Getting a Mac Pro's ATI 5870 repaired under AppleCare


macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 12, 2005
I have a mid-2010 Mac Pro with an ATI 5870 and I believe the fan to be failing.

My monitors started randomly going into sleep mode (saying there was no video signal) but the machine stayed on.

I noticed that the fan on the card does not appear to be consistently spinning up when I turn on the machine. It is currently spinning (after I gave it a little push) - but it doesn't look very fast and after running iStat, I see that PCIe slot 1 has a temperature of 163 degrees (with the cover of the tower off). Booting into windows the GPU has a temp of 70 degrees.

I went to the Apple store (without the machine) to inquire about the procedure and they told me that they'd have to send it out for a week to get it looked at/repaired.

It's still under AppleCare and I have the following questions:

- I've upgraded the RAM and installed my own SSD boot drive and extra hard drives. Is this going to invalidate my warranty?

- I'd like to avoid a week's downtime - are there any other options - like getting them to fix it in store by ordering the appropriate parts?

- I'm in the Bay Area - does anyone happen to know where they send the machine to?

- Will they give *my* machine back or possibly swap it with a refurb?
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macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
I just went through the same thing.

I landed up ordering a replacement card from OWC (OtherWorldComputing)- it got here in 2 days from the 'States (I'm in Canada). Total cost was around $567CDN. Card failed on Friday, was down for the weekend plus Monday and back online Tuesday.

If you want Apple to replace the card, then you're kinda at their whim. If you talk to the right people on the phone (basically, you'll need to talk to a supervisor) you MIGHT be able to get Apple to ship you a self-servcie part. They'll send you a new card in a box, you swap out the card, then send it back to them. I'm not sure if this applies to your situation, but it was offered to me when I was trying to buy a replacement card for myself (but then again, my system is out of warranty, yours isn't- so I had to pay for my card).

If you need the card working now and you're comfortable removing/reinstalling the one you have (it's pretty easy, but you still need to be careful doing it)- you could try removing it and dusting out the turbine with a can of compressed air. Don't use an air compressor, since air compressors tend to spit water and oil and that will destroy your PCB.

I had noticed after I pulled out my old 5870 (the turbine wasn't freely spinning) and blasted the area under the turbine with compressed air that the fan started to spin a bit more freely- it was still going to fail eventually, but had I done that before buying a replacement card I probably could have gotten another month or two out of it.



macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2010
Similar issue, faulty 5870 under AppleCare. Call AppleCare and let them diagnose the issue. Since it is a desktop system, tell Apple you can't take it into the Genius Bar, and they will schedule a tech visit who will bring whatever parts need replacing as diagnosed via the call. Under no circumstances would I ever send my entire machine away when Apple will send a tech onsite.


macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 12, 2005
Thank you both! :) My mind is more at ease now - I will call AppleCare.

I did find a decent amount of dust when I opened the machine and removed most of it - I will try looking at the card too. I now have the cover on and *touch wood* have not had the displays go to sleep yet.

Btw - I downloaded iStat Menus and if you are up for it - could you kindly compare my temperature readings with your machines? I just want to make sure I'm not taking risks by letting the machine run for a bit until I can get it looked at.

I've attached a screengrab.

Thanks again.


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macrumors 65816
Nov 15, 2010
Edinburgh, UK
Here you are, for comparison.. machine is idle, temps are in F for you.

Ambient ... 70
CPU 1 ... 90
CPU 1 Heatsink ... 84
DIMM Riser Proximity 1 ... 82
DIMM Riser Proximity 2 ... 84
DIMM Riser Proximity 3 ... 90
DIMM Riser Proximity 4 ... 90
Hard Drive Carrier 1 ... 66
Hard Drive Carrier 2 ... 73
Hard Drive Carrier 3 ... 75
Hard Drive Carrier 4 ... 70
IOH Heatsink ... 115
Memory Slot 1 ... 88
Memory Slot 2 ... 90
Memory Slot 3 ... 86
Northbridge ... 133
PCIe Slot 1 ... 79
Power Supply AC/DC 1 ... 77
Power Supply AC/DC 2 ... 75

Booster 1 ... 856rpm
Exhaust ... 599rpm
Expansion Slots ... 799rpm
Intake ... 599rpm
Power Supply ... 599rpm

Now I should add that there is at least one difference between your machine and mine... I have replaced the stock cooler on the 5870 with one with three fans. The stock cooler helps vent air out of the case whereas mine just circulates the GPU heat into the upper PCIe bay so the Expansion Slot fan will have to do more work under load.

If you have a RAID card it will push up the heat in that bay too.

EDIT : comparing our temps (and adding 15F as a quick adjustment to the difference between our Ambients) I can see that all of your MP is working well except for whatever is in the Expansion bay.


macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 12, 2005
Thanks Daniel.

The only PCI card I have is the ATI.

All the hard drives bays are full - but they are JBOD.

Will update this thread - once I heard back from Apple.