Mac Mini Pixel Issue (Exchanged Twice)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by EthanNixon, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. EthanNixon macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    http://gallery.me.com/enixon#100247

    I've had the Mac Mini for about two weeks now. I've exchanged it twice, at two different Apple stores hoping maybe a different batch of Minis would help.

    I get green pixels all over my screen, but only on dark colors, and I don't even have to be doing anything for it to happen. I figured at first it was because of overheating, because it would happen after booting into Windows and loading CS:S. After I exchanged it, the pixels will happen in Safari browsing sites. I've taken some pictures, and I really don't want to exchange it again.

    I purchased it originally at Best Buy because I work there, but I'm outside of the return policy, otherwise I would just return it since I've had three garbage units.

    I suppose I could keep exchanging it every week and maybe Apple will finally realize there is something wrong with the Minis.

    I have the Core i5, AMD GPU, 4GB, etc. I want to add an SSD, but I'm not going to do that if I have to keep exchanging this thing weekly.

    P.S. - Don't say it's the monitor, because it's not.

    http://gallery.me.com/enixon#100247
     
  2. Cell-666 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #2
    Have you tried changing your lead to your monitor ? I very much doubt that is the GPU in two different Macs causing the same problem. Have you tried it on another display ?
     
  3. EthanNixon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    I've tried on my monitor (Dell 1703FP), some NEC 19", and a Vizio 47" HDTV. This monitor came from my gaming computer that I replaced with this Mac Mini because I only play one game, and the Mac Mini runs it fine minus this issue.

    So I have tried it on different monitors, and the issue appears the exact same way. I've also tried a different HDMI -> DVI and straight HDMI -> HDMI.

    I'm getting very fed up with this issue, but I absolutely love the Mac. -_-
     
  4. Cell-666 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
  5. EthanNixon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #5
    I got two different "geniuses" and both said the same thing, along the lines of, "It's a logic board, and seems to be a common issue, would you like us to order the part, it will take about a week to come in."

    I say no, I've only had the Mini for a couple of days.

    "Oh, we can just exchange it here then if you'd like."

    I walk out with a new Mac Mini, and the problem still exists after messing around for a day or so.

    They have been very nice at the store, and have no complaints with the service I have received. :p
     
  6. MacTech68 macrumors 68000

    MacTech68

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #6
    As already suggested by Cell-666, try a different video lead to the display.

    Long, and/or cheap HDMI cables seem to be prone to this particular issue.

    Also, try keeping the video cable away from sources of radiated EMI eg: power cables, power supplies and other equipment.

    Lastly, make sure your system is up to date with all the Software Updates available especially EFI (if any) since it occurs in Windows as well as MacOS.

    It may simply be that this problem shows up on the MacMini video port is slightly more susceptible to this than your gaming PC.
     
  7. EthanNixon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #7
    So the fact that I already posted that I tried just about everything you said, what would you suggest?

    I tried the Mac Mini on a Vizio 47" TV with an Audioquest Chocolate cable, I'm sure that is up to par with your "quality" HDMI cable.

    I tried on an NEC with my own HDMI -> DVI adapter with my own DVI cable, and still have the same issue.

    Finally I tried it again on my Dell 1703FP with Apple's own HDMI -> DVI adapter, any my own DVI cable. I switched out the DVI cables since you asked, and still the same issue.

    So now you suggest to move the Mac Mini way from the radiating components? I'm doing that now... Nothing changed at all. My Mac Mini is on top of my desk, so there is no power cables or other radiating devices besides the Mac Mini and Monitor.

    It also did the same thing at my friend's house when I initially setup my Mac, and we weren't near anything, and it was also a different monitor and cable. I set it up at his house all three times as well.

    Other suggestions? It's the Mac by the way, and not any of the equipment I'm using...
     
  8. MacTech68 macrumors 68000

    MacTech68

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #8
    Sorry to have wasted your time.

    I suggest that since it's the Mac, you take it up with Apple.
     
  9. EthanNixon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
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    New Jersey
    #9
    You didn't waste my time, you just didn't read my other post...
     
  10. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #10
    You say on the new Mac it starts after a couple of days. Could it be a certain piece of software you're installing each time?

    To have the exact same problem with two or three different Mac minis would be nearly impossible odds - unless it was a common problem (clearly not) or unless the cause is something other than the Mac itself. Monitors, cables (incl. power cords and outlets), software and EMI/RF interference from something close by.
     
  11. EthanNixon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #11
    First Mac Mini:
    I started it up at my friends house, got all of my iTunes account synced. Installed CS:S, because that was the whole reason for getting one. Played about 2-3 minutes before seeing green pixels. I know the problem is because of overheating. I shut down the Mac Mini, play COD on PS3 for about 30 minutes and try the Mac Mini again. I was browsing my site when I started noticing green pixels again. Took my Mac home, and loaded Windows on it. It started to get green pixels again before I even finished installing it.

