Bad screen on 24" Alu. iMac - Worth going through the hassle of replacement?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DavidR91, May 24, 2009.

  1. DavidR91 macrumors member

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    #1
    Recently, my 24" iMac (which I received in Jan at the start of this year, but it's a 2008 model) has started developing some pretty annoying (and pretty bad) screen anomalies: namely, a huge black horizontal 'scanline' near the bottom of the screen. It seems to be caused by backlight unevenness, and is only visible on solid colours, but I'd say it's a bad case of it, especially since it isn't confined to the corners, and isn't symmetrical (closer to left of the screen, so on solid white etc. it looks like a giant black smear)

    I'm well inside of my 1 year warranty, and I'm contemplating getting the panel replaced (or the entire machine if I can make enough fuss + show that >1 component is at fault etc.).

    The thing is, it's a lot of bother (in terms of inconvenience) and by the looks of it, all the screen panels on every iMac really suck. They all have the same problem, although normally to a lesser extent than my current one.

    Whilst I wanted to fix this problem before my warranty ran out, I just wanted to know your thoughts on whether it is actually worth replacing - will the panel replacement actually fix the issue? Or am I going to end up with a complete waste of time due to no improvement etc.?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #2
    Call to Apple or visit Apple Store and ask how to deal with this problem. I recommend you to do it because when your warranty runs out you'll be banging your head to wall because you didn't do it. At least, ask how long it would take and if there's Store or any Premium reseller near you just bring it to there and they'll fix it. Definitely do not leave it undone.
     
  3. LagunaSol macrumors 601

    LagunaSol

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    #3
    Um, what???

    I currently have three iMacs in my house (two 3-year-old 20" models and one brand-new 24") and none of the screen panels have any problems.
     
  4. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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  5. BlackMax macrumors 6502a

    BlackMax

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    #5
    Absolutely! Go get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
     
  6. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Ok, I may as well take it back - clearly my assumption that all the screens are crummy was incorrect :) (I've just seen a lot of screen complaints, so I assumed it was just typical of these machines)

    I'm taking it to a Genius bar around an hour or so away from where I live (nearest place that can fix it). Out of interest though, is it a "fix while you wait" affair, or do they call you back in when it's done? Just, with it being absolutely nowhere near anything / where I live, I don't want to be stuck doing nothing for ages in somewhere I don't know very well, whilst they fix it.

    Also, are the 'geniuses' likely to disagree with me on cosmetic/visual screen issues? i.e Is it likely I'll say it has XYZ problem, and they will say they can't see it etc.?
     
  7. BlackMax macrumors 6502a

    BlackMax

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    #7
    Not all iMacs have screen issues. My iMac screen is pretty close to perfect.

    If I had to guess, I'd say you will be asked to leave your iMac with Apple and return sometime later (perhaps days) when they are finished with it.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  8. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Right, had my appointment today.

    Really pleasantly surprised - showed the issue to the guy, and whilst he didn't look entirely convinced (he couldn't see it very well) he trusted me, and immediately ordered a panel replacement.

    Five days for it to be repaired (which I said was fine - I have exams at the moment any way) and hopefully it's back on track.

    Annoyingly they don't package it up in a box after repair - which is a shame, since the biggest problem was getting the machine there in the first place (weight + no decent box/bag to carry it).

    Will update again on whether the screen is improved / problem is fixed
     
  9. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    Interesting - just had a call that it's ready to collect from the store (even though the panel would apparently take five days to source)

    I need to check whether the problem is gone before I take it home (will they let me fire it up in store to check?) but here's hoping they have actually replaced the panel, and haven't just left it as-is to see whether I'll be fooled. Not that I'm cynical or anything, just seemed to be a mighty quick repair :p
     
  10. BlackMax macrumors 6502a

    BlackMax

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    #10
    Trust, but verify. They should let you fire it up at the store. Good Luck!
     
  11. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    OK, I got it back today. Diagnosis: Not good

    Whilst they've definitely replaced the screen and removed the main problem (lower left with black 'smear' and line) the screen now has a more evident black "grid" effect (of the same sort of 'scanlines') at certain angles on solid colours.

