What Causes a Logic Board to Crash on a Mac?

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One of the advantages of the Apple Macintosh computer is that all models are built to the same specifications by one manufacturer. In Windows-based PCs, many different manufacturers build them, meaning they may not all have the same standards. This tends to make Macs more stable than PCs, but problems still can develop. One of the worst problems possible is a crashed logic board. This board is the brain of the Mac and every other component hooks into it, directly or indirectly. Several things can make this happen.

Age

  • Although many people use their Macs way beyond the time period Apple may have intended, logic boards most often hold up. The original Macintosh, released in 1984 --- the Ice Age in computer terms --- often still works well today. However, as your Mac gets older, there's more of a chance of your computer's logic board will pack it in. Logic boards are very delicate circuit boards essentially on a plastic base. Many circuits are soldered to each board. Age and use may break the logic board or even one or two of its circuit connections. If you can find a replacement, however, you generally can install a new logic board to make your older Mac work.

Flaws

  • Occasionally, a logic board comes off the assembly line with one or more flaws in it. These may not show up immediately. You may use your Mac for a few months or many years without the flaws causing major problems. However, the flaw may eventually make itself known and shut down your Mac. There generally is no fix for this except to replace the logic board.

Upgrades

  • Some Macs have the central processing unit as an integral component of the logic board. In other cases, especially the tower Mac models, the CPU generally is a separate component. This means you can change or upgrade the CPU. This can cause problems with your logic board, especially if the CPU isn't made by Apple. If you put in a much faster CPU, it can cause problems with its connection to the older logic board. Other upgrades, such as video cards in these tower Macs, also can cause problems with your logic board.

Damage

  • The most obvious reason for a Mac's logic board to crash is damage. This can happen if you drop your Mac, especially if it's a laptop model. You may cause damage to the logic board of a tower Mac, too, if you're not quite careful while working inside the computer. If, for example, you don't ground the computer and yourself properly before working on the internal components of your Mac, a static electric surge can fry a logic board.

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