The PowerMac G5 Quad arrived yesterday. The first time it was powered on, the motherboard failure LEDs glowed red. I cycled it, with no further trouble. Here’s my procedure when I get a new computer; I like to know that everything is rock-solid, before committing to a new system.
1. Backup everything on the existing computer to at least two other locations. In addition, don’t “whack” the original system until at least a few trouble-free days have passed with the new system.
2. Run Apple’s hardware test on the new computer before making any changes by booting off the install CD (hold down the option key). Be patient, it’s very slow to boot off the DVD. Do the hardware test before installing or changing anything. That way, if a problem shows up, you’ll know whether it was defective out of the box, or something you caused.
3. Install any additional RAM or hard disks. Run the hardware test again, preferably the extended test. Note that you still haven’t booted the machine off the hard disk.
4. Install any additional PCI cards. Boot the machine and verify that everything runs smoothly. Apple’s beautifully-done startup sequence will ask if you want to transfer files from an existing computer—defer this for now. If you’ve installed additional internal and/or external hard disks, set them up as desired (eg a striped RAID).
5. Run the disktester check-integrity command overnight on your volume(s) to make sure they are completely reliable. This step can be skipped with minimal risk for most users, but if you’ve installed a 3rd-party PCI card and/or RAID volume, it is highly advisable to at least run a brief test.
6. Now you are ready to sync up with your former system. The best way to do this is to run Migration Assistant (found in Applications => Utilities). This will transfer your preferences, applications, etc from your boot drive. Additional items should be transferred manually as desired.
7. Start using the new system. Remember, treat the old one as “read only” for at least a few days until you are sure that the new system is 100% reliable. These few days may also be valuable in realizing whether you missed anything!
In my case, I removed the stock 512MB RAM and installed 8GB of ECC memory (see also the note in yesterday’s entry). I also removed the stock 250GB hard drive and installed two Maxtor 7V300F0 300GB hard drives (discussed in the 10 Feb entry).