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Old Feb 25th, 2007, 10:30 AM   #1
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G5 iMac logic board failure

So, my iMac G5 17" 1.9 GHz, which I bought brand new in Nov 05, started acting up, so I ended up taking it for servicing. Later that day I got the devastating news: logic board failure. Bill for repair: $998.58. (If anyone has an extra thousand dollars lying around, toss it my way?) I'm now going through the repair vs. replace debate.

But I called Apple, as I've only had this computer for 15 months (and when I bought it, I couldn't afford AppleCare), so its only 3 months out of warranty, and it doesn't seem right to me that a logic board would fail after less than a year and a half of recreational use. I was brusquely informed that if it didn't fail within a year, it was not a defective part, and therefore, there was nothing they "could" do for me. They also asked me if I'd seen any indication of problems during the complimentary (emphasized many times) 1 year warranty.

My question is two-fold.

First, is it normal for a perfectly good logic board to fail within 15 months? If so, why do many Mac owners have an expectation that they'll get at least 5 years good use out of their new Macs?

Second, what signs would indicate that a computer has a damaged logic board (other than the computer no longer working)?

Thanks.
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Old Feb 25th, 2007, 04:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
First, is it normal for a perfectly good logic board to fail within 15 months? If so, why do many Mac owners have an expectation that they'll get at least 5 years good use out of their new Macs?
Any part in any Mac or computer can fail prematurely without good reason. Though disappointing, it is normal and does happen. The claim that Mac owners can go 5 years with the same Mac is based strictly on personal previous experience and does not apply to everyone elses case, obviously. We have an old 400 Mhz Power Mac G4 that's now going on its 7th year without a single hardware failure - even its original hard drive is still functioning. The 5-year expectation may have been realistic 5 years ago, but as of now, I think it's better and more realistic to say that Macs have a healthy lifespan of around 3 years (the total AppleCare coverage time period). As much as I hate to admit it, the build quality of Macs has dropped in recent years, due simply to consumer demands that Macs be priced cheaper. Cheaper prices means cheap, poorer quality overall. (and any Mac priced under $2K gross is considered cheap.)

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Second, what signs would indicate that a computer has a damaged logic board (other than the computer no longer working)?
From a technician's point of view, the symptoms that point to a defective logic board are, for the most part, fairly obvious and straight forward, but may be difficult to explain to the end user. What symptoms was your particular iMac suffering from? Dark/no video? Kernel Panics? Distorted/no/scrambled video? If it was any of the above, the video chip/graphics card, which is regrettably an integrated part of the logic board, was defective. The only fix is to replace the entire logic board, hence your steep $1K repair quote.
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Old Feb 25th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #3
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Not normal but it does happen - just bad luck.
Surprising as that has been a reliable model.

Not a good thing to replace the motherboard.
Better to buy a new one with Applecare.
The 1.9s are NOT easy to work on.

$199 for Applecare is a good deal ( unlike $399 for a 15" portable ).

Unfortunately that model has no failure frequency and you've had no issues to date so nothing for a sympathetic Apple customer service rep to work with.

Any chance you bought it on a credit card with extended warranty features.??
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Old Feb 25th, 2007, 09:20 PM   #4
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Two very good responses from two prominent members.

Your situation is very unfortunate.
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Old Feb 25th, 2007, 11:06 PM   #5
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Alas, I don't qualify for the extended warranty through my credit card, as I was only able to put about half the computer on credit.

What's the normal temperature range for an iMac? Mine generally ran 60 - 80, even though there was good airflow behind it. I always assumed it was normal, because it was generally on 24/7, downloading. Would being on all the time, downloading during the night, contribute to the logic board failure? (In other words, should I give my new one more downtime?)
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Old Feb 26th, 2007, 12:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by PureFiction
Alas, I don't qualify for the extended warranty through my credit card, as I was only able to put about half the computer on credit.

What's the normal temperature range for an iMac? Mine generally ran 60 - 80, even though there was good airflow behind it. I always assumed it was normal, because it was generally on 24/7, downloading. Would being on all the time, downloading during the night, contribute to the logic board failure? (In other words, should I give my new one more downtime?)
Very unlikely.
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Old Feb 26th, 2007, 01:54 AM   #7
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Component failures happen either right away, or then they settle down into a distribution on a Bell curve. Unfortunate that you caught one on the leading edge. Chances of Apple extending the warranty by 25% - approximately zero.

Repair or replace decision is an easy one. Replace.

Part out your old machine or keep the hard drive to use with your new one (SATA - USB enclosure, or if you get a Mac Pro, just slot it right in.)

You can't use your G5 iSight RAM in the new machines so you can sell it off, you may also be able to get something for the LCD and the optical drive.
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Old Feb 26th, 2007, 10:21 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the answers, guys.

Final (probably) question... I have a friend who's dying to get his hands into my iMac. Is it possible for a competent user to replace the logic board? Compared to replacing the motherboard in a PC, how much harder is it to replace the logic board in an iMac? Of the $1k I was quoted to replace mine at the store, how much of that is labor, and how much is the actual board?
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Old Feb 26th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PureFiction
Thanks for all the answers, guys.
Of the $1k I was quoted to replace mine at the store, how much of that is labor, and how much is the actual board?
Est: $100 to $200
Est: 1 plus hours work.

This is just an educated guess.
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Old Feb 26th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #10
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Of your $1K quote, 85% of that price is probably the part itself. If you can get the part for la ower, more reasonable price, you'll probably pay between $85-$200 in labor to have it professionally installed.
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