Is my Video Card going or my CPU Mac Pro Desktop going wacky

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bcpursel, Apr 19, 2016.

?

is my graphics card just ready to die? or is this another issue

  1. its your graphics card

    5 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. its your cpu

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. bcpursel macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #1
    I just started to have an issue on my mac last week. i have a 2009 mac pro 2.66 quad core desktop and i am running snow leopard 10.6.8. my graphics card is a nvidia geforce gt 120. (i know i am out of date)

    while browsing and watching a video, my screen went into a bizarre frozen "stuttered or pixelated" mess. there are small bars and pieces of information repeated everywhere. if i click windows, the graphics look like a repeated trail or stuttering repeated graphics over the entire screen. I have istatpro on the widgets and have been monitoring cpu heat. usually this happens when the cpu is around or over 50 celsius i think. i do not see a heat for the graphics card.

    also, my mouse still moves and i have found if i move the cursor to the hot corner for my screen saver to let that run for a few seconds, usually the issue clears once i click back onto the finder and wake it up. the computer does not seem to be crashing, as applications are still fine and running once the crazy mosaic screen is gone.

    it has happened a few times. sometimes i cannot clear the display, so i have to unplug and restart because i cannot see any menus. with light use, or no media content, the computer seems to be fine.

    i have noticed some mild to moderate hanging as well while using web browsers, especially scrolling.

    my question is, would this most likely be a hardware issue? or is my graphics card just ready to die?
    are there any other concerns like a corrupt HD? i have run disk utility and HD is ok according to that. i have also run clamxav and no files were found to be corrupt.
     
  2. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    #2
    I think I may have this problem...once in a rare blue moon. I'm talking about the pixelate. Have you thought about upgrading your gpu?
     
  3. bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #3
    i downloaded a new cuda driver once this occurred thinking it maybe it would help but i dont think it made a difference. if it is the gpu, i would gladly replace it. i am just trying to make sure it is just that or i may as well just upgrade to a newer mac pro.

    i will just mention, i am not a technical systems guy. i can do simple things like installing ram and swapping a new graphics card, but i am not someone who can analyze code in Terminal to figure out anything.
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    It sounds like a bad graphics card, but the GT120 is a pretty solid card. A picture would help.

    If you have a spare drive, I'd install a clean version of OS X on it and boot from it just for process of elimination. You can determine if it's hardware or software that way.
     
  5. bcpursel, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #5
    i will take a pic if it happens again. i installed macs fan control, and increased my fan speeds about 200 rpm each to see if more circulation would keep it cool. i also did a restart resetting the pram. my temps have been about 5-10* C cooler and i have not had an incident in a day, although i kept my video content light all day. i also decided to buy almost the exact same machine off ebay, so i can have some diagnostic options. if it keeps continuing, i will try the graphics card swap and see if that fixes it. or, i will have an alternate HD with an OS on to swap and try. or, just swap all my drives into the new machine. one way or another, i think i would be able to eliminate what is causing it.

    would a failing graphics card present as flickering while changing from one open browser window to the next? or delayed refresh?

    basically, while i have not had the full blown screen scramble, i do notice a lag or delay in refresh as i click from one application window to the next as the graphics refresh. sometimes it just is a flicker once, sometimes i see other lines or remnants just for a fraction of a second.
     
  6. s-hatland macrumors regular

    s-hatland

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    #6
    may also suggest removing your graphics card and giving it a good blow job :) dust can overheat things and cause artifacts in video cards. may as well do the whole system while youre at it. may be as simple as that.
     
  7. bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #7
    i did open the case and i removed a fair amount of dust from fans, case and lower cpu. the gpu is enclosed and did not seem like it was too dusty, but i did not remove it.

    would a failing graphics card present as flickering while changing from one open browser window to the next? or delayed refresh?
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #8
    Apply compress air from the back, it's the easiest way to clean the graphic card.
     
  9. bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #9
    is everyone who is posting in agreement this is probably graphics card related and not a hardware issue?

    its been about 48 hours since i had a major screen issue, but when i am browsing on safari and firefox, there is a very quick weird initial flicker as the window refreshes to the actual content from time to time.

    thanks for the feedback and would love to hear more input.
     
  10. bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #10
    ok. i had another screen incident this evening. was just browsing firefox on ebay after the machine was idle for a few hours. here are some photos. starts as the striped banding at the top and pieces of windows randomly repeated everywhere. when i am able to grab a window, it leaves the repeated trail that looks like 100 pages stacked as it moves. then, magically if i push my mouse wheel to dim to expose with the widgets, all that disappears to reveal what actually was open. once it cleared i was able to restart, and everything appears back to ok for now. thoughts?

    photo 1.JPG photo 5.JPG photo 3.JPG photo 4.JPG photo 2.JPG
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #11
    Looks like GPU problem to me (may be the VRAM).
     
  12. bcpursel, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #12
    is there a way to fix/repair vram or basically just replace the geforce gt 120 with another? is vram related only to my gpu or the logic board of the computer?
     
  13. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #13
    I think buy another card is cheaper, even though we can narrow down to suspect the GPU, we still can't 100% which part(s) of the GPU cause the problem.

    Anyway, if you have anything can setup for screen sharing. You may do that to check if the corruption only exist on the monitor, but not on the remote screen.

    When it happen, you can also make a screen capture "CMD + SHIFT +3" to check if the corruption also exist on the screenshot.

    Or even remove the GPU, and check if the corruption appear on the remote screen. If not, then it's quite clear GPU cause the problem.
     
  14. bcpursel, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #14
    if the screen shot capture shows the same corruption, what would that mean? same for if it shows on the screen shot? what would corruption only viewed on the monitor mean?

    i assume if the corruption is only on the monitor, (not the screen shot) that would point to the problem definitely being isolated to the gpu and not logic board or ram.
     
  15. bcpursel, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016

    bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #15
    ok i ran disk utility again this morning. a few days ago, it said HD ok. now it says invalid file count (about 23 less than the actual number) and invalid volume directory count (also 23 less). needs to be repaired with disk utility.

    could that be related to the problem? or is the missing file count and directory count a symptom of the GPU issue?

    i do not have a startup disk or other computer to start up from or target mode, to repair the HD. but in searching, it seems a lot of people have the invalid file count message in 10.6.8, which i am on, and it keeps recurring even after repairing with disk warrior or disk utility.

    if i perform an upgrade to el capitan will that possibly eliminate my file directory issues?
     
  16. bcpursel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #16
    update by OP: so today i managed to repair the invalid file count with disk utility once i got a second machine with an OS. i put the affected HD in as a data HD which was not booted from, and the repair was made with no problem. then ran disk utility again in my original MP as the boot drive, and disk utility says the disk is ok.

    i also did the terminal ram memtest and the ram checked ok.

    i have not had a major screen scramble in about 4 days, but some clicking and scrolling functions are still a bit laggy. (opening or closing windows for instance. i sometimes have to click several times for an application or browser window to close)

    i swapped a different GT120 GPU into the machine, to see if there was any difference or i experienced the pixellated screen with the other card. nothing to note.

    when i am using adobe software, outlook/office programs and working on files on the computer, all video refresh seems fine. it is only browsing, watching video content or web animations that i see any refresh or display issues right now for a split second. but this was not happening 2 weeks ago.

    i have not really been able to identify what is causing this. possibly just the OS 10.6.8 becoming glitchy?
    it seems like it most likely is not the graphics card, based on the behavior not being fixed with a new one in.

    i know the symptoms are vague, but would love to get any input some more technically advanced users may have.
    thank you.
     

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