    #8
    Oooh, just quickly; what's discerns a mechanical failure from a regular hardware failure? I'm not trying to be facetious, just generally interested.
     
  9. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #9
    Any HD can fail after 18 months. I'm not saying excess heat from the iMac design didn't kill your HD, but after 18 months it's impossible to know.

    With an HD that old I know I'd be keeping backups religiously... I replace my laptop HDs after about a year because they fail so often (and because by one year later there is usually something bigger and faster available).

    In the last three years, between new machines, replacements, and additional HDs, I've bought 11 HDs. Of those 11, one was DOA and one failed after 16 months of relatively light use. I've only had one that was used as a primary HD for more than 18 months; it's still in service, but I certainly won't trust it with anything important.
     
  10. Tracer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #10
    G5 iMacs run ridiculously hot.

    I had a friend that had one lock-up constantly, until he finally got Apple to give him a new one.

    Look at this:

    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/227/1/

    The iMac G5 was flawed. The G5 was simply too much processor to put in a small form factor. This is why it never made it into the Mac Mini or the PowerBook.

    Tracer
     
  11. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12
    Jesus, I can't stop myself:

    The plural of iMac is iMacs. Not iMac's.

    Thank you.
     
  12. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

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    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #13
  13. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #14
    No comment. :p

    I'm probably being too paranoid about desktop HDs -- although I have had a couple fail over time. But with laptop HDs, if the laptop is actually carried and used as a mobile computer (as mine is -- many hours a day, every day), it's all but guaranteed that the HD will fail within two or three years, and reasonably likely after more than a year. Mobile use is brutal for something with tolerances as tight as those of modern HDs.
     
  14. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Yahooville S.C.
    #15
    Apples whole G5 thingy was crap in my view, the G5 wasnt all that plus it was to hot used to much power and all G5 models Apple made are riddled with problems and issues. Jobs got rid of G5s so fast it made your head spin. G5 = Problems. Even Xbox's G5s or rather 970's are failing at almost a 50% rate. iMacs G5s had lots of heat and power supply issues and PowerMacs are leaking G5 fluid all the time.
    I would tell everyone stay away from the G5 period.
     
  15. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #16
    That's a little much.

    Until Intel came out with the Core 2 Duo (how quickly we forget the past!) the G5 was the best thing out there MHz for MHz. It still is for certain applications. And the processor itself has proven very sturdy -- it's Apple's jerry-built cooling solutions that have been problematic. So, where there has not been a cooling problem, G5s are fine. That would include all non-liquid-cooled G5 towers, except the last dual-cores, which had power supply problems completely unrelated to the processor.

    I'm not one of those PPC zealots who think Apple made a mistake by switching, but the G5 deserves a lot of respect.
     
  16. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    Houston Texas USA
    #17
    Agreed. The G5 also warrants liquid cooling. :)
     
  17. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    Dec 2, 2006
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    kidnapped by aliens
    #18
    My opinion is you can never be too design focused, so my answer is no. Also I do not see the relation between your problem and design.
     
  18. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #19
    Has anyone had a heat issue with the Intel Mac Mini? That case is awfully tight. I think it would be better to make it a little larger. Would putting a few holes in the top of the mini improve cooling or would it affect the designed fan cooling?
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #20
    Some of them. As far as I know, the air cooled designs work just fine. The temperature readings the C2D users report are comparable to (if not frequently worse than) the temperatures my air-cooled G5/2.0 produces....
     
  20. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    #21
    Ludicrously over-the-top, not to mention factually incorrect. Try again. I'd also like to know what this "G5 fluid" is you think Power Macs are leaking "all the time" (which again is wrong)...chips don't run on liquid fuel you know. ;)

    --Eric
     
  21. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #22
    It was a little over the top illl admit(G5 Liquid:D) but G5 history is what it is.
     
  22. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    May 24, 2003
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    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #23
    some of the top end PM G5's are liquid cooled, and some of them leak.
     
  23. HW-Hack thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #24
    A mechanical failure on a hard drive is typically where the bearings burn out or the seek head augers into the platter surface.

    A HW failure (as in electrical) is where a silicon component (chip - transistor - etc) stops working

    Both of the above conditions are influenced by either excessive heat - or by being in an environment that just constantly hot
     
  24. HW-Hack thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #25
    Most off the shelf Western Digitals or Seagates typically have a 5yr warranty. In 20yrs of using PCs - Macs this is the first drive I've had that didn't make it 4yrs or longer. Or at least die gracefully slowly increasing bad clusters etc.

    Going thru 11 HDs in 3 yrs is crazy talk --- maybe if you're buying laptop drives (a whole different beast) or if you're buying grey market non-major brands
     

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