apple don't care.
September 12, 2007 6:00 PM   Subscribe

the optical drive in my powerbook G4 has separated, sayeth the genuis, but i didn't buy applecare for my now 19-month old computer. there seem to be a few options, but i don't know which to try. advice, please!

i bought a PowerBook G4 in feb 2006 (the same month the MacBooks came out). i did not buy applecare.

last night my computer made weird chainsaw noises for a while while i watched a DVD. i disregarded these noises. today, for no reason, my laptop spat out that DVD, although i was not trying to play it. horrifyingly, the laptop had carved a perfect circle into the underside of my (brand new) DVD (from an expensive box set). grrrrr.

now the laptop spits out all DVDs, and the so-called geniuses tell me my "optical drive has separated". since i bought my computer 19 months ago, sans applecare, this will cost $700 to fix.

the options seem to be:

1. pay ~$700 to get this fixed at the apple store (not great).

2. try to buy unregistered, 7-19 month-old north american applecare from someone off ebay/craigslist/etc, and register it on my laptop.
some research indicates that this may be tricky- applecare has a code that shows apple when it was bought, but i feel vulnerable to scammy sellers. this option only costs ~$300, though, which is better.

3. go to a repair place and get it fixed, maybe using non-apple parts. (is there an especially good place/fixer in toronto that anyone could recommend?)

4. i dunno what else- call apple and complain? the laptop is in ok shape- a few dings on the case. i spilled about a tablespoon of juice on the hinge last month but i don't think any got inside and it didn't seem to do any harm. think i can get them to fix it? what should i say?

hive, i dunno what to do, and would appreciate insight, tips, other options i've not considered, and gentle reassurance.
thank you.
posted by twistofrhyme to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Replace the drive third-party. I cannot vouch for any particular vendor, but it's cheap.
posted by ezola at 6:10 PM on September 12, 2007

Replacing an optical drive yourself doesn't look like the easiest process, but it's certainly doable if you're good at following instructions, are gentle and don't get too wigged out about dissecting your computer.

I've replaced the hard drive in my Macbook Pro, which is about as complicated. It's a little stressful at points, but not too bad.
posted by willnot at 6:58 PM on September 12, 2007

Sorry - thought you said you had a Macbook. You can probably find an install guide for a PowerBook too. If anything, I imagine it'd actually be a lot easier to do. I had my old PowerBook open a ton, so it's still an option.
posted by willnot at 7:01 PM on September 12, 2007

I messed up my PowerBook when I replaced its drive a few years ago. There are these hooks that hold the keyboard/wristpad areas to the bottom part of the mac. The new DVD worked great, but there was always a small gap between the top and bottom. Just be careful.

If you don't want to risk it, I'm sure there must be several independent fixit guys in Toronto that could do the job for much less than Apple will charge.
posted by birdherder at 8:49 PM on September 12, 2007

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