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Old Oct 25, 2009, 12:41 AM   #1
halomojo
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Screen Distorting, Possible Dead Video Card. Dual 2.7 G5

I've had my Dual 2.7 G5 since early 2005. It has been a great computer for me over the years. Noisy as hell, but great. A month ago my screen started to distort every now and then (see pics below). The computer would freeze when the screen distorted. Then when I would reboot, the distortion and artifacting would occur even at the grey boot up screen and lock up. With enough reboots it would finally get back to the desktop and be fine for a few days. This no longer works anymore. I haven't successfully booted the computer in over 2 weeks. After the distorted grey boot screen it will go black and all you see is the artifacts, never getting to the desktop. Is this a dead video card? I'm running the stock AGP Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT.





If this is a dead video card, do you have any suggestions for the best AGP replacement. I'm looking for something powerful. All I'm finding are very pricey 256mb cards. I'm willing to pay for a powerful card. Thanks very much. I don't want to give up on this G5!
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 01:12 AM   #2
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Did you ever blow out the dust from the card?

Apple should have made note of this, I took an Apple 6800 apart once and all of the cooling fins were blocked off by dust.

You can try cleaning it out, but I would say you have a 95% chance that you need a new card.

Are you in Los Angeles by any chance?
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 01:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by The Rominator View Post
Did you ever blow out the dust from the card?

Apple should have made note of this, I took an Apple 6800 apart once and all of the cooling fins were blocked off by dust.

You can try cleaning it out, but I would say you have a 95% chance that you need a new card.

Are you in Los Angeles by any chance?
Hey, I should have mentioned that I did pull the card out a few weeks ago and cleaned out all of the dust; there was a LOT! Once I did that, the computer booted up and was running fine for a few days. Then the same problems arose, and it won't get past the grey boot screen anymore. Been that way for about two weeks now. I'm on the east coast unfortunately. Thanks for the quick reply. Trying to get this figured out soon. I've got some recording to do this week.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 01:40 AM   #4
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There are only 2 cards worth considering.

An Nvidia 6800 like you had, or an Nvidia 7800GS.

Of the 6800s you can either buy a used Apple one ($200 or so) or a flashed PC one ($120 and up). I actually posted a few days ago about new PC ones that you can buy from Tiger Direct and flash yourself. Unfortunately, you need a PC with an AGP slot to do this.

The only real issue with the flashed ones is that they don't run a 30" screen, while the Apple ones can run 2 of them. They all suffer from running hot and dying young. Of the flashed ones, there are ones with Dual DVI, or DVI and VGA.

The best card ever made for an AGP Mac is one called the 7800GS. These are flashed cards as Apple never made or sold them.The big minus is that 99% of them only have a single DVI port with a VGA for 2nd port. They are cooler running than a 6800 and a wonderful card. The DVI port can easily run a 30" display. These are around $200 flashed on Ebay. With access to an AGP PC you can make one yourself for around $100.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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I saw the Nvidia 7800 GS on ebay and thought it looked pretty good. I also saw the 7800 GT on there as well and couldn't find any info on the differences. The GT was about $60 cheaper. Any ideas?

So the "GS" is a flashed card. Will I need to do anything special to install it or is it just plug in and it works. I do not have access to a pc with an agp slot unfortunately.

And lastly, I'm assuming that with all of the video card advise, you think the video card is whats causing the computer to lock up. Thanks so much for all of the valuable info!
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 11:42 AM   #6
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Have you tried pulling the graphics card out and then tried booting it? Does it boot up fine then? Then you can rule out the graphics card.

The dual 2.7ghz G5s were of course liquid-cooled and just searching the Mac Pro, Power Mac forums, there are a few threads on the first page dealing with the leaking issued plagued with them. Check for any corrosion or leaks on the bottom of the G5.

You mentioned it being noisy from the fans? That's usually one clue to leaking issues.....
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 02:05 PM   #7
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Have you tried pulling the graphics card out and then tried booting it? Does it boot up fine then? Then you can rule out the graphics card.

The dual 2.7ghz G5s were of course liquid-cooled and just searching the Mac Pro, Power Mac forums, there are a few threads on the first page dealing with the leaking issued plagued with them. Check for any corrosion or leaks on the bottom of the G5.

You mentioned it being noisy from the fans? That's usually one clue to leaking issues.....
Thanks for the reply. My Dual 2.7 is not liquid cooled, it's from early 2005 before they introduced the liquid cooled models, so the problem is not related to anything leaking. That sounds like a good idea to pull the video card and then try to boot up. I thought about it, but I didn't know if it's ok to run the computer without a video card. Is there a risk of damage by booting without a video card?
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 03:44 PM   #8
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That's strange, I thought the 2.7ghz were liquid-cooled since the traditional air-cooling method wasn't sufficient for those hot CPU's .


