Advice sought: iMac 21.5 Mid-2011 Graphics Glitching

Discussion in 'iMac' started by michaelsaxon, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. michaelsaxon macrumors 6502

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    Nov 15, 2006
    #1
    This is my kids' computer and it is now glitching pretty heavily with graphics-intensive software. I paid $750 for it used and, of course, I don't have AppleCare.

    In your opinion, is it worth it to:

    1) Get Apple to fix it?
    2) Try to repair it myself?

    I used to build my own machines so I know my way around a computer, but the iMac seems like an altogether different, more difficult, beast to repair.

    Anyone think that there is any chance that Apple will just fix it free? I saw that there was a 27" iMac recall for the graphics cards, but not on the 21.5". Do they ever do this for people who are swimming in Apple gear (i.e., good customers)?

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  2. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #2
    Can you be more specific? What kind of errors or artifacts are you experiencing? With which applications?
     
  3. Bear macrumors G3

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    #3
    Could it be a software issue? Did you start with a fresh install of OS X or did you have an install that had other software installed? If it wasn't clean, that might be a good place to start.

    Check the repair guide on ifixit.com to see if you're willing to open it up yourself. It might be as simple as clogged fans or too much dust inside.

    If you bring it to Apple, they will give you a quote for repair then you can decide if it's worth it or not.
     
  4. RedReplicant macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 31, 2010
    #4
    Likely graphics card overheating or beginning to die. I'd first try monitoring GPU temp during intensive tasks to see if its high - if so I'd take the screen off and clean the fans out. Next I'd reinstall OSX. If neither of these works its off to Apple for a diag.
     
  5. michaelsaxon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    At first, it was small purple squares. Today, my daughter was playing Torchlight and nearly all the textures were glitching. Clearly, more graphics intensive software is worse, which suggests to me the graphics card is going bad. When on the desktop, it is almost always clear with the occasional purple squares.

    I've not reinstalled the OS. A new card to replace it myself is $329 online. To repair, you have to do a complete tear down. The card is buried in the internals.
     
  6. Bear macrumors G3

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    #6
    It might be dust buildup or it might be the graphics card. I can't imagine Apple charging much more than the $329 to replace the graphics card if that's what is needed. At this point, bring it to APple and get a quote.
     
  7. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #7
    I'd have to agree with RedReplicant. Clean the machine as best as you can. Since you bought it used, you've likely got no idea in what kind of environment is was used beforehand. The internals could be caked with dust, resulting in overheating. If you're not comfortable disassembling the machine, you may need to take/send it to Apple. I'd give the machine a good once-over before ordering any new parts.
     
  8. michaelsaxon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 15, 2006
    #8
    Thanks everyone. I called Apple. I'll just drop by there and see what they say about price.

    This is what I get for one of the few times that I didn't get AppleCare!
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    The infamous Radeon 6xxxM GPU failure strikes again. It doesn't only affect the 2011 27"; it'll also affect other Sandy Bridge Macs like the 2011 21.5" and 2011 15"/17" MBPs. There's a thread that's almost 160 pages long on this in Apple's support forums.
     
  10. michaelsaxon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Is Apple only replacing the 27" iMac, however? I tried briefly to find that thread this morning, but couldn't.
     
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #11
    Yea. They're only replacing the 27" so far.
     
  12. michaelsaxon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    As an update, brought it to the Apple Store today and they confirmed the graphics card was bad. Repair cost is $173 total and I can pick it up at the end of the week. Not bad at all.
     
  13. andycho7 macrumors member

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    Dec 2, 2013
    #13
    Isn't it only the highest configuration 27 inch iMac that qualifies?

    That's good. I thought they'd have to replace the entire logic board which could cost a fortune.
     
  14. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #14
    Yeap, only the high-end 27" with the 6970M cards.
     
  15. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

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    #15
    Nope, the GPU is a separate component on its own card in these iMacs :)
     
  16. michaelsaxon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Interestingly, they said that the only component on the iMac that was generally too expensive to replace (without AppleCare of course) is the LCD. Everything else is pretty reasonable. In fact, the Genius made the argument that most stuff is cheap enough and that failures on their desktops are infrequent enough, that AppleCare probably isn't a good bet for them.
     
  17. michaelsaxon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    By way of update, after it glitched at the genius bar to validate the needed repair, Apple is now saying that they can't get it to replicate and are blaming software (in particular, Steam). I've seen it do it without Steam on (which I've told them), so they went back and stressed it for a couple more days, called back and said that they still can't get it to replicate. They are still blaming Steam for the problem. They want me to pick it up now (but I'm fairly certain I'll just drive two hours to get a broken computer).

    Any ideas? Thanks.
     
  18. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #18
    Depending on how long it takes to produce the glitching, set up video recording (smartphone or whatever) there in the store or back at the house of you using the machine to record the phenomenon.
     
  19. michaelsaxon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Prior to taking it to the store, it glitched every time we turned it on! Maybe they aren't just geniuses, but magical geniuses.
     

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