music technology studio

Mac G5 Quad back from the dead

My G5 Quad is about 6 years old and still is a great machine, until a couple of weeks ago, when it froze on startup. Led no. 7 burned, which means that your processor’s dead or you logic board. In my case, it was the latter. Brought it to a Mac repair shop, they couldn’t help me, but had to pay €140,- for the check they did. A bit of Googling around learned that if you heat the logic board with a hair dryer, sometimes the machine could be brought back to life. I had nothing to lose, so gave it a try. Yes, it worked…. for a couple of hours. The feared LED#7 burned, the machine froze, fans going full power. I did the hair dryer treatment again, a bit longer than before, and it powered up fine, ran for about 12 hrs, so I thought that the problem was solved. Next day same problem on startup, I gave up hope…..

A few days ago I talked to a computer repair guy and he told me that instead of using a hair dryer or heat gun, you should remove the logic board and put it in an oven, he told that I should google on “reflow”, and yes, several Youtube video’s showed brave people putting the guts of their G5 machines into grills and ovens. I gave it a shot, desperate as I was, and after 8 minutes at 190˚C (375˚F) the apples were grilled. Did it work? Until now, YES!!! I ran the AHT (Apple Hardware Test), logic board OK, no other problems. Even after rebooting a couple of times, no LED’s burning:-)

Hopefully I can work another year on it before moving to a new Mac Pro (I was actually waiting for the Sandy bridge model that expect to arrive Q1 2012), but I read that the 2nd gen Sandy Bridge processors will be far more powerful than the ones that arrive in january, so I hope the logic board was “well done”…..

Of course, when the G5 dies again, I’ll let you know.

Update: april 3rd 2012. It died (again)…….

Update: november 7th 2012: after using an iMac 2008 I bought an Mac Pro 2,8 Ghz 8 core. I didn’t wan’t to wait for the 2013 Mac Pro to come out, the iMac was too limited for me in terms of processing and connectivity, that’s why I bought the 2nd hand Mac Pro. Great machine, put in an SSD HD, very fast and a lot quieter than the G5 Quad, which is a nice thing in a recording studio:-)


By Rutger Verberkmoes

Music composer/producer. Location sound recording

4 replies on “Mac G5 Quad back from the dead”

Just out of curiosity, why can’t you replace the faulty hardware? is it a matter of cost or is it just impossible to do?

Hi Antonio,

It isn’t very easy to find that specific Logic board. And if you find one, then they are pretty expensive.
And I was very curious if the reflow trick would work, it was almost too good to be true:-)
I did manage to buy one on Ebay for about €20,-, the seller told me it was from a Apple store closing down and had never been used, but that’s hard to check. I hope it works if I need to replace it…
The grilled board is still working, I’m not gonna replace it with that one as long as it remains a stable machine.

Hi Lloyd,
Unfortunately the board from Ebay was a G5 dual instead of a quad board. I did install it (I’ve read that that also should work, the quad would run just 2 cores), but the machine did not start…
Did you try reflowing the board? That could bring it back to live for a couple of months, or longer if you’re lucky!
The G5 served me well for 6 years, maybe I will restore it with another logic board (if I find one for a reasonable price), but for studio work I wouldn’t depend on it any more, due to age/stability.
I’ve waited a year for an updated Thunderbolt Mac Pro (I assumed that that would be the update from last summer). Meanwhile I worked on an iMac 2008, but that didn’t have enough power and connectivity to run larger projects.
So I bought a 2nd hand Mac Pro 2008 8 core and so far it’s been a big improvement over the G5. Faster, software/drivers up to date and not unimportant: a lot quieter:-)
Good luck fixing your machine!

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