Disappearing RAM

Back when I gave the Snow Leopard development build a test run, I noticed something weird that I chocked up to running beta software.

My G5’s RAM was wrong, listing as 6GB when it is actually 10GB.

I didn’t think much of it and went on working on other projects.

Booting back into Leopard, I wasn’t happy to see the RAM size remained incorrect. On top of it, I ordered a cheap 2x2GB set of sticks to further boost my G5. It was time to figure out what was going on, keeping in mind that I had not messed with my RAM at all. The only thing I had done was replace the thermal paste on the CPU.

Here’s my troubleshooting process:

1 – Open up the G5 and reseat the RAM. No fix on the first go.

2 – Reset the NVRAM. No fix either.

3 – Use a tiny bit of thermal surface cleaning solution that I use on CPUs when I put fresh thermal paste on to gently clean the edges of the sticks. Again, no fix.

4 – Spray a little canned air at the empty RAM slots. Again, no fix.

4 – In frustration, I reseated the RAM with a little more firmness. All is well. For now.

My Power Mac is showing 12GB of RAM now (which is what I have in it). Another 4GB is on the way, so I will max this ancient machine out shortly. The answer is… there is no answer. Maybe this G5 is old and near death. We’ll see.

— Nathan

Mission Accomplished: New Thermal Paste on G5

Today, I launched the boring and meticulous process to put new thermal paste on my dual core G5.

I was going to take a step by step photo process, but it was enough for me just to focus on cataloguing each screw and keeping things tidy. I dusted out the machine while I was at it, although it wasn’t in a bad state after the most recent cleaning. The hardest part is that little rubber/plastic screw on the “G5” aluminum shield. Removing it is a pain and it will ruin your warranty.

Of course, if you still have a warranty on your machine, I’d love to hear that story.

Every time I tinker with my G5, I appreciate Apple’s design. It’s beautiful, expertly put together, built like a tank. Things are held together by more than just a couple of dinky screws or rubber grommets (from my Dell experiences). To get access to the CPU, you easily have to unscrew 25-ish screws, which is insane but also kind of awesome.

After the new thermal paste, I booted it up to make sure I didn’t screw in something wrong and weird.

All is well.

My next project will be to replace 2-3 fans that are particularly noisy with aftermarket quiet options. I saw this idea on Facebook and assumed that the G5 used proprietary fans. While aftermarket fans will blow at full RPM, they will run quieter, which would be… again… awesome.

Following that, I’m going to try two Samsung 840 EVOs in RAID0 just for giggles.

— Nathan

Fast/Slow

Well, hello, and Happy New Year!

I’ve been absent from the blog and site for a bit, as I have been absolutely swamped with a trip overseas, classwork, and life. My G5 has been plugged in but neglected. (I’ve heard that’s not kind on the electric bills.) In the midst of some reorganization of the workshop and other projects, I finally reconnected the G5 to a monitor and fired it up to load the latest TenFourFox beta.

Look for more content, and thank you for the comments, especially those I’ve missed lately.

Here’s a quick fun tidbit:

Fast and Slow is free utility for your PPC Mac.

Fast and Slow is a helpful little Mac utility to give just a bit of oomph when you need it.

What does it do? There is no magic code or gimmicky trick in this. Rather, Fast and Slow uses the built in Energy Saver options on your G5. One option is to lower your CPU speed to save power. The other option is to crank the CPU up full blast. The little utility makes it quicker and simpler to switch between the two modes on the fly as you edit your latest album in Garageband and then work on an html document in TextEdit or something.

My download link stopped working recently, but it’s now been fixed.

Is there a downside to always running your Mac in the “fast” mode? I don’t think so. I suppose power usage would be higher if you are running your G5 24/7.

I do remember a similar but slightly different utility for the Mac which uses the underlying UNIX based functions of Mac OS X to force your Mac to focus on a chosen app, ignoring or pausing all other background tasks. If I find it, I’ll pass it on as another way to squeeze a little juice out of your Mac if you are doing heavy processing tasks.

See you soon.

— Nathan

The G5’s Hidden Fan

Dan Knight has taken Low End Mac to Facebook with some groups there that both over-populate my feed with random old school Mac stuff but also bring great joy to readers and enthusiasts like myself. Definitely subscribe if you are interested.

A nugget that crossed my feed this week was this excellent article on how to access the hidden fan on your PowerMac G5. Granted, it’s not actually hidden per se, but if you clean your G5, you may miss this one. It’s a clever little engineering nugget and a good idea to at least take a look if you are having cooling issues.

Read more: http://thehouseofmoth.com/a-little-known-fact-about-the-power-mac-g5-and-what-to-do-with-this-information/

— Nathan

Recommended Read: “Apple Macintosh G5: Flame On”

I highly recommend the following article which walks through an old Power Mac G5 in its capabilities and context in its day – why it was both an intriguing machine, a power hungry one, and a sign of imminent changes at Apple. Excellent, enjoyable read.

http://women-and-dreams.blogspot.com/2017/11/apple-power-macintosh-g5-flame-on.html

— Nathan