    Whilst it's an improvement, and the screen seems better in general, it certainly is not acceptable for the age and price of the machine, so I'm currently pursuing a complete replacement (The guy in charge of authorizing replacements is due to ring me on Monday after battling other staff members on the phone this evening). Since I live absolutely nowhere near an Apple store or repair shop, there's no way I'm going to jump through hopes getting more components replaced etc. - I'm fairly convinced this machine is a dud
     
  12. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 19, 2009
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    Australia
    #12
    I'd be repeating myself now. But we have about 60 iMac's (24", 2009 Model) at work and none, that's right, none have a single problem with any of the panels and these are used for high end photography editing and design.

    1 person out of 100 has a problem with their iMac screen and suddenly the whole line of the product is bad? :rolleyes:
     
  13. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Take them out of a well lit environment, and a vast majority of the panels seem to be of inferior quality/backlight quality. Also, I'm certainly not the only one, which led me to believe the vast majority of these machines do have somewhat poor screens and backlights. The problem is even visible on some machines in the Apple Store
     
  14. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Most are not in well lit environment's at all but in quite dark rooms with only medium light at best. So I don't know, maybe you've just been unlucky. But pointing out singular threads when there are probably hundreds of thousands iMac users - that don't have a problem just goes to show it's not a common problem.
     
  15. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Well, consider it from my point of view - I have a problem, I look it up on the net and I find

    - Quite a few threads regarding the problem, as well as people expecting inferior displays even though they haven't yet seen one (Why would that occur unless there is an issue?)

    - Lawsuits regarding the quality of the 20" screens (Not just the lawsuits regarding dithering/colours - there are tons of lawsuits regarding everything from banding, vertical lines, even vertical lines on older 24" models)

    - Information that the screens use inferior TN field effects, which are cheap and prone to defects/QA issues

    - Threads regarding people who have visited the Apple Store, upon which the staff conceded the issue as common among most of the machines

    - The Apple store inform you that the screen "is not designed for pro image work" when you present issues regarding it - somewhat pointing to the expectation that it is flawed (they try and fob you off with "If you wanted pro image work, you should have purchased the cinema screen + mac pro" etc.)

    - I have a defective screen myself

    So I think I have a fairly good reason to expect a large majority of the panels to show such issues - since all the evidence seems to point toward it. If anything, rather than me being unlucky, you are a lucky minority who haven't had issues - or, you are yet to see them (How old is your machine, for example? Do you look at screen when it's turning on?- since the "gridding" can be very apparent on the boot screen)
     
  16. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Hmm, they're dragging their heels regarding replacement, so it looks like I need to start escalating this quite a bit more. So far I've been going round in circles with "We need to get [x] dept. to authorize that - they'll call you on Monday" etc.

    Steve Jobs' email is sjobs@apple.com, right? :p Don't really want to depend on that, but it's my last resort if they refuse to replace (since I'm legally covered to have a replacement, irrespective of them doing a repair, after checking out my rights etc.)

    One more thing: The Apple store staff are rather sneaky. One of the forms I signed has a massive block of terms and conditions on the back which I was not made aware of. Whilst they're not a big deal, I thought that was rather underhanded, since they didn't actually tell me, and I didn't notice until I got the form through attached to the machine
     
  17. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    Awesome. They've arranged collection of the original machine via TNT, effective immediately, and they're shipping a replacement ASAP.

    They stated they've matched the specs, but I'm interested to see whether that means they're going to get an exact matching early-2008 model (because mine is a CTO 3.06GHz + 4GB + 500GB HD, not the standard config) or whether by 'matching' they mean matching as far as possible. I'm not really sure.

    So overall: brilliant. Quite annoyed that doing this does not extend the warranty, but hopefully the replacement won't need it... or at least, here's hoping :)
     
  18. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
    Ok, I'm posting/bumping again because I have a question (sorry for triple/quadruple post)

    When they issued the replacement, they sent me my original specs to confirm they were the same - and indeed they were. So I assumed the replacement would be identical.

