Loosing patience with my PowerMac G4, new problems

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by RDM, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. RDM macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I've posted here before, a few months ago, with problems with my PowerMac G4 Quicksilver, 2002 model with mirrored doors. Dual 1Ghz processor. It's now testing my patience even more and I'm out of ideas so I'd like any input I can get.
    I upgraded RAM two months ago about to a full 1.5GB and added a USB card to one of the PCI slots, and have had no problems until three days ago. That day in question I noticed the Temperature Monitor registering 122.6 degrees, the hottest it's ever been. With the case opened it dropped to 112 but was still searing heat from below the unit. Both fans are blowing air though I don't know the output of them originally so they may be slowed down somewhat. After shutting it off for a day to cool down I'm greeted with a problem I thought I had fixed with the RAM, the infamous black 'restart' screen as soon as it powers up. It does this from turning on cold or from waking up from sleep mode for 3-7 times in a row, every time. Once finally on, it will work but is horribly slow now, I downloaded two zip files earlier today and what usually takes 2-3 minutes took over 15 minutes. Loading pages on the internet is slower, and some websites the pictures or large text don't even load at all. Thinking it was just a weak connection I opened my external hard drive, it too took several minutes to be recognized, and several more to open. So basically it's gone from being a little finicky to completely useless.

    Cliff notes:

    Black 'restart' screen several times in a row when first powered up.

    Extremely slow OS, downloads, web page loading, recognizing external ports.

    Severely high heat, over 120 degrees.

    My main issue is there is virtually no one in the Atlanta area who works on Macs or will give me the time of day at least, I either get turned down to look at it at all or told the unit is outdated junk and I should throw it away. I know very little about computers and cannot just hop in and repair it myself. Can anyone enlighten me on a diagnostic procedure for some of the problems or give access to someone locally who knows what they're doing and won't rape me in repair costs? I have done disk utility and verified/repaired permissions, but the repair disk icon does not illuminate for me to click on.
  2. Keniff macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2008
    United Kingdom
    Hello RDM,

    I have the same machine, that I'm just about to get rid of, running Logic and Photoshop.
    It's been a solid work horse, never crashed or frozen once in almost 7 years.
    I'm about to upgrade, as I really have to step up to the new software thats available.

    Over the time that I've had it, the only maintenance I do, is once a month I'll run 'Disc Utility', 'MacJanitor' and 'TechTool Pro 4'.
    I've never really moved it around, or installed cracked programs, so I can only assume this is why I've been one of the lucky one's.

    Try and get a copy of 'TechTool Pro 4' and that should give you a full diagnostic.

    That's all I can offer, in regard to help, maybe somebody else can shed more light on your issue.

    One other thing, you mentioned that you seem to be having issues with the internet, if that's all you use it for, then maybe it's time to bite the bullet, and just upgrade to something simple like an new iMac?

    Good luck,

  3. Mariusz1977 macrumors member


    Nov 21, 2008
    122 degrees celsius or 122 degrees fahrenheit?

    What is CPU load while running hot? Is the CPU load pegged @ 200% all the time? Open Activity Monitor (Applications --> Utilities --> Activity Monitor) and check.

    Did you replace your old ram completely with the new ram? Or did you add additional ram into the existing ram with the last ram upgrade?

    You might want to try a clean OS install. Or boot with the OS install disk and let the system sit for awhile to see if it heats up running in this simplified OS environment. If it continues to heat up, then maybe there's a hardware problem with the cooling system? A bad ball bearing in a processor fan, or a bad bearing in the power supply fan. I think the power supply fan draws cool air into the system from the front passively & exhausts hot air out the back.
  4. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    Losing patience with a seven year old workhouse computer? Everything dies, man. Everything. Even Macs.
  5. k2director macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2006
    My hat's off to you for sticking with the same machine for 7 years. The longest I've ever lasted is 2.5 years...
  6. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    You may have the infamous dust issue inside Powermacs. Have you cleaned out the fan areas and insides lately? Dust causes heat build ups.
  7. Keniff macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2008
    United Kingdom

    This is true.
    Every six months or so, I'll open mine up and give it a blast with a can of compressed air, you can buy them from Photography Shops normally (as photographers sometimes need to blast the inside of an SLR or a lens), and then I might gently put a vacuum cleaner hose around inside there (without actually touching everything).
    It doesn't clean it 100%, but it's gets the main grime/dust out of there.
    But this maybe too late for the original OP.
  8. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Dust can build up behind the fan too. I just opened up one for a case mod I am working on and found that behind the big 120mm fan there are vent holes.

    Those holes were completely filled with about a 1inch thick layer of dust/crud. This case was bought from an clean publishing office. So it does not really matter the environment this still builds up over time. Meaning you will also need to remove the two screws holding the entire system fan mounting assembly.

    The way I found to then remove this crud was by using a shop vacuum. You could probably also just remove the plastic side panel with an Allen Wrench.
  9. canonballs macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2009
    That's not the reason they are sold at photo stores. I would not use canned air inside camera or lens. Your typical can of air contains residue that can seriously screw things up. OK for computers though.
  10. mr1970 macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2008
    "Dust can build up behind the fan too."

