iMac 24" / GeForce 8800 GS: Vid card dies every month, needs replacement

Discussion in 'iMac' started by adyo, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. adyo macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2010
    Hi, first post here.

    I've been having problems with my iMac. I had it for it's default non-extended warranty period with zero problems.

    Eventually, I decided that I wanted to install a bootcamp partition with Win XP on it so I could play a few games that weren't available for OS X when it wasn't being used for work.

    After awhile, I ran into a problem where the system locked up and/or behaved extremely slowly. Strange visual artifacts and bizarre 0.005 frames a second (so it seemed) interaction would occur, and then the entire system would be unable to boot in a stable fashion in OS X *or* windows. Eventually I took it in, and Apple issued a warranty exception because it was so close to my warranty expiration and I was away when it expired.
    They replaced the video card and logic board.

    Long story short: It's been serviced like this a couple of times. After replacing the video card a second time, a month later it's doing the exact same thing. It operates fine for awhile, crashes once and then becomes completely useless. Currently I'm able to get it to boot into OS X much of the time, but as soon as I do anything that taps into the graphics card, it decides to freeze up and throw my system into a 2 second audio loop and display artifacts all over again.

    The other two times I wouldn't be able to make it 20 seconds into a boot without it locking up after the problems arrose.

    It seems like I'm facing a "lighter" version of the problem i've been having, though there's nothing light about it - it's pretty much unusable to me in this state and I can't trust working on it.

    Frankly, i'm at a spot where I can't really afford to replace the computer, yet it's technically out of warranty (except for the last repair/replacement should still be under it's own warranty) and the same problem keeps happening over and over. I take it in, they replace the video card, it's fine for a month and then dies again. Am I doomed to doing this for....forever until I buy a new computer?

    Please save me, my hair, and my computer with some sort of advice. Thanks.
  2. DonMega macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2007
    A possible solution...

    Take it in again and gently, politely, but firmly request a replacement. Apple has contingencies for lemon machines such as yours. The only thing they can tell you is "no", but, I don't believe that will be the case. Good luck.
  3. adyo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2010
    It's probably a year out of warranty though, will this matter?
  4. degl macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2010
    Well, i sold mine for the same problem, and now i don´t know how reliable the new imacs are.
  5. rigid macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2008
    I had a 24" imac that died 3 times over the course of one month.

    It was the 3.06ghz cored2duo model with the geforce 8800. Had logic board/video card replacements done twice. After it died the first time I had it repaired and it died again the same night I got it back. Barcode boot screen.

    Had it repaired a second time and it took a week but it died again. Kernel panic, cannot boot into OS X but will boot into windows 7 (lol)? Machine will run unless gpu temp gets to like 95-100 F at which point the system will crash.

    After that apple just replaced it with a 27".
  6. AppleZwei macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I'm having the same issue with my 24" iMac, with an 8800GS, and a 1.8 ghz Intel Core2Duo.

    The first time the graphics card went out was late April. Bought a replacement part out of warranty. The card died again, accompanied by artifacts, failures to boot into the OS, etc about 2 weeks ago. Again it was replaced, this time by the part warranty. Last night the card died yet again! 3rd times the charm? Hopefully, even though I am out of my initial one year warranty, Apple will replace my computer. It's quite frustrating.
  7. adyo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2010
    Who should I talk to? Apple directly? Or the place that's been servicing the machine for me?

    I can't talk to who I bought it from as that was on the other side of the world.
  8. adyo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2010
    was it still covered under warranty or apple care when they replaced it?
    any info you can provide would be helpful. thanks!
  9. rigid macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2008
    Yeah I had apple care, machine was about 1 year 1 month old, perfectly timed to expire after initial warranty hahaha.
  10. adyo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2010
    Just an update..

    last time apple hardware tests turned up nothing

    This time around:
    Alert! Apple hardware test has detected an error.

  11. AppleZwei macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    That's what mine did 4 months before it failed completely. Identical error.
  12. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    I'm having some issues where video sometimes freezes my iMac and I have to reboot. Can a home user run this Apple hardware test or do I have to take it to the Apple store?
  13. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth

    I've had some thoughts along these lines that the reason Apple increased the size of the new machines to 27" was to give more room for heat to dissapate.

    Question: what is the environmental temperature of your workspaces where you have the iMacs? Do any of you have any cooling fans pointing at the back of the machine?

    There was someone on this forum who posted that their Corei5 iMac MELTED and he had his replaced with a corei7 version and got smart and got some kind of cooling fan to point at the back of the machine which kept it significantly cooler than before.

