Early 2009 iMac, Horizontal Shading & Lines

Discussion in 'iMac' started by CaptainWill, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. CaptainWill macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2018
    I have an Early 2009 24” iMac (Model # A 1225, dual core Intel, running 10.6.8) and it still works great. But in the past few months it’s developed screen anomalies. First, a very thin white line appeared horizontally right above my (bottomed) dock. Then two more such lines, showed up, just above the first one. More recently four horizontal bands have appeared, not of color but just shading of what’s on the screen; these are of equal depth and are each darker as they go down the screen.

    The bands are prominent when the screen just wakes up, but completely disappear after several minutes. The thin white lines are always there and sometimes become multi-colored along their lengths.

    I ran a recommended test of doing screen captures and neither the bands nor the thin lines appear in the captures. I understand this may indicate that it’s “only” a display problem and not a more serious graphics card or GPU problem.

    I zapped the PRAM and SMC but they had no effect. (I did not try Safe Mode.)

    Anyone care to hazard a diagnosis? A prognosis? Are there other tests I can try?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Anyone care to hazard a diagnosis? A prognosis?"

    - failing GPU
    - failing display

    - probably will get worse over time
    - cost of repair no longer worth it, considering it's 9 years old, going on 10
    - best option: start looking for a replacement.
  3. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    What Fishrrman says. You can get these used for less than the cost to diagnose the problem.

    One of my clients has 2 of these. Still going strong but the last OS they run is El Cap. I replaced the spinners (to gain speed and reduce the heat) and NV RAM batteries a few years ago so they'll probably outlast her. Not touching 'em if anything goes down and let her know to budget for a pair of used 2012s in 2019.

    She will freak the second that Apple ends security updates and support for OS 10.11—this will happen the day after the AppleCare expires for the last Mac shipped with El Capitán (as it did this year for Yosemite and last year for Mavericks).

  4. CaptainWill, Oct 19, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018

    CaptainWill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2018
    Thanks Fishrrman and MikeHalloran.

    I’m latching on to Fishrrman's “probably will get worse over time” as an actual ray of hope. I’m at a crucial moment. Years of work depend on the next ten to 30 days. Even swapping it out successfully at this time would cause potentially disastrous delays. (I’m backed up on Time Machine, BTW.) I know it’s a tough call, but does it sound like I have at least a month of it getting functionally worse before it expires?

    If not, where would I shop for a replacement that would still run my circa 2009 software (Adobe CS 4, etc.)? And how would I know it was free of the old-age infirmities potentially inherent in any '09 iMac?
  5. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    A month? No one will know — you've got till it doesn't work anymore.

    A 2011 iMac will run OS 10.6.8, that is certain (I have the Apple Restore CD and it's 10.6.3). I don't think the 2012 can. The 2011 27" is almost as easy to upgrade as the 2009 24" (and easier than the 2009–2010 27"). By upgrade, I mean install an SSD and replace the NV RAM battery.

    No reason to go later if everything is fine and CS4 is essential to your work.

    Where do you live? I will be taking in a very nice, upgraded 2009 24" later this year.

    OK, the internet will get harder to navigate with a machine that old but you may find it beneficial to get something newer for that when the time comes.
  6. CaptainWill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2018
    Thanks for your feedback, Mike. I agonized over the pros & cons of all my options and decided to get a new iMac, set it up, right next to my old one, and study it but not use it until the old one dies, and then switch over.

    I needed the peace of mind. A not a moment too soon, either, because the day after I got the new iMac, the old one developed another screen anomaly. In this one, when I wake it up, there's a flurry of thin horizontal lines that blizzard, pell mell, up and down the screen, frighteningly, and then disappear after a few seconds.

    Still works great, but, like you said. "A month? No one will know."
  7. chooyoshi macrumors member


    Aug 5, 2018
  8. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    If that happens next week (big If), the remaining 2017s should hit the Refurb Store the day after the new ones ship (not after the announcement). This assumes that Apple does it the way they have for the last 15 years.

    This is not a given, however. Apple is like Istanbul where "Everything is possible but nothing is certain." The remaining iPhone SE, 6S & 6S+ are apparently being sold in Asia and won't make it to the Refurb Store—or maybe they will...
  9. zarmanto macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2014
    Around the corner from the 7/11
    If your aging computer is actually "mission critical" for your purposes, than based upon your reliance upon your old and/or potentially obsolete software, I would recommend buying an identical stand-by unit immediately. Then, when/if the known-failing iMac bites the dust, you can promptly swap the hard drives between the two iMacs and potentially get back to work in a matter of a couple of hours, instead of days. Think of the stand-by unit as an insurance policy: hope that you don't end up needing it, but be comforted that you have it, in case you do need it.

    Realistically, they're obviously all going to be subject to those infirmities... but the chances that two identical units fail within a month or two of each other are statistically pretty small. So as long as you verify that the stand-by unit is fully functional upon receipt, chances are, you'll be okay.

    Oh. Huh... looks like I should have read the entire thread, before commenting. :)

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8 October 18, 2018