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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Found an iMac lying around, but does it do anything?


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Mikey375

 
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Howdy--
I'm kind of a neophyte on these forums, so hopefully someone will take pity on me. I somewhat fortuitously found an iMac kicking around the lobby of my building-- its previous owner bundled it neatly with the cord, as well as with little screws freshly taped to the back. I've got a lot of faith in humankind and have deduced that it's not totally trash, but I'm not sure what to do with it. I plugged it in, and it turns on, but it only shows a grey screen before going black. I know that it's possible to use iMacs as monitors for laptops, but does anyone know how I can find out more about its functionality before buying a bunch of expensive cables that will turn out to be useless? It looks like its previous owner messed with the bottom of the screen, where Google has told me the computer's memory may be altered. I'm not totally averse to spending fifteen bucks on a cable, but I've read some stuff about how certain iMacs requires a Belkin’s Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable to work with certain laptops (I have a 2009 MacBook.) I don't even know what year this bad boy is from (though it looks superficially like the one Apple's currently selling).
My thoughts are:
1. Plug in a mouse/keyboard to try and see if it's really just the display that's broken by lots of random clicking and listening to hear if anything happens.
2. Buy a bunch of expensive cables and Devil take the hindmost.

If anyone has any better suggestions on a way to figure out if this iMac works or at least what type it is, it'd be greatly appreciated!
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harryb2448

 
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G'day and welcome to the forums.

Depends what model iMac, however from what you say sounds like it has been dumped. If it is a G4 model not worth the $15.00 alas.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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dtravis7

 
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Can you describe the iMac a bit better? Is it the old plastic one with a CRT monitor? More modern one where the monitor is the computer and LCD? Can you take a pic if nothing else? If it has a stand on the bottom, there should be a label with some info.
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Mikey375

 
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Thanks for the reply! I've Googled, and I believe it's a G5 model...thing. At least, it doesn't have the round base like the G4, and it is apparently a late 2006 iMac (hurray for Google and checking the EMC number). That would make it of the Intel Core 2 Duo generation. Still not worth fifteen bucks? Or should I just assume it's been stripped? (If that's a thing for computers like it is for cars...) Thanks!
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Like I said there should be a label on the Stand's bottom. It will give you specs. If it's Intel, it's worth messing with.
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Mikey375

 
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God bless you and all that sail in you. I guess I'll spring for a cable. Any idea on what the memory thing I mentioned would mean? As I said before, the spot on the underside of the screen which is where you can get at the computer's innards had been messed with... there were little plastic pieces sticking out that looked like they used to hold something in place. (Clearly, my examination was a little reminiscent of Kubrick's chimps) Any intuition on whether this means, say, that everything important or functional has been ripped out of the computer and it is but a meaningless shell of its old self?
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Underneath the screen is a little panel you can take off to get to the RAM. if there are plastic "rings" sticking out, I'd guess that the previous owner kept the RAM, and you'll have to find some.

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cb3rob

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey375 View Post
God bless you and all that sail in you. I guess I'll spring for a cable. Any idea on what the memory thing I mentioned would mean? As I said before, the spot on the underside of the screen which is where you can get at the computer's innards had been messed with... there were little plastic pieces sticking out that looked like they used to hold something in place. (Clearly, my examination was a little reminiscent of Kubrick's chimps) Any intuition on whether this means, say, that everything important or functional has been ripped out of the computer and it is but a meaningless shell of its old self?
the screws taped to the back are probably to hold the harddisk in place
any normal sata-II pc disk will do on the g5 (there could be a maximum size, not sure on that one)

the gray screen coming on and turning off again indicates that it's doing something at least (powersupply and screen work ... probably no ram

the G5 imac (which is what it sounds like) opens with 3 screws at the bottom (there are also a few holes which are not screws, look for the screws)... turn the screws in the usual direction for un-screwing until they go no further, and pull the "screen" part by the bottom towards you. it will seperate from the back and the foot.