But yes, you can run the G5 without a graphics card without causing any damage. I ran mine all week while my new card was in the mail. I used VNC/screen sharing to control the G5 via my Powerbook.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 04:36 PM   #9
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That's strange, I thought the 2.7ghz were liquid-cooled since the traditional air-cooling method wasn't sufficient for those hot CPU's .


But yes, you can run the G5 without a graphics card without causing any damage. I ran mine all week while my new card was in the mail. I used VNC/screen sharing to control the G5 via my Powerbook.
I'm not positive if Liquid Cooling hadn't been introduced to the G5's by that point, but my 2.7 certainly doesn't have it. I don't really think the fans are sufficient to cool those hot CPUs haha. Hence the CRAZY loud fans constantly speeding up and down.

I just had a dumb realization that if I try to run my G5 without the graphics card, I'll have no way to hook my monitor up. I don't have screen sharing enabled on the G5 either, so I don't know how I would get that up and running. I guess I'll just pick up a new card.

Any advice on the 7800 GS vs 7800 GT thing? Are they the same? I couldn't find any info on it. Thanks!

Last edited by halomojo; Oct 25, 2009 at 05:21 PM.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 07:12 PM   #10
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The REAL 7800GTs are all PCIE...ie, won't work on your AGP machine.

The Microsoft of the flashed cards world, Applemecanix, does have a 7800GS that they misrepresent as an AGP GT, but their lies don't add the missing 4 pixel pipelines and vertex shader. So, I would avoid them on principle. There are other smaller places selling the GS cards on Ebay, buy from them.

None of them has any special knowledge or edge on these cards, the ROM was originally written by myself and the current public one was fine-tuned by some friends of mine at Macelite.

There is a quaint gentleman who runs "old Macs" who you might try. His ads are a fun read. There is also Bruinmacs who is a friend of mine putting himself through UCLA with card sales. There are even folks who have retired a G5 and are selling their 7800GS that was previously flashed.

Barefeats has an article about the 7800GS. The one he tested was the one I originally did and sent him, the current ones are even better.Just remember it only has one DVI and one VGA output. (ie, not good if you have 2 @ Apple displays)
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 08:46 PM   #11
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Hmmm. I had been looking at the Applemecanix listings on ebay, they have consistent high feedback and a 90 day warranty which is hard to beat, but maybe I'll try to buy from someone else based on your advice.

I'm only running a single 24" monitor and I don't plan on expanding, so I should be fine with the one DVI port. I'll keep looking around though. I'm really hoping the video card is the issue. Thanks!
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 09:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I'm not positive if Liquid Cooling hadn't been introduced to the G5's by that point, but my 2.7 certainly doesn't have it. Thanks!
All 2.7ghz Powermac G5s were liquid cooled. There is no such thing as a fan cooled 2.7. The 2.5 dual processor, the 2.7 dual processor and the 2.5 quad core were all liquid cooled Powermacs.

I'd clean your card again and the video slots. Also you can start it up in target disc mode and firewire it into another mac for diagnositics.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 11:16 PM   #13
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All 2.7ghz Powermac G5s were liquid cooled. There is no such thing as a fan cooled 2.7. The 2.5 dual processor, the 2.7 dual processor and the 2.5 quad core were all liquid cooled Powermacs.

I'd clean your card again and the video slots. Also you can start it up in target disc mode and firewire it into another mac for diagnositics.
Hmmm, didn't realize there was a liquid cooling system in there. Just lots of noisy fans haha. Looks like this:


I guess the liquid cooling under the "G5" cover. Other liquid cooling systems that I've seen went around the whole computer, so the fact that there were fans both in front of and behind the processor led me to believe that it was fan cooled. Thanks for the correction though

There are no signs of leaking or anything like that. If I run my G5 in target mode is there a way to check to see if the video card is shot? I'm still leaning towards the nVidia 7800 GS, just looking for a reputable seller.
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 12:16 AM   #14
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Keep an eye out for leakage.

You will be happy with the 7800GS. We were very lucky...Apple included the device id in it's drivers. Why, I never knew. But once we saw it in there, we made the card work. Bruinmacs, Yoyomarv, or Old Macs. They are all solid folks doing an honest days work. Applemacanix has never posted a helpful bit of info for the community. They are only good at helping themselves. (hence the MS comparison)
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 01:09 AM   #15
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Keep an eye out for leakage.

