Mid-2011 iMac: Graphics issue... again.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by alrec, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. alrec macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2019
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    Hey guys,

    Bit of a back story. I bought my Mid-2011 iMac 27" from Apple in 2012. Everything was great until 2015 when it started having the infamous graphics issue (symptoms included artifacts on screen, vertical bars, or full on white screen).

    Apple did recognize this as a "known issue" in my Mac and replaced the graphics card (AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB) free of charge even though the machine was out of warranty. Great!

    Now, 4 years later the same issue is back. However at this point, Apple says the machine is "vintage" (5+ years by definition from Apple) and they no longer stock parts for it, so even if I wanted to pay for a repair I'm out of luck. I did have a tech look at it at an Apple store, and their diagnostics didn't show any issues (apart from it having non-Apple RAM). The tech told me that:

    - Given the original graphics card was replaced, this issue would not be strictly the same as the original one. Their hardware diagnostics are specifically designed to look for the original "known issue" with these graphics cards, so just because it's not detecting a graphics issue doesn't mean there isn't one.
    - Although unlikely, the non-Apple RAM could also be the culprit
    - Assuming it is a video card issue my only option would be a third-party repair or replacement. He did mention that there may have been third party manufacturers making cards that work for the iMac, so there could be a chance of finding a new third-party part.

    How likely do you think this is due to the RAM? Are there any other low-hanging-fruit I can try myself to diagnose/repair this thing? And has anyone heard of these "third-party" graphics card alternatives?

    I realize it's an "old machine" but apart from the described issue I don't really have any problem using it for another x number of years, and I'd hate to throw away an otherwise good machine just because of one issue.

    I've considered going to a new iMac as well, but the fact that Apple refuses to stock parts for or repair any machine older than 5 years means that they effectively expect their customers to buy a new machine every 5 years which is not the kind of thing you expect when buying an expensive, "high quality" product.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
     
  2. alrec thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2019
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    Spoke to a local third-party repair shop and apparently it's possible to replace a faulty chip on the graphics card of these iMacs, which would be cheaper and more realistic than sourcing a replacement video card.

    Also saw this thread on Graphics Card upgrades just after posting... looks like I've got some reading to do: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2011-imac-graphics-card-upgrade.1596614/
     
  3. Cruz3LT macrumors newbie

    Cruz3LT

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2019
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    #3
    Try baking the GPU. I just purchased a mid 2011 27" iMac 3.4GHz and it had the white screen of death. After trying a number of things I came to the conclusion it was the GPU. I baked it at 390F for 8 min and then let it cool for 30 and then re-installed and buttoned it all back and it works perfect. To combat the overheating problem, I downloaded a fan control app. If you go this route, make sure you clean all the fans and the inside of the machine.
     
  4. ThugFreak macrumors member

    ThugFreak

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    Sep 12, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Have you seen the oven trick?
    Lot's of videos and people saying it worked for them.

     
  5. Cruz3LT macrumors newbie

    Cruz3LT

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    Jun 24, 2019
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    #5
    I just did it yesterday with great success.
     
  6. ThugFreak macrumors member

    ThugFreak

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #6
    Congratulations!
    Hopefully it lasts a long time.
     
  7. Cruz3LT macrumors newbie

    Cruz3LT

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2019
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    #7
    I hope so also. Who knows, I may upgrade to a newer one before it may fail again.
     
  8. FlorisVN macrumors 6502

    FlorisVN

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    Nov 8, 2013
    #8
  9. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #9
    Do you still have a mechanical hard drive in it?
     
  10. Isamilis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #10
    Wow... you have really brave heart. Congrats!
     
  11. Cruz3LT macrumors newbie

    Cruz3LT

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    Jun 24, 2019
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    #11
    I didn't have anything to lose.
     
  12. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #12
    If you have an HDD in it, the cause of the problem is still there. Baking works by reflowing the solder. Over heating and cooling caused the joints to crack. The heat source is the hard drive inside.

    Replacing it with an SSD eliminates the heat source and lets the iMac run a lot faster.
     
  13. ThugFreak macrumors member

    ThugFreak

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Is this GPU problem also in the 27'' 2010 iMac? I am buying a mint condition 27'' 2010 iMac (i7) from a company that is moving for $150. I still have a 1 terabyte SATA 2 SSD from a 2009 iMac I accidentally killed (ripped video connector off motherboard). Too bad I threw away the temperature sensor & 3.5'' adapter.
     
  14. Aiwi macrumors member

    Aiwi

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    #14
    It's primarily in the AMD Radeon 6xxx series that has the failing GPU problem. The 2010 iMac has the AMD Radeon 5xxx series. You should be just fine
     
  15. FlorisVN macrumors 6502

    FlorisVN

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    #15
    but I think it's important to know, that the Radeon 5xxx series is also not metal compatible, nor compatible with non-metal patches like the one from dosdude1 mojave/catalina patchers.
    So if you want to upgrade to mojave/catalina in the future using the patcher, you will need to upgrade to a metal supported nvidia mxm card.
    Or maybe you can use the HD4850 mxm card from the 2009 iMac, i'm not sure if this will work with 2010-2011 iMac's, but I think it will..
     
  16. Cruz3LT macrumors newbie

    Cruz3LT

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    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    #16
    I replaced mine with a SSD and haven't run into any problems yet.
     
  17. ThugFreak macrumors member

    ThugFreak

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #17
    Thank You.
    This model has an ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1 GB of memory.
     

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16 June 11, 2019