MacPro Video Card Overheating - BF2142 play

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pprior, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    3ghz quad core machine, 8gb ram, ati x1900 video card.

    When playing for longer periods at high resolution setting the video starts to get corrupted. This is temp related. If I escape to the menu (no 3d graphics) for 10 seconds it will go away (for awhile).

    I downloaded the SMC fan control program and if I crank up the system fans it generally won't occur.

    However it doesn't appear to me that the video card fan is actually speeding up very much during play. When I boot up it runs REALLY fast (very loud!) then slows down, so I know it has more RPMS that it could go.

    I opened up the case and made sure the fins were not clogged with dust (they aren't).


    1) is there a way to directly control video card fan speed?
    2) Can I monitor or measure it to see if it's ramping up as it should?
    3) Any other suggestions?
  2. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030


    Jan 10, 2007
    How long have you had your Mac Pro?? There were issues early on with the x1900xt card. I believe they are shipping a version 2 of this card. The revision 1 of this card had heating/corruption issues you mention. You should have Apple replace the card for a rev. 2 model.
  3. jroad macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2006

    I had an overheating 1900xt, which caused graphical corruption and freezes. Since I was gaming on the Windows side, I kept thinking it was some driver issue.

    The solution was to replace the card, which was covered under Applecare. I never used to hear the video card fan, now with the new card I can really hear it (it's loud under stress).

    Assuming you are under Applecare, to get a replacement card, I suggest:
    a) Check out this thread on the WOW forums

    b) Basic troubleshooting : 1) see if the issue exists with other games 2) take the case off and point a house fan directly inside and see if that helps 3) verify you have the ...0004 rev card mentioned in the thread [EDIT 4) Clean any dust issues]

    c) Contact Applecare and explain the graphical corruption/ system stability issue and reference the internal Apple KB article 305637. Explain the troubleshooting steps you have taken to isolate the fact that it is indeed a hardware issue.

    d) Receive a replacement card, and be happy once again with you Mac Pro.

    PS There are utilities, such as ATI Tray Tools that can monitor the card via bootcamp (not sure about the OS X side).
  4. Jade Cambell macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2007
    I got issues like that with Call of Duty 2, and I called apple and they sent me a version 2 of the card, and I still crank up the fans when I play, just to be safe, but if your card ever gave you glitches, that means it's permenentaly damaged in some way. I'd have apple send you a new card, and always crank the fans up when you play so that you never get corruption, and the card never overheats.
  5. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    On the phone with apple as we speak - they seem to know this as an issue and are stating they will send me a replacement...currently on hold.

    Does anyone actually know what the difference in the card "revisions" is? I hope it's not just a faster/louder fan as my system is already louder than I'd ideally like it to be.
  6. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    well good news and bad news....

    good news: My video card came today! I'm totally amazed because I just called Apple support yesterday. Not only did I speak with an American citizen, he didn't hassle me, didn't require I do a bunch of stupid stuff to try and troubleshoot, he just listened to my problem and then sent me new card, and it arrived the next day!

    Bad news: the card may be a refurb as it appears a few scratches on the monitor connection point. and the fan on it definitely runs louder than my old card. Physically it looks exactly the same.

    anyone else replaced a card and had same experience?
  7. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    We had to have the cards replaced in both of our Mac Pro's. To the best of my knowledge the replacement cards were brand new.

    Still, it's a video card. Has it fixed your issue? If so, be merry! :D Oh, and if you don't have it already, get AppleCare.
  8. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    It did seem to fix the corruption issues with video.

    However it's quite a bit LOUDER - I never used to notice my MacPro but now it's definitely audible fan noise.

    I do have applecare.
  9. erickkoch macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2003
    The ATI X1900 is quite loud. I replaced my fan with this. I'm sure it will void the warrenty but it's up to you. This fan is much quieter and seems to keep the card cooler. I've had it in for a few months, no problems. Got it at Newegg for $20.

    Attached Files:

  10. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    As a long time PC modder/assembler I took an oath not to customize my mac. I am trying not to screw things up, which I think was more common than I would admit in the many machines I custom assembled in the past. One of the attractions I have to the Apple system is that the hardware is proven to work, so I don't plan on mucking with it.

    Having said that, I did add non-apple RAM and a 2nd burner to my machine, but THAT's IT! :)
  11. yeti5d macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2007
    I did the same thing, its MUCH quiter, even at full load. The old cooler drove me insane!!! :p
  12. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    LOL sounds like me, I have been building my own PCs for years, troubleshooting issues,messing with bios settings to get that CAS setting optimal etc..

    I can't believe after decades of PC/Windows/Dos use that a Mac Pro/Apple display sit on my desk at work and at home :)

    And I am not going to mod or mess with the mac either :) (with the exception of the 8GB of ram I bough and installed a few months ago)
  13. Davalon macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2007
    My Mac Pro worked fine for several months, even with heavy gaming, then one day I started seeing strange artifacts on the screen and having the system freeze up while playing World of Warcraft in OSX and Counter-Strike in Windows and pretty much any other graphics intensive game. Normally a quick reboot would get things going again.

    Then I started getting kernel panics. I called Applecare, but they wanted me to call while the system was actually locked up or exhibiting symptoms. This was inconvenient since I normally only game in the evenings after the support lines are closed.

    Then...the system stopped booting up. The screen stayed black and the video card fan was spinning like mad (like it normally does for a little bit when the system first boots.) I stayed home from work and Applecare tried to talk me through some stuff, but since we couldn't get the system to boot, they told me to take it in to an authorized retailer for warranty repair.

    I kinda wish they had just sent me the card since the shop took a week to bench the computer and get the card ordered and installed.

    The fan on the new card is noisy. Very noisy. Not as noisy as the various fan I have had on PCs in the past, but this thing is louder than all the other fans/drives in my Mac combined even when the system is at idle. When I start gaming, I have to use headphones or crank my volume up to hear the game over the roar of the fan.

    Other folks have mentioned that their ATI card in their Mac is barely audible. I kinda wonder if they have cards that are going to kick the bucket at some point in the near future like mine did or if the card that Apple gave me as a replacement is somehow defective.

    Other than purchasing an after-market fan (and voiding the warranty), are there some other solutions for getting this card to be (more) quiet short of just buying the Nvidia card?
  14. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    My experience is the same after I installed the new card the fan noise is much more pronounced and is much louder than the rest of the system combined. I'm not happy with it as I'm a silentpcreview type of user.

    I just installed the 1900xt firmware update via apple but it made no difference.

    Actually I don't notice a whole lot of increase in noise while gaming, but it's the idle noise that bothers me most.
  15. jroad macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2006
    After getting a new ATI x1900xt replaced due to overheating issues, I no longer got graphical artifacts and stability issues. However, as mentioned by others, the new card's fan was then much more apparent and unwanted.

    I did some research on aftermarket fans and I suppose the top two choices are the Artic Cooling Accelero X2 and the Thermaltake AT1:

    The Accelero is becoming harder to find these days because it is now a discontinued product. Also, it does not route the hot air outside the case as opposed to the stock or AT1 cooler. However, the AT1 looked to be more difficult to install, due to the need for it's access to a 4 pin molex power connector, as shown here.

    I ordered the AT1 from for $30 along with a 4 pin power extension cable. Since I didn't care to cut and splice the AT1's fan cable, I spliced the extension cable's wires to route the power from the optical drive bay to the cooler.

    The result is a much quieter Mac Pro, as the very annoying whine is now gone again. Should the ATI card need warranty service, the original cooler can be swapped back on. Overall, a worthwhile project if you are bothered by the video card's noise.

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