YouTube - iMac G5 Repair - Front Case Removal


the harddisk if it's missing needs to be formatted with "apple file system" (not FAT or GPT) if it's a G5 and with GPT if it's an intel based mac (on the macos installer dvd click the "utilities" thing in the gray bar above and then the disk utility, then the tab for file systems etc and change it (not the main screen/erase) or macos installer will act like there are no hard drives at all.

ram: unregistered unbuffered DDR PC3200 dimms without ECC (pc2700 works too, although it will beep a few times a couple of times if you mix them up and then "learn"), max 1gb per dimm, probably bigger ones than 1GB each work too.

who wants intel cpus anyway, they're just cheaper to buy and more widely available, and i guess ibm didn't wanna sell their cpu factory to apple, or stop making their power7 systems just so apple could buy -all- the cpus they make (there is ofcourse REAL hardware, and consumer hardware, although i have to admit that we're filling our datacenters with macminis too nowadays and a 100 euro discount per CPU really doesn't matter much (or enough) to choose intel rather than powerpc (plus, the intel cpu has been available as a plugin board for the G5 macs during the development of macosx for the current intel based products, so if you WANT to run intel-only stuff and not emulate the cpu, you can still just try to find one of those)

i've seen the gray screen flashing up and then turning off without beeping on mine, which works fine, while replacing the harddisk and checking if it would run with other types or ram (no, it doesn't work with ECC dimms from our IBM servers , so your screen and powersupply seem to work anyway.. probably just missing ram....

if after fixing that issue a harddisk icon shows up on your screen and you've checked that there is a harddisk in it, you just need to create the proper partition table on it and install macos (after creating the partition table and a reboot the macos installer will suddenly "find" the disk, as with disks pulled from pcs and completely empty/randomized/new ones it blatantly claims there are no disks to install to

as to using the imacs as a monitor for other computers, i've never seen such "cables", although if your mac works you can ofcourse use VNC or remote desktop or or other software, whatever and do it over the network (use either computer as a monitor for the other one).

can't find any "video in"... just "mini vga" which is an output port (to another monitor, haven't checked yet if it like the macminis can drive 2 monitors with different output or 2 monitors wht the same output, as when i plugged in the composite video converter it changed the resolution of the build-in screen, which, kinda indicates that it also displays the same on both (although i haven't checked it any further than plugging in the converter) anyway, all of those solutions require your mac to work and run some sort of software first...
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Mikey375

 
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You kind of lost me in the middle, there, but thanks! One quick question in case you're actually reading: per iMac G5 (iSight): Memory specifications, there's RAM (I think) in this model that can't be removed, so shouldn't it still be working? And I removed the cover like the video shows and, well, "glanced around" is probably the most accurate description, but it looks like there were still those little green RAM stick things in place at the base of the computer, those those little plastic things are still sticking out as though memory was removed. So should I just assume that I'm misunderstanding everything I'm reading online, that the RAM is missing, and that I should throw caution to the wind and just buy some memory...stuff online?
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dtravis7

 
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If it's the iSight G5 which I am sure it is due to the RAM on the bottom, there is 512 MG installed on the Logicboard. It should do something.

When you say it gets a gray screen and goes black, are you saying it's shutting down after the gray screen?
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Mikey375

 
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I think that it's still on because it still makes whir-y, computer think-y noises, and it stops that when I hit the power button again. I tried sticking a CD in the drive because I was like, "What if it's only the display that's not working?!", thinking that it might start playing the CD automatically so I'd know if it was just the display that was busted, but no dice.
When I tried opening it up, it looked like someone had definitely been there before, though-- the plastic cover thingy that youtube videos has assured me should be there has definitely been ripped off and the iSight cables were disconnected. Any advice on ways to tell whether it still does anything?
(And thanks so much for the advice! I'm flabbergasted that so many people are willing to help me with what I'm sure is pretty facile for people with your guys' level of expertise.)
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so it boots, hits a grey screen, then turns off? do you see an apple logo, or any kind of logo appear before it shuts off? does it shut off abruptly?

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Mikey375

 
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No Apple logo; it just rather abruptly goes dark. Significant?
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as it goes dark, if you listen to it, does it sound like it just powers off? if so, sounds like a PSU fault.

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