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2.3GHz G5 duallie


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As a replacement for last winter's bashed-in-the-post dual 1.8GHz G5 tower, I have sourced a boxed, clean dual 2.3 (PCI-X) G5 tower, the one said to be the most reliable of the lot. I rather like these G5 machines, given that they look good, are fast enough for my needs, run all the software I own, and can be made to work with most of the rest of my hardware, such as Appletalk printers, spare RAM, ADC as well as DVI displays, etc. Eventually, they will outlive their usefulness, but not just yet, and the price is a heck of a lot cheaper than a Mac Pro and/ or new peripherals to accompany a Mini or the like.

 

This one is coming in the original packing box, complete with original styrofoam inserts, so hopefully it will not arrive in the state the other did.

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Air-cooled, which was a crucial consideration. I know that even the early, typically leaky, liquid-cooled dual G5s can be pretty easily fixed in many or most cases, assuming the PS has not fried, but I did not want to go there. If I could find a dead one locally for small change, I would snap it up and get out the tools, but when buying at a distance and for real money, it is only sanity to be cautious.

 

I had indeed thought of a Quad, and would love to have one, but the price differential is significant between the Quads and what I paid (1:4 - 1:6, by your reckoning). Quads are not yet retro enough to be cost-effective purchases,given what you can buy a Mini for — or indeed a MacBook Pro. Meantime, I wait and wonder if enough of them will survive their cooling systems/ be looked after well enough for one to come my way.

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And it has arrived, intact, with 250GB and 200GB drives, Airport Extreme, the usual Superdrive, and in very nice condition with just a small scratch on the side door and one nick on the bottom front handle/ foot.

 

One small complaint is that it has only 1GB RAM, which I knew about, but that is easily remedied as I have 4GB in the bashed one. A plus is that it contains a Radeon 9650, meaning that there is a dual link 256MB graphics card in there. That bit was not advertised; I was told it was the Radeon 9600/128MB card. Huzzah!

 

I am currently running Apple diagnostics on it to see that all is well. So far, so good.

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They say most of the leaks were in the earlier Delphi cooling system. The Panasonic in the "late late 2005" quad is apparently more reliable. It might be nice to figure out what serial number range that is.

 

My quad is one of the last to roll off the assembly line (I bought it in spring '06, ironically just before the Intel announcement hit the news).

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There are a handful of well documented accounts on the web of repairs to a leaking liquid-cooled G5 tower, involving not only replacement of O-rings (the main point of failure, apparently), tubing, fluid and in at least one of the cases pumps, but also the cleaning up of encrusted processors on which fluid has leaked and then evaporated, leaving behind whatever it is that was suspended in the fluid. I don't think it is ordinary ethyl glycol coolant that is used, but whatever. The residual substance appears almost salt-like. Among the tell-tale signs of the problems associated with the leak are random shutdowns and such, though in severe cases the machine will not start at all.

 

I would have thought, looking at this as a theoretical project somewhere down the line, that a machine which is leaking but which runs, however problematically, would be a likely candidate for successful repair. Only at the right price, of course (i.e., scrap), but it could be a cheap way to get a functioning G5 if it worked, and a bit of fun along the way. Methinks, mind you, that the corrosion one sees on the PS in photos of leaking units means that you wouldn't want to obtain one in which the crud has been left lying around for too long.

 

Anyway, as I said earlier, it is perfectly possible to restore a failed liquid cooled unit. The skill required is relatively basic mechanical/ DIY competence; if you can change your brakes, you can fix a G5. The resources needed are just a few tools and a handful of spare parts, all of them easily available and few of them expensive (apart from the pumps, perhaps, but they should still be good in most units).

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  • 2 weeks later...

My quad can play 1080p, but I usually have to have it cranked up to Highest performance. In Automatic and Reduced, it drops frames. It can play 720p just fine in Reduced. The codec makes a huge difference -- WebM 1080p, for example, is absolutely abysmal, but most MPEG-4 profiles will work because of the hardware assistance.

 

I doubt systems slower than 2.0GHz will play 1080p content well, if at all, but even a fast G4 running full tilt could probably eke out a decent framerate for 720p.

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I doubt systems slower than 2.0GHz will play 1080p content well, if at all, but even a fast G4 running full tilt could probably eke out a decent framerate for 720p.

 

Side note: I was thrilled yesterday when I managed to get my G3 300 to play an MPEG-4 Part 2 Version 2 (I hate video codecs.... so confusing!) in 320x240 with audio and all in-sync. It couldn't do 640x480.

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I have the 2.5ghz Dual G5 Air Cooled PCI-X and its a good machine aside from these two problems:

OS X 10.4 causes power supply to chirp

Power Supplies die, must be replaced with a repaired one to avoid the problem

A pain to take apart

 

Its a pretty fast Mac if you stick with period PPC software. They look cool too, but all that size is for cooling, not really looks. The motherboard could had been condensed if the G5 did not run so hot.

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