The iMac saga has a happy ending

I finally got a message from the Apple Store that my iMac was ready to be picked up. I called them up to find out what they did and how much is cost. Originally, when I started this whole endeavor, I wanted them to replace the video card. First, they told me to wipe my OS which I did, and it didn’t solve the problem. This last time when I brought it in they suggested it might be the mainboard that is the problem. The mainboard was around $500, the video card was $200. I wasn’t willing to spend more than $200 on a 2011 computer, no matter how nice it was.

So I waited for them to do some more diagnostics and see if changing out the video card made a difference. I got a call about a week ago saying that they were going to swap out the video card, but they accidentally broke a part that connected to the entire internal computer frame, so they would need to replace that part and frame as well (at no charge to me). Yet another week later I finally had the computer back in my hands, with a new video card.

The only comment that the tech made to me was that they thought that the temperature sensor on the hard drive was broken because the HDD fan kept kicking on. When I put in my aftermarket SSD, it came with a digital temperature sensor that attached to the hard drive cable and transmitted temperature data from the SSD, since the SSD didn’t have a temp sensor built-in. I figured that the temp sensor had simply failed and ordered a new one with same-day shipping from Amazon (on a Saturday no less). A couple of my memory sticks had failed tests as well, so I ordered those as well.

Saturday night I get the memory installed, and then crack open the case to put in a new temp sensor only to find that Apple had disconnected my after-market temp sensor. That’s the whole reason it wasn’t working. They hadn’t hooked it back up. I re-attached it, put the computer back together and lo and behold, everything works like a dream. There are no graphics artifacts (thanks to the new video card) and the fans are silent. It cost $200 for the new video card, which felt like an OK price to pay for a few more years of life from this old beast.

I’m still sitting on a completely wiped OS, and instead of restoring from Time Machine, I decided to just go with it and start over fresh. It’s allowed me to get rid of a LOT of crap that was just clogging up my drive and frankly, completely un-needed. I’m a little frustrated that it took me weeks to get Apple to fix what I knew was wrong in the first place, but in the end I’m glad it’s fixed, and the saga is thankfully over.

The death of an iMac

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 5.06.13 PM.pngBack at the end of 2015 I blogged about my iMac starting to develop some graphics artifacts and being slow. Somehow, the graphics artifacts abated enough for me to get another couple years of life out of it. I managed to speed up the system with a shiny new SSD, which made it feel like a brand new computer.

This past week though the graphics artifacts got to the point where things are almost unusable. It appears to have something to do with heat, as I didn’t seem to have many issues in the summer, but now that it’s colder outside it’s struggling more and more. I have an appointment on Thursday to get an estimate on how much it will be to get it fixed.

I’m not sure how much it will be, but if it’s more than I want to bite off, then I’m back to making a decision about where to go next. New iMacs that have SSDs (and are of comparable performance) are $1500+. A Mac Mini might be an option, but I’d need to invest in a decent monitor as well. Plus, the Mac Mini isn’t really value priced when you add in a decently fast chip and SSD. And, before anyone asks, no, I’m probably never going Windows.

One option that I’m considering is using my 12″ Macbook as my replacement. It’s not a powerhouse, but I already own it. I’d need to figure out a nice docking set up, with a decent monitor, but it would probably be the most economical of all the solutions. The lack of ports beyond just USB-C isn’t a big deal, until you need to start hooking up a lot of devices, including video. I have a concern that transmitting video data, as well as other I/O might bottleneck the single port. One more thing to Google.

The silly thing is that I could probably go with a Chromebox, since 90% of what I do doesn’t involve anything that’s not online. If there was a full fledged version of Lightroom (not mobile or web app) for Chrome, I could go that way. However, for now I still need access to the full version (especially until the bugs are fixed with CC).

So anyone out there done the Macbook USB-C dock and have any advice on a good model? How about monitors that people like?