Dead 8800GT in MacPro3,1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iPapa, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. iPapa macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    The setup:
    MacPro 2.8GHz (Early 2008 model with 8 cores, 10 GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 8800GT, four internal hard drives of a total of 5.25 TB).

    The symptoms:
    On Friday night I was booted into Windows Vista (64-bit) via Bootcamp as I had to do a bit of gaming not possible under OS X. Specifically I played All Points Bulletin (brand new MMO only for Windows). I found it to be an interesting idea to open another game at the same time (Warhammer Online). So I had both games running at once. After a couple of hours I received an error message ("Display driver has stopped responding and successfully recovered").

    I had seen this message on a few occasions under Windows some months ago too. This time however the error message went away only to give me a slightly garbled image on screen. Psychedelic colours, quite funny looking in fact. I restarted Windows, and all looked normal again. Then I opened browsers, word documents and so on, all normal. But as soon as I opened a game, the display was full of distortion and funny looking colours, dots and stripes, patterns vertically and horizontally. I also received the dreaded blue screen (which I had never had in Windows on my Mac since I installed it two years ago).

    I booted into OS X. All looked normal. Then I opened a game. Same symptoms as in Windows. I restarted. Opened only a simple YouTube video. Even then the display was making everything on screen impossible to see (and read).

    I did all the normal procedures (resetting PRAM, checking on logs for hints at what could be wrong and so on). I also ran the Apple hardware test, the extended version, which lasted two hours. It found nothing wrong. I checked all connections and cables, I double checked the interiors of the Mac, no dust, all looked normal. I restarted the Mac into OS X once again, and this time I could only see the Apple logo during booting. After that it was mostly a black screen with some strange colour patterns.

    Sorry for the long post, I'm writing this from another computer away from home as the Mac is all I have there at the moment, and I do not have access to any of its contents from here now (no logs to show you, no photos or videos).

    To me this looks definitely like the 8800GT has died completely, and I will bring it into an Apple retailer tomorrow for some testing, but I thought I'd just mention this here in case you guys should have any ideas.

    I would like to point out that I run iStat on my Mac and that I regularly check on the components temperatures and fan speeds. Everything always look normal there (low temps in general, and fan speeds are mostly at their idle default settings, spinning up a little bit when doing graphically intensive tasks for example when video editing or playing a game). I did notice on Friday night that the power supply fan under OS X remained at its low idle setting all the time even when I tried to speed it up by using SMC Fan Control. The program managed to speed up all the other fans, but not the PSU fan. I do not know if that is any indication of something else going on. Sadly SMC Fan Control cannot control the GPU card's fan under OS X, but under Windows I do regularly control the GPU fan and temperature, and the card there has always been running between 60 and 84 degrees C.

    Any ideas and tips would be welcome... is this a GPU having died, or symptoms of something worse (the PSU fan speed that does not seem to want to change do worry me slightly).
  2. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    if out of warranrty, preheat your oven to 390 and do some research
  3. ljonesj macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    Kingsport TN
    I would tell them that you were monitoring your psu fan speed under istat and the idle speed of the psu's fan was not acting what u thought was normal for a load the psu may be going along with the gpu
  4. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
  5. iPapa thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    I've heard of the kitchen experiment solution and it is something I'm willing to try. And if it goes wrong, then no worries. The card is out of warranty anyway and I really want a better one. Waiting for the newer shinier GTX 4xx ones or the Radeon HD 5xxx ones... apparently they might be out for the Mac Pro by the end of summer (source: I'm aware of flashing solutions, but I do want a "proper" card as I require complete stability.

    If the cooking process goes wrong and I have to wait a bit for the better cards to hit the stores, I can always just pick up a GT120 so I can at least use the Mac in the meantime (crappy card though, but it would be a temporary solution).
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    HeHe, guess who's "source" is? Hint...The screen shot they are using to "prove" their not-entirely-accurate story is from my Mac Pro.
  7. wafl iron macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2007

    what happened to you is exactly what happened to me,

    8800gt macpro3,1

    playing games in windows 7 64 bit, and nvidia driver would crash. OSX was fine for a bit, but after several crashes in windows, OSX would fail to boot and the Apple logo screen would have yellow streaks all over the place.