    Second Mac Mini:
    Loaded everything again at my friends house, since he drove me and we planned to play some COD. I didn't install CS:S this time. I went on to YouTube to check a few of my videos for comments, and then I started noticing some green pixels. I thought this Mini is a heck of a lot better than the last one, so I continued to use it. I downloaded a benchmark program, I forget which one it was though, but it's commonly used for Macs. After it was finished, I went back to Safari and to my site only to notice a lot more green pixels, but still significantly less than the first mini.

    I load up Windows, install all of my drivers and games before any green pixels appear. I play about 20-30 minutes of CS:S on ESEA. I exit the game and go to the browser, and green pixels galore! The pixels NEVER happen during the game, but in Safari, iPhoto, iTunes, Preview, and a few other applications. They never have popped up in CS:S except for one or two on the loading screen.

    Third Mac Mini:
    I install everything at my house, load up iTunes, etc. I didn't even touch Mac OS X after that and installed Windows. Got through everything without green pixels. Had high hopes... Install CS:S, play one scrimmage with my team for CEVO and then I go to check stats. On the stats page on ESEA.net, there were green pixels all over the top right corner for the login information. Then I browse a couple of pictures I saved to test for green pixels, and basically my entire screen was green.

    In between Mac Mini #2 and #3 I completely rearranged my room. The Mac Mini is sitting on top of my desk because I was getting fed up unplugging everything from one of my shelving systems. Now it sits on its side to get more airflow, because I KNOW the issue is from overheating. I'm not an idiot, and it's a fact when anything is done that's taxing the GPU the green pixels pop up. Once they start to pop up though, they will keep displaying even when doing nothing and the temps are fine.

    I decided to download a fan controller and test that out. Cranking the fan up definitely helped, but it still displayed green pixels. Unfortunately there isn't a good fan program for Windows, and ATI Tray Tool turns my Mini off every time I change something.

    So I know the problem is from overheating, but it seems once it hits that threshold, they pop up anytime for any reason.

    So I have an appointment tomorrow, and I will post back if I get a new one or just end up freaking out at them. I probably won't freak out, because I never get angry or upset really, so we will see. :p
     
  12. Ruahrc, Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011

    Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #12
    I'm still not entirely convinced it's not overheating. It would seem, that if it really was overheating, that you would see the problem while playing games, when the heat output is at its maximum. Once you quit out of a 3D game, the temperature of the CPU and GPU drop quite rapidly back to nominal levels. That you don't see this behavior leads me to believe it is not overheating but some other issue. What that issue is I don't know but also given that you have seen this with multiple cables, and multiple monitors, and multiple minis, the chances of getting 3 bad minis in a row is astonishingly small.

    There's gotta be something else. I'm thinking it has to be some kind of software, or a hardware conflict between the monitor(s) and the mini (it seems that the new mini does not play well with every monitor out there).

    Ruahrc
     
  13. StrudelTurnover macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    #13
    You don't like Speedfan? Really? I lived by it before I switched. http://www.almico.com/sfscreenshots.php
    I can see why someone wouldn't like MacFan http://sourceforge.net/projects/macfan/ but it was at least meant for Bootcamp.

    Anyway, I encountered very much the same video glitching with my 2006 iMac (before and after a logic board switch), and like your Mini it ceased immediately after using a fan utility (smcFC of course). I guess it's just an Apple thing, but it taught me never to trust a machine's own fan controller. :cool:
     
  14. EthanNixon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #14
    All the fan controllers that are supposed to work in Bootcamp don't for the new Mini, or at least I can't find one that does.

    If they offer to fix the logic board, I may let them do it this time, since I have a feeling there were bad Minis where I live. ahaha
     
  15. MacTech68 macrumors 68000

    MacTech68

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #15
    Released yesterday:

    Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.3
     
  16. EthanNixon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #16
    Problem still happens on the fourth Mac Mini.

    However, I have found the problem and no one at the Apple store acknowledges it. When my computer gets hot, and I am using the HDMI port, I get the green pixels. If I use the Mini Displayport/Thunderbolt, I don't get green pixels.

    I've found the solution, which is awesome, but it's still funny that the Apple 'geniuses' think I am trying to pull a quick one over them. The guy I dealt with last time told me he wouldn't replace it again if it happened. I told him watch me get this replaced if it happens again...

    He gave me literally two minutes to get the Mac Mini to overheat, and I couldn't get it to do so, so he basically called me a liar, but ended up replacing it anyway... lol
     

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