Logicboard woes

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Regular visitors to this site noticed that there were no updates from November 3rd until the twenty-third. Believe me it was as disconcerting to me as it was to my readers.

Last December my wife bought me this wonderful Macintosh G5 machine which is something of a magic carpet ride compared to the machine it replaced. Additional memory was added taking it up to 1GB and a second serial ATA hard drive added this summer to handle the work at the Summer games. When the new operating system Tiger came out we bought our copy and upgraded the machine to the new operating system.

Tiger is a pretty marvellous operating system but right from the first day I installed it there was a minor annoying problem that seemed to occur when I was using a browser or QuickTime. I got used to working with a computer that crashed or froze up about five times a day. I talked to Apple about the problem both their hardware people and the software folks and then even talked to an expert with Apple in Austin Texas about QuickTime. Everyone at Apple and my sons figured I had committed some grevious error installing Tiger. But the problem was a difficult one and during the Summer games working around the clock it was tough to have to face a frozen screen with deadlines looming.

In October there were few greater problems I was just coping with the crashes and moving along but on November 3rd things came to grinding halt and I was certain one or both of the computer's 250GB drives had failed. I ran the diagnostic software that came with the machine and there was no question about what was wrong. The logic board, the computers main motherboard had failed. I arranged for a replacement from Apple since the machine was still under warantee and the old one was replaced and to our amazement the machine was now still out of service. The new motherboard was also defective so another was ordered.

Now you see why I was off line for so long.

When the new motherboard was installed it was discovered that the inital assessment that there were problems with the hard drives was accurate but the problems had been caused by he faulty logicboard and this is where the panic level rose. My life seemed to be on those hard drives and it was now in danger. My hero was my youngest son Matthew who was able to recover nearly everything from the two drives, half a terrabyte of data. The only things that did not survive were all of the work I had done since 1998 on web sites and all of Ensign. Ensign was not a problem although it took two days to download it from the server and get it back into shape for production, the other material is history. I consider myself lucky.

As Matthew was working on the hard drives Apple posted a firmware update for this computer model and only this computer model. Apparently, I was not the only person to have this problem and all of the painful problems I had experienced were not my fault but induced by the marvels of Tiger and problems with the machine's logicboard. A simple EPROM update has eliminated the crashing problem and only one other symptom, not a serious one, remains.

There is no moral to this story, the advance of technology is bound to be fraught with set backs and this appears to be one of them. The overwhelming power of the modern G5 processor and Mac OS 10.4 is abundantly clear and next month similar computers with much more than four times the power of this one will hit the marketplace.


Timothy W. Shire


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004