View Full Version : PPC Mac graphics card issue?
May 19, 2011, 12:55 AM
Hey everyone... quick question regarding some issues with my graphics card (or so I think) on my PPC G5.
Just recently I've started to see some distortion/pixellation on the screen, as shown in these photos. First I started seeing it within the finder like this photo:
And later when I started a project in Motion (which I rarely use), it started appearing more often, within my project file:
Until now this was only an annoyance, but in Motion it won't render properly. I can see my preview window just fine, but when it renders it has the same distortion embedded into the video. You can see the difference here:
If I take the same project file to another computer, it renders out just fine.
A few notes – maybe 4-5 years ago I upgraded the original graphics card with an ATI X800XT. It's been working great until just now. Somewhere along the line the screw for that AGP slot has disappeared (no idea how...). But it's been like that for several years. The card sags a little bit but has always had a secure connection. I still somehow think it's related to this issue though. Unless anyone thinks differently?
I don't have the original card anymore to test it, unfortunately. If anyone knows how I could find out exactly what size screw to get for a replacement on the AGP slot I'd appreciate it. Or any other thoughts to what's causing this problem?
May 19, 2011, 03:18 AM
It could, possibly, just be the card going bad. It happens, unfortunately - things fail over time.
You could always buy a replacement card - preferably flashing a PC version, if possible, as graphics cards designed for (at least PPC) Macs seem to fetch outrageous prices for their age and performance - the largest reason I haven't upgraded my G4 or G5.
I'm not sure about the screws - I think there are screws you could just steal from a PCI slot that's unused, but I'd have to check, and my setup is a bit too much of a mess right now to really be able to do so. (Hate having such a tiny desk...) Give that a shot first, before spending any major money on a video card. (And don't buy too expensive, either - for some of these prices, you could have a fair chunk of cash toward a new or used Intel Mac.)
May 19, 2011, 03:56 AM
Yeah I'm really hoping that the card isn't going bad... but that looks likely. Because you're right, it won't be easy finding a cheap replacement. I just pulled the card out and used compressed air to clean it out really well. That actually cleaned up most (but not all) of the artifacts on the Finder, etc, but the rendering problem in Motion is still there.
I did manage to find some screws that should fit at my local Microcenter (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0326584). I'll pick those up tomorrow, but I doubt that will fix the issue now.
I'm having another issue with the graphics card that may or may not be related. I can't get a picture on my second monitor. I have two DVI monitors and an ADC-DVI adapter for the second. Unfortunately I don't have an ADC monitor to rule out the adapter, but when I connect the ADC-DVI 2nd monitor, the computer does recognize the display. I just don't see a picture. The display's "missing signal" warning goes away too, just leaving a black screen. I also don't get a picture when I hook up my primary monitor only through the ADC port.
How difficult is it to make a PC graphics card work in a G5? I'll have to look into that...
May 19, 2011, 05:02 AM
You'll need a PC with an AGP slot and, likely, a floppy drive to boot into a DOS environment to be able to flash a card for use in a G5. I think USB booting is fine, too, if you can get it to work... but honestly, I hear it's kinda troublesome.
I've heard of a way to flash a card in a G5 itself via sshing into the machine, but I don't know enough about this offhand. If you don't have a PC, this is worth a shot if someone else posts with the information, as I'm having a bit of trouble digging it up.
May 19, 2011, 06:21 AM
The method I use is to just turn on Screen Sharing in System Preferences. Install the card you want to flash and flash it with this, http://thomas.perrier.name/graphiccelerator.html.
This work in G4s, but I never tried in a G5. The only reason it may not work in a G5 is, it may need a fully functional GPU to boot. It's worth a try.
Radeon 9800 Pro's are cheap.
May 19, 2011, 06:53 AM
In matter of artifacts: remove card's heatsink and reapply thermal paste on GPU. If it won't help, last what you can try is "baking" method. It works for some Nvidia cards, it may for work for X800 -> just google "baking 8800".
Second issue seems to be adapter related. But try another DVI cable or DVI -> VGA adapter if you have one.
In matter of flashing cards: Screen Sharing won't work with G5. As bizzle said, AGP G5 will need functional card to boot. I've tried it and finally I had to use PCI card.
If you not familiar with flashing cards for Mac, do some reading first - to avoid ending with non-flashable card. Useful sites: http://themacelite.wikidot.com/ and http://strangedogs.proboards.com/ - second one requires registration.
If you want similar card (performance wise) with Dual DVI, I've seen FireGL X3 on ebay for $69. It can be easily flashed to X800.
May 20, 2011, 12:44 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. I'd like to avoid buying for a new card, but I'll look into flashing a FireGL X3 if nothing else seems to work.
I've looked into "baking" the card as was suggested... seems interesting. Might be worth a try. Just to clarify though –*you recommended searching about an 8800, which gives me lots of info regarding the 8800GTX. Is that the same/similar to my X800XT? I was reading some of the info there and found people saying you should make sure your card is recent enough that it wouldn't release harmful toxins into the oven. Can anyone confirm that it would be safe to try this with my X800XT?
If so I'll give it a shot. The second monitor issue isn't nearly as big of an issue, so I'll try this first, and then maybe try a new ADC-DVI adapter after that.
May 20, 2011, 07:54 AM
Just to clarify though –*you recommended searching about an 8800, which gives me lots of info regarding the 8800GTX. Is that the same/similar to my X800XT? I was reading some of the info there and found people saying you should make sure your card is recent enough that it wouldn't release harmful toxins into the oven. Can anyone confirm that it would be safe to try this with my X800XT?
Procedure is similar. I'd rather find this as an ultimate solution, when nothing "normal" will help :)
It could help when issue is loosen contact between memory or GPU and PCB of the card. Something like "homemade BGA reflowing" :)
In matter of toxic vapors: I think that smalll amount of them will come out of the card when baking, no matter if it's older or newer one. Some MR members had success with their 8800 and I've read one report here about the same with 6600 (from Power Mac Dual Core). But, once more, try everything except this before, or look for a card to flash.
I don't wanna be responsible for potential damage of your health ;)