    However, now the order is "Prepared to ship" I've noticed two things:

    - The model number is a 2009 machine / Not the original (MB420B/A)

    - The specs stated by the one-liner description are different - a 1TB hard drive rather than the original 500GB (IMAC 24"/3.06/2X2GB/1TB/SD/MSE/KB-GBR)

    So... my first thought is that they've just set these details under the order because that's the current model rather than these being the actual specs of the machine (maybe they can only select machines available currently when they send out a new one? So they just chose a bog-standard 2009 machine with near-matching specs for inventory/accounting reasons, and it isn't actually a reflection of the machine I'm getting)

    Or... they have bumped up the specs - either to appease anger, or just because it's easier than sourcing an exact equivalent (because my machine was E-2008 CTO)

    Any ideas on which of these it's likely to be? I'm sort of leaning to the inventory/accounting reasons rather than them upping my spec - but if the arbitrary spec increase were true...:D
     
  19. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    #19
    Most likely they are sending the closest current model rather than trying to find one exactly like yours.

    As to your issues with the screens and the others stating otherwise, I think we should all remember that many, many people cannot discern these differences, just as many people are fine with watching Bluray movie while listening to TV speakers. Some eyes and ears are more able to see/hear the differences. I think the vast majority or iMac screens are just fine -- to most viewers. My coworkers and I really had to strain to see the lines on our poor white MB screens. We only noted the difference when placed side by side against a 15" MBP.

    So it's not a lot of defective Macs but your superior visual acuity and your brain's ability to process the extra information that's the problem. :)

    Cheers,
     
  20. Fleetwood Mac macrumors 65816

    Fleetwood Mac

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    #20
    You're getting an upgraded machine, buddy. I had 24" Alu nightmares beginning last August. Uneven backlight on each machine, three bad replacements. I wondered if I was going crazy/being too picky, but the store staff insisted I get a replacement each time.

    This February they sent me an upgraded 2009 (showed on invoice like yours) model and its flawless.
     
  21. DavidR91 thread starter macrumors member

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    May 24, 2009
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    Bourne, Lincs, UK
    #21
    Yep - it is indeed upgraded. Literally just got it delivered :) GT130, DDR3 and a 1TB hard disk. Oh, and the little "baby" keyboard made me laugh

    Screen seems to be far superior. Certainly not perfect, but definitely 'good enough' (that is to say, the issues it has are exhibited by practically all TFT screens)

    Oh - and I'm keeping the box this time! Transporting it is a nightmare otherwise
     
  22. Fleetwood Mac macrumors 65816

    Fleetwood Mac

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    #22
    Haha... good idea. I always keep mine.
     
  23. KalleKanin macrumors newbie

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    Feb 20, 2006
    #23
    Line

    I was at my Apple dealer today and since the waiting time to get help is so absurdly long during summer vacation high time, I decided to take a more critical look at the 24" iMac screen while I waited.

    This I did by changing the standard galaxy wallpaper of the demo computer into a dark even gray. I wanted to see if the corners were evenly lit and they were, but I was a bit taken aback by the strong horizontal line just above the dock, and also by some other shorter and weaker double lines in the middle of the screen 3/4 down from the top.

    So I asked the salesman if there was something wrong with it or if they really were that bad and he told me that quite frankly, the 24" models were like that.

    In my country at least, you couldn't exchange a screen like that as it is clearly a symptom of a too large cheap screen. Old Sony TVs all had their lines too, I remember.

    So the question becomes if I am going to live with that and buy the iMac 24" or if I should wait for something else, like a bigger Mac Mini + a separate display. Decisions decisions.
     
  24. za9ra22 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 25, 2003
    #24
    One thing I've noticed with both my 24" iMacs is that the screen is distinctly prone to ghosting. It may be that the lines you saw, particularly the 'weaker' ones, are ghosts of windows left in the same position on the demo model.

    Ghosting is easy to avoid - just don't leave the same windows open in the same places on-screen all the time. It's also easy to fix (plain white desktop at full brightness for a while) so it's not the end of the earth to suffer it.

    Other than that, I've found the 24" screens to be a real joy to work with for up to 12 hours at a time, and that's for pro-level video, photo and web work, along with the usual array of personal stuff.
     
  25. KalleKanin macrumors newbie

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    Feb 20, 2006
    #25
    za9ra22, the weaker lines may very well have been ghosting, you are quite possibly right about that!

    The other bigger line however... it went all across and looked like if you had held a thin black thread across the screen. There were also some ghostly smeared gray lines beneath that.

    I assume that you have looked at your screen with a neutral gray background and not just a photo or black color?
     

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