Friday, September 21, 2012

Headless iMac Adventure



About 4 years ago, I came into possession of a nice iMac. I was pretty stoked about it because it was 500 MHz model- pretty respectable for an iMac of that time period.
I had even heard of them running OSX!

I took it home, plugged it in, and turned it on. An unsettling "ZZZZZZZT!" emanated from the back of it and it lost power. Not to be dissuaded, I tried it again- this I looking into the back of the case through the vent slits. Same noise and I saw lightning bolts up to 6 inches long in there and it lost power.

I noticed this model had a sexy VGA port on the back of it and an idea began to form..

During the next couple hours of searching on the net, I came to the understanding that what I was imagining had been done before and it had a name. It had come to be known as the headless iMac.

I couldn't use the power supply after disassembly because safety is fairly important and the high voltage part was inseparable from the part that supports the logic board. So I needed to use an ATX power supply (gasp! Not a pc part!)
Unfortunately, another couple hours searching on the net revealed ONE site that told how to do it- in French. I don't speak French. Or read it. Enter translate.reference.com! Weeee!

After the translating and soldering, it worked.

And booted into OSX. That's right- OSX! The person before me had loaded OSX. Sadly, he did not read that you must update the bios before you bring it up to X or you get a blurry screen. Note the picture below- that is not a cam quality issue you are seeing on the screen (well some of it is)- the dock actually blurs toward the right like a comet.

Here is where my memory fuzzes a little in- terms of versions. I bought a disc on eBay to reload it to the old os 8.6, I think, so I could update my BIOS. I never got it to work and lost heart.

Now my lonely little headless Frankenstein iMac/PC sits on a shelf between 2 PowerPCs.

I know what you are thinking! Just update the BIOS. By 'just update the bios,' you are saying reload 8.6(because that bios update utility will not run on OSX- which I don't have the disk) update the bios THEN re reload OSX- which I don't have that disk either.
But one day...

1 comment:


  1. I heard Final Cut Pro X is coming out and I was thinking of swigging to Mac. I am wondering whether to buy an Imac repairs or a 15' MacBook pro. What are the differences in terms of speed of editing? I can't stand when the playback lags or it is slow, so I'm wondering if I will be happy with a MacBook pro. How much faster is the iMac? What is the life compared to a leading pc in terms of speed and performance? Any information is greatly appreciated!

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