iMac = Bag Of Hurt (for me)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by veloceraptor, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. veloceraptor macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2009
    Well, here is my little short story with a 2 year old iMac.

    The very first Mac that I owned was a 2006 17'' Core 2 Duo iMac which I used with Tiger and then with Leopard. I upgraded the thing to 2GB of RAM and everything worked absolutely beautifully until last November in an accident I broke the screen. Sounds pretty bad, right? Thankfully, I had an aluminum 20 inch Cinema Display laying around so I connected it and have been using it as my main display up until last week. It was an amazing screen, no dead pixels nothing. It cost me $600 when I bought it and the money was well worth it.

    So last week I have finally decided that it was time to upgrade. Since I am low on cash (like 600-700$) I went to search for used Macs. I looked on MacOfAllTrades and found a beautiful white iMac for $600+shipping, it was a Core Duo 20'' with 2GB of RAM. Doesn't sound too bad. I do not really do anything hardcore on my computer but there were things that I used almost regularly: iWork, WireTap Studio for Mac, iLife, Corel PhotoImpact X3 for Windows, and Battlefield 2 via Boot camp. It all worked great, even with cracked screen because the Cinema Display was used as the main option.

    Right at the moment when I was about to buy the Mac, I decided to go to eBay and just to see what they had for BUY IT NOW (I am not much of a bidder) and found a gorgeous 20 inch Aluminum iMac with the Radeon 2400 XT 128MB video card. It was for around $750 with shipping included. The thing was in a wonderful condition so I bought it.

    It arrived two days ago. It was in amazing condition! Beautiful glossy screen, amazing nice little keyboard and mouse. Came with Leopard. I was watching the "Welcome" video with my jaw dropped. So I registered myself with Apple and got to the desktop. Right from the start I noticed that the colors were off. As soon as I saw how horribly and scary iTunes looked like (half grey/half brown/half green) I ran to Preferences in order to calibrate the display. After spending like half an hour to an acceptable result I started to slowly accept that my screen is ruined anyway. Even after being properly calibrated, the screen was still washed out. I downloaded a small JPG which was only a black square, nothing else. I put it on top of the screen. It looked very black, very nice. As I dragged it down it started to change the color into grey.. . Steve Jobs was right when he said the screen is probably the most important part of the computer because this problem has ruined my mood and interest. Nothing was fun, not even silly Photobooth. I went on to play with GarageBand but I couldn't concentrate on anything because the application has a black/dark interface and the problem was extremely noticable.

    Like any reasonable person, I started to think that I had a defect. I fired up Google and searched for a similar issue and it displayed lots of links to forums, including this one. After reading all of them it became clear that this issue affected every 2007 20'' 2.0 iMac because of some cheap design of the screen. Now, I know there is going to be someone in the crowd going like "NOO, thats NOT TRUE! i never had any issues like that wah wah".. Whatever. Maybe for you it didn't, but for others it did.

    Disappointed, I connected my old but beautiful 20'' Cinema Display via MiniDVI and mirrored screen onto it. No issues at all. Didn't even calibrate it (just turned down brightness a little). I put the iMac near my desk on the floor, right near my old Powermac G5 and covered it's screen with black cloth so it didnt create extra light. A beautiful glossy screen.. wasted.

    Yesterday I installed Boot Camp. As soon as I got to Windows desktop I was blinded by horrible brightness. I turned down the Cinema Display brightness to lowest point but it still continued to burn. I did not install the Boot Camp drivers together, I only installed Marvell Ethernet for Internet at first. As soon as I got on the Internet I went to ATI's site to get the latest driver.. and guess what, the 2400 XT driver they had listed there? When I tried to install it, it told me that my hardware was not compatible. Yeah. Just like that. So I tried to search in the Mobility section but it didnt even have it listed! Okay, so I manually installed the driver from Leopard CD, as well as the iSight and Realtek audio. I restarted and while the resolution was fixed to my normal one, the brightness was STILL bright. I looked for the damn Catalyst Control Center but it was not installed anywhere. I ran Boot Camp again and installed EVERYTHING it had and it did not include the Catalyst Control Center anywhere which is something that controls the contrast/sharpness/gamma/brightness. I went to ATI's site and downloaded it but again, the damn hardware is not compatible! I used the option to turn down the brightness in Boot Camp Control Panel and got another surprise: if you have a monitor connected via MiniDVI.. the damn brightness control will NOT work! You can slide the slider anywhere you like, the brightness stays the same. I unplugged the Cinema Display. The iMac was brighter than an atomic bomb even with the slider all the way down. So I reconnected my Cinema Display.

    Without ability to change sharpness/gamma/brightness on Windows, my photo editing using PhotoImpact is useless and impossible. I couldn't look at the screen for longer than 5 minutes because my eyes started to hurt so I went back to Leopard. Today I took the computer to the Apple store and showed the guy there my problem and complaint. After doing his "inspection" he told me that this is by design of the computer and that there is nothing wrong with it. I looked at other 20 inch iMacs in the store and they did not appear to have the problem. Black stays black regardless of where it is in screen. The 24 inch models looked absolutely gorgeous.