You will be happy with the 7800GS. We were very lucky...Apple included the device id in it's drivers. Why, I never knew. But once we saw it in there, we made the card work. Bruinmacs, Yoyomarv, or Old Macs. They are all solid folks doing an honest days work. Applemacanix has never posted a helpful bit of info for the community. They are only good at helping themselves. (hence the MS comparison)
Right on! Thanks again for all of your help. I'll check those sellers out.

I guess I've got one last question. Is the 7800gs really that much better than the 6800 GT (the card I've been running that just died recently)? I just don't know if it's better to use a non flashed 6800 GT as opposed to the 7800. Thanks.

Last edited by halomojo; Oct 26, 2009 at 01:20 AM.
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 01:37 AM   #16
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It is about 10-20% faster, but only in places that wring 3D out of a card.

For day to day stuff, you won't notice a difference.

Ebay has many 6800 pulls from retired G5s.

Some folks ask $300-400 but if you look hard you can find the real deals for $200 or so.

Be very sure the card works 100% when you get it, and clean it out.

The 6800s run about 10 C hotter than a 7800, hence their shorter life. The Apple 6800 used a nicer dual slot version of fan, most PC 6800s used a single slot, except for Ultra cards. The difference between a 6800GT and an Ultr is negligble, a few Mhz in clock speed, that's it.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 06:46 PM   #17
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So, bad news. Here was my process this afternoon.

1. I got the 7800gs, installed it, booted up. The weird screen artifacts were gone! I was super excited and ready to see that long lost desktop of mine.
2. It just sat there at that damn grey boot screen with the apple. No spinning gear.
3. I let it sit at the grey screen for about 10 minutes, the fans started getting really really loud.
4. I held the power button to turn it off and then waited a few minutes.
5. Booted back up, and now the damn artifacts that are in the pictures above are back!

Where do I go from here? I'm at a loss.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 09:23 PM   #18
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Checked for CPU coolant leaks lately?
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 10:11 PM   #19
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Are you really saying that the artifacts are identical?

If so, you certainly didn't need the 7800GS. I would return it to whomever you bought it from.

Did you reset the PRAM?

Sometimes a fresh 7800GS install benefits from this.

If the artifacts are truly the same, you obviously have a much bigger problem, though I suppose you should rule out the OS install.

Do you have another Mac you could use in firewire mode to start from?

Any chance you could try another display?

Need to be scientific nd rule out ll the things it ISN'T.
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 02:14 AM   #20
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No signs of coolant leak from what I can tell.

As far as the artifacts being the same, they are not. Here is what happened:

1. With the 7800 when I boot there are no distortions in the screen.
2. It will stall at the grey screen with the apple (no gear spinning)
3. Fans will increase in speed and volume. So i shut it off.
4. Now when I reboot, the distortions are back but they are different than the ones that show up while using my original 6800 GT
5. If I reset the PRAM the distortions will go away on the 7800 (not on the 6800) but it will still stall at the grey screen.
6. I can boot to the Hardware Test/Install disk by holding option
7. I ran the extended hardware test and everything passed except "Video Ram"

***ERROR*CODE***ERROR*CODE***
2NVD/1/4 2150
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 02:33 AM   #21
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So...I think 2150 is the ROM number we did for the 7800GS.

Sounds like a bad card.

I'd return it.

Applemecanix I'm gonna guess?
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 02:48 AM   #22
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So...I think 2150 is the ROM number we did for the 7800GS.

Sounds like a bad card.

I'd return it.

Applemecanix I'm gonna guess?
Yep, you guessed it. I looked around at the other sellers that you suggested and no one had a 7800GS AGP card, except one guy in New Zealand. I figured the 90 day warranty plus stateside shipping would be worth it if something like this arose. I actually couldn't even find "old Macs." Everyone has those damn cheaper/more powerful PCI cards which I wish I could use haha. I guess I'll send it back to them and see what the deal is. I still have my fingers crossed that it's the video card and not something more serious.
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 03:30 AM   #23
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Hey, I thought of something else.

See if they did anything to disable the 3 & 11 pins.

Something like this:

http://themacelite.wikidot.com/pins-3-and-11

If they did, undo it. (unless they cut circuit board)

It is only needed for G4s, but scattergun sales tactics might have them disabling all cards.
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 10:34 AM   #24
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The bit about those two pins were mentioned in the instructions. It said that pins 3 & 11 would be covered with scotch tape so that the card would work with G4's. If using with a G5 you remove the tape on those two pins, which I did SUPPER carefully haha. But still nothing. Maybe there is some residue on the card still where the tape was. I made sure it was pretty clean though. The good news is that most of the time when I boot it now, there isn't any artifacting. I can't return the card until Monday, so I guess I've got some time to try a bunch of things.
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