Apple Mac hardware failures… (hard drive, power supply, video card) Why so high?

Here’s a question for you all…

Why is the apparent rate of hardware failure higher with Apple Mac products than with Microsoft Windows based products?

Homeland Secure IT’s typical client is a Windows based small or medium business, and a little less than 5% of those businesses and individuals have Apple Mac products that we support as well. A larger number have iPads and iPhones, but I won’t touch on those in this blog, I’ll focus on the Apple Mac desktops and notebooks.

So far this year, we have seen a higher rate of component failure in Mac products than we have in all the hundreds of PCs and Servers we support that are from various manufacturers such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, NexLink, etc.

We have had a slew of Macs with total hard drive failures.  Western Digital (WD) seems to comprise the majority of those drives as I recall.  Not just one model in particular, but notebooks and desktops.

We also have had Mac power supply and video card issues.

All these problems totally cripple the computer in all but a few cases, and labor is much more intensive on many of these products than they are on a typical Windows based PC.

For instance, you should try removing the power supply from a big G5 Mac. This is not a 15 minute procedure like it is on those Windows based computers. And have you priced one of these power supplies? We can get some outstanding power supplies for a typical PC for less than 60 dollars. Not the case with the Apple power supply at all.

A hard drive replacement in an HP desktop is physically accomplished in 10 minutes, and to reload Windows 7, patch it all up with updates, apply all support software like Adobe and Java products will take another 30-40 minutes.

On an Apple iMac 20″ with the black plastic back, you have to pull the front screen cover off with appropriate suction cups, take the LCD panel out, transfer mounting components and temp sensors to the new drive, load the OS and updates… We’re talking about nearly twice as long, and those who rush this job or attempt it at home end up scratching the screen covers, breaking LCD panels or damaging cables that go to them.

But I digress…  Let’s get back to the original question. Why are Apple Mac products failing at a higher rate than inexpensive Windows based PCs?  If only 5% of our business is comprised of Apple products, why are those 5% of machines exceeding the failure rate of the less expensive Windows alternative machines?

Scouring the forums and blogs results in finding people with the same experiences…

This has me curious enough to track it carefully going forward, so maybe I will post a follow-up, but until then, I would love to hear your input.

If you happen to be in the Greenville or Upstate SC area and require Apple Mac service, please give us a call at 864.990.4748 or email info@homelandsecureit.com. We are less expensive than many alternatives and provide fast and reliable service!


Comments 5

  1. A G5?! Do you know how old those are now?? I wouldn’t think it’s uncommon for a power supply to fail in a 7-8 year old Wintel box, if not earlier.


    I’m not sure why you’ve experienced a higher failure rate than Wintel hardware, but it’s an interesting observation. My experience with non-commercial Mac usage with myself and in my circle of friends and acquaintances has been the opposite. As far as the difficulty of replacing the iMac stuff, well that’s just the obvious trade off with the all-in-one architecture, and it’s definitely not for the “faint of heart” for sure.

  2. Jonathan, thanks for your input… Oh yes, I realize how old the G5s are, I was using them as a great example of how difficult Apple has made it to replace a component that has a higher failure rate than many other parts in a computer….

    We work on other All-In-One offerings, like Lenovo, HP, etc, but they are all, without exception easy to remove the back and get to the components. Well at least the few we have actually had to work on.

    It is as if Apple has gone out of their way to make the computer less than easy to maintain =)

    1. Thank you for your input. I agree to a point. We are a service provider and repair both Macs and PCs, and in our experience, the Apple Macs are indeed having more frequent failures than their Windows PC counterparts from manufacturers across the board, from HP to Dell, Lenovo to Toshiba. More troubling is the cost associated with those repairs.

      As Apple market share continues to grow, we will be able to make a better, uhmmm Apple for Apple comparison, but with only about 5% of the market, and less than 5% of our business being Apple Mac related, it is not a level playing field.

  3. Hi John,

    I was searching the web for statistic data in regards to reliability of computers and failure rates. I am a small expert on computer hardware. Your blog is interesting. Out of my experience I think you have to keep in mind the following facts:

    Most consumer do not have sufficient knowledge about hardware and will buy the cheapest product. Thumb of rule, if you buy consumer grade products, you end up with a high chance of getting chunk. I am sure the WD drives you have come across are those. You will seldom find a enterprise grade drive that crapped out on you, not to mention SCSI drives. Reliability cost money and if you have not payed up front, chances are that you have to pay the price later along the line.

    Regarding your experience with the iMacs, – of course you have issues with them. They are designed Not to be user friendly on swapping parts. Apple does not want that you repair stuff. They want you to throw this thing away and buy new. Of course you will have problems.
    You will never experience that with a HP 820Z Workstation grade computer..

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