    Absolutely. I bought a Powermac G4 to use as a home server and while I was upgrading the hard drives I had a bit of a look around and found a piece of dust about 6 inches square (no exaggeration) down behind the side panel where the fan exhausts.

    I'm still not sure how the fan exhausting actually works in these things but I was able to literally lift it out as a block and drop it in the bin. Never seen anything like it. So I'd start there - check everywhere for dust, air-spray your fan and power supply and so on.

    Do you have the angled feet on your powermac? I suspect the design means that the base has to be off the floor.
  11. RDM thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I blow it out monthly so it's not a dust issue that I can tell. It's super clean on the inside. The 122 degrees was Fahrenheit, I assume that's high since it's never gotten up there before. This unit does have the feet that raise up off the surface, but I do have it sitting on top of my desk instead of under it, would the simple height of the unit be an issue for additional heat? Only reason I have it like this is the keyboard, external drive, and monitor cable are not long enough to put it on the floor. I thought about building a shelf off the side of my desk and lowering it a little, but I'm sure that can't be the only reason why it gets hot. As stated I don't know if the fans are at full capacity, is there a way to know the voltage at full speed so I can at least check them for proper voltage? Aside from that the new RAM I put in was just an extra one to supplement the two already existing, some machines are required to have RAM replaced in pairs but this one does not, I checked numerous sources before doing so and obviously with a 3slot unit you really can't replace the third stick as a 'pair' anyway. Aside from that I don't see why a 7 year old machine can't keep operating well, I'm sure a lot of people upgrade yearly but I don't run a business or have tons of programs on mine, I use it for internet browsing and email with an occasional video watched so I'm not straining the unit's capabilities at all.
  12. Mariusz1977 macrumors member


    Nov 21, 2008
    122 F = 50 C . I believe that this is actually normal operating temperature. Google "MDD cpu temperature" to read other owners reports. It looks like alot of people of that era were getting as high as 60C under normal conditions but with a "hot room."

    As far as "Black Screen Crashing," I had a problem with this once. It was bad ram in an older G4 Dual Processor "Audio" version. I had upgraded it with some unknown PC ram from an old machine. It just didn't get along with the Apple Factory ram so I had to pull this lower quality ram and run a little lean. The machine ran perfectly after I removed the bad ram.

    Since you already had existing crashing problems (before your last ram upgrade), I would pull out your pre-upgrade existing ram. This is especially true if you weren't the original owner of the machine, and the previous owner may have put some ram of unknown origin into the machine. Those two that were already there may be buggy, or just one of them may be buggy. You may have to try different combinations of the 3 sticks before you achieve stability (that's how I was able to diagnose & solve my own ram problem.) Most likely, though, you will lose one or both of the pre-existing sticks and so you will run stable, but with less ram unfortunately. (if bad ram is in fact the whole root of the problem. )
  13. Lucibelle macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2009
    I also have that exact same model, though I bought mine refurbished... a great deal at the time, but will never do again. It was good for it's time, but it did completely die about 2 years ago, with much of the same symptoms you have experienced. It is now a glorious paperweight. :(

    I'm with you, though. My first PPC, purchased in '96, lasted me over 6 years. We finally gave it away in '06, and it still purred like a kitten. I'm betting it still does. Man, that machine NEVER gave me a problem. (hardware, anyway. I still praise the day of leaving OS9's "extensions" behind)

    I imagine you are probably in the same boat as we are... maybe not needing your Mac for "Pro" use, but understand that making a high-end Mac last 5+ years makes more sense than constantly upgrading PC components, not to mention the hassle involved in researching, building, maintaining and troubleshooting a PC in general.

    I plan on using my new 2.26 octo Mac for at least 5 years. We use it for mainly for personal music production, as well as some T-shirt graphics and typical home use. Could we use a PC for this? Sure. Do we want to? No way. Will we make full use of the new Mac's potential? We sure gave the old one a run for its money! :D

    I will say this though, it's time to upgrade. OSX.5 has left your machine behind anyway, hasn't it? Still, I know I'd have used mine to this day had it not died. I recently was given an old 400Mhz G4. I installed my U160 SCSI card on it, fired up OSX.4 from one of those drives, and was thoroughly impressed at its performance... and with only 128 Megs of RAM installed! I'll take a Mac "dinosaur" over a PC one ANY day of the week.

    I hope you are able to solve your Mac's problem, but if it is time for a new one, whether you get one of this year's or last year's models, I have NO doubt you'll be very, VERY happy with it. (for the next 5+ years)

    Good luck!
  14. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    I dont want to be a downer, but.... I am guessing its actually just a case of the "I want an excuse to upgrade-itous". My girlfriend and I do that a lot more then we should (complain about something enough till were convinced we need a new one). Its a 1ghz dp - almost the minimum requirements for leopard and 7 years old, you can't expect it to be the speediest thing around for ever.

    Anyways, if it is really an issue, its probably a harddrive issue. Make sure you have enough free space, stuff like spotlight blow up when you start to run out. You can also try doing a repair disk permissions.
  15. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I think its truly time for an upgrade.

    Even my mac mini is faster. :p

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