    It's a concern since I have the corei7 27" version and don't want it to fry...
  14. TheAppFinder macrumors newbie


    Oct 1, 2009
    I have the same imac 8800 gs, 3.06 core 2 duo 24". Same video problem. Had to get it fixed for $550 (thats the card and labor) 5 days later, had more video problems and refused to boot after the apple logo. (would show the apple logo but would hang at a white screen) returned it, and its still in repair. (its at an apple authorized dealer).

    If the 3rd card fails again, should I take it to an apple store and explain the problems, and ask to exchange it for a 27" model with an ATI 512 MB card? (I also wouldnt mind the 21.5 model, but hopefully the 27") I don't have apple care, or the 1 year warranty, but I do have a 90- day warranty for the video card. Any help would be great!
  15. skyrick macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2010
    Hi, I'm in the same case, please what do you do after your post of this summer ?
  16. Magoomba macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
    Count me in

    This is crazy! Mine has be doing the same thing. It started back on October 2010 with the artifacts on the screen and the freezing-

    I had the video card replaced TWICE (After the 2nd time it wouldn't boot at all) already and now it's starting to act up again. I took in into Carbon Computing in Toronto and they had (I think) a 90 day warranty which should just about be expired.

    I'm not sure if I should be going straight to Apple with this, or if I should be going back to the repair shop I had the work done at. They might argue on my behalf, but I would rather go to the source if you know what I mean.
  17. Markovich macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Ditto for me: Early 2008 24" with 8800GS. Failed VC last fall and I paid the $500 for a new vid card. Apple was NO help at all. Then replaced it under the repair warranty 2 more times within a month. On my 4th card now and have other issues now with the iMac. Firewire ports don't always work, sound port has a LOT of static, boot ups are a hit or miss.

    No more iMac for me, IF I get another Mac it will be a MacPro that I can replace cards, HD's myself. There's absolutely NO reason why Apple cannot build an iMac that is easily serviceable.
  18. Trimmer macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2010
    Same issues with 24" iMac 6.1 late 2006

    I've been having these same problems over this last year / graphic anomalies like crazy and program freezing when the machine reaches 45°c / spent almost 100 quid on phone calls with Apple / took it to the Apple repair peeps and they want 650 euros to replace the logic board. However, there are so many reports out there of this same issue that I'm being forced to take legal action - indeed, the Senior Customer Relations person in not so few words told me they will not replace it unless I take them to court. Have now built a significant file of hundreds of cases of this very distinct issue. Thankfully Scottish law allows 5-7 years for this irrespective of warranty - the law in Finland us even better, no time limit on manufacturing faults. The behaviour of Apple on thus matter is atrocious.
  19. hectrobeing macrumors newbie


    Jan 11, 2008
    Similar issue but...

    Mine is still apple care warranty until august but I was told that any part that apple replace has a 3 month warranty on if they have replaced it guarantees that you can get yours repaired until they finally give you a new one...

    My iMac is running smoothly with no issues at the moment and I'm kinda hoping it does fail on me again so that I can get a new model...and pay the difference the ultimate on goes hoping

    Good luck getting a new one!!!
  20. Swampjedi macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2011
    3,06ghz 2008 iMac black screen

    I'm having similar issues with the graphics card.

    First I noticed that the screen went black for a few moments, by the end of that week it did that for good. Didn't light up in start-up at all, but did accidentally come up for few times so I could turn up the file sharing and ssh.

    I'm also in Finland so perhaps our local consumer legistlation will help. The mac is 3,5 years old, though.
  21. wlow3 macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    I had the same issue. The card died after about three years of ownership (I didn't get AppleCare). Replacement still going but who knows how long. Now the HDD appears to be going. I think Apple only cares that it makes it past the AppleCare period when they manufacture these things.

    The other thing is that this can be what happens when the design team overrules engineering. I thing the engineering can suffer. This is almost a known issue that this thing does not dissipate heat well enough and it kills the circuit boards. I've own audio effect racks, which are nothing but circuit boards, that have lasted 20 years, but this video card seems to fail so often in 3?

    Also there were other models of Nvidia video cards made around this time that, if I recall, were declared defective after a class action lawsuit, but this model didn't make the list even though many think it should have.

    Course I could sell it and buy one of the 27" with the apparent defective LCD panels (develops spots), which is yet another defect Apple won't acknowledge. So much for Jobs and his "We don't sell junk." He should have added, " ... unless we can get away with it."

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