2011 Mini - Corrupt graphics chip?

super_kev

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2005
343
2
USofA
Every time I log into my Mini, the screen is black except for where there is activity (mouse, scrolling iTunes info window, temp, etc). This started happening about six months after I got my Mid 2011 2.3Ghz i5/HD3000 Mac Mini, (about 2.5 years ago or so). It's used as headless media server and nothing else seems wrong, but it's still driving me nuts every time I log in. Temps are normal, nothing over 120-130. I've taken a screenshot. I have never had this happen to any of my Macs over the years, and system upgrades don't seem to help at all. Do I need to pull it apart and reseat the heat sink, or has anyone else heard of this?
 

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super_kev

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2005
343
2
USofA
No, I haven't. Good idea, but it's not that the updates are slow - it's as if they aren't drawn at all unless I move the mouse into the area or change the position of a window. Is that normal if there is no display hooked up?
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,673
1,765
Upgrades wouldn't help. It looks like it could be a hardware problem. Parts of what should be within the framebuffer aren't being drawn. I doubt reseating the heat sink would do anything, although it would be interesting to know how this turns out. I don't read about too many mini failures, but I always figured part could be their lower volume compared to the notebook lines.
 

nufanec

macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2005
185
5
Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy authorise and press the Advanced button. You probably have a check next to the "Log out after XX minutes of inactivity" option, and this value is set to a time greater than your display sleep time in Energy Saver. Either disable it or change the value to less than the display sleep time and you'll be sorted.
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,287
2,586
No, I haven't. Good idea, but it's not that the updates are slow - it's as if they aren't drawn at all unless I move the mouse into the area or change the position of a window. Is that normal if there is no display hooked up?
Yes, it's normal when these are run headless. You can mitigate the problem by setting the display to never sleep in Energy Saver but the real fix is to use the headless dongle linked above, or connect a display.
 

super_kev

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2005
343
2
USofA
Well, skeptical though I was, I grabbed the CompuTech dongle from Amazon and it's perfectly fine now. Thanks for your help!