Of hardware failure…

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I’ve just had a two week or so period of being without my G5. It’s back now, all fixed and working fine, although the fans are considerably louder. I’ve also noticed the temperature of the processors are not hovering at 98.6˚F when they used to be at around 117˚F.

So, what happened? Let me tell the story. It all starts way back when I was looking into replacing my old dual 1Ghz G4, a Machine that NEVER had a problem btw. The newest Mac at the time was a 2.7Ghz dual G5. And that’s the one I ended up getting. The big bad boy. Due to the tremendous heat that the G5’s put out, Apple decided to use a unique cooling system for this Mac. All the G5’s come with a clever 9 fan cooling system, and a cheese-grate like front and back panel for aiding in keeping the processors cool. The top of the line Macs, the one I eventually got, had an added element of a liquid cooling system. A radiator to be precise. When I was investigating the system that was one of the “wow, cool” factors. I had also wondered what would happen if the system leaked, but it was a brief wonder and I was quickly back drooling at the specs of the Machine.

Fast forward to the present day. I use my Mac all the time. I never turn it off, instead running http://folding.stanford.edu/ when I’m not using the Machine. Every morning I wake up and check my mail and get to work. I hit the spacebar, the monitor wakes up and BAM, I’m into my day. Except this one day the spacebar didn’t invoke the monitor to wake up. Shaking the mouse from side to side didn’t help either. I check the front of the Mac and the power button light was off. So I turn it on, and the light goes on, I hear a fizz, and the light goes off. 5 retries later and no progress.

At first I’m thinking power supply. I have a lot of junk hooked to the Mac and who knows, maybe a surge fried something. But every other device is working fine. Weird. So I take it in to a We Fix Macs place and they call back in an hour and say that my cooling system has leaked and corroded the logic board and the processors. Crap. Oh crap.

Luckily the thing is still under warranty. I brought it home, removed the RAM and my 2 HD’s and then brought it to my Apple Store. I couldn’t tell the Apple guy that I had brought it to another place first for fear they would void the warranty, but I let them know my suspicions by saying I saw liquid. they took it and said 10-20 days. WHAT?!?

AS always, I had a huge project just about to start. hardware/software problems ONLY happen when a project is either about to start or right before delivery time. So here I was, without my Mac, and a huge project about to start. I was smart enough to take the Hard Drives out of my Mac – they had ALL my data and there was NO WAY I could function without those drives. But, what was I going to do about the Mac???

The new G5’s use SATA drives, so I couldn’t just put them in a firewire enclosure and attach to the powerbook. instead I did something I am sure will come to haunt me somewhere, sometime. I used the Fry’s lending library. I went to the tech store Fry’s and bought an identical G5, brought it home, toke out the HD that was in it, added my RAM and the 2 HD’s and viola! My Mac was back! Well, sort of – Maya wouldn’t work because its keyed to the ethernet address, but everything else worked.

As soon as Apple was done with my Mac (2 weeks later) I went and picked it up and put my RAM in it and the 2 HD’s and returned the Fry’s G5 to pristine shape, and abused the 30 day return policy. I feel shameful. I do. Abusing the 30 day return policy feels wrong. And I don’t encourage the behavior. But it saved me and my project! For that I love Fry’s!

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