    The 19x.xx Nvidia drivers in windows 64bit installs have been notorious for breaking all 8xxx series cards. Usually causing them to overheat. Luckily for me, i still have a year left on my crapple care and had my 8800gt replaced for free a couple months ago.

    I have not booted into windows until nvidia gets their act together. I would advise staying in the 18x.xx nvidia driver familiy if you wish to continue gaming.

    Or hell,

    get an ati card.
  8. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    The overheating glitch is fixed in the newest Nvidia drivers. It was just a bug with one release. The 8800GT just seems like a short-lived card. It's not just the Apple ones that die easily. IMO, using a single-slot cooler for the reference design was a mistake on Nvidia's part. The far beefier (double-slot) reference cooler on the 8800GTS 512MB was what pushed me to it over the 8800GT for my gaming rig. The more 8800GT horror stories I hear the more thankful I am that I sprung for it.
  9. Maury macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2008
    My 8800GT died Saturday.


    Had some good times, me and that card.

  10. iPapa thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    Update: Got my Mac back today, after a long time waiting. The PSU suspicions of mine were put to rest. Nothing wrong. The only faulty stuff was the 8800GT. It was dead. It is now replaced by a new 8800GT (my begging of getting anything better did not help... at least I did not have to pay).

    Will upgrade to the 5870 (as sold by Apple) as soon as someone else tests it and confirms it to be working in a 2008 model. Which should be a safe bet perhaps, given the fact that the same card (flashed) works well, as confirmed elsewhere on this forum.
  11. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Word to the Wise on 8800GT

    I am 99% sure that the 5xxx series will work in 2008 and later.

    The only thing that might stop them would be an artificial block in the drivers brought on by Apple.

    And something of that sort should be relatively easy to sidestep.

    I was thinking recently that I should warn the community at large about G92 cards. I posted in another thread with link to Apple's 4 year warranty on MBP with 8600GT. Basically, compliance with ROHS to remove lead has resulted in a VERY flaky connection between GPU and PCB.

    The G92 cards are now failing in record numbers. They are especially prone to failure if you remove and reinstall them. Tiniest amount of flex in the PCB results in a couple balls breaking free of BGA matrix. Frequently results in distortions/discolorations on display before complete failure.

    A fix can be found sometimes in the "Betty Crocker Bake Off" method, though longevity of this repair is questionable. But when the card is already enroute to the landfill, what have you got to lose?

    Many manufacturers became aware of this issue, and included a stiffening "whaler" to top edge of card, especially as they started using smaller fans that did not have 12 screws running the length of card, as early reference 8800's do.

    To clean an 8800GT installed in Mac Pro, DON'T REMOVE IT !!! Get a can of air, use the little red nozzle and blow BACKWARDS through fan. If you are looking for a new GPU, I would advise any card OTHER than an 8800GT. ATI 3870 and 4870 work in ALL Mac Pros. I can't say for certain that Nvidia rectified this manufacturing flaw (Apple calls it a "Packaging" error as if maybe the shrink wrap was too tight?) in time for GTX285, but it would seem likely.

    My warning refers to ALL 8800GT cards, whether bought from Apple, an online retailer, or even flashed at home. All 8800GT cards based on G92 are prone to this. They are more likely to fail than most other Mac cards. If you need CUDA cores, you may not be able to avoid buying them, just know that you will probably be replacing them regularly, especially if you power cycle your machine frequently or like removing and reinstalling things.
  12. blackwing macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2009
    I just want to confirm this method, which initially I thought someone was making a scary joke (baking your electronic part in oven??), which in fact FIX my dead GeForce 8800GT on MacPro3,1 2008.

    The 8800GT was dead, I couldn't even login, always freeze at the startup gray screen after a few wheel spinning. I was ready to bring my card to Apple Genius then I found this forum.

    I preheat the oven at ~190 degrees celcius and bake the stripped card for 10 minutes. After the alarm went off, open the oven lid, I could smell that like electric burn. I thought the card was damaged. I tried putting the card back in anyways, and it works! That electric burn smell was normal I guess.

    I'm sure this is a quick and temporary solution and a strong sign that I should start saving for a new card. Not sure how long this revived card can last.

    Nonetheless, I thank you much for the people who are genius coming up with this genius method and I hope more people with similar issues may benefit from this.

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