    I guess there was no reason for me to rant about this here other than just wanting to share my recent story. Since the eBay transaction didn't allow returns I will be with this iMac for a long time. If I knew that it was going to be this bad I would of bought a Mac Mini but those iMacs look so juicy and delicious. Mine is too but only when it is turned off.

    Please do not tell me how this is all my fault and I should of known better and that this iMac is outdated and with that the issue is not important.. It is important. It is important to me. If you really do know any ways to make my situation better (at least to get control of brightness in Windows XP via BC) do let me know here. I will really appreciate it. Oh, and if anyone wants to buy a 20'' 2007 iMac in mint condition for $520 do let me know too.

    Take care.
  2. Sorkvild macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2007
    I have an 07 iMac also and at first I was obsessed with the low quality screen just like yourself. I Googled all over and found the best solution to be calibrating it with SuperCal. It hasnt been updated in years but it still gets the job done. I think the real offender is that the iMacs have a really low default gamma setting, mine was so washed out it was awful. Pump that gamma setting up and it will be much much better.
  3. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    There's a leason to learn from all of this... Buying cheap things of flea bay can sometimes turn out to be complete lemons. I think IF you had bought the same 24" at an AppleStore you'd be given the opportunity to change the entire unit inside the 14 day cooling off period.

    Sorry you got this terrible display, dunno why you don't put it back on flea-bay and resell it... I'm sure someone else out there will be very happy with the machine regardless of it's imperfectness.
  4. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    Just replace the screen and move on.

    EDIT: When possible, that is. :)
  5. willcodejavafor macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2007
    Since my iMac's screen just broke down I know that this is not really an option. The cost of replacing it will probably exceed what he paid for the whole iMac.
  6. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    Ooo, ouch. Ya, I just took a gander, they aren't that cheap. Oh well then. :(
  7. Krafty macrumors 601


    Dec 31, 2007
    La La Land
    Did the seller not mention that on the listing? Cause if not, don't you think you could have returned it due to that defect?
  8. veloceraptor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2009
    The problem is that Apple Store does not consider my computer to have any problems. The screen and all the bells and whistles that go with it are there by design so there is no sense for me to pay again to replace it. This is why the seller did not mention it on the listing and sold it at that price - the computer is the same way as it was sold to him.

    I wonder if you would of said the same thing if my post appeared on this forum some time in August of 2007.

    It makes no difference where I bought the computer from, whether it is from MacOfAllTrade or "FleaBay" as you named it. The computer is in a mint condition and I was assured of that by an Apple Store representative.

    The only thing I learned from all this was "never buy ANYTHING new generation from Apple, always wait for some revisions or updates" because this computer was first generation of it's kind.
  9. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
  10. veloceraptor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2009
    Yes, exactly like the article says. Apple (represented to me by the guy at the store) refused any help because he does not see the problem with the display. He says it is supposed to be this way.

    Thanks for the link, I will look into it more and examine some options.
  11. veloceraptor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2009

    Just a little update, I was able to finally get the ATI Catalyst Software installed on my Windows via Boot Camp by downloading the latest desktop driver and then modding it using Mobility Modder tool!

    I was finally able to control the brightness of my Cinema Display as well as gamma and contrast. The most important thing is that now I can shut off my iMac screen and only use the Cinema Display!

    Wow! What a relief.
  12. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    So if just one guy tells you that it's supposed to be that way you take that for granted even if you see that it's not true while inspecting the other 20" iMacs in that same store? That's just ridiculous. I would have dragged that person to one of those iMacs and have him look at the two screens and compare them. However there is some truth in the guy's story. The 20" iMac does have a TN panel. Such panels are not very great, especially when it comes down to viewing angles. Looking at a wrong angle at the screen can lead to black turning into a dark grey or even a light grey. You can try experimenting with the angle to see if it solves the problem. The display not reacting to the brightness setting is not something that is the way it should be, that would be a defect.

    Alternatively: try a different store. It's like any other helpdesk, some people are not willing to help, some people don't have the proper knowledge for whatever reason and sometimes you just get lucky and get some guy who really does want to help and knows what he's talking about.

    Be a bit more persistant and don't let some guy put you off.
  13. moneyman118 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    You can dispute the case with paypal. there is a claim you can make that states "item is significantly different then described". Paypal always takes the buyers side. You'll get your money back in at least 30 days and can continue using the iMac till then. I would then buy a refurb from tha Apple online store!

    Just what I would do.
  14. veloceraptor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2009
    He did see the differences in colors but he told me that he cannot help me because the difference in colors is there "by design" of the 20 inch iMacs in 2007.

    I tried to argue with him but he said that he cannot help me. There is nothing wrong with the screen "officially" when compared to the other 2007 20'' iMacs of same model.

    I did experiment with angles but it did not help much. The colors are messed and photo editing using the screen is impossible. Thank God for my Cinema Display, I have that bastard connected so I just mirror the screen to it.

    Too bad there is no way to turn off the iMac's screen to save electricity but I do have that option when using Windows via boot camp in ATI's Catalyst